After nearly ten years with my bachelorette car (an adorable two-door Cabrio convertible), we regrettably parted company when kid #1 began throwing up with every ride and kid #2 needed to be turned upside down to be hoisted over his sister and dropped into his rear-facing seat. So I have my 'Mommy' vehicle.
I am a very bad driver, and I always had a notion that in a smaller car, I was less likely to hit anything (even if more likely to be crushed on impact). Now I have a minivan -- but please humor me and call it a micro-minivan. It is a Mazda5. It is really not all that big, but it does handle the carpooling duties. (Though I must admit, it was always handy to be able to say, 'No, honey, you may not have Olivia over for a play date because, gosh, she won't fit in the car...') I have also hit two mailboxes this year and replaced my passenger mirror, yes, twice. In short, if you see a blue Mazda5 in the environs of Frederick, Maryland... you might want to change lanes.
As a consequence of this major life change, I find myself on the Mazda email list... and, strangely -- given that I am teaching author and parent of two little ones -- this is the only reason I know that Read Across America week is fast approaching. Brought to you by The Lorax... and Mazda.
I do have a deep appreciation for my Mazda, don't get me wrong. And I write for a soap opera. Clearly, I have nothing against commercialism. In fact, I think we writers and publishers would do well to embrace it whenever we can. Go, Mazda!
And Go, Scholastic, which is having a book fair at my daughter's school this week. I have been secretly shopping for myself from my kids' fliers all year long. (My daughter, who is afraid of everything -- most especially books with scary covers -- was quite traumatized by my recent purchase of a book called Deadly.) While I love supporting local booksellers and of course I patronize the library regularly, who can resist all those shiny new books? I can't.
My daughter brought just home a list of the books she wants, to which I have quietly added the books I think she will love if only she will open them. (How many Rainbow Magic books are there? Does anyone know? Now that my son is daily proclaiming that he is a fairy, I think we're ready to move on.)
The marketing people at Scholastic are geniuses! Yes, we have bought our fair share of cupcake recipe books and cute little erasers, but they are also getting great books into kids' homes -- and very affordably, I might add. Like Mazda, Scholastic also gives back to the schools, which earn many classroom books in return for purchases made. This is an awesome thing. And any author who's been fortunate enough to have a Scholastic Book Club book knows that the royalties can be prodigious.
Sadly, one of my daughter's schoolmates died this week after a long illness. When her teacher talked to the children about what they wanted to do in his memory, the verdict was unaminous -- at the book fair, they will buy books in Peter's memory. And every child who opens those books through all the years will be touched by Peter's life. God Bless them all. --Jeanne Marie