The best stories from my site and around the web in 2016.
You’ve probably heard about the latest blockbuster Disney movie and its teenaged heroine, Moana. But have you heard about her really awesome grandma?
All the Girl Scouts troops in her California town were full, so Kathy Richardson started a new one for her granddaughter and her friends.
“America has changed over the years,” President Obama told the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. “But these values that my grandparents taught me, they haven’t gone anywhere.”
A woman honors the grandparents who shaped her.
For kids, summer means dirt and sand and water and sun. It means shorts and swings and popsicles and peaches. But most of all, what summer means for kids is freedom. These books beautifully capture that.
A picture book about what happens when parents get out of the way.
Kids need love. Grandparents are good at giving it. That’s why an army of them is being recruited to serve in the public schools of Syracuse, New York, where too many students have been getting suspended and too few have been graduating.
What it’s like to join the Peace Corps at age 86.
I spent the final weeks of winter reading all the picture books I could find about spring. Here are my favorites. They’re simple, they’re deep, and they’re as gorgeous as the season.
A moving new song by country music star Zac Brown.
In this extraordinary picture book, a girl’s grandfather inspires her to live well and do good.
Alice Carter, 87, a grandmother from Boston, is halfway through a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in Rabat, Morocco, where she’s volunteering at a youth center.
After her husband died in 1945, Eleanor Roosevelt traveled the world as a diplomat, speaker, and activist. But she was never too busy for her granddaughter.
A poem about grandmothers by Lucille Clifton (1936-2010).
Grandparents matter in profound, enduring, and sometimes unexpected ways. That’s what I learned from these recordings, which were made by three American families for the oral history project StoryCorps.
Shouldn’t grandparents matter as much in movies as they do in real life?
Here’s a beautiful video about the national Foster Grandparent program, which pairs volunteers ages 55 and over with children who need a tutor, a mentor, or both.
The legendary anthropologist Margaret Mead was homeschooled for most of her childhood by her grandmother, an iconoclast who rejected rote instruction as “stultifying” and emphasized learning by doing instead.
A family of elephants is led by its eldest female, who’s often a grandma many times over. And the older she is, the better, scientists have learned.
A new study finds that teens who maintain close, loving relationships with their grandparents suffer fewer emotional and behavioral problems than their peers.
It’s not important that children know about nature, Rachel Carson believed; what matters is that they delight in it. But they won’t unless they’re shown the way, she warned.
A housewife from West Virginia fought for years to get a national holiday for grandparents declared. In 1978, she won.
A virtuoso celebrates his grandpa.
A new book profiles more than 50 black women who suffered brutal discrimination as children but survived to make a better life—and a better world—for their heirs.
“It’s important to remember the White House is such a bizarre place,” says the author of a recent book on the Obamas. “I think Mrs. Robinson acts as a calming presence.”
A poem by David McCord (1897-1997).
There’s not enough good art about the bond between kids and their grandparents, so I asked Rebecca Layton, an illustrator based in Austin, to create some.
Chinese Americans often devote long hours to their grandchildren, but many of them experience this as a burden, a new study reveals.
Isabel Allende, a novelist with millions of readers around the world, says her grandparents shaped both her character and her career.
A.J. Jacobs, a journalist and bestselling author, thinks he can build a family tree for all of humanity. Here’s what he told me about his project, his grandparents, and his most famous ancestor.
Grandparents have been going to bat for their grandkids for hundreds of thousands of years, a new study of South American foragers suggests.
A letter from a grateful mother whose husband was deployed a dozen times.
… and other things my grandma taught me.
Mo Rocca hopes the grandparents on his TV show can teach him how to live.
Whales need grandmas, too, it turns out.
Now, they’re teaching their grandkids to sing.
These books aren’t just stunningly written and illustrated. They also get the new American family.
A grandmother in Oklahoma finds babysitting both magical and tiring.
“We’d make tiny boats of walnut shells, line them with moss, and float them down the streams, where we were sure the fairies would climb aboard.”