“Oh, the Places You’ll Go . . . “

Who did you think of when you read that? Need another hint? We just celebrated his birthday this week with Read Across America.

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

It’s Dr. Seuss, of course!

You might need to read this if

. . . you live in or will visit San Diego this year.

The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park has an exhibit of Seuss’ work during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition of 1915. The exhibit will be up until the endof the year.

This is the sticker you get for the History Center. It's a bit of history itself.

This is the sticker you get for the History Center. It’s a bit of history itself.

It’s got lots of appeal for kids and adults. There’s a wall of Seussian taxidermy, statues of famous characters, several semi-circle nooks with kid activities, and a room of some of Dr. Seuss’ paintings for adults.



Heads of some of Dr. Seuss' creatures.

Heads of some of Dr. Seuss’ creatures.

Theodore Geisel’s goal was to write books that would help children learn to read.

It's Yertles all the way down!

It’s Yertles all the way down!

Where Dick and Jane plodded, Yertle the Turtle hollered, “Come on, let’s go!” His rhymes carry a young reader from one line to the next and into the rest of the world of books.

And, even as adults, who can forget lines like, “A person’s a person no matter how small,” or “I do not like them, Sam-I-Am, I do not like green eggs and ham”?

It was very moving to read the story about his refusal to let his work be used in advertising, even when he was offered an amount to get him the world record as the highest paid writer per word. You can read his agent’s take on that.

We even had a great time in the gift shop. I got a book of his stories that had been in magazines years ago, but never made into books. They don’t have the same early reading pull as books such as The Cat in the Hat, but if you want more Horton or Mulberry Street or the Grinch, look for Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories.

New Seuss

Grandparent Alert: We found these cool bibs and dishes.

Grandparent Alert: We found these cool bibs and dishes.








The only thing about this exhibit that left me dissatisfied was the photo of Dr. Seuss in his studio. I’m dissatisfied because it’s not mine.

Gate in the Japanese Friendship Garden not his studio.

Gate in the Japanese Friendship Garden not his studio.

Remember: Bookfaire next Saturday at Shannon Center for the Performing Arts at Whittier College, Whittier,

San Diego History CenterSecrets, pub cover

and, while we’re at it, Secrets of the Flame.

Steps to Ending Bullying

My old elementary school undertook a pilot program within our district to deal with the issue of bullying. I felt so proud of our principal and our school and so pleased to be part of the task force that worked on the implementation. We used the Olweus Program, an approach backed by research. It provides staff training, support for parent involvement, and a number of materials for classroom use and for the school as a whole. There is a financial investment involved.

While many schools have tried to find free bullying prevention programs in these years of tight budgets, some of the available programs advocate practices that Olweus’ research finds unhelpful, at best. Dan Olweus began the program in Norway. It has been around long enough to evaluate the results. If your school or other organization is looking for a program, here are two sites you might want to visit:  www.violencepreventionworks.org  and www.clemson.edu/olweus  (Clemson University does research on bullying.)

One of the main tenets of the Olweus program states it’s the adults’ job to establish the school culture and to deal with bullying. While you teach children things that they can do, the onus is not put on children to take care of the problem themselves. Since bullying involves an imbalance of power, this can be impossible for a victimized child to handle.

The program teaches the children to tell an adult at school and an adult at home if they are the victim of bullying or if they observe bullying. Observing bullying has documented negative effects on non-targeted children also. Children are also taught to be aware of children who have no one to play with and to invite those children into a game. Many victims of bullying are the children who are isolated at school. And some of those children become bullies themselves.

The program teaches both children and adults the difference between true bullying  and teasing or arguments between friends. The school sets up a system to document instances of bullying—first to help differentiate between isolated events and patterns of behavior and also to make sure consequences are consistently and predictably applied.

A picture book that dovetails well with this program is Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story About Bullying, written by Becky Ray McCain, illustrated by Todd Leonardo, and published in 2001 by Albert Whitman. I used to read it with my first graders. One criticism I’ve seen of the book is that it makes bullying sound so simple to solve, but within the context of a story for younger students, it illustrates workable responses to bullying. A boy, who witnesses another child being bullied decides although frightened, he must report the on-going mistreatment. The adults respond appropriately and the school becomes a better place for everyone.

There are many books about bullies and I’ll be reviewing others in the months to come. The related photos of covers are a few of the books I found at the library, but haven’t had a chance to read yet. Many of the ones I have read and looked for on the shelf are currently checked out—a good sign, if a bit frustrating.

Please let us know about any books about bullying that you think are helpful and engaging.

Past and Future Faire

Last March I attended Meet the Authors and Bookfaire at the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts of Whittier College (my alma mater). It was a wonderful day with authors—mesmerizing opening and closing keynote speakers. (Last year, Lisa See derailed my plan to leave a bit early for the long drive home. I could not make myself get up and leave.) There are two additional sessions, one before and one after lunch. Each session has a choice of one of three authors. So each attendee gets to hear four authors speak about their work. Because the event is relatively small, it’s possible to talk to the authors in the sessions, at lunch, and when they are signing books.

This year, Bookfaire will be held on Sat. March 23, 2013. I will send out more information later (including this year’s speakers and the cost). But if you live in Southern California and this is your idea of a lovely day surrounded by book lovers, keep it in mind. I will be introducing Laura McNeal, an author of young adult novels. Her books will be featured in an upcoming post.

Meanwhile, “Go, Poets!” (How can you not love a school that cheers poets at football games?)

And tomorrow, I’m off to meet my sister at The Road to California Quilt Show. Happy fabric to all.