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


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


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


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

Be Like Hamilton: Bring Back the Desk

Driving with my family not long ago, I caught glimpse of a street sign as we came through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in New York. “Hey, look kids, Hamilton Ave.,” I called out to the pack of biography-loving young readers crammed behind me. Without missing a beat, the older kids broke out into song, “I am … Continued


Will Diversity Crusades Lead to More Banned Books?

The last week of September was National Banned Book Week in America, a celebratory campaign the American Library Association sponsors every year to highlight the freedom we have to read. The event also includes an unveiling of the list of most challenged books for the year. The good news is that Americans seek to ban … Continued

Books, Culture

Messages in the Age of Messaging

One hundred and twenty year ago, Guglielmo Marconi sent a coded message via wireless transition—“Are you ready”—across 3.7 miles of Wales. Not long after, a message flew across 2,000 miles and the Atlantic Ocean. The world has since become accustomed to seeing words travel across water and air, between distant countries and far off shores. Today, … Continued