Last week I had the privilege of attending a conversation between Lucy Mangan and Katherine Rundell at Mostly Books, Abingdon. Both are authors, bookworms and passionate about children’s literature – so it was a stimulating and inspiring evening.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Doesn’t Mary Oliver capture the spirit of summer so well?! Summer is here. What better way to celebrate with your little one than grab a blanket and a pile of books and head outside?! Continue reading
The evacuees were to sleep in the big attic room with dark beams overhead. It was chilly and had no electric light or carpets but there was a nice woody smell. A curtain hung down the middle. Joyce, Patsy and Winnie were together on one side and Lenny was alone on the other.
— The Lion and the Unicorn, Shirley Hughes
Just before Easter we got to hear Michael Morpurgo live in conversation with Nicolette Jones at the Sheldonian as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. Morpurgo is one of my son’s favourite authors and was speaking on his birthday, so it was an ideal birthday outing. The conversation covered topics from the personal to the political and engaged all ages.
However there were three things that he emphasised as being key for today’s children: Continue reading
“Rome, the city of visible history.”
— George Elliot
If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that we’ve just got back from an amazing few days in Rome. George Elliot is spot on. Rome certainly is “the city of visible history”. Wherever we looked – whether up at the domes, down the cobbled alleyways or strolling around the Colosseum – history was there.
With Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday now behind us, I’ve been getting our selection of Easter books out of the attic for us to enjoy.
A Light Exists in Spring
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here
A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.
It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.
Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —
A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.
— Emily Dickinson
We probably read Shakespeare in the first place for his stories, afterwards for his characters, the multitude of delightful persons with whom he makes us so intimate that afterwards, in fiction or in fact, we say, ‘She is another Jessica,’ and ‘That dear girl is a Miranda’; ‘She is a Cordelia to her father,’ and, such a figure in history, ‘a base lago.’ To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.
— Charlotte Mason
It feels as though we have just taken the lid off a treasure chest as we have opened William Shakespeare together this term. Continue reading
Turner has some golden visions, glorious and beautiful. They are only visions, but still, they are art, and one could live and die with such pictures.
—John Constable on the 1828 Royal Academy Exhibition.