Happy November! Time to share my latest faves!
Clearly I OD’d on nonfiction this month, starting with:
Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin. While I expected this to be light chick-nonfic, there was actually a lot of real anthropological analysis of the moms of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, with great anecdotes and experiences shared by the author, who moved into the habitat of these women. Just when I thought it was winding down, Martin threw me for a loop at the end with a very honest and vulnerable personal story.
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I love celeb memoirs, and Kaling has a refreshing way of being self-deprecating and humble while also being confident and imparting a message of hard work winning out. Plus she’s totally freaking funny.
Michelle Obama – A Life by Peter Slevin. When reading about a celebrity, starting chronologically with the story of her grandparents does little to hook me. I want to know about the main character, and this was one of those cases where I skimmed the first few chapters until arriving at Michelle’s own story (though I totally see the impact of her ancestors in her life, and assume that someday my biographer will want to dwell deeply into my grandparental influences as well).
The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn: This one’s pretty academic and a bit heavy (we’re talking 30 pages of footnotes) but an important read for educators and really for parents too. The main point: the author argues that there isn’t any acceptable research (he analyzes tons of it) to suggest that homework, especially in the young grades, improves academic achievement or any other skills. While I agree that homework should not be assigned just for the sake of it (and that definitely should not be done in primary) there are some situations where it’s appropriate, and I think the key is to base it on the individual learners. Since I know homework can be a struggle for parents at home, it’s actually the topic I’ll be discussing on The Social this month on the 27th!
The Intern: I was distracted by how much Robert DeNiro, in this character, looks like my father, but I did enjoy the story and I always love Anne Hathaway. I just wish that “trouble-in-the-marriage-because-of-woman’s-successful-career” wasn’t such a prevalent theme in the media.
See what I mean?
Sicario: It’s pretty heavy (by which I mean intense and slightly disturbing), but this movie shows the amazing range of Emily Blunt – from The Devil Wears Prada to Into the Woods to this, as an FBI agent on a special task force on the war against drugs.
Jem and the Holograms: When sharing movies or books with my students, I often check the age recommendations on Common Sense Media. Since they tend to be fairly conservative, I know I’m safe with what they tell me. They suggest that the Jem movie is for ages 9 and up, so I felt confident taking my 7 and 9 year old daughters. They’re real music lovers and performers, so they enjoyed the story, and it sparked a good conversation about the desirability and dangers of internet fame. And (spoiler alert) kids might as well learn early that most movies end with the girl kissing the boy. Even if they find it yucky right now.
While I don’t make political comments on my blog, I was thrilled by the *huge* traffic boost I received here after the federal election on my past Momterview with Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau. (It also helped that the Huffington Post linked to my interview, too!) Whether or not you agree with everything Justin, his wife and his party stand for, I hope you can agree that learning more about our new “first lady” is still interesting.
I receive a lot of press releases, and while I’m not always able to write a whole blog post about each one, here are a few worthwhile news items.
*November is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month. The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, in collaboration with Robbie’s Rainbow, has created a new, free resource to help teachers deal with students who have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis – the two main types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The comprehensive resource, called Blackboards and Bathrooms, offers teachers a quick and easy way to learn all the key facts and issues surrounding IBD.
*Nasal spray flu vaccine available in Ontario: The new nasal spray flu vaccine and new injection flu vaccine, which are made to protect against four flu viruses instead of three, will be available for children and youth at health care providers’ offices, local public health units and—for children aged five years and older—participating pharmacies. Note:
- The injectable flu vaccine is for kids 6 months to 17, the nasal spray is available for kids 2 to 17. For kids under five, health care providers’ offices and local public health units will continue to be the places to go for flu vaccines, including for these new products
- The flu can be serious for children, especially for those under five years of age.Ten to 20 per cent of Canadians get sick with the flu every year. It is estimated that 12,200 people are hospitalized and about 3,500 die.
*Applebee’s is offering active duty Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans a free meal on Remembrance Day (November 11th).
*Lainey Lui (from The Social, eTalk and LaineyGossip) has partnered with Saint Elizabeth Health Care to launch Elizz, a new caregiver support service – something to check out if you are one of the more than eight million caregivers across the country.