“But I didn’t know the first dad-gum thing about raising one,” says my dad, who still talks like that, Southernish, with a twinkle. For her part, my mom likes to tell the story of the maternity nurse at Touro Infirmary who—after my folks gathered their things and Mom settled into the wheelchair for the short discharge trip to the car—winked at my mother and grandmother, then turned to my startled dad and offered him the 21 tightly swaddled inches of his firstborn.
Books like Lyons’ Going Down Home With Daddy, are a mystery to me. A dad piles his family into a car and they drive down home to see great-grandma Granny and share in an amazing anniversary celebration where everybody shares something personal. Sounds amazing. And it is!
You’ve spent most of your young life cooped up with us in our small Brooklyn apartment, first by felicity of generous leave policies and then by necessity amidst a pandemic. The world outside, which we gird up to face with our odd masks and anxious glances at people not observing social distance on our regular walking routes, must seem both fascinating and a little frightening.
The pain of losing a loved-one weighs like a heavy presence on those that are left behind. Death, is hard on the living. Thoughts of what was, what is and what could have been loom everywhere. The proverbial elephant in the room lumbers about, its presence felt, knocking things in its path. Carnavas, in his book The Elephant, a Middle Grade novel just recently released in North America, explores what happens when a young girl starts seeing an elephant hanging around her Dad, as he deals with the death of her mother, his wife.
When Mr. Alex asked me to contribute to the Bookshelf for Father’s Day, as the old guy looking back on raising three sons, I thought I’d offer some reminiscence about about my kids’ eccentricities. I imagined I’d gently make the point that our kids need to be their own true selves, not our reflections, no matter how attractive we may find the mirror.
Whenever I have spoken to parents about their children, and there have been quite a few of those conversations over the course of thirty years in the classroom, I am always especially touched by the look in their eyes. This is the story of that look.
“Daddy, what’s death?” This is a question no father (or mother, or grandparent, or caregiver in general) looks forward to, but we all know it’s going to happen sooner or later. However, if you look at it from a strategic angle, possibilities arise for making it a relatively painless encounter. At least in theory.
So, this is not a book that I would normally gravitate towards if I saw it on the shelf of a bookstore, or was shopping online. For one, the artwork on the cover does not catch my eye; for another, the title Because I’m Your Dad reminds me too much of “because I said so,” which to me is a non-ender for any argument with anyone. This book was a gift to me and my child, And, I am very happy we received it, because otherwise, we would have missed out on a solid read.
In this precious story of a little girl and her two bears, Del Mazo takes readers on a simple, albeit wonderful, adventure that showcases a special relationship. The day is filled with experiences that each of her bears is instrumental in providing. Each activity is accompanied by Bonilla’s beautiful illustrations, offering us a striking visual representation of the child’s view of her bears.