Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Just a couple more ....

I can't leave out a book Ramona keeps going back to. Luck, by Jean Craighead George, is about a sandhill crane named Luck (so named by a little girl who helped him escape from a plastic six-pack holder.) Poor Luck hasn't learned all the ways of migration, and so memorizes the wrong things as he flies north ("Hey! That baby carriage won't be there when he flies back," said Betsy last night as she sat in on Ramona's reading time.)

It's a sweet story that's worth a look.

One other new discovery: Arlene Alda's Morning Glory Monday is a really lovely book, perfectly illustrated by Maryann Kovalski. The story is based on true incidents of tenement residents planting morning glories to cheer their surroundings. Here's an excerpt from an article in American Heritage magazine:

Adolpho and Rosaria (“Sadie”) Baldizzi, natives of Sicily, lived here with their two children. Adolpho had been a carpenter in Palermo, but America in the early 1930s proved a poor place to find steady work. Adolpho prowled the streets with a toolbox all day, searching for odd jobs. Rosaria worked in a garment factory, but only on the sly, since the family was on Home Relief, a welfare project of the New Deal that handed out food and clothing to the unemployed. The big boxes with their giant letters yelling HOME RELIEF used to shame Adolpho as he carried them back to 97 Orchard, but they also left him grateful enough to hang a portrait of President Roosevelt alongside the gold-painted religious icons on the walls. The flowers on the windowsill add to the apartment’s brightness; frustrated and embarrassed without work and determined to make the best of things, Adolpho Baldizzi used the wooden cheese boxes from Home Relief as planters for morning glories for his family.

(Read the entire article by Dara Horn here. American Heritage, by the way, is one of Atticus's favorites, and is unbelievably cheap for such a great magazine.)

Morning Glory Monday led to a short but sweet discussion about how surrounding ourselves with simple beauty can change our attitudes and cheer our hearts. I have a feeling it will lead us down some other winding paths as well. While writing this post, I found this virtual tour of 97 Orchard Street, which I plan to preview and share with the girls.

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