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Newsletter – Everyday Magic February 23, 2024

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Hello Book Bums families!

From snow to spring-like temperatures, it has been quite a February in the Cincinnati area. This week in the newsletter we're thinking about the magic of the everyday world - from interesting words to creative writing, unusual magazines to celebratory songs. We hope you find something magical inside.

Word of the Week

ruderal (roo-duh-rul) noun/person, place, or thing - a plant growing among rubble or refuse

Spying the ruderal in the construction site, it lifted my spirits to see flowers among the stones.


Literary Calendar

  • February 27 is the birthday of American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
  • This 19th century poet is probably most famous for his narrative poem, "Paul Revere's Ride."
  • He lived in New England and was a cousin of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott.
Longfellow book
Alcott Little women

From our Bookshelves

bella Grace Magazine cover

According to its publishers, Bella Grace is a magazine that thinks it’s a book.

I found this magazine a couple of years ago while doing some Christmas shopping in a boutique store located in the quaint Lebanon, Ohio. When I picked up my first copy of Bella Grace, I found the images and text throughout to be absolutely lovely. The publication strives to give readers a unique experience, saying . . .

It is meant to be written in and dog-eared.
To inspire you
to discover magic in ordinary moments
and accompany you on this beautiful adventure that is life.
I’ve purchased a copy, at least once, for each of my daughters-in-law, for the beauty inside the pages always reminds me of them.

In the most recent publication, on page 91, it says, “I find magic in . . . “ and there’s a bulleted list that includes:

  • pink skies
  • full moons
  • train tickets
  • ripe mangoes
  • warm earth
  • flirting
  • hydrangeas
  • new yarn
  • reading nooks

On the next page it has 31 boxes, one for each day of March, and readers are encouraged to record one magical moment each day. I love that! There is magic in each day, if only we have eyes to see it.

On another page, there’s a quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder that says . . .

We who live in quiet places
have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves,
to think our own thoughts and live our own lives
in a way that is not possible for those
keeping up with the crowd.

This magazine might be perfect for someone you love who can’t devote much time to book reading but can enjoy short spurts of literary beauty.

Tips for Raising Readers and Writers

In the back matter of Bella Grace you will find a Call for Submissions, for they are continually seeking photography, poetry, lists, and narratives—stories of self-love, small random acts of kindness, smallish adventures and more.

Though you’d have to get in the mindset for all things fall (for the submissions after this month would be for that quarterly issue) this could be a wonderful way for you or someone you love to begin sharing the beauty you’re discovering in this big, magical world of ours— whether it be with images, poetry, or a short story.

In truth, from the time I first flipped through those Bella Grace pages, I’ve dreamed of a magazine like this one for educators. Can you picture it? Gorgeous pictures of happy learners, poems about kids and books and families, lists inspiring joy and beauty in our kids’ classroom, and smiling teachers who are not just surviving but thriving.

Anyone want a side gig? Let’s talk!

Tips for Families

We can teach our kids to notice magical moments too. You may want to read a book with them to get them in the spirit of noticing. Try reading/watching What a Wonderful World as sung by Louis Armstrong. Then, teach your whole family to notice tiny magical moments by simply noticing them yourself and sharing them at dinnertime. When you share yours, your children will be inspired to share theirs too. Anything goes. Daffodils pushing their way through the still-cold earth. A ladybug crawling on the stone stairway. A newborn baby snuggled in his stroller. The cat luxuriating in the sunshine that’s warmed the carpet. A smile from a stranger. A fluffy towel, fresh from the dryer. The first bite of a Girl Scout cookie. It IS a wonderful world. Let’s inspire our kids to relish in its beauty.

Watch, listen and read along with this fun video.

Pause for Poetry

Loss and Gain
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When I compare
What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.

I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

Practical Grammar

breath vs breathe—Did you catch my mistake in last week’s newsletter?

I’m not sure how I can read and reread and read it again and still not catch mistakes until I see them in the published newsletter on Friday afternoons!

Here’s the deal:
Breath is a noun. It is pronounced with a short e as in “Take a deep breath.”
Breathe is a verb. It is pronounced with a long e as in “I love to breathe in fresh air of springtime.”

There are other words with e’s jumping over digraphs and doing magic.
bath, bathe
cloth, clothe

lathe, device for cutting and drilling
tithe, one tenth of income paid to the church
blithe, cheerful indifference, without much care or thought
writhe, make squirming movements

Just for Fun

How do you get your child to read books

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