What the Theater Can Teach Us About Living in the Moment

A movie chain in southern California recently announced the opening of a new theater with an indoor jungle gym situated alongside stadium seating. The goal is to “exhaust” children ahead of the movie so parents can sit back and enjoy the flick. The kids, meanwhile, will “then sprawl out on beanbags and lounge seats and … Continued

Parenting

Coding Isn’t Reading

Ivanka Trump recently announced that she will be attending a coding class this summer with her five-year-old daughter. “We’re excited to learn this incredibly important new language together,” Trump said, speaking at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. “Coding truly is the language of the future.” Like Ivanka, many tech gurus … Continued

Parenting

Why is PBS Marketing the Brontë Sisters as Proto-Feminists?

At times it seems as if the only stories worth telling about women these days are those where women can be cast as warriors, trailblazers, radicals, or “hidden figures,” all of whom are fighting a singular common enemy: men. What these stories often achieve, unfortunately, is feminist biographies that lack the intricate complexities of the … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Stop Trolling Politicians at Town Hall Meetings

Most Americans, particularly those in suburban and metropolitan areas, may not know where their town hall is, or even if their town has one. But lately everyone, it seems, is ready to attend a town hall meeting. Town hall meeting is the it phrase of 2017. In some cases, thousands of people beyond capacity are … Continued

Politics

Why More Juvenile Delinquents Should Read

  It’s a modern cliché to say that reading books will make you a better person—a more empathetic person, a more intelligent person, even a happier person. Research does indeed suggest many benefits from cozying up with a good book. But does reading only change those seeking betterment or can it help the juvenile offender … Continued

Books, Politics

Is There a Cure for Trump Social Media Syndrome?

Social media in the age of Trump presents us with two opposite dangers: a quantum increase in our political anxiety, and a gradual numbing of our political attention. The paranoia problem seems clear. The greatest aggravation from our Facebook feeds used to be the unwanted pictures of faux reunions with high school frenemies-turned-mommy-experts, and the … Continued

Culture

How to Raise Kids to Be Leaders—Not Twitter Trolls

At the start of 2017, the Atlantic author Ta-Nehisi Coates self-importantly announced he was taking a year-long sabbatical from Twitter to focus on that old-fashioned long-form genre: the book. He’s not the only one taking a Twitter hiatus; lots of celebrities and writers have taken temporary breaks from the social media platform. But the compulsion—or … Continued

Culture

When Bad Words Are Said to Good Children

Should bad words be read to children? This question surfaced last week when children’s author Dan Gutman posted his response to a parent letter on Facebook asking whether it was appropriate to use the N-word in books for young audiences. Gutman rose to fame with his My Weird School series. The wacky volumes, beloved by … Continued

Books, Culture


The Everlasting Appeal of Natalie Babbitt

Whether they recognize her name or not, most elementary school students know Natalie Babbitt very well. They know her through the pages of her book, Tuck Everlasting, which seems like a typical children’s story but in fact masterfully raises a complicated question of immortality, namely: What if we could live forever? This week, news of … Continued

Books, Culture