Positive Development in Negative Spaces: Anne Frank and Peter Schiff

Despite her own fears as well as the horrors going on outside the crowded annexe where Anne Frank and her family were hiding from the Nazis, Anne, like many girls her age, was mooning over a boy.  His name was Peter Schiff and Anne recalls a poignant dream about him in one of her candid…

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For Hemingway’s Birthday, A Gift to the World

JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY / AP (The birth certificate and family photograph of Ernest Hemingway from a scrapbook created by his mother, Grace Hall Hemingway.) Long before “scrapbooking” was a verb, mothers were collecting memories about their children and their achievements in volumes for posterity.  Fortunately for both fans and scholars of Ernest Hemingway,…

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Not At This Time: Rejection Letters to Famous Writers

Why is dad so sad?  Probably because he just checked his mail and found his self-addressed stamped envelope in his box, his manuscript inside, and the dreaded form letter saying, “We are sorry, but your manuscript does not currently meet our specific needs.”  The first dozen or so times, Dad wanted to believe the closing…

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Celebs Gettin’ Schooled by 8-to-12 Year Old “Grammar Cops”

Red Balloon is a private school in Brazil designed to help Portuguese and Spanish-speaking children become fluent in English.  The faculty came up with an innovative idea to engage kids AND help them learn. They encouraged the children to follow their favorite celebrities on Twitter and then tweet them back,  correcting their often egregious spelling…

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Feats of Greatness, Feet of Clay: Authors, Flaws, and the People Behind the Stories

(Orson Scott Card poses at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in 2008. Wikimedia Commons/ Nihonjoe) “Just because someone’s a member of an ethnic minority doesn’t mean they’re not a nasty small-minded little jerk.” ~ Terry Pratchett, from Feet of Clay  There is a reason I frequently shy away from reading biographies:  people suck.  Even the best people suck.…

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