Room for hope

Here’s a story about a young girl living a hard life, who finds hope in books:

The best line:

“The more you know about something the less you will fear it.”

This isn’t a new story, but it’s a good one. Here’s more to read and listen to: “Once Forbidden, Books Become A Lifeline For A Young Migrant Worker” from NPR.

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Curious George

In Japan, he’s known as George the Monkey (おさるのジョージ). Easy to understand, but not as descriptive.

Did you know that he escaped the Nazis during WW2? Here’s the story:

I was looking around for something else related to Curious George and found a couple of easy-to-read articles:

“Curious George celebrates 76th birthday”

“85-year-old cycles from home to library every day”

The second one isn’t really about the character; it’s about this elderly man’s energy, inquisitiveness, and love of reading. Towards the end of the article, it says that people who know him were asked to liken him to a character in a book. One person said he was like Curious George.

That leads to a writing prompt for people who like to read fiction: Which character in fiction do you most resemble? How about a parent or grandparent or a teacher or coach? Or an eccentric neighbor?

Exploring Hogwarts

For Harry Potter fans — you can explore this 3D version of Hogwarts. It’s filled with “hot spots” to discover trivia about the stories. You do have to sign up with an e-mail address to access the site.

Here’s one example:

Writing prompt:

Have you seen similar explorations for other books or movies you like? If you were to choose one book, movie, manga, or series to give background trivia like this for, what would you choose? What kind of trivia would you add?

Why would anyone want to ban that?

This short video is about a temporary display in Germany of books that have been banned in the past. The goal is to get people thinking and talking about censorship.

More information about this exhibit here

I’m reminded of the controversy about the Harry Potter books. Some religious zealots wanted to (and continue to want to, according to this more recent article) ban these books in classrooms and libraries because they claim the stories contain “occult/Satanic and anti-family themes, and violence”.

Here’s another list of “20 banned books that may surprise you”. Included in the list:

  • “Little Red Riding Hood” — because she has wine in her basket (!)
  • “Where’s Waldo” — because of some of the people depicted in the crowds surrounding Waldo
  • “The Wizard of Oz” — because Oz was too socialist and because it depicts one witch as good
  • “The Diary of Anne Frank” — for two reasons (read them here)

And …

  • The dictionary. Can you guess why? (It’s #13 on the list if you want to check.)