A little over a year ago, Sura, a widowed mother, her three daughters and only son fled war torn Iraq under cover, taking only what they could carry on their backs and in their arms. Among their possessions was Kunkush, their beloved cat. On their way to Istanbul, they travelled by car, followed by three days on foot where Sura and her children walked behind the others lest the smugglers discover Kunkush and double the price of their escape.
Crossing the Aegean Sea to the island of Lesbos, the family along with 60 others was crammed into a flimsy rubber boat meant to carry 25. When they finally scrambled ashore, in the excitement Kunkush’s carrier—its door broken—was left unattended for several moments. He slipped out and retreated to the forest.[...]
Everyone’s up early this morning. To grandmother’s house they go to share a Thanksgiving Day feast. A cheerful collection of characters, each with a story to tell. (Just ask.) Goldilocks and Baby Bear appear to be buddies, with Mama and Papa Bear, in stride on the outside. This is one of their vegan days and Granny’s menu provides plenty of sweet desserts. Little Red helps her out with those. (She brings the wine, too, in most versions of her tale.)
Curious George adds fun, ready to search for solutions “outside the box” to problems that might arise. King Babar, dressed in modern royal, is a fitting leader for the harvest celebration parade.[...]
She climbs from her window
As the Shadows grow long
And runs into the wood
Where no children dare roam
I like your story already. Out in the woods, on your own, you, the protagonist, Wee Sister Strange, have flouted a cardinal rule for kids: Don’t venture into the dark, the forest prime evil, where wildness presides. [...]
At the Grahamsville Library, as the light of the early morning sun fills the sky, Strega Nona, Harry and Harold, Alice and Willie and their buddies emerge from between the pages of the books that hold their stories. With his purple crayon, Harold sketches big fluffy clouds—his specialty—and Willie wakes the late night partiers with his whistles.
Rise and shine, my famous companions, the sun is up and so must you be to begin your storied days.[...]
Post Dedication: To all of us and any of us who answer to the following: Grandmothers, Grans, Grannies, Grandfathers, Grampas, Opas, Nanas, Nonnos, Abuelas, Abuelitas, Avós, Farmors, Großmutters, Grootmoeders, Grandmères, and the other millions of parents-once-removed from around the world whose names or titles I can’t track, or reproduce in print on my key board.[...]
“But I don’t want to do a story!”
Storytelling in the last thing Mathew, my 7-year-old grandson, and I do before lights out when he stays over.
“You’re good at starting off,” I say.
He squints. “Ok. I’ll do the starting, but you’ll do the finishing.”
I nod in agreement to this familiar clause in our contract: if he begins, [...]