Today is supposed to be a very good Saturday. The rain passed in the night and left behind the cooler weather we long for all summer. Sweetie will be in his element (he claims to be part polar bear) and i will go around with hot water in a cup all of the time, trying to thaw my hands.
It's only a couple of days until The Great Neighborhood Candy Exchange, and we are looking forward to it. We give candy here, not toothbrushes (like my friend's dad the dentist used to do), not cheap little toys (although some kids like them), not even nickels (like the elderly man up the street used to do, two absolutely new shiny nickels per child). Nothing but candy from our house.
But i must admit, there are some people who suggest giving out books instead, and they have a point. Feeding minds in that way appeals to me, and if i could afford enough books to do it, i'd enjoy handing them out, very much.
Contemplating that got me to thinking of all of my favorite books from when i was a child, and favorites that i read to my kids.
Today's Ten Things of Thankful is going to be a list of children's and young people's books for which i am thankful, books which i would give for Trick-or-Treat if i could afford to give the kids books.
For young children, my first choice would be The Berenstain Bear's book called Bears In The Night. The young bears sneak out at night and get frightened and are quick to sneak right back home. It was one of the early books Stan and Jan Berenstain wrote, i even remember reading it to my youngest brother, and is meant for new readers. It's not too frightening, just right for the time of year.
Also for the little ones, There's a Wocket in My Pocket, by Dr. Seuss. It's not one of his most popular, and i'm not certain why. This story certainly does a great job of teaching kids nonsense words and rhyming.
No, David! would be another great one for the younger crowd. When David Shannon was an adult, his mother sent him a book he'd written as a five-year-old. It consisted of the only two words he knew how to write then, "No" and "David", with each page depicting David doing something he shouldn't. The adult David turned this into a lovely book for kids, with a very happy yes at the end.
A funny mix-up story that involves some of my favorite things to eat is Blueberries for Sal. Will mayhem result when Sal and her mother and Little Bear and his mother go to the same blueberry patch? This book always leaves me hungry, too.
Andrew Henry's Meadow will appeal to any child who has been frustrated at home by family who just don't understand the child's hobbies. Andrew Henry loves to build things, and when the things he builds get in the way at home, he finds a meadow in which to build to his heart's content. Several other children from the town wander out there with him, bringing their musical instruments or toy boat collections or whatever things their own parents find get in the way, and finally find a place for themselves. What will the parents do, now that they are missing the kids? Making room for everyone is the lesson the whole town learns.
Then there's We Were Tired of Living in a House. Mom and Dad and all four kids and the cat and the dog are all quite out of sorts with each other, but when the kids try to find a new place, cat and dog tagging along, will anything but their own house quite do?
If you've ever thought you had too many pets, One Kitten For Kim will have you laughing with relief that you don't have Kim's problem. His mother will only let Kim keep one of the kittens his cat had, so he goes on an adventure to give the rest away. How he does it, and what he ends up with instead of kittens, is a fine story any child would enjoy.
Are you a bit of an odd bird like i am? If so, you will understand why i like and would choose Tacky the Penguin. When hunters come to seek penguins like Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly, and Perfect, can Tacky save the day? He can, and how! He's an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around.
If you've ever had a pet run away, you would know why i would choose Saucy. She's going to have pups, and the family wants to find the perfect place for her to have them. Saucy's ideas of perfect and the family's ideas aren't exactly the same. How she makes her wishes known is a great lesson in how to understand a pet's needs.
Older children would want chapter books, so the first of those i'd want to give would be The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Most people, when you mention Oz, talk about Judy Garland and ruby slippers and think they know the story. This book was the first of 14 that Baum wrote about that land (he also wrote other children's books, and then had some of those characters end up in Oz), and it's got a lot more to it than the movie could have ever shown.
It's very difficult to choose only one of the Chronicles of Narnia books, but if i had to pick one i would choose The Silver Chair. Eustace and Jill have been set the task of rescuing the lost prince of Narnia. Puddleglum the Marsh Wiggle accompanies them on the journey, but as they keep muffing up the signs they've been given to follow, will they ever succeed? It's a loss and reunion story that touches my heart every time i read it.
Tuck Everlasting is deep, deep enough that it asks questions even i contemplate. If you were offered a drink from the Fountain of Youth, would you take it, even if you knew what it truly meant?
An old fashioned story that has a lot of good sense to it is Understood Betsy. It could even be a cautionary tale for adults of today raising children. The Putney Cousins just might understand Betsy more than anyone else in the family thinks possible.
Finally, if there's one children's chapter book i wish everyone could read, it is Professor Diggins' Dragons. When Professor Diggins starts discussing dragon hunting in earnest, is he crackers or is he really on to something? His lessons are subtle and meaningful.
Of course there are hundreds of other books i could mention if i had time. These are some of the children's books that i have enjoyed the most and am the most thankful i've read and that i've read to my children.
If you've got some books from your younger years for which you are thankful, feel free to mention them in the comments.
Please also feel free to make a list of anything for which you are thankful, and link up with the wonderful Ms. Josie at Ten Things of Thankful. Counting your blessings is never out of style.
Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival -- Banff, AB, Canada (41st annual; through next Sunday)
Blue Ridge Folklife Festival -- Blue Ridge Institute and Museum, Ferrum, VA, US (a large celebration of authentic folkways)
Bring Your Jack-O-Lantern to Work Day -- just check the fire code before you light that candle
Celtic Tree Month Negetal (Reed) begins
Chung Yeung Festival -- China; Hong Kong; Macau (Double Ninth Festival/Ancestors' Day; date differs in other parts of Asia)
Dia do Servidor Publico -- Brazil (Civil Servants' Day)
Emma Crawford Festival and Memorial Coffin Race -- Manitou Springs, CO, US (spooky fun for the whole family)
Fall Back Night -- all areas that end Daylight Saving Time tomorrow; set your clock back one hour before you go to bed and change the batteries in your smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors (Aland Islands; Albania; Andorra; Antarctica (Troll Station); Austria; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Greenland; Guernsey; Holy See (Vatican City); Hungary; Ireland; Isle of Man; Israel; Italy; Jersey; Kosovo; Latvia; Lebanon; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia; Malta; Mexico; Moldova; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; Norway; Palestinian Territories; Poland; Portugal; Romania; San Marino; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine; United Kingdom; Western Sahara)
Flying Baby Day -- celebrating the first baby born on an airplane on this day in 1929
Forgiveness Day -- a day to reconcile or forgive, for your own peace of mind; sponsored by Positive Peaceful Partners and the Center of Unconditional Love
Fyribod (or Forebode) -- Ancient Norse Calendar (announces the beginning of winter; date approximate)
Gormanudr -- Old Icelandic Calendar (beginning of "Innards Month," after all the animals have been butchered and fresh innards figure predominantly in the menu, as the rest of the meat has been preserved for winter)
Hari Sumpah Pemuda -- Indonesia (Youth Pledge Day)
Hogeye Festival -- Elgin, TX, US (Road Hog Car Show, crowning of King Hog and Queen Sowpreme, Cow Patty Bingo, and more!)
Independence Day -- Czechoslovakia (from Austria-Hungary in 1918; still celebrated in the Czech Republic and Slovakia)
International Animation Day -- ASIFA (to honor the day Emile Reynaud presented the first animation to the public)
Isia -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (dates approximate; first day of the 6 day Isis festival)
Make A Difference Day -- US (Whoopie Goldberg once said that if every American would donate 5 volunteer hours a week, it would be the equivalent of several million full time jobs; whether or not it's strictly accurate, volunteering is a great thing to do no matter where you live.)
Milvian Bridge Day -- Christain (day to reflect on the interrelationship of religion and government)
National Chocolate Day
Okunchi Matsuri -- Karatsu, Japan (with floats that date back to the 1800s; through the 30th)
Oxi Day -- Greece (Sometimes "Ochi" or "Ohi", literally "No Day", celebrating resistance to Mussolini.)
Part Your Hair Crooked Just To See If Anyone Will Say Anything About It Day -- internet generated, celebrate at your own risk
Pit Bull Awareness Day -- it's not the breed, it's the owner
Plush Animal Lovers' Day -- internet generated; celebrate your love of stuffed animals today
Runic Half-month Hagal (hailstone) begin
Scared Silly: Halloween in Prospect Park -- Brooklyn, NY, US (hauntingly good fun all weekend)
St. Jude Thaddeus' Day (Patron of desperate or hopeless cases -- the reason Danny Thomas chose this saint to invoke as patron of the hospital he helped found.)
St. Paraskevi of Iconium's Day (Patron of fairs and traders; in Russia, patron of marriage; associated in Ukrain with Mokosh, the ancient women's divinity, and celebrated on the final Friday of the month)
St. Simon the Zealot's Day (Patron of curriers, sawmen, tanners)
Wild Foods Day -- as in, grown or caught in the wild (please be careful if you like mushrooms and want to gather your own!)
Xterra Kapalua Trail Run -- Kapalua, Maui, HI, US (extreme trail runs of 5k and 10k; through tomorrow)
Statue of Liberty dedicated, 1886
Maimonides College is founded, 1867 (first Jewish college in the US)
R.H. Macy & Co. in NYC opens, 1858
Founding of Harvard University, 1636
Universidad Santo Tomas Aquino is established, 1538 (first university in the New World)
Matt Smith, 1982
Joaquin Phoenix, 1974
Brad Paisley, 1972
Jeremy Davies, 1969
Julia Roberts, 1967
Andy Richter, 1966
Jami Gertz, 1965
Daphne Zuniga, 1962
Lauren Holly, 1963
Bill Gates, 1955
Annie Potts, 1952
Bruce Jenner, 1949
Telma Hopkins, 1948
Dennis Franz, 1944
Jane Alexander, 1939
Charlie Daniels, 1936
Cleo Laine, 1927
Jonas Salk, 1914
Francis Bacon, 1909
Edith Head, 1907
Howard Hanson, 1896
Georges Auguste Escoffier, 1846
Desiderius Erasmus, 1467
"The Jack Benny Program"(TV), 1950
"Dead End"(Play), 1935
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathetique(Tchaikovsky Op. 74), 1893
Today in History:
Constantine the Great defeats Maxentius, 312
Battle of Yaunis Khan in which Turkish forces under the Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha defeat the Mameluks near Gaza, 1516
Battle of Amba Sel, in which Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi again defeats the army of Lebna Dengel, Emperor of Ethiopia; the southern part of Ethiopia falls under Imam Ahmad's control, 1531
Peruvian cities of Lima & Callao are demolished by an earthquake, 18,000 die, 1746
Eli Whitney applies for a patent on the cotton gin, 1793
The first railroad in Spain, between Barcelona and Mataro, is opened, 1848
The Statue of Liberty is dedicated by President Grover Cleveland, and celebrated by the first ticker tape/confetti parade in NYC, 1886
An earthquake strikes Mino-Owari, Japan, kills 7,300, 1891
Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique, receives its première performance in St. Petersburg, only nine days before the composer's death, 1893
The St. Louis police try a new investigation method -- fingerprints, 1904
Czechoslovakia gains its independence in the break up of Austria-Hungary, 1918
The Volstead Act, passed by Congress over Wilson's veto, starts Prohibition, 1919
The first coast to coast radio broadcast of a football game, 1922
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt rededicates the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary, 1936
The Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska, 1942
Swiss chemist Paul Müller is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the insecticidal properties of DDT, 1948
The modern Kingdom of the Netherlands is re-founded as a federal monarchy, 1954
Nikita Khrushchev announces that he had ordered the removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, 1962
Nostra Aetate, the "Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions" of the Second Vatican Council, is promulgated by Pope Paul VI; it absolves the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus, 1965*
Britain launches its first satellite, Prospero, into low Earth orbit atop a Black Arrow carrier rocket, 1971
The centenary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty is celebrated in New York Harbor, 1986
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner becomes the first woman elected President of Argentina, 2007
The US celebrates the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, 2011
Scientists in the Australian state of Queensland discover three previously unknown species in a rainforest located in Cape York Peninsula; a leaf-tailed gecko, a golden-colored skink, and a boulder-dwelling frog, 2013
An unmanned Antares rocket carrying NASA's Cygnus CRS Orb-3 resupply mission to the International Space Station explodes seconds after taking off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia, 2014