Bean Feast

March 5, 2012 @ 8:19 pm | Filed under: , , , ,

I send too much to Facebook these days. I don’t even like Facebook, these days: not in the era of Timeline and “frictionless sharing” (and especially not after reading this sobering article on the history and future of the internet). And yet I go on sharing and sharing there.

Here are some of the things I’ve shared via social media recently. (I do most of my FB posting on my author page now—a switch I made because I don’t like the visual layout of Timeline. Right after I made the switch, Facebook announced they’re rolling out Timeline to fan pages at the end of the month. Ah well.)

First, some news that made my heart skip a beat, really: Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany.

A whole new world of magic animals, brave young princes and evil witches has come to light with the discovery of 500 new fairytales, which were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for over 150 years. The tales are part of a collection of myths, legends and fairytales, gathered by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schรถnwerth (1810โ€“1886) in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz at about the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting the fairytales that have since charmed adults and children around the world.

You can read one of the tales (in English) here: The Turnip Princess. (The very name gave me goosebumps. And the tale: quirky, intense, full of the familiar and yet quite fresh. “The nail burnt up like fire.” There’s an image for you.)

And this, from Sarah, who shares my wild joy over the new tales: “Do you want to know my philosophy and overriding practice of education? Tell them stories. Get them to tell you stories back.Yes. YES, that’s it exactly. Really, that is at the heart of everything we’re doing here. Today it was stories about dandelions. We went for a walk and came home with a handful (we nearly always do) in every stage of being. Yellow sun, folded green house, white starry globe. Each wisp another story.

I always find something to love and something to learn at Tanita Davis’s blog, and this post is a case in point: Potpourri.

One of the nicest things about Scott’s return to the freelance life (over a year ago now, wow!) is that he’s beginning, occasionally, to blog again, so I get stories like this one capturing moments I wouldn’t have otherwise known. Love.

This post by Quinn Cummings: it’s incredible the way she can make even her sobering reminders as funny as all get-out.

Heartwarmer of the day: at a fan convention, LeVar Burton fields a question about space program cutbacks and winds up leading a crowd of fans in a singalong of the Reading Rainbow theme.

My poet friend Susan Taylor Brown has started a perfectly lovely new blog called Poppiness: Making a Home for Wildlife in the Suburbs. As a person who has read Noah’s Garden seven times, I am immediately and utterly beguiled by the title alone, and so look forward to enjoying all the posts to come.

Speaking of beguiling, this tidbit from my own Twitter feed: just a fragment of conversation I overheard this afternoon, Rilla to Scott.

I have no idea what the context was, but there is something enchanting about hearing the 5yo say to her daddy: “Yes. In the wilderness.”

(Some of these things, I’m sticking here because I want to hold on to them, and social media whisks them away into the void. I need to be better about storing up our own memories here, where I’ll always have them.)

In that vein, I loved this Rose utterance last week: “Yesterday, the world was cruel and life was dull because I wasn’t writing. Today, I’m writing, and the world is cruel—and life is colorful.” Yes. Yes, that about sums it up, my dear.

Overheard (Beanie this time): “You know what really pushes my buttons? Killer whales.”


Me: “I love my dinner! I love my family!”

Rose: “I notice the dinner came first.”


This one goes all the way back to January. Me, to the birthday boy: “How old are you?”

Birthday Boy: “Short.”


I posted a video to Facebook yesterday. It’s Rilla, caught reading to herself. (When she notices me there with the camera, she barely bats an eye—just asks for help with words she doesn’t know.) The book: Sara Varon’s graphic novel, Bake Sale. Toward the end of the clip, I realized Scott was playing Randy Newman’s “Short People” on iTunes just down the hall. You can hear it on the video. Coincidence. Funny! But mainly, the video was to capture this perfect moment in the life of a new reader. She has just made a massive leap from Elephant and Piggie to, well, things like this beyond-her-years graphic novel. I marveled to hear her read things like “You could use a vacation. Your frosting is looking a little pale” (the passage just before I started filming) and yet stumble deliciously over words like “said” and “extra.” This process, the way it unfolds organically, astonishes me every time. I didn’t teach this child to read. I read to her, and read with her, and slowly the pieces of the puzzle fitted themselves together inside her mind, and it is simply fantastic to behold, every time. Huck is on his way; the early signs are there. How carefully he touches each word on the cover of his current favorite book: The. Little. House. Opens it, turns to the title page, repeats. The. Little. House.

Ha—I see now this should have been a post of its own. Well, I’m not going to bother with cut and paste. This giant post is a pretty apt representation of the things catching my notice and occupying my thoughts, here in these early days of March, 2012.

Oh, and our radishes are up! And lettuce seedlings! A week later. Magical.

Updated to add: Boo! Looks like the Facebook video won’t show up in Google Reader. Here’s a direct link, or else you can click through to the post. It’s showing up there. For me, least. Anyone else?

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7 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. maria says:

    Melt my heart! Wow, that video of Rilla! Love it! Makes me long for time travel more than I usually do so I could go back to sitting on the couch listening to my children at that stage of reading.(LOL, um, yeah….guess that is why there are videos, eh?)
    I loved reading your description of your children learning to read as that sums up what happened with my own kids. It is beyond facinating! I agree, amazing.

    Enjoyed the Lavar Burton video! Oh I miss that show. ๐Ÿ™

    The internet article…..grrrrrrrr.

    Okay, off to explore some of the other things you’ve shared. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. maria says:

    OH! How could I forget? The German fairytales! My grandmother was German so this is double exciting for me. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. tanita says:

    I am intrigued by the fact that reading …happens. It just does. I am astounded to hear tales of our own Huck – well, we call him The Wee Wild Man, together with his brother, they’re Sons of Thunder – but WWM now shouts happily, “Nummer! I see nummers! See? S-A-F-E-W-A-Y!” And we say, “Yep. But, those are letters.” And he says, “I know.” And calls them “nummers” again. He is already spelling his full name out loud, and it’s not a short one – Emmanuel. Not Manny. Not Manno. Nope, the whole deal. He recognizes his name when he sees it, as well as his brother’s.

    He’ll be three in April.

    It’s astounding how it happens.

    And you’re right to share things here – I don’t like that FB decides who/what’s important, and escalates them to the top of the pile or elsewhere as they choose, through some random word rubric. Every single day is important, and you decide that…

    *goes off, humming the Reading Rainbow theme*

  4. Ellie says:

    Oh! Joy of a post in the morning. Pease please do keep sharing things here? Pretty please? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wendi Gratz says:

    I love the “In the wilderness” tidbit. I overheard this conversation between my husband and daughter the other night. . .
    Jo: Goodnight Daddy! See you in the morning.
    Alan: If you’re lucky.
    Jo: I’ll be ok. I have a stick.

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Wendi: ROFL! I have a stick. Classic.

    Tanita: “nummers”—swoon. A Huckism I melt for is that he pronounces all Ls as H. And first thing in the morning, many mornings, he greets me with this: “Mommy! I hike you.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Ellie: Yes, I’ve vowed to bring more of my sharing-things here. One begins to feel so scattered. So many places to share.

  7. Kathryn says:

    You would not believe how magnificently cute Rilla’s accent sounds to us. My eldest says she wants American babies!