Sunday, November 29, 2009

MLK Events

There are some really great looking events planned for MLK day - lots start now...
... For details, go to the NAACP MLK page. (I didn't copy over all the links)
NAACP Portland Branch Martin Luther King, Jr., Observance 2010
MLK Writing Project Why King Matters Now: An NAACP Youth Writing Project Led by The Telling Room and USM, young people will come together in this free series of workshops to create a personal reflection on the meaning of King in their own lives. Workshops held on Dec. 1, 8 and 9. Event details >>
Reading, Writing and The Engaged Community In this free series of workshops led by USM Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing, participants will read and respond to King’s writing. Workshops held on Dec. 5, 19 and Jan. 2. Event details >>
Art, Creativity and Social Responsibility Sunday, Dec. 20 and Tuesday, Dec. 22 Bowdoin Art Museum and Portland Museum of Art Event details >>
Interfaith Dialogue Wednesday, Jan. 13, 6:00 p.m. Portland Museum of Art Event details >>
MLK Music & Gospel Concert Sunday, Jan. 17 Merrill Auditorium Event details >>
29th Annual Breakfast Celebration Monday, Jan. 18, 8:00 a.m. Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland Event details >>

Who Does She Think She Is?

This is a really powerful film about women's struggles to engage in caregiving and creative work, and it crosses a lot of boundaries, making it of interest to men, women without children, and mothers who are not artists, as well as the artist-mothers shown in the film.
It would be a great basis for a community conversation at FSP... in the meantime, take a trip to the Frontier, which is lovely to begin with!
FILM | Who Does She Think She Is? | NR | 84min A Film by Pamela T. Boll
Showtimes: Tuesday-Wednesday, Nov 24-25 | 5pm Friday, Nov 27 | 5pm & 8:45pm Tuesday, Dec 1 | 5pm Thursday-Friday, Dec 3-4 | 3pm Saturday, Dec 5 | 3pm Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec 8-9 | 3pm & 7pm
Click Here For Who Does She Think She Is? YouTube Channel In a half-changed world, women often feel they need to choose: mothering or working? Your children's well-being or your own? Who Does She Think She Is?, a documentary by Academy Award winning filmmaker Pamela Tanner Boll, features five fierce women who refuse to choose. Through their lives, we explore some of the most problematic intersections of our time: mothering and creativity, partnering and independence, economics and art. The film invites us to consider both ancient legacies of women worshiped as cultural muses and more modern times where most people can't even name a handful of female artists.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mothers Acting Up

Mother's Acting Up has led several actions for the world's children over the past several years, but they are turning it up a notch with a new web site and a plan for twitter-activism... sign up to be a "mother leader" or just to take an online action to make the world better for kids -- your own, and everyone's here:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Barefoot Books in Boston

Somehow, I never knew that there was a whole Barefoot Books bookstore in Boston - now I am dying to see it...
From Roots & Shoots
Want some more fun? Join us in person for Roots & Shoots Day at Barefoot Books. Named Best Children's Bookstore by Boston Magazine four years in a row, when you visit the Barefoot Books, it’s like stepping into the pages of one of their colorful, whimsical books! When - Saturday, November 21 from 1:00 pm - 4:00 p.m. Where - Barefoot Books, 1771 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Mass. 02140 Who - Roots & Shoots members, families and friends! Be prepared for some fun Roots & Shoots art projects, activities and tasty snacks. PLUS, 25% of the proceeds from any purchase you make on November 21, will come straight to Roots & Shoots New England.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tree Sprouts

Lindy, from Tree Sprouts, provided a storytelling experience at FSP during assembly... if your children would like to see her again, check out these offerings... Tree Sprouts!!! outreach programming for Greater Portland I’m so excited this year to be able to create connections with the Greater Portland community through our outreach programs. From October through December I will be visiting schools, libraries, hospitals, resource centers, and other public venues to present Tree Sprouts, a unique interactive learning program for children. Tree Sprouts combines dramatic storytelling, songs, and movement with recycled art projects and a sprinkle of playful yoga! The main goal of this program is to help children and families increase their awareness and understanding of people, cultures, and nature. In learning about others we naturally learn about ourselves and who we are in relation to the world around us. Believing in ourselves empowers us to embrace both our differences and our similarities allowing us to become connected with all living things. It also helps us to think and act with compassion. The more people are motivated by kindness and compassion, the more hope we have of a peaceful world for our future. By offering all of the Tree Sprouts groups at no charge it is my hope that we can reach out to kids who may not otherwise have these opportunities. Tree Sprouts grows… ☼imaginations ☼creativity ☼self awareness and understanding ☼cultural awareness and understanding ☼compassion FREE PROGRAM. Registration and parent participation required WHEN WHERE Nov. 21st at 12:30 am St Lawrence Art Center Dec. 9th at 9:30 am Prince Memorial Library 266 Main St, Cumberland

Monday, November 16, 2009

Calling Maine Home

CALLING MAINE HOME: Immigrants' Images, Voices, and Visibility

6th floor, Glickman Family Library, USM Portland Campus
October 26, 2009 - February 26, 2010 (during regular Library hours)

OPENING RECEPTION November 19, 5:30-6:30pm

Annual Exhibition of the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine
Curated by: David Carey, Jr. and Blanca Iris Santiago
Assisted by: Robert Atkinson, Reza Jalali, Victoria Chicon

In the whitest state in the nation, recent immigrants struggle between wanting to be visible and wanting to fade into the background. Whether by conscious decision or destiny, Maine is now home. This exhibition explores the triumphs and challenges of Mainers from such diverse paces as Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

For further information or to schedule a gallery talk, contact Susie Bock,, 207-780-4269.
  For directions:

Susie R. Bock
Head, Special Collections
Director, Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine
Library Liaison, Women and Gender Studies
University of Southern Maine Libraries
207-780-4067 (fax)
314 Forest Ave.
PO Box 9301
Portland, ME 04104-9301

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Grace Lin today

MANY VOICES: A multicultural book fair for families

Saturday, November 14, 10:00 – 1:00
Breakwater School gym, 856 Brighton Ave., Portland

EXPLORE BOOKS that take your child around the world. The fair features the latest children's books and classics depicting the cultures of China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, as well as African American, Native American, Latino American, Jewish American, Muslim American and immigration books.

MEET THE AUTHOR Grace Lin, award-winning author and illustrator of the newly-released Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (the 2009 Parents' Choice Gold Winner) and more than a dozen other children's books, will be on hand to meet the children and autograph books from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. See more about Grace and her work at her website:

PLAY Kids can play Minli's Journey (a problem-solving game based on Grace's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) and try their hand at Chinese calligraphy.

COME AND SHOP The fair will also sell treats, traditional Chinese clothing and other goodies.

THE BOOK FAIR IS FREE and open to the public.

EDUCATOR DISCOUNT Educators receive a 10% discount on all books.


Presented by the Chinese and American Friendship Association of Maine's Chinese School.

Titles selected by Kirsten Cappy of Curious City (

The Chinese American Friendship Association of Maine (C.A.F.A.M) is
a non-profit cultural organization whose members include Chinese-
Americans, Americans who have lived or worked in China, parents who
have adopted children from China, and others with an interest in
Chinese history and culture. In addition to the Chinese School,
C.A.F.A.M. offers lectures, holiday celebrations, and an annual
Chinese New Year celebration.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Great book reviews

I have not used "tags" well and have children's book review sites all over the place.. some day I'll clean it up. Today I found a wonderful site by Cheryl Rainfield.  She has lots of suggestions for picture books, by themes that make a difference for me right now:

She also has reviews for middle school and teen books... 

(x-posted w/parenting for peace)

Art for Climate Change

Does anyone have any ummph to organize "art for climate change" before 11/18?

No Impact Man & Simplifying Holidays

Maya sent this link to the website for No Impact Man... we're wondering if we might even be able to host a screening of the film (if not it is showing at USM on Dec 7th). And here's his essay on "A Christmas with No Presents." How will your family approach the holidays this year? Will you buy less? Will you make the "impact" of stuff explicit? Can we keep children sheltered and growing consciousness all at the same time? (see the links to Sobel's work from Nicole's presentation). I'll start a sidebar of links -- send me your favorites!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Change your Life, Not Your Tap

I love YES magazine... they are hopeful but serious about the link between social justice, our behavior, and peace. They have a "wall poster" with 10 suggestions for changing "your life, not just your tap."

Packaging Boyhood, tonight + a link about girls and math & a NYT story about girls and soccer

Just a reminder that Lyn Mikel Brown and Mark Tappan will be in Portland tonight to discuss the ways that marketers are trying to sell boys a very narrow and troubling version of masculinity.
Packaging Boyhood Thursday, November 12 7:00 - 9:00 pm Dana Center Auditorium at Maine Medical Center 22 Bramhall Street, Portland Lyn Mikel Brown, EdD, and Mark Tappan, EdD, Professors of Education at Colby College, will talk about their research and new book Packaging Boyhood. They will discuss the surprising ways media and marketers target boys and the impact of this targeting on how boys think, feel, and relate to one another and to girls. This presentation is a must for anyone interested in the healthy development of young boys. This event is being hosted by the MaineHealth Learning Resource Center.
Also, MIT has a new paper about the continuing gender gap in math achievement (scroll to first comment for the actual paper. )
And, even more provocative, this NYT article about Elizabeth Lambert explores the importance of violence in the culture of sports and how this causes trouble for women - those who engage in violence and who don't.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Importance of Paid Sick Leave

You can read my full post about paid sick leave here, but if you're concerned about how to balance the call to "keep sick kids home" and the call to show up at work, and just want the short version, spend an extra minute/dollar today supporting paid sick leave!
Contact the
Maine Women's Lobby
They are also doing a story collection project: Have you - or anyone you know - been affected by the H1N1 virus and had to go to work anyway? Or lost pay because you had to stay home? Contact Charlotte at or 207.622.0851 You can also provide your story online by answering a few questions.

Maine Rock Gym

On Monday, the outing club returns to the Maine Rock Gym...I was amazed at how powerful and coordinated our kids were, and at what a big and interesting responsibility belaying could be. It was tons of fun... Talk to Nicole if you want to try it out, or check out the web site.
The Maine Rock Gym has afterschool, evening, and weekend programs for kids as young as six years old?  The next programs start in January and March and run for ten weeks.  It's not just birthday parties!  Check it out.

BPA in our receipts

Craig shared this link to a science news story about BPA in store receipts.
If that gets you mad, check out the short video Contaminated Without Consent about other chemicals in everyday products and food.
What are some concrete steps we could take to reduce our children's exposures to toxins this fall?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brain Food-- from Maya

Maya sent along this essay by Alan Green as a follow up to some of what we learned from the Detox Your Toybox Panel...
Kids' brains are high-performance engines, and if we want them to do their best in school, we need to provide them with clean, high-quality fuel. For growing children this means a balanced diet of delicious whole foods, grown in a nutrition-enhancing way without toxic pesticides, and prepared in an appealing manner that also preserves nutrients. Solid science has shown that food affects kids' memory, attention, and cognitive skills. Even whether or not they eat breakfast changes their test scores. What they eat, how their food is grown, and how their food is processed can all help their brains to operate at their very best. Let's give our kids the edge they deserve.
Has anyone made any concrete changes or have specific strategies that might help the rest of us detox without too much stress?


Thanksgiving can prompt some angst for me. Am I grateful enough? Teaching my kids enough about how to be thankful? (see the greater good site for why it is important) etc. etc. And yet, I'm also extremely grateful at the potential simplicity of the holiday. It is ok for it to be all about the people.
Kate and I recently read a wonderful picture book illustrating this concept. Fat Chance Thanksgiving by Patricia Larkin tells the story of one girl's ability to create community, just by asking.
I also always like The Perfect Thanksgiving by Ellen Spinelli for humoring my anxiety and emphasizing the ways families can be different but all perfectly fine.
Finally, an old favorite is A Visit To Grandma's by Nancy Carlson. This picture book reveals how possible it is for grandma to grow, change, and lead her family toward new traditions.
What are your special practices? How do you focus on gratitude over cooking-stress? Any favorite Thanksgiving books?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Media Rules?

I'm curious about FSP families media rules. As the days are darker and temperatures drop, I find it is tempting to cozy up with more tv. For me. (I am despairing the end of Mad Men, but that is for another post). On the other hand, we've ended up with a no tv on school days rule for the kids, because our afternoons together seem so short as it is. I was relatively shocked by the newest Neilson report that suggests that most kids are consuming more media than ever. They claim:
The amount of television usage by children reached an eight-year high, with kids ages 2 to 5 watching the screen for more than 32 hours a week on average and those ages 6 to 11 watching more than 28 hours
Where do they find the time?
The Campaign for a Commerical Free Childhood argues that kids should have less media, and particularly less commerical media in their lives. Momsrising advocates better tv and more after school offerings for young people, while commonsense media tries to help parents choose the best possible media out there. The National Association for Media Literacy and MITs new project on Media Literacies offer resource for parents and teachers and young people to engage critically with all this tv, and to begin to be authors of their own media productions. .. where do you stand -- less, better, or back-off and give kids some space?

Workshops from the Telling Room

Grades 5-8 Mondays, 3-5pm November 2, 9, 16 and 30 Mint snowballs, sweet plums, and fifty-cent hot dogs. These three foods inspired three famous poets and writers to delve into their imaginations to recall stories of their families, their loves, and their childhoods and transform them into beautiful pieces of writing. What are your favorite foods? What person or memory is tied most strongly to those foods? While answering those questions, we’ll eat a little, read a little, and write a lot. Everyone will leave with their own food memoir, and the final session will be a group reading and feast!
Stop Time Animation Grades 4-8 Wednesdays, 3:30-5:50 November 18, December 2, 9, and 16 Have you ever wished that your stuffed animals came to life? Have you imagined the stories they'd tell you? Come learn the magic of stop-motion animation - a digital video technique that brings inanimate objects to life! In this playful class we'll create characters using paper, clay, and other materials, and then set them in motion using digital SLR cameras. Together we will create a series of animations in class, and learn the skills necessary to make your own animations at home. Students are encouraged to bring story ideas and their favorite art supplies.
All of our workshops are free. For more details, and to see a complete list of upcoming workshops, check out the workshops page of our website.

Remember to Vote!

I don't think there are any children's books about ballot initiatives (inspired authors take note) but there are quite a few about voting and elections, although many are focused on Presidential elections (Grace for President being my favorite). Here are a few links to lists... Well-Read Child's voting books
A list of links from the picture book "Vote"