Friday, June 8, 2012

Fa-Ying


I had to say goodbye to my cat yesterday.  Mr. Wolf's allergies have been under too great a strain these days and something had to give.  She went to a beautiful new home and she will be fine.  But as long as I can remember, except for the first six months of my marriage, I have had a cat.  Turtle.  Nibbles.  Cookie.  Bouhaki.  Twohaki.  Dolly.  Cobweb.  Gracie.  Vera.  Fa-Ying.  And more around the edges belonging to my parents and siblings.  Lots of cats.  So, even though Millie is finally home from school for summer break and there are once again two little girls underfoot and ringing in my ears, the house seems curiously empty in the background.  Nothing soft and furry about to slink around the corner.  Nothing upstairs warming that spot on my bed.  Nothing to put away the knitting for.  Or the plastic bags (she liked to chew them.)  We'll miss you, Fa-Ying.  Sweet kitty.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rabbit Trails and Mighty Girls

I used to read many more blogs than I do now.  Not every day, not religiously, but I had a lovely long list of bookmarks on my browser's toolbar and I'd peruse sometimes.  One day Mr. Wolf rebuilt my computer and one of the things I forgot to tell him to back up was my bookmarks folder.  So, yeah, I lost 'em.

Of course, the blogs I do read more regularly, those of family and friends, didn't really see much of a blip in my readership.  Others I think about now and then every few weeks or suddenly remember after a few months and I wander over to see what's new.  One of those is Loobylu (Claire Robertson's illustrations are so lovely!) and I popped in the other day for a visit.  Happened to notice a beautiful character sketch she'd done for a book project called Wollstonecraft.  Well, given that one of the characters in the sketch was called Ada (a long-time favorite name of mine) and that the project was classified as a steampunk adventure novel for girls (yes, please) I started down the rabbit trail in effort to find out more.  Looked over the Wollstonecraft project page at Kickstarter (go look!).  Then Googled it to see what anyone else was saying about it.  That brought me to Geek Dad, who wrote a piece about it on his blog.  He also mentioned some other posts he'd done about books for girls, so I checked out those as well.  In one of them, he interviews Carolyn Danckaert, the creator of A Mighty Girl, which she describes thus:

"A Mighty Girl is a new website with the world’s largest collection of books and movies for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls. It was founded on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to read books and watch movies where girls are not relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress, where they are the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure."

I'm really excited to have found this resource.  I've already got a list of titles on the site that I want to look for at our local library, and that wasn't even after browsing for very long.  You can search by genre, subject, social issues, age level.  Summer reading, here we come!  Millie's not going to know what hit her.  (Actually, that's not true.  I'll be doing well if I can even keep her stocked at the pace she reads.  She's kind of voracious that way.)

I have daughters, so it's clear why this concept appeals to me.  Can I just say, though, that I think stories that star strong female characters are good for boys to read as well?  Someone asked me a while back if I had any good "boy" books to recommend to get their child interested in reading.  It's a fair question.  Kids want to read what they're interested in, what they can relate to, and gender is a pretty big factor in that.  Still.  Once they get past the hurdle of whether or not they want to read, I hope there are a fair number of books on their reading lists where the girl gets to be the hero.  If books about boys can be loved and devoured by children of either gender, as they have always been, I think it's only fair that books about girls get that same chance.