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?

A time capsule

This is the story of the oldest tofu shop in the US (in Portland, Oregon). It was started by a Japanese family in 1911. The article describes the family and the shop, and how both changed over the years. The war-time part of the story is particularly moving and an important history lesson.

“The Secret History of America’s Oldest Tofu Shop” (from Roads and Kingdoms)

I chose the title of today’s post from these line, towards the end of the article:

“As Ota’s new Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese customers acclimate to American foodways, they tend to come in less frequently. But for immigrants, language and food are like time capsules; by maintaining traditional recipes and techniques as the city rapidly changes around them, Ota Tofu honors this.

Mr. Higgins

This is a moving story about a musician, how he used his music to help him deal with the physical and emotional pain of losing a limb, and why he named a song “Mr. Higgins”. The short film makes us think about what success in life means. And the artwork in the video is unusual.

I like the idea that he had only learned two chords before he started writing songs. It makes me think about students who worry that they don’t have enough vocabulary to speak in English. It may not be easy and it may not be an eloquent speech, but you can express what you want to say with a very small vocabulary … and people who listen.