And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten.
―From The Vision of Sir Launfal by James Russell Lowell
Today was a perfect June day. I hope you’ve had a few of them this month. The year seems to be roaring past like a freight train. May you take a moment to breathe in its loveliness, too.
Around the Web
Our 2020 Summer Reading List
The Rabbit Room has pulled together a reading list with something for everyone. Some of these books are for the kids in your life, some are for you, and some may just have you handing out copies to everyone you meet.
- The constant din of voices swirling and opinions flying in today’s physically-distanced, yet socially-shrinking world is overwhelming. Searching for trusted information from diverse points of view is daunting. Like many of you, we at the Rabbit Room are processing current events, both as an organization and personally, and are seeking to listen and act with empathy, peace, and grace in Christ.
More than ever, we believe in the power of stories that draw us closer to the hope of Christ and empower us to love our communities more powerfully and passionately.
Your Kids Can Watch NASA Live All Summer Long. Here’s How
Do you have a future astronaut on your hands? Or an engineer or scientist? NASA has educational programming all summer long for the inquiring among us.
- Ever since the SpaceX Dragon docked on the International Space Station, my kids have had so many questions about anything related to space. What gravity is, for example, has been a hot topic of conversation around here.
4 Ways to Feed Your Kids
I spent last week with my five nieces and nephews who range in age from 15 down to 9. I don’t think I’ve ever heard, “I’m hungry” so many times in one week.
- When our kids ask, “What’s for dinner?” it seems like a simple question with a simple answer. But deciding what to feed our families can be complex and confusing. Questions abound regarding what should be in our food and what shouldn’t, or how much or little we should eat. I have certainly had misunderstandings about food. In seeking to fight gluttony or take control of my health, I’ve tried to give myself incentives by stressing the danger of certain ingredients over other ingredients. I’ve called some foods “good” and other foods “bad.”
And when I attach moral significance to food, I’m only doing something people have done for thousands of years. But Jesus, speaking to his Jewish followers, had something to say about this: “…it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person”(Matt. 15:11). In other words—What you eat isn’t what’s wrong with you. What’s wrong with you is coming straight up from your heart.
Summer of Faerie: “Carla and the Prez”
Need some summer reading? This retelling of a lesser-known Grimm’s fairy tale is by none other than my own sister.
- June is flying by in a blur of hot green days and cool blue nights (I sort of stole that phrasing from Tolkien). Pink peonies are nodding in our garden and paddle boarders and kayakers have been cruising by on the river. I wish I could bottle up all this lush, vibrant loveliness and save it for some slushy late winter afternoon.
This week’s Summer of Faerie contribution is a short story by Loren Warnemuende, who has an Jane Austen-ish or George Eliot-esque mastery of character-creation. Whether protagonists or villains, she crafts believable, flesh-and-blood people with memories and desires that feel so real.
Around the Warren
Hard-Wired to Follow
John Sommer explores our tendency to follow.
- Two boys run around the playground equipment skidding on the little wood chips carpeting the ground. They zap, pow, punch, and kick as they zoom about. One is wearing a red cape that flaps in the wind behind him as he flies around with his arms stretched in front of him. The other has on a hero’s mask that covers his excited face with angular metal plates, but it still reveals his glowing blue eyes.
Discovering Robin McKinley
Christine Norvell introduces us to her new discovery: one of my favorites, Robin McKinley.
- As I continue to write middle grade fiction, I also make time to read fiction for the same age group. Over the past two years, I’ve read Katerine Patterson, Gary Paulsen, Andrew Peterson, George MacDonald, Kate DiCamillo, S. D. Smith, William Armstrong, Scott O’Dell, Susan Creech, Robert Beatty, Lois Lowry, and others.
I’m now delving into middle grade fantasy, and not just any fantasy. Not Rick Riordan. Not Rowling. But classic fantasy, you know, the kind with an old-world feel. A fellow reader recommended Newbery Medal winner Robin McKinley, who appeals to a middle grade and young adult audience, and I was surprised to hear a name I didn’t know.
The World Needs the Class of 2020
Julie Silander shares a letter to her graduating son.
- To my graduate.
You were three weeks old when I finally summoned the courage to head to the coffee shop. I dreaded trying to make sense of what had happened, but I wanted you to grow into a man of depth, of compassion, of character. In order to love this broken beautiful world, we first need to see both the good and the hard realities it holds. Naming what’s true is often a painful, yet necessary, start to the process.
Hannah Hubin shares an original tale with us.
- Once, hundreds of years ago, there lived a giraffe named Clope who did not like his long neck. He found it most impractical.
He wished his head could be closer to the ground. He was, you see, a rather social, most very extroverted giraffe, and most of the animals with whom he was acquainted dwelt lower to the earth.
Also, he had a rather weak heart, which is certainly far from ideal for a giraffe, as the blood has a long, epic journey to make to the brain.
Something to Do with Your Kids
The folks over at Kids Activity Blog have come up with a whole slew of resources to get your kids going with marble racing–and I bet you might just get into it yourself.
Something to Watch
Looking for some fun science with your little ones? The Dad Lab has you covered. All you need are some eggs.
Thanks for reading. We’re on your side.
-The Story Warren Team