Several of this month’s book selections will remind readers of what’s at stake during the upcoming election, from racial equality to governmental transparency — and that includes the fiction.
“The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War — A Tragedy in Three Acts,” by Scott Anderson (Sept. 1)
Many stories about spies are also stories of derring-do, something Anderson (“Lawrence in Arabia”) also incorporates into his new history of Cold War intelligence. Anderson’s look at four men who ran covert operations around the globe after World War II is as thrilling as it is tragic, as each man confronts the moral compromises he made in the name of democracy.
“The Lying Life of Adults: A Novel,” by Elena Ferrante (Sept. 1)
Meet Giovanna, an awkward adolescent like her foremothers in Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels — except that Giovanna lives in an upper-middle-class milieu and knows nothing of her home city’s blue-collar district until an overheard comment spurs her to seek out her Aunt Vittoria. Thereby hangs a tale of awakening and change that will delight both old and new fans of the elusive Italian writer.
“We Germans: A Novel,” by Alexander Starritt (Sept. 1)
Meissner, who as a young college student was drafted into the German army and sent to the Eastern Front, in his old age writes a letter to his grandson. At first an account of action and adventure, the letter turns to Meissner’s quest to live a life of atonement. Can an individual explain his country’s complicity? This novel may be more relevant now than we’d like.
“Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for Us All,” by Martha S. Jones (Sept. 8)
We all know that 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which secured the vote for White women. In her important new book “Vanguard,” Jones shows how African American women waged their own fight for the vote, and why their achievements speak mightily to our present moment as voters, regardless of gender or race.
“Just Us: An American Conversation,” by Claudia Rankine (Sept. 8)
Read the first two title words again, and you’ll get a glimmer of what Rankine (“Citizen”) has in mind for her new book of essays, poems and images that confront White privilege and White silence. But the subtitle provides an opening to disrupt the old talk and make space for new ideas.
“The Awkward Black Man: Stories,” by Walter Mosley (Sept. 15)
Mosley might be best known for his mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, but in these short stories, we see the prolific author as a chronicler of Black life in America. As he overturns stereotypes and focuses on individual characters, Mosley asks us not to look away from men who are isolated and awkward, but to see them as human beings in full.
“Rage,” by Bob Woodward (Sept. 15)
President Trump didn’t speak on the record for Woodward’s 2018 bestseller, “Fear.” This time around, the Pulitzer Prize-winning associate editor of The Washington Post landed several exclusive interviews with the president and managed to obtain personal letters between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This may be the clearest portrait we’ll get of a chaotic mind.
“Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America,” by Laila Lalami (Sept. 22)
The Pulitzer Prize finalist, who was born in Morocco and moved to the United States in the 1990s, explores the benefits and limitations of American citizenship. Her poignant reckoning looks at a country that keeps privileged White men in power while holding at arm’s length the “conditional citizens” whose race or gender doesn’t conform to the elite’s.
“Jack: A Novel,” by Marilynne Robinson (Sept. 29)
The latest novel in Robinson’s series about Gilead, Iowa — which also includes Pulitzer winner “Gilead,” “Home” and “Lila” — follows Jack Boughton, the black sheep of his family, who wound up an aimless, homeless alcoholic in St. Louis. There he meets Della, a Black teacher, and they embark on a complicated, poignant romance.
We're not supposed to play favorites, but there's just something about fall dinner recipes that makes autumn our favorite season of the year (hello, comfort food!). Don't get us wrong, we love summer grilling recipes and spring's bounty of bright and beautiful greens — but hearty fall soups, harvest salads, and cozy pasta recipes really warm our hearts (and fill our bellies!). Not to mention the overflow of apples, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and winter squash popping up. With so many fall fruits and vegetables to cook with, the family dinner ideas are endless this season.
Chicken, Sausage, and White Bean Stew Slow cooked chicken and beans make for a protein-packed stew. Get cozy and get cooking.
Get the recipe for Chicken, Sausage, and White Bean Stew »
French Onion Soup Onions, slowly cooked until deep brown and caramelized, give this classic its distinctive flavor. Great for a party, this recipe is easily doubled; simply cook the onions in two skillets.
Get the recipe for French Onion Soup »
Instant Pot Risotto A comforting bowl of this Italian classic now requires zero effort with the help from a multi-cooker. Top with any flavors you fancy: Pesto, lemon zest, peas, or a fried egg will all do the trick.
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Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Tahini Vinaigrette Butternut squash and a rich nutty dressing will convince you to introduce this vegetarian dinner to your fall meal routine.
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Coq Au Vin Rosé A twist on classic coq au vin made with pink wine, this crowd-pleaser is loaded with mushrooms and bacon too.
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Winter Squash and Lentil Stew Reason no. 765 to invest in an Instant Pot: A bowl of this cozy, hearty stew will be ready in 35 minutes flat.
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Short Ribs With Creamy Polenta These tender braised Instant Pot short ribs are the newest star of weeknight dinner: No effort required.
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Patty Melts Step aside, cheeseburgers, and grilled cheese. Meet the epic mashup of these two nostalgic diner meals.
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Moroccan Meatballs Skip the spaghetti! These jazzed-up meatballs are served over a bed of roasted tomatoes, feta, and herby couscous.
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Pork Chops With Bok Choy and Coconut Rice Creamy rice cooked in coconut milk is the perfect rich partner to a golden-brown pork chop.
Get the recipe for Pork Chops with Bok Choy and Coconut Rice »
With most schools partially open or following a hybrid schedule parents are now the ones who have to guide their children throughout their academics, which is a lot of added responsibility in the midst of an already anxiety-ridden pandemic. Luckily, if you're having difficulty keeping your kids on task and engaged with their work, there are some strategies straight from teachers that can help make virtual schooling easier for them.
Establish a Schedule
If your child's teacher has not already provided one, DeDe Alexander, an elementary school Spanish immersion teacher, says that creating a schedule can help kids stay on track. "Kids like a routine even if you aren't a routine person," she says, explaining that schedules are especially great if you want your child to work more independently. Plus, this takes some of the stress off of you by setting a specific structure for your kids to follow.
For those with multiple children at home, Ms. Alexander says you can also try breaking up your kids' days by class, so that everyone is working on the same subject at once (math, history, science, etc). This will help you stay in the know, and you can even add fun breaks and rewards for additional incentive, especially if your child is feeling unmotivated.
Let Your Child Explore
Although it can be tempting to step in whenever your child has a question, Kirsten Tobin, a third-grade teacher from Arizona, says that sometimes it's better to give young students a moment to work the problem out themselves. "Kids learn best by exploring," she says. "It might take them a bit longer, but chances are they will figure it out without direct parental interference."
The other great thing about encouraging your kids to try things themselves is establishing that you're not going to do everything for them (which would be exhausting). If they're still having difficulty with the material after a few honest tries, that's when you can get more involved.
Repeat After Me
If after trying their hardest your child is still struggling with an assignment, Ms. Alexander suggests doing a practice problem together and then having your child repeat it by themselves afterwards. This helps them engage with what they're learning and these kinds of exercises can also help you identify the places where your child is getting stuck. Once they've successfully completed the problem on their own, they can then move on and try other problems without as much assistance.
Do Some Check-Ins
When it comes to online learning, Ms. Tobin says that it's a good idea to schedule check-ins halfway through the week, so that your child doesn't accidentally fall behind and have to cram last minute. She says these check-ins can also be "a great opportunity to talk to kids about procrastination and advocating for themselves when they feel stuck."
Ms. Alexander agrees, saying, "Very rarely do you have a kid who's going to be able to do this on their own without check-ins." This is another way to encourage your child to do their own work, while still keeping them focused and teaching them the skills they'll actually need for their next year of schooling.
Be Real About Managing Stress
In these chaotic times, parents and kids alike are dealing with a lot of stress, but emphasizing that your child is not alone can help them feel better about any obstacles they may encounter during online schooling. In fact, it could even be a good mantra to repeat to yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed. Ms. Tobin and Ms. Alexander also stress that teachers are great partners to turn to if your family needs extra support. After all, sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is to just take a deep breath yourself.
Try to Keep Up With the Texts and Emails
Should you ever feel completely lost about what your child is supposed to be doing, Ms. Alexander suggests double checking the texts and emails sent from school faculty. It can be a pain, but for quick clarification and information about assignments, this kind of communication can be useful.
Texts and emails from your child's teacher may also contain details about any special programs or software that the class has been using, since you may not be familiar with everything yourself. After that, the only hard part will be getting your child to remember their username and password.
Have Them Read Their Writing Aloud
For reading and writing assignments, Ms. Alexander says that having your children read aloud to you can help them edit their work and become stronger writers. This is also a great chance for you to hear what their reading and writing skills sound like, and they'll be so excited to get to share their work with an attentive audience. Try this at night time or whenever you like to read together to help your kids feel proud of what they've accomplished.
Remember You Both Can Do This
At the end of the day, most assignments should still be doable, even from a virtual classroom. If your child is consistently struggling with the material, or you're having to intervene an excessive amount, it's a good idea to turn to the professionals. And if motivation is the bigger issue, here's a list of ways to motivate your child at home.
Most importantly, know that your family is not alone in all the recent schooling confusion, and that there are plenty of resources available if you need them. According to Ms. Tobin, the best lesson kids could learn right now is how to roll with the punches. "I'd take this as an opportunity to watch my kid develop some grit, teach them some strategies for managing stress, and let it all ride out," she says. And that's something everyone should take notes on.
The podcast universe was having a relatively quiet start to the year before, well, the coronavirus threw everything into a tizzy. Before then, the one ambiguous head-turner was a viral standalone episode from an already popular podcast about a song that may or may not exist. Since then, after the lockdowns started kicking in, a good deal of podcast output reorganized itself around that reality — there were a great many podcasts about, inspired, or catalyzed by COVID-19, and then there was everyone else, who had to figure out how to push through and get by somehow.
Now, it feels like podcasting is leveling back out a bit, even as the actual pandemic is far from resolved. For now, though, let’s take a look at some of the year’s best podcasts that have come out so far across this strange and harrowing time.
Articles of Interest season 2
Avery Trufelman’s deep dive into fashion returns, and her trademark genuinely loving but interrogative approach has never been sharper. This season trains its focus on objects of luxury — perfume, high fashion, diamonds, suits — subjects that sit squarely within the force that seems to most drive Trufelman’s critical eye: the tension between beauty and capitalism. The episodes are fun, curious, and filled with fascinating detail, but they also carry the burden of a melancholic question: how do you love something that can be hard to love?
The Cam Chronicles (The Ringer)
A sports documentary that’s well worth your time. Cam Newton, the former Carolina Panther quarterback and newly minted Patriot, is an almost mythologically interesting star athlete. He’s prodigiously talented, but has never won a championship. He aspires to be an icon, but repeatedly courts controversy. The Cam Chronicles is a shrewd and empathetic account of Newton’s legend, closely tracking the QB’s journey from his Atlanta roots to his murky present, ultimately telling a story about the burdens of being an intensely public, wealthy, and prominent Black athlete in America. The series is also noteworthy for the talents of its host, Tyler R. Tynes, who breathes electric life into the work of narration. Energetic, opinionated, funny, and free, Tynes’ approach offers an appealing window into what podcast narration can, and should, be.
Around the turn of the millennium, Connor Ratliff was cast on the critically acclaimed HBO drama Band of Brothers. It was a small role, but for a working actor, all roles are valuable. But before Ratliff could make it to the set, he was called back to re-audition for Tom Hanks, who was an executive producer on the project. He ended up losing the part — later, he would be told Hanks thought he had “dead eyes.” Decades later, Ratliff would create a podcast about the experience. He had pulled together a decent performing career by then, and in the podcast, which he calls Dead Eyes, he sets out to revisit, unpack, and explore that early-career incident, which had left a big impression. The podcast is fascinating and excellent, essentially functioning as a vessel that explores the emotional experience of building a life in show business. Part interview show, part memoir, Dead Eyes is an innovative take on a familiar genre.
Written and hosted by Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic’s revisiting of Hurricane Katrina and the botched federal response that followed is a genuinely illuminating piece that holds extra weight and resonance in the current pandemic context. Beautifully written, deeply reported, and further elevated by outstanding music and sound design, Floodlines is the best audio documentary to come out this year so far, hands down. It can be a really hard time for many to pick up this particular story, but it remains a worthwhile exercise, if one is able, to stare into the abyss, as it can serve as a guide for what’s to come.
When life gives you lemons (or pandemic-induced quarantine), make lemonade (or a podcast about quarantine cooking). Life under lockdown has predictably inspired a considerable number of new COVID-19-related podcasts. Many are news-oriented, dedicated to keeping you up to date on the latest developments. Some, meanwhile, are more unexpected … and perhaps, more welcome. One of the finest from this latter batch is Home Cooking, a quarantine-cooking advice show hosted by Samin Nosrat, the chef and famed food writer, and Hrishikesh Hirway, indie-podcast-producer extraordinaire. Breezy, playful, and rich with puns, Home Cooking is a delightful companion to figure out the puzzle of your pantry. It’s really short, though, playing out across four hour-long episodes that wrapped up in early May, but it’s jammed packed with genuinely helpful tips and ideas that are evergreen.
My Year in Mensa (Independent)
Let’s say you have an exclusive, insular, and somewhat known group whose membership is defined by “unnatural intelligence.” What would you expect from the group’s internal social dynamics? From the way it views itself? You’ll get those answers from My Year in Mensa, an endlessly fascinating four-part podcast from comedian and writer Jamie Loftus. A semi-adaptation of a sporadic column series, Loftus uses the podcast to recount her year-long experience successfully gaining admission into Mensa, the largest “High IQ society” in the world, and skeptically moving through the community. What results is a vibrant critique of what can be described as “intellectual supremacy,” and the kinds of thinking that can foster. “My Year In Mensa” is ultimately an unsettling story, but it’s told in such a gloriously bold, funny and personal way that you just can't forget.
Oh, Hello: The P’dcast
Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland continue to be at large. Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s geriatric testaments to failed New York creative ambition reached true heights with its Broadway iteration a few years ago, which was also distributed as a Netflix special. Now, under quarantine, they’ve reprised the characters for a new podcast that gives you basically everything you’d want from the act: mis-emphasized pronunciations, delusions of grandeur, dense rapid-fire joke delivery, tuna — and then some. It’s exponentially more enjoyable for podcast fans, since, as with the Broadway show, the duo mischievously plays with some of the medium’s most common tropes.
Planet Money has many distinctions: arguably the first “true” NPR podcast, longtime stalwart of accessible stories about complex economies, a truly sustainable operation that’s been able to maintain a consistently high quality level even as its actual stable of talent has changed over the years. It also has fascinating roots, originally coming into being off a joint This American Life–NPR reporting venture that covered the 2008 economic crisis. These days, of course, we found ourselves in the depths of another economic calamity — quite possibly the worst ever experienced by this country. And Planet Money has stepped up to cover this new crisis with reliable gusto, in result producing some of the best work that the show’s ever done, almost twelve years into its existence.
Reply All’s “The Case of the Missing Hit”
Obsession runs rampant in this instantly legendary episode of Reply All, already a show with quite a few of them. In “The Case of the Missing Hit,” the team is contacted by a filmmaker looking for help to track down a song that may or may not exist. That song is thought to be a distinct artifact of the late ’90s and early 2000s, a sugary mix of U2 and the Barenaked Ladies, but it simply couldn’t be found in the infinite repositories of the internet. What transpires is a glorious and unexpectedly thrilling caper, one that brings listeners along a wild ride as the filmmaker, supported by Reply All co-host P.J. Vogt, tries their very best to figure out the truth behind the spectral single … all as the song turns into an earworm that deepens its hold in their brains.
Staying In With Emily and Kumail
Staying In is kind of a classic hangout podcast, albeit one with added gravity given how we’re all mostly forced to keep indoors as much as possible under quarantine conditions. All that said, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani are lovely hangs, and the podcast is a pure pleasure. As they note at the outset, Gordon and Nanjiani are no strangers to isolation, or the feeling of being trapped and helpless. You might know this already if you’ve seen The Big Sick, the semi-autobiographical 2017 film that the couple wrote and Nanjiani starred in, which is in part based on Gordon’s experience with a rare disease that nearly killed her and left her immunocompromised. The situation is such that they’ve occasionally had to self-isolate for her health, even before all this. All that background is baked into the feel of Staying In, which comes with a relaxed semi-diaristic quality — there’s a lot of processing in real time — that’s reminiscent of older styles of podcasting. Indeed, it’s actually a return to podcast form for Gordon and Nanjiani, as the two had previously hosted a video game–ish podcast called The Indoor Kids. Some things have carried over. Like The Indoor Kids, Staying In is charming and funny, and it’s reminds us that we’re all in this together.
By the time mid-summer rolls around, us gardeners are looking to enjoy the fruits of our labors. We put in those long hours in early spring to prep, shop, and plant, and now it’s time to kick back and enjoy the season. The veggie patch yield is increasing daily, containers of annuals are established and thriving, and the perennial garden is… well, yikes, it looks kind of tired and needs some help!
With hot, harsh sunlight and dry conditions, mid- to late summer can be tough on our gardens. Many plants suffer from heat stress and struggle without adequate moisture. To avoid the late season, colorless doldrums, choose from our list of the best perennials to add vibrant shades to the late summer garden. Many of these plants are North American natives, and others come from around globe – but all seem to flourish when the heat is on!
ANISE HYSSOP (AGASTACHEFOENICULUM) Anise hyssop, also known as butterfly mint, is a fragrant perennial with upright flower spikes that bloom from June to September. Traditional varieties have blue, lavender, or purple blooms, but new ones include bold colors such as orange and red. Native to the plains and prairies of North America, anise hyssop is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9. As a perennial, it spreads by rhizomes, and in colder climates it can be grown as a self-seeding annual. It grows easily in soil of average fertility, full sun, and medium to dry moisture conditions. Drought tolerant once established, it’s also deer and rabbit resistant – but very attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. You can use cut flowers in fresh and dried arrangements, and the plants make attractive additions to beds and borders, butterfly, herb, and cottage gardens, or in naturalized settings like meadows or wildflower gardens.
AUTUMN JOY STONECROP (HYLOTELEPHIUM ‘HERBSTFREUDE’/SEDUM SPECTABILE ‘AUTUMN JOY’) Blooming from August to October, ‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrop is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial with large, flat heads of tiny, rosy red flowers. Upright stems grow 18 inches to 2 feet tall with succulent, fleshy leaves. Buds first appear pink, change to red as they open, and finally turn a coppery shade as they die. Stonecrop are drought-tolerant natives to Asia, Europe, and North America, hardy in Zones 3-8, and get their name from their habit of growing in stony ledges and rocky outcrops. ‘Autumn Joy’ prefers soil of average to poor fertility, dry to medium moisture, excellent drainage, and full sun. Attractive to bees and butterflies, ‘Autumn Joy’ can be used in the front of beds and borders, grown in alpine or rock gardens, planted en masse, or grown in containers. Left in place, they also add interest to fall and winter gardens.
BALLOON FLOWER (PLATYCODON GRANDIFLORUS) Balloon flower is an eye-catching, clump-forming perennial that gives a cheerful display of color to the late summer garden. Mature clumps grow from 1 to 2.5 feet tall, and young buds swell like balloons before bursting into bell-shaped flowers. Eye-catching in shades of blue, pale pink, and white, they flower from June to August. A native to the slopes and meadows of East Asia, balloon flower is hardy in Zones 3-8 and enjoys a full to partial sun location. Aside from average soil and medium moisture requirements, it’s largely self-sufficient and requires little maintenance. Balloon flower also makes addition to the cutting garden, and it’s deer resistant as well. Use it to best effect in borders, containers, edging, and rockeries.
BEE BALM (MONARDA DIDYMA) Bee balm, or wild bergamot, is a tall, attractive perennial with whorls of tubular flowers that add a bold punch of color to the late summer garden. Fragrant plants grow 2 to 4 feet tall with sassy, mop-top blossoms in colors of burgundy, lavender, pink, red, and white that bloom in July and August. Hardy in Zones 3-9, it’s endemic to moist bottomlands, woods, and streambanks of eastern North America. Bee balm prefers humus-rich, well-draining soil with medium to wet moisture levels in a full to partial sun location. Deer and rabbit resistant, it’s attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Striking when massed in drifts, plant in borders, cottage and rain gardens, and in naturalized plantings.
BLACK-EYED SUSAN (RUDBECKIA HIRTA) Black-eyed Susan is a cheerful wildflower renowned for its showy, daisy-like flowers in shades of orange, red, or sunshine yellow. Floret petals are anchored with a chocolate-brown center disk, and flowers bloom from June to September. Indigenous to central and eastern North America, black-eyed Susans grow best in well-draining or sandy soil enriched with organic compost, medium moisture levels, and a full sun location. Drought resistant once established, they’re hardy in Zones 3-7 and grow from 1 to 3 feet tall. Perfect for the cutting garden, they’re deer resistant, attractive to butterflies, and small songbirds enjoy the seeds in fall. Use their bright color to best effect in beds and borders, cottage or wildflower gardens, large containers, or in mass plantings.
BLUE CARDINAL FLOWER (LOBELIA SIPHILITICA) Blue cardinal flower is a clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with stiff, unbranched stems 2 to 3 feet in height. The stems are topped with terminal racemes of tubular flowers in shades of light to dark blue that bloom from July to September. Native to moist low meadows, woodlands, and stream and spring banks of central and eastern North America, it’s hardy in Zones 4-9. It requires a full sun to part shade site, humus-rich soil, and medium to wet moisture conditions. Deer resistant, blue cardinal flower is well-suited to beds and borders, rain gardens, perennial beds, native and woodland settings, and moist areas, like beside ponds or streams.
CHRYSANTHEMUM (CHRYSANTHEMUM) For reliable late season performance, chrysanthemums are available in a huge selection of colors, forms, and sizes. Blooming from August to November, flowers have ray florets, with numerous cultivars bred for multiple rows of florets in different shapes – from tubular to fringed. Colors are almost unlimited and come in shades of lavender, orange, red, white, and yellow. A native of China, this herbaceous perennial has been cultivated for millennia. It grows best in fertile, humus-rich and well-draining soil, with consistent moisture and full sun exposure. Hardy in Zones 5-9, mums appreciate a winter mulch in colder regions. Chrysanthemums attract butterflies, and are deer and rabbit resistant. They are most effective in mass plantings, at the front of mixed and perennial beds and borders, and in containers or windowboxes.
DAHLIA (DAHLIA) Dahlias are tuberous rooted perennials with a large variety of colors, shapes, and sizes ranging from 1 to 6 feet tall. They flower from July to September. The pinwheel-shaped blossoms are categorized into 10 different groups to distinguish among the many flower types, such as cactus, decorative, pompon, and waterlily. Sizes vary greatly as well, from compact patio cultivars to ones with huge, dinner-plate-sized blooms. Native to Mexico and Central America, dahlias are hardy in Zones 8-11. In colder regions, the tubers need to be dug up in the fall and stored, then planted in the spring and grown as annuals. Dahlias enjoy full sun with some afternoon shade in hot regions. Plant in well-draining, compost-rich soil, with a medium moisture level. Dahlias make an outstanding option for cut arrangements, and are well-suited for beds, borders, containers, and window boxes.
ECHINACEA / CONEFLOWER (ECHINACEA PURPUREA)Echinacea, also called coneflower, is a clump-forming perennial with purple, daisy-like flowers that put on a showy display from June to September. It grows 2 to 5 feet tall and reblooms readily, with blossoms forming on stiff, multi-branched stems clad with broad, dark green leaves. Indigenous to eastern North America, echinacea is hardy in Zones 3-9 and easily grown in well-draining soil of average fertility, dry to medium moisture, and a full to part sun location. However, this plant is wonderfully adaptable and tolerant of harsh conditions, including drought, heat, humidity, and poor soil. Echinacea is a good choice for freshly cut or dried flowers. Deer and rabbit resistant, it’s also attractive to butterflies and other beneficial creepy-crawlies, and migrating songbirds will visit seedheads in fall and winter. It makes an attractive addition in mixed and perennial beds and borders as well as native or naturalized areas, and is stunning when planted in masses with yellow black-eyed Susans.
HELENIUM (HELENIUM AUTUMNALE)If it’s vibrant, warm colors you want, helenium produces masses of daisy-like blooms in rich shades of orange, red, and yellow. Sun lovers, these erect, clump-forming plants that are also known as sneezeweed grow 3 to 4 feet tall, adding terrific interest from August to October. Native to Central and North America, helenium grows best in soil of average fertility amended with organic material, medium to wet moisture, and full sun. Hardy in Zones 3-8, it is intolerant of dry soils. It also benefits from being cut back in late spring to encourage branching and more flowers. Helenium attracts butterflies, and winter birds enjoy the seedheads, but deer avoid it. Use it in mixed and perennial beds and borders, cottage gardens, naturalized areas, and in areas with moist soil.
It's no surprise that kids are always begging to play a game on their parents' tablets or cell phones — adults are always on them! That's why tablets for kids exist: so you don't have to worry about handing them your precious iPad, only to find that it breaks the second they drop it. These kid-friendly tablets are often similar to regular versions, except they're often more durable and come with educational apps for kids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding digital media for kids under 18 to 24 months. If you let kiddos watch videos or play games, be sure to do it with them so that they can learn from you. As for kids ages 2 to 5, the AAP recommends limiting their screen time to one hour per day.
The best option for toddlers ages 1 to 3 is Fisher-Price's Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet, because it has three different levels so it can grow with your child. It's not a real tech "tablet" since you can't download more apps, but it does the trick for the little ones. Our top pick, the Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet, is best for kids ages 3+.
Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet
With a Fire Kids Edition Tablet, your child can play games and watch videos without the need to worry about it breaking the 10-inch display since it comes with a durable case in either pink, yellow, or blue. If you're looking for something similar but with a smaller screen, you can opt for the Fire HD 8.
One of the best part about these tablets is access to all of the content on FreeTime Unlimited. With it, parents can also set goals and limits — you can even choose to allow specific content down to the episode. It normally costs $3 per month, but you get a year for free with this tablet.
Storage: 32 GB
Battery life: up to 12 hours
Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet
PSA: You can get the seven-inch version of the Fire tablet for half the price of our top pick. It has a slightly smaller screen size, lower battery life, and lessened storage capabilities, but this version of the kids tablet still has many of the same features we love about the Fire HD 10 tablet. Plus, you'll still get the free year-long subscription to FreeTime Unlimited. With these Amazon tablets, your kids can also access audiobooks and over a thousand pieces of content in Spanish.
Storage: 16 GB
Battery life: up to 7 hours
LeapPad Academy - LeapFrog
This LeapFrog tablet is a great option if you want to make sure your kids are ready for their next year of school. The educational device comes pre-installed with over 20 apps for kids, with subjects ranging from reading and writing to math and coding -- you can also download more games and apps since this tablet has an Android operating system.
You also get a three-month free trial of the brand's learning program called LeapPad Academy, which features tons of other content. It's built to be super kid-friendly, so you don't have to worry about the screen shattering (especially since it has a bumper and kickstand).
Storage: 16 GB
Battery life: up to 7 hours
Galaxy Tab E Lite 7
This 7-inch Samsung tablet is another great option for little ones since it's lightweight and comes with a protective case. It comes pre-installed with kid-friendly content (over 20 apps with STEM lessons and Sesame Street content). There's also the option for parental controls, so mom or dad can monitor learning progress and set limitations on what their kids can access. Bonus: it automatically blocks ads and in-app purchases.
Storage: 8 GB
Battery life: up to 9 hours
iPad (Wi-Fi, 32GB)
There are two situations where an iPad might be the best tablet for your kids: 1) you want a device that can be used by the entire family, or 2) you already have an iPad in your household and want to give it to your child as a hand-me-down.
This iPad equipped with Touch ID and you can enable parental controls by using a passcode for certain apps. Just note that iPads don't come with a protective case, so you'll want to purchase one to make it more kid-friendly.
Storage: 32 GB or 128 GB
Battery life: up to 10 hours
Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet - Fischer Price
This "tablet" is more of a toy, so choose it as your child's first tablet and it can stay with them until they're 3. It's equipped with the brand's Smart Stages technology, meaning parents can switch between three different levels of play as your child grows. Each app is actually a button that plays phrases, songs, and other sounds to introduce a variety of concepts, like the alphabet, animals, and colors.
Battery life: uses three AAA batteries
Pixel Slate Tablet - Google
For older kids in high school or college, the Google Pixel Slate is like a mini computer so it's great for homework. It has a 12.3-inch screen and weighs less than two pounds, so it won't feel too heavy in their backpack. Plus, it comes built-in with Google Assistant, so they can ask questions and get answers. For even more computer-like capabilities, you can add on a keyboard and stylus.
Storage: 8GB or 16GB
Battery life: up to 10 hours
8.5-Inch LCD Writing Tablet - Boogie Board
Although this isn't your typical tablet, the eWriter is a great tool to help your kids practice writing letters, numbers, and shapes. You can't store anything on it, and LCD screen erases with the press of a button so kids can start over with a blank canvas whenever they want. It also comes with a stylus, but if you lose it you can still use a similar object — or even your finger!
Battery life: up to 50,000 erase cycles with the included watch battery
There are so many great books coming out through the fall, including a number from big-name authors. This month’s selections include a few of those along with books by writers you likely haven’t heard of before. It would be difficult to decide which group is better. Best not to try; just read them all.
“Life of A Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy,” by Edward Ball (Aug. 4)
Ball’s latest memoir is about his great-great-grandfather Constant Lecorgne, a white French Creole who became a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Ball approached descendants of the African American people who were victims of Lecorgne and his cohort to share their narratives. A powerful, relevant and personal story about how we look at the word “heritage.”
“Luster: A Novel,” by Raven Leilani (Aug. 4)
“You are a desirable woman. You are not a dozen gerbils in a skin casing,” the protagonist of this novel tells herself early in this strange, hilarious, important debut. Edie wants to be a painter, but she’s young, black and depressive, with no clue how to get what she wants. After falling for the much-older Eric, Edie finds herself part of his open marriage and an unwilling role model for his daughter. But what happens when their family flailing inspires her art?
“Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” by Isabel Wilkerson (Aug. 4) In “The Warmth of Other Suns,” Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize winner, explained how the Great Migration changed our country forever. In “Caste,” Wilkerson shows the distinctions between race, class and caste, the latter a means of ensuring that there is always a “bottom rung” for humans to supposedly rise above. Yet that deep rut has many costs, and not just for those consigned to remain there.
“On Corruption in America: And What Is at Stake,” by Sarah Chayes (Aug. 11)
Chayes, whose “Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security” won the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, once worked as a special assistant on corruption to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She understands the corrosive nature of malfeasance, and she has examples from plenty of presidential administrations to remind us what absolute power does.
“The New Wilderness: A Novel,” by Diane Cook (Aug. 11)
In a near-future America, the only natural area that remains is called the Wilderness State. When the government asks for volunteers to live there without any modern tools or amenities, a family of three agrees despite the rigid rules — no staying in one place longer than seven days, for example — and the rangers who enforce them. More than a version of “Survivor: Woodlands,” this novel asks tough questions about love and sustainability.
“Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980,” by Rick Perlstein (Aug. 18)
The author of “Nixonland” and “The Invisible Bridge” returns with the finale of his trilogy about American conservatism. Readers can decide for themselves whether Perlstein deserves to be called “the hypercaffeinated Herodotus of the American century,” as the Nation magazine dubbed him, but there’s no doubt his energetic writing takes his topic to an engaging level.
“Black Bottom Saints: A Novel,” by Alice Randall (Aug. 18)
In Detroit’s celebrated Black Bottom neighborhood, Joseph “Ziggy” Johnson writes about gossip, emcees a night club, runs a theater school and keeps tabs on the city’s elite, including Count Basie and Ethel Waters. As he lies in a hospital dying, he curates a list of “52 Saints” and tells their stories — oh, and he provides cocktail recipes, too.
“Winter Counts: A Novel,” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Aug. 25)
The first in a planned series set on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, “Winter Counts” is a first-rate thriller that also delivers first-rate commentary on our nation’s colonial crimes. Virgil Wounded Horse, Rosebud’s local enforcer, needs to stop the flow of heroin into his community, and into his nephew’s veins. That quest will take him on the road, with his ex-girlfriend, to confront terrifying enemies.
“Squeeze Me: A Novel,” by Carl Hiaasen (Aug. 25) Leave it to Hiaasen to lampoon what is going on in Washington with a socialite’s murder in Palm Beach. Kiki Pew, a founding member of the POTUSSIES, women dedicated to the president, disappears from a charity gala and is found in a concrete grave. The president declares she’s been killed by “immigrant hordes,” but wildlife wrangler Angie Armstrong senses something closer to the White House is responsible.
“Vesper Flights: Essays,” by Helen MacDonald (Aug. 25)
If you haven’t read “H Is for Hawk,” MacDonald’s splendid 2015 memoir about raising a goshawk while grieving her father’s death, please put that title on top of your TBR pile, with this one directly beneath it. The essays in “Vesper Flights” prove that the author is a nature writer on par with Annie Dillard, one whose keen observations about everything from migrations to mushrooms intertwine with a compassionate perspective on her fellow humans.
For a truly stress-free outdoor party and outdoor entertaining experience, you want to keep the pests—and the guests—from buzzing in your ear. Here’s how to create an oasis for a backyard party where the revelers are satiated and no one gets eaten alive. With any luck, you’ll be able to check everything off the party planning checklist and have some fun, too.
Spread the word
The three things to include on the invitation:
When they’ll be eating. Avoid refiring the grill for latecomers with something like “The grill master will be slinging grub from 6 to 7. Come and get it!”
Attire. Everyone (OK, every woman) is wondering what to wear. Tank top? Sundress? Give guests a sense of the vibe: “You wear the flip-flops; we’ll flip the burgers” or “Bring your swimsuits!”
Rain plans. “I don’t think you need a rain date unless it’s a 600-person church picnic,” says Charleston, South Carolina–based entertaining expert Calder Clark. “A 30-person barbecue at my house is going to happen no matter what.” But if you want to clarify, add a note: “Rain or shine.” Or “If it rains…game night inside!” Just be sure that you have room for everyone in your living room.
Have enough seats
What if you have five patio chairs and 25 guests? Assess your indoor furniture. The easiest option is to press dining chairs into service, along with any drum stools or poufs. If you’re keeping things casual, you can spread pretty quilts on the ground and let people gather picnic-style.
Renting can be another surprisingly cheap way to go. Folding chairs start as low as $2 apiece. (You may also be able to rent coolers, speakers, tableware, and a bigger grill.) Many vendors will even drop off and pick up, so all you have to round up is the guests and good cheer.
Light it right
Is that your dog Sparky? Or a skunk? Don’t leave guests in the dark. All you need is a little ambient lighting, says Jimmy Duhig, the owner of Creative Lighting Design, in San Francisco: “If you’re outside while it’s getting dark, your eyes will adjust.” Just hang strings of lights on the deck, the fence, even tree branches, and add some hurricane lanterns or tealights. Duhig recommends globe string lights, elegant round bulbs that give off a warm glow (try Room Essentials Clear Globe String Lights, $10; target.com). “This is what you always see strung overhead at outdoor dinner parties on TV,” he says.
What to do with extension cords (a.k.a. trip wires) If you need to run cords through the yard, says Duhig, snip old wire hangers with a wire cutter and bend them into skinny U-shaped pegs (like croquet wickets, but only an inch or two wide). Then arc them over the cords and hammer them flush into the ground.
Decorate in a pinch
In fact, you really only need one party decoration (hint: it’s a pinata). It’s colorful! It’s interactive! It’s wise to hand out the broom before everyone has had three margaritas! Buy a big piñata that fits the mood of the fiesta (try Oriental Trading or Confetti System). “Fill it with dollar-store items in one color. Monochromatic always looks chic,” says Clark. “Buy things people can wear, like sunglasses and necklaces. It will make fun photographs.” Other festive loot: lottery tickets and—especially for a pool party—mini water pistols.
Keep mosquitoes away
Get rid of standing water. “That’s where mosquitoes breed,” says Laura Harrington, an associate professor of entomology at Cornell University. “The week before the party, empty out the kiddie pool, the rain gutters, and any rainwater that has collected in the bottoms of flowerpots.”
Plug in some fans. “Mosquitoes are weak flyers, so even if a fan is set on low, it can create enough airflow to keep them away,” says Harrington. This works best in a small area, like a deck, where you can set up two or three box fans around your guests. It’s also a good idea to put a tabletop fan near the salads.
Offer guests bug wipes that won’t create a smelly fog. “Look for products that contain the repellent picaridin instead of DEET,” says Harrington. “DEET can degrade synthetic fabrics, damaging clothing.” Try Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin Towelettes ($8 for eight; avon.com); stash them in a basket by the back door. You might also consider a bug-repellent gadget for the yard.
Master the music
Playlist tips from Michael Antonia, the owner of the Flashdance, a production company in Los Angeles.
Don’t crank the speakers. No one will want to stand near them if they’re blaring. The best setup is four or more speakers, spread out, set at a lower volume. “If you’re using a boom box or an iPod dock, place it above ear level so it’s not blasting directly at guests’ heads,” says Antonia. “And turn it toward the side of the house—you can make it a little louder and the sound will spread out better.”
Go heavy on classics: the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson—songs that people recognize. Keep it upbeat, and mix in some newer tunes here and there. “I like Bon Iver, Beach House, White Stripes, and Elliott Smith,” says Antonia.
Plan for five hours. “Most parties aren’t going to last longer than that, and if there’s anyone who realizes the playlist has started over at hour six, well, they probably need another drink.”
Entertain the kids
So the grown-ups can kick back with the sangría, have some diversions for the kids: plenty of blowing bubbles, perhaps a sprinkler or a Slip ’n Slide, and beach balls. You can also buy a few inexpensive disposable cameras and let kids serve as official event photographers.
Play it cool
How to survive the sweltering heat:
Handheld fans. Natural raffia fans or classic accordion fans (both available from Oriental Trading) look pretty placed in big baskets.
Ice-cold compresses. Buy a pack of inexpensive washcloths from a dollar store, roll each up and secure with a rubber band, then toss into a cooler of ice water for guests to grab. (The best cooling points are the neck and wrists, where large arteries run close to the skin.)
Try these 10 clever ways to make your summer vacation more affordable—without sacrificing fun.
Save on gas - take a one tank trip Instead of hopping in the car to drive all day, plan out a one-tank mini-trip. You'll still feel like you're getting away, and there are probably some awesome nearby attractions that you've been meaning to get to for ages -- now's the time!
Rent lodging from the owner Score a deal by seeking out by-owner rentals when you need overnight digs -- and be ready to negotiate. "With people not traveling as much this summer it's a great time to call up the owners of vacation condos or mom-and-pop type hotels to ask for a deal," says Ellie Kay, mother of seven and the author of A Mom's Guide to Family Finances. "You'll speak directly with the owner, and because they're used to being full at this time of the year, they're more likely to offer you a discount."
Save when you fly With surcharges on everything from food to luggage, flying isn't cheap these days. Here's how to save where you can:* Bring along your snacks for the flight rather than buying munchies last-minute at the airport or onboard. Ditto on activities and books for the kids -- be organized and bring along diversions (preferably ones they haven't seen for a while) from home.
* Both kids and adults are each allowed one personal item and one bag as carry-ons -- so take advantage and bring on the full number that your group is allowed. You may be able to avoid checking luggage altogether.
* Maximize what you carry on (and avoid having to pay to check) by packing efficiently. "Remember there are laundry facilities everywhere you go," says Emily Kaufman, aka The Travel Mom, and author of The Travel Mom's Ultimate Book of Family Travel. "From camping to cruise ships, you be able to find a place to do laundry on the road if you need to."
Eat on the cheap You gotta eat, but going to a restaurant for every single meal adds up fast. Here's how to save:
* Book a studio (a room with a kitchen) so you can pick up some basic groceries and prepare simple meals and snacks in your own digs.
* There's no need to have a sit-down meal, every meal. While you're out and about, look for a deli or supermarket where you can grab some sandwiches and take them with you to a park for a picnic.
* When you do eat out, know how to make it cheap. "I've paid $25 for a $50 gift certificate to a steakhouse that I found at restaurant.com," says Kay.
* Look for Kids Eat Free programs -- something many restaurants and hotels offer on particular days of the week.
Have fun at home Plan a staycation -- a vacation where you stay at home and line up fun activities around the house or in your community. "'Vacation' to a 6-year-old doesn't really mean anything yet," says Annette Economides, mother of five and co-author of America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money. "They'll have just as much fun spending time with you doing things like going for hikes, visiting museums, and taking day trips as they would traveling."
Go backyard camping Once you add up the cost of gear, supplies, and the extra gas it takes to get your overloaded car to a faraway campsite, the outing can become pricey. Instead, have a backyard campout. Kids can help scope out the "campsite" and pitch the tent. You can cook your meals on the grill (don't forget s'mores), eat alfresco, tell spooky stories by flashlight, and sleep outside in the tent. Bonus: Home (with your bathroom and well-stocked medicine cabinet) is right there for potty breaks and bug bites.
Theme parks: Go local A trip to a theme park doesn't have to include long car rides, flights, and hotels -- chances are your kids (especially younger ones) will be just as thrilled with a great local park. Hit up your park's Web site before you go. Many offer discounts on tickets purchased online, have printable coupons for deals on food, and offer information about reduced fares for afternoon admission, season passes, and group ticket sales. Also check for modified hours of operation and safety mandates due to COVID-19.
Host or be hosted Host: Instead of spending your precious vacation days on planes or in the car en route to visit friends and family, why not ask them come to you this year? Plan some fun ways to spend your free days at home or nearby -- even if you're doing things you've done a thousand times, it will feel new to share them with visiting grandparents, cousins, or other families with kids you don't get to see often.
Be Hosted: Have a friend or relative with a house in the mountains? The beach? Anywhere but here? Hitting up friends and family for visits rather than staying in a hotel can be a huge cost saver. So don't be shy about (respectfully) inquiring about a visit. Just remember not to overstay your welcome -- especially if your hosts have kid-chaos of their own.
Take a multi-family trip Make your vacay a multifamily trip and save bucks by going in on a house (with a full kitchen!) together. Lots of popular beach and mountain destinations have houses that can sleep multiple families and you'll be able to take turns watching the kids at the beach or on hiking trails. Also switch off making meals -- you'll all save money by not eating out and you'll get a mini-break from cooking.
Take note: these trips do require a little extra planning in order for everything to run smoothly. "Work out what everybody's rules and expectations for the trip will be before you go," says Kaufman. "If you decide how you'll divide up food costs, take turns watching the kids, and all of the other details before you travel, nobody will be disappointed or surprised on the trip."
Give the kids a budget Prevent post-vacation credit card bill shock (and teach your kids a thing or two about budgeting) by thinking about how much each day will cost in advance -- and then giving your kids (over age 7) a reasonable amount of cash as their daily spending money. Let them know they can keep anything that's left over so they'll think about whether or not they really need both the cotton candy and the jumbo lollipop -- or if they can make do with one or the other and pocket the rest. Be clear and stick to you guns -- if the money runs out, that's it. No bailing out your spendthrift kid.
Summer is under way! Keep your little ones occupied with these free (and almost-free) activities to do inside and outside of the house.
Backyard Obstacle Course Construct a backyard obstacle course with hula hoops, jump ropes, sticks, stones, hoses, and other materials from around the house. Your kids can take turns completing it—and the person with the fastest time wins a prize!
Camp in the Yard No campground? No problem! Hitch a tent in the backyard and spend the night underneath the stars. This free summer activity has one major benefit over normal camping: There’s a working toilet merely feet away!
Plan a Bike Parade Encourage your kids to decorate their rides with streamers, stickers, flags, and more—then let them cruise around the neighborhood to show off their creation.
Make a Bird Feeder Invite summertime birds to your yard with a DIY bird feeder. To make it, simply coat sticks with peanut butter and roll them in birdseed. It’s the perfect opportunity to teach kids about nature and animals.
DIY Chalk Bombs Kids will have a blast with this idea from mom Lorie King Kaehler, author of Chalk on the Wild Side. Use a clean soap-dispenser pump to fill water balloons with a washable chalk-paint mixture (1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and a few drops of food coloring). Have your child draw targets on the ground with chalk or just let him go wild. Fire away!
Learn Cooking Skills This fun summer activity for kids also has a practical purpose: Teaching little ones to cook. Choose a favorite food—such as grilled cheese or cookies—and make it with your child. She’ll feel proud while eating the finished product.
Organize an at Home Picnic You can host a picnic lunch without leaving your property! Choose a mealtime destination, whether it’s a patio table or blanket in the backyard. Prepare picnic staples like sandwiches, load them into a basket, and enjoy dining al fresco.
Paint Outside When painting outside, there’s no need to worry about making a mess. Just use washable paint and the medium of your choice, whether it's construction paper, cardboard, or blocks. You can also create outdoor artwork with sidewalk chalk.
Go Fishing Fishing is a classic free summer activity for kids. Brush up on the basics at takemefishing.org, teach the proper techniques to your young angler, and find a place to cast off. Make sure you check local laws about fishing; you may need a license.
Play Games Outside Designate one evening per week to some friendly family competition (think kickball, softball, and capture the flag). Keep everything fair by dividing into new teams for each round.
The best season of the year is finally here. And with summertime comes the need for some quick and easy summer dinner ideas to feed your crew so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time soaking up the sun with your family! Indulge in all that the summer has to offer by gathering around a table full of the best grilled chicken recipes, grilled vegetable recipes, and refreshing BBQ side dishes that aren't too heavy for the heat. From June through August, fill up on the season's finest with these family-friendly picks, which are quick, easy, and seriously delicious — plus, many of them store well as leftovers for later. Oh, and to top things off, might we recommend one of our favorite summer drink recipes too?
Barbecued Chicken With Roasted Corn Pudding This charred chicken and corn recipe makes for the quintessential summer dinner. Glass of rosé optional. Get the recipe for Barbecued Chicken with Roasted Corn Pudding »
Chicago-Style Chicken Dogs Sweet and spicy pickles and peppers make this barbecue favorite a real winner. Get the recipe for Chicago-Style Chicken Dogs »
Grilled Haloumi This protein-packed vegetarian salad stars haloumi, a salty Greek cheese that doesn't melt over high temps. Toss it on the grill, and mix together your fave veggies and grain and dinner's done! Get the recipe for Grilled Haloumi »
Steak With Grilled Green Beans, Fennel & Farro Fire up the grill to char green beans and steak for the ultimate summer dinner. Get the recipe for Steak with Grilled Green Beans, Fennel & Farro »
Grilled Chicken With Coconut-Lime Slaw Shake up your chicken routine with this easy weeknight dinner that will be on the table in just 20 minutes. Get the recipe for Grilled Chicken with Coconut-Lime Slaw »
Peach and Prosciutto Flatbreads Who knew everything you needed to make your pizzas taste wood-fired was already in your backyard? Fire up your grill to give these flatbreads a beautiful char. Get the recipe for Peach and Prosciutto Flatbreads »
Tomato, Peach & Basil Salad With Italian Sausage What more could you want in a fresh summer dish? This one has peaches, tomatoes, and basil. Get the recipe for Tomato, Peach & Basil Salad with Italian Sausage »
Summer Squash, Mint, and Pecorino Pasta Squash, mint, and lemon juice lighten up this fresh summer pasta made in under 30 minutes for the perfect weeknight meal. Get the recipe for Summer Squash, Mint, and Pecorino Pasta »
Summer Rolls Get the whole family involved in rolling these vegan finger foods. They make for the perfect light dinner, complete with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. Get the recipe for Summer Rolls »
Creamy Corn Pasta With Bacon and Scallions Brighten up weeknight pasta with corn, basil, and scallions to satisfy your summer comfort food cravings. Get the recipe for Creamy Corn Pasta with Bacon and Scallions »
A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory A clear, straightforward approach on how to introduce a complex and heavy topic to your child, A Kids Book About Racism will help you start a much needed conversation. Written to make a difficult conversation more digestible for little minds, your child as young as 6 can begin to understand what racism is, how it makes others feel, and why it happens.
Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan I tried to explain slavery to my own 7-year-old, and despite my best effort, I fumbled through it and didn't have answers to many of his questions. In a gentle, very powerful way, Freedom Over Me utilizes actual slave auction and plantation documents to create a picture of what putting a dollar amount on a human really meant. Along with creating a picture of slavery, the author also parallels beautiful poetry that represents the very human dreams of each individual. As slavery is a major part of the nucleus that is the racial biases and injustices in this country, helping your child understand the roots of the story is invaluable.
White Water by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein Drinking from a water from a public fountain is hardly seen as a privilege today. However, back in the ’50s and ’60s, a Black child quenching his thirst at a "Whites Only" fountain was essentially a death sentence. White Water tells the tale of Michael, a boy that simply wants to drink cold, clean water on a hot day. When he sips from his designated "Blacks Only" fountain, the water tastes awful. Glancing over at the other fountain, he wonders if the "Whites Only" fountain serves of better, more refreshing water. If it is for white people, it must be better than the fountain he has access to, right? It's only when he sneaks over to take a few sips that he realizes there is actually no difference between the fountains or the water — and much like racist constructs that rule the Deep South, the separate but unequal dogma is man-made.
A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara It is never too early to teach your child about equality, tolerance, and civil rights. A is for Activist is a vibrant board book written to start the process of awareness for your little one. With upbeat alliteration and rhymes, you can use this board book to teach your child the basics of equality.
Teach Your Dragon About Diversity by Steve Herman When it comes to teaching your child about race, approaching the topic with a blanket of color-blindness can do more harm than good. However, the alternative of addressing differences between people based on skin color and ethnicity could feel counter intuitive. Teach Your Dragon About Diversity simplifies this complicated topic of tolerance and diversity through the medium of dragons. Instead of ignoring our differences and the aspects of us that make us individuals, this book calls the reader to teach their dragon that our variances of color, race, gender, and more is what makes us unique and special — but it doesn't have to be the catalyst for superiority or discrimination.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia For the first time in 7 years, Delphine and her two little sisters are going to go visit their mother who moved across the country for a radical political movement. It is the summertime in the late '60s, and racial tensions are as steamy as the long hot days. The news and the media portray the Black Panther Party as violent and harmful to everyone, including Black people. When Delphine and her sisters get to California, their mother thrusts them into learning about with the Black Panther Party is really all about. During this one crazy summer, the girls learn self-pride, how to advocate for themselves, and the importance of fighting against injustice.
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes Twelve-year-old Jerome is dead. He was shot and killed by a white police officer who mistook his toy gun for a real one. Now that he is a ghost, Jerome is able to watch the turmoil, protests, and pain that unfolds after his death. It's a lot to process, even for a ghost. He soon meets up with Emmett Till, a boy who was killed decades earlier by the Ku Klux Klan for allegedly whistling at a white woman in 1955. Emmett helps Jerome process everything that is unfolding in the aftermath and how historic racism and prejudices led to the events that caused his death. Weaving together dangerous historical displays of racism and current events, your child will be able to gain a better understanding of why these things continue to happen.
Breakout by Kate Messner Nora Tucker is ready to jump headfirst into her summer break. But instead of long days in the pool and popsicles for breakfast, Nora and everyone in her upstate New York town are on a sudden lockdown thanks to a couple of inmates breaking out of the local prison. As Nora and her friends figure out how to stay safe in the midst of a breakout, the Black families in the town endure microaggressions and outright racism from their neighbors. With reflections on race, lack of diversity, and our broken prison system, your middle-grade reader will have a list of topics that they'll want to discuss.
New Kid by Jerry Craft Jordan Banks would love to go to art school, but his loving parents have something else in mind. Instead of spending his days sketching and drawing, Jordan makes the long daily hike from his Washington Heights apartment to the ritzy Riverdale Academy Day School. Told through fantastic graphics, readers will go on the journey of diversity and classism, and see how Jordan Banks learns how to navigate his new school while staying true to himself.
Blended by Sharon M. Draper Isabella is biracial with a white mom and a Black dad. While her parents are divorced and in new relationships, she spends equal time with both of them. Being a child of divorced parents already makes Isabella feel like she is constantly divided between her father's wealthier lifestyle and the more modest life of her mother. However, being biracial is another struggle for Isabella to cope with as she is constantly bombarded with questions of who she really is. When she is pulled over with her soon-to-be stepbrother Darren and a cellphone is thought to be a weapon, shots are fired and Isabella's life becomes that much more complicated. Understanding race, diversity, and discrimination when you are comprised of two different backgrounds can be confusing for a child. Reading Isabella's story can be both relatable for your own child and help them build empathy for others.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis The Watson kids are restless and getting into a bit of trouble, especially the eldest son. Instead of hanging out in Michigan, the family decides to head down to Birmingham, Alabama to visit their grandmother. Unlike the north, the Deep South in 1963 is a boiler room of racial tension that is just about ready to explode. During their time there, the Watson family witnesses some of the most horrific displays of racism in America's history. Understanding the bloody, difficult, and tense past of America is a major piece to the puzzle when it comes to grasping where we are now. Reading about the Watson family will give your own child a keyhole view into the past and help them shape an understanding of the origins of racism.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone Despite being an honor student, staying out of trouble, and making an effort to escape his less-than-desirable neighborhood, Justyce Mcallister is still struggling. Between the harassment from cops, ridicule from his old neighborhood friends, and contempt from his current classmates, it feels like nothing he does is pushing his life forward. Justyce turns to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help guide him to the answers of what to do next. When Justyce and his friend Manny are driving through town with their music cranked up, an off-duty white cop can't resist pulling them over for driving while black. In the midst of it all, shots are fired and, as the dust rises and falls, it is Justyce that is left holding the blame. By highlighting the innocent, smart person that Justyce is, your own young reader will be able to make a connection between the headlines of slain Black people and, instead of seeing them as just a headline, see them as actual people.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas There are many teens who straddle two worlds. In one, they are surviving in poor neighborhoods that don't have consistent access to important resources. In the other, they are navigating glitzy private schools where they are a part of a 1% diversity quota. This is the life of Starr until she witnesses her childhood friend being killed by a white officer, despite being unarmed. As the media gets a hold of the story, she watches as her loving and sweet friend's memory transforms into that of a criminal and street thug. During all of this, she has to figure out if she should speak up, putting her family at risk, or keep her mouth shut as her friends memory is dragged through the mud. A story that will promote understanding, empathy, and insight to situations that your own teen has seen play out repeatedly, The Hate You Give is a must-read.
Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi Watching the deaths of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, and George Floyd and many others play out in the media and the racist overtones of each could have your teen feeling confused and wondering where this all began. Stamped is a readable history of racist ideas in America for teenage readers. Through incredible research, your reader will go on a journey of where it all started and why after centuries, racism still lingers in our everyday.
This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell If you asked your child how they would dismantle racism, what would they say? It's a big question that many adults don't even have the answer to. This Book is Anti-Racist will give your child both a deeper understanding of racism and tangible ways to be the change that they want to see. Through a world view, Jewell informs readers how racism has touched many parts of the world from America to the indigenous people of Australia. By the end of this book, your child should feel informed and like they have the confidence to stand up to racist adults and peers that they may encounter in life.
The Cahoon Museum of American Art is happy to announce that they'll reopen on August 1. They've missed you and can’t wait to reopen their doors again to welcome you back! There's nothing like the experience of immersing yourself in art, and their current exhibitions will refresh and engage you.
During the past months, they've created new online content for you to enjoy, including highlights from their collection and a drive-by exhibition, Alfred Glover: Garden Grove. But there's no substitute for a personal, first-hand experience in the Museum’s unique galleries.
As they reopen, the Museum has adopted new protocols to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for you, including:
To celebrate the Cahoon’s reopening, admission will be free for the month of August sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.
Click here for full information on visitor guidelines and to make a reservation.
Cotuit Library has passes to the Cahoon, so be sure to request them by calling the Library at 508-428-8141 if you plan to visit this beautiful Cape museum!
After 116 days of closure, CCMoA's main Exhibition Galleries are finally scheduled to reopen with all new exhibitions! As a thank you to our loyal and supportive Members, we will be open for Museum Members Only, this Thursday, July 9 & Friday, July 10. We will reopen to the public beginning on Saturday, July 11 with limited occupancy. The CCMoA has taken many precautions to help ensure the safety of our patrons, staff and volunteers, following the guidance provided from www.Mass.gov for Reopening Massachusetts.
Journey: A Mayflower 400 Project July 9 – September 13, 2020Printmakers of Cape Cod (USA) and the Tamar Valley Printmakers (UK) will present a new body of artistic work, titled “Journey,” to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic journey to North America. This new body of original prints, created by twenty 20 artists from the USA and 20 from the UK, will be exhibited in both countries during 2020. You can see the exhibition at the Cape Cod Museum of Art (ccmoa.org) from July 9 - September 13, 2020.
Insight into INTERIORS July 9 - August 2 After months of time at home, come see an exhibition curated by the Docents of the CCMoA. The Docents have selecting pieces from the Permanent Collection on the INTERIORS theme.
Events: Cape Cod Museum of Art’s Re-imagined Gala Auction Event in the Age of Covid-19 Online Auction Will Run from July 20 – August 15, 2020 With a “Live” Online Auction Starting at 7 pm on August 15 Absentee Bidding Available for Both Live & Timed Auctions
The Cape Cod Museum of Art is excited to present fabulous works of art and memorable experiences in a fresh approach to our summer fundraising auction for 2020. “Our enthusiasm could not be greater; it will be so much fun to explore and bid on the wonderful art we've acquired for this event by so many well-respected artists, as well as the many ‘experience’ items that are being offered,” says Kenneth Hawkey, CCMoA Trustee and Auction Committee Chair. “We are especially delighted to be offering the thrill of bidding through an on-line auction platform with an international audience this year, expanding our reach and name recognition around the world.”
DRIVE-IN MOVIES ON THE CAMPUS OF THE CAPE COD CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The large central parking lot on the campus will be transformed into a nostalgic pop-up drive-in movie theater every Wednesday night starting July 15 through August – featuring family favorite films. Picnic boxes from local restaurants and beverages from the Playhouse concession will be available for purchase. Modest charges will be applied per person for each movie and the proceeds will be shared among the three campus organizations. The Parking lot will open at 7:30pm and all movies begin at 8:45pm.
Our Creative Outlets program has moved to ZOOM!
July 12 Find Your Essence Through Collage with Jennifer Stratton (Artist) and Poppy Kennedy (Calmer Choice Instructor)
The word collage comes from the French word coller which means to glue or stick together--basically assembling different materials together to make something new. Through some guided prompts we discover different parts of ourselves. Use old magazines, cards, photos, and anything else with pictures and words to create a collage that speaks from the inner you. You will need sturdy paper for your base, modpodge or glue, foam brushes, and lots of magazines, cards, photos, and other paper scrap
Register the young adult in your home for a ZOOM workshop. NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED! Just enjoy!
If your summer vacation plans include a few hours (or 10) in the car, you're gonna wanna pack these on-the-go essentials! Travel with these essentials for a whine-free ride. (Cute dog optional.)
Waze app No matter how well you may think you know the roads, it never hurts to have a little help. With the social traffic and navigation app Waze (available for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry), you'll be getting more than just directions. This free app allows other drivers in your network to report traffic jams or accidents, so you'll receive real-time updates at every turn.
Backpack When you're constantly tossing bags in and out of the car, they better be able to handle plenty of abuse. This durable North Face Hot Shot Backpack is water-resistant and has plenty of compartments for a portable speaker, games, and other road trip essentials.
Cooler With this Rubbermaid 50 Quart Cooler, you won't have to worry about your drinks and snacks getting warm. Packed with 25 pounds of ice, this split-top cooler will keep food cold for more than 12 hours. It also comes with large wheels, so you can easily cart it to a campsite or the beach.
Travel Mug If you rely on your morning coffee to get you through the day, take it on the road with this Oxo Good Grips LiquiSeal Travel Mug. And no need to fret about annoying bumps in the road — this beverage container won't leak or spill as long as the lid is closed.
Sneakers For all those times you're out and about instead of sitting in the car, slip into comfortable shoes with a minimal design like these Easy Spirit's Reinvent Walking Sneakers. The mesh upper and stretch lining of this lightweight shoe conforms to your foot, making it feel like you're wearing slippers instead of clunky tennis shoes.
Stain Remover Stick Throwing clothes in the washer at a moment's notice isn't an option on the road. Prepare yourself for any spills that come your way with Tide-To-Go Instant Stain Remover. This pocket-sized pen will completely remove soda, fruit juice, and coffee stains from fabrics. It even works on silk!
Car Vent Air Freshener Clips These will keep your car smelling fresh — no matter how many spills and crumbs you rack up on the road. Just add these easy-to-use clips to your car's vents, and voila.
Tissue Packs Better suited for the car than hard cardboard boxes, these tissues packs can be tucked in a glove compartment or in a door or seatback pouch without crushing. And, the water-resistant outer pack keeps the tissues clean and dry.
Snacks Look for healthy options like corn nuts. As long as they aren't fried, corn nuts are a secret superfood! Toss a bag in the car, or go for another pop-able driving snack like dry, roasted chickpeas or almonds. You'll find them at most rest stops, and with lots fiber and protein they'll stave off cravings between meals.
Lunch Bag Look for a lunch bag with built-in freezable gel, so you can pop the empty bag in the freezer the night before your outing to help your snacks stay cold throughout the morning.
Tablet Holder and Car Seat Organizer Keep kids occupied — while wrangling car games and snacks — with a pocket-packed headset hanger. Just slip a tablet into the pouch for an instant, on-the-go entertainment center.
Water Proof Phone Bag Protect your electronics and other important items from the elements with a Aquapac Small Case. Whether you're swinging by the pool or getting caught in a downpour, your gadgets will remain safe and functional through the clear, waterproof panel.
Roadside Emergency Kit Stay safe while road trippin' with Car and Driver's Roadside Emergency Kit, packed with essentials like jumper cables. ($25, shopcaranddriver.com)
Fresh Fruit If you've ever fished a crushed banana out of your bag, you'll appreciate how the innovative packaging on Chelan Fresh cherries, apples and pears makes fresh fruit easy to eat in no matter where you are. The company's Rockit Apple Tubes and Cup o'Cherries fit right into car cup holders, and the cherry cup even has a built-in place to put pits.
Mini Blow Dryer This Conair Minipro Tourmaline Ceramic Styler is user-friendly. It's an inexpensive, tiny champ that dries hair well and is super-light — at just 0.6 pounds. ($20, amazon.com)
Cultural institutions around the world may still be shuttered due to COVID-19, but fortunately, there’s still a way to browse renowned art collections while practicing social distancing. Now, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico has made 1,100+ works of art by the modern American painter available to view online for free.
Artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is one of the most famous women painters in the history of Western art, known in particular for her emphasis on composition and design over realistic depictions of subjects. The extensive digital collection encompasses some of her most significant works, including her flower paintings, abstractions, still lifes, and landscapes of the Southwestern United States. Additionally, visitors to the website can browse less-seen drawings from O’Keeffe’s sketchbooks, photographs of her ranch in Taos, New Mexico, as well as her rare abstract sculptures.
The digital collection also features artwork from some of O’Keeffe’s contemporaries, including her husband and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and ceramicist Juan Hamilton. Each of the images features information on the art pictured so that viewers can learn remotely.
You can peruse the collection on the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s website.
This extensive digital collection features some of O’Keeffe’s most significant works, including her flower paintings and landscapes of the Southwestern United States. Have fun exploring!
What does change look like? It’s a question at the center of many of this month’s new books. In Blacktop Wasteland, a mechanic who worked hard to move on from a life of crime is met with financial difficulties that leave him no choice but to drive the getaway car for an upcoming heist. In The End of White Politics, political analyst Zerlina Maxwell picks apart the Democratic Party and argues why it must reject white politics in order to truly evolve. And in a crop of memoirs, authors like Michele Harper and Natasha Trethewey analyze the pain of their pasts in an effort to understand how trauma has impacted the choices they’ve made in their lives. Here are 10 new books to read in July.
The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir, Michele Harper (July 7) In her new memoir, emergency room physician Michele Harper explores how the patients she’s treated have helped her come to terms with the traumas of her own past. Reflecting on everything from her turbulent childhood to the abrupt end of her marriage, Harper illustrates the complexities of self-healing and recovery. Throughout, she describes the chaotic nature of her work, which is amplified by the obstacles she must overcome as a Black woman in a profession dominated by white men.
The End of White Politics: How to heal our liberal divide, Zerlina Maxwell (July 7) Political analyst Zerlina Maxwell wants the Democratic Party to acknowledge and act on the fact that the demographics of the United States are changing. In her new book, Maxwell examines the fractures that exist within the party and argues that liberal politicians need to better connect with their base, which is no longer as white and male as it was years ago. Maxwell, who worked for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, lays out how Democrats can move forward and explains why rejecting white politics is imperative to their success.
Blacktop Wasteland, S.A. Cosby (July 14) A dedicated father and husband, mechanic Bug Montage has successfully escaped his criminal past. But now his terminally ill mother needs help and the auto shop he owns is in financial distress. He decides to take a job as a getaway driver in a jewelry heist, threatening the life he has built by slipping into one he thought he left behind. S.A. Cosby’s Blacktop Wasteland follows Bug on his twisty journey, a page-turning thriller about a man pushed to his breaking point.
Afterland, Lauren Beukes (July 28) After a global pandemic has fatally infected most of the world’s population, a mother named Cole is determined to do whatever it takes to protect her 12-year-old son Miles. As one of the few surviving boys, Miles had been housed at a government facility in California, until Cole came to his rescue. Now on the run, the duo must navigate a perilous landscape of fear and uncertainty, in which Cole has to disguise Miles as a girl. Lauren Beuke’s timely and unsettling novel, Afterland, depicts their journey across the country as they attempt to find safety.
Empire of Wild, Cherie Dimaline (July 28) It’s been almost a year since Joan last saw her husband Victor, who walked out on her after they got into a fight over what to do about her family’s land. In Cherie Dimaline’s latest novel, Joan catches up to him in a Walmart parking lot—but he has no idea who she is. Victor now goes by Reverend Eugene Wolff and he seems much more dangerous than the man she was once married to. Unsure of what to do, Joan leans on her Métis community to help her understand who her husband has become. In doing so, she begins to learn how the traditions of her ancestors might yield some much-needed answers.
Must I Go, Yiyun Li (July 28) While residing in a senior living facility, 81-year-old grandmother Lilia Liska is catapulted back in time when she reads her former lover Roland’s published diary entries. She begins marking up the pages with her own recollections of the events Roland described, and reflects on the adult daughter whom she lost to suicide. Like she did in her 2019 novel Where Reasons End, Yiyun Li creates a sensitive, strange and heartbreaking account of maternal love as Lilia processes the losses she’s experienced in her life.
Imitations: Six essays, Zadie Smith (July 28) Six essays comprise Zadie Smith’s latest collection, which she wrote during the first few months of stay-at-home orders. Though a slim book, Intimations captures the uneasiness of our modern moment as Smith reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic and relates it to issues of privilege and inequity. Her urgent voice tackles everything from what becomes important during isolation to the global response to George Floyd’s killing. The author asks questions, both timely and timeless, about how we respond to crisis and suffering.
Memorial Drive: A daughter's memoir, Natasha Trethewey (July 28) When she was 19 years old, Natasha Trethewey suffered a terrible tragedy: her former stepfather murdered her mother. In her anticipated memoir, the former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner contemplates the impact of this searing trauma on her life and artistry and reflects on her mother’s legacy. Trethewey places the event in the context of her upbringing in the South, revealing a youth shaped by domestic abuse and racism. In examining what came before and after the horrific event, Trethewey underscores the power of the love between a mother and daughter.
I Had a Wolf by the Ears: Stories, Laura van den Berg (July 28) Laura van den Berg’s latest collection includes 11 new stories, each eerie and dreamlike, anchored by a female protagonist who is slightly disconnected from her reality. One woman impersonates her missing sister at a conference abroad. Another remembers the treatment facility where she lived as a teenager after attempting suicide. Several can’t escape their pasts, a lesson one character in particular learns after running into her brother’s ex-wife while in Mexico City. Van den Berg writes about each woman in her dark and strange voice, interjecting glimpses of biting humor amid revelations of pain and loss.
Waiting for an Echo: The Madness of American incarceration, Christine Montross (July 21) Psychiatrist Christine Montross takes a stirring look at how the American legal system treats people with mental illness. In Waiting for an Echo, Montross argues that the system is broken, leaving many people who need therapeutic care behind bars and at the mercy of prison staff who do not know how to properly help them. Montross also follows what happens after release, illuminating the harrowing ways communities across the country are impacted by mass incarceration.
Click here for the CLAMS online catalog
21 native birds and bugs, crafted from 44,774 plastic “bricks,” have arrived at Heritage just in time for summer. Head over to the gardens to learn more about these fascinating native creatures that depend on the plants you love at Heritage, at the Bugs, Birds and Bricks outdoor sculpture exhibit created by international brick artist Cody Wells. This family-friendly outdoor exhibit is for all to enjoy, complete with exciting interpretation that connects these bugs and birds to their native habitats. Make sure to explore the exhibit next time you go. Learn more about Bugs, Birds and Bricks and its creator, Cody Wells, here.
Brick Artist Cody Wells has specially created some amazing one-of-a-kind pieces and they're not to be missed. The Bugs, Birds, & Bricks exhibit has arrived at Heritage. Placed around the grounds you'll find larger than life versions of creatures commonly found at Heritage. When you enter, be sure to keep your eyes on the mosaic as you pass by. It's got a great surprise in store. You'll be transfixed by the level of detail involved. Kids of every age will enjoy this impressive art installation. Be sure to check it out!
To obtain a library museum pass for a discounted admission to Heritage Museums & Gardens call the Cotuit Library at (508)-428-8141 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the best ways to combat racism in ourselves is to read widely and deeply on the subject. These anti-racist books, culled from reading lists offered by advocates and professors, address racism from a variety of angles. Some are educational texts that explain how it worms its way into so many aspects of society, largely without our noticing. Some are works of fiction that illustrate its destructiveness through story. And while this list is by no means exhaustive, we hope it gives you a starting point as you embark on or continue your own journey.
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward The National Book Award-winning author of Salvage the Bones edited this anthology of essays and poems that engage with James Baldwin's 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time. Organized into three sections, it looks at our legacy, the state of things today, and how we can work toward a better future.
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson Born out of a Washington Post op-ed, this book addresses the way that African American social progress has been stymied by white opposition throughout history, from the Jim Crow laws to the War on Drugs and even the response to Barack Obama's election. It offers a fresh perspective that history books didn't teach us.
So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeo Oluo From why it's not OK to touch your Black friend's hair, to how to tell your coworker their joke is racist, to talking about white privilege in general, this book can help us all navigate those difficult conversations. If you're uncomfortable talking about race, let this book be your guide.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Anjelou In her heart-wrenching debut memoir, Maya Angelou shares her experience with racism and bigotry and how she turned to literature and her own inner strength to help her survive. For those who need their lessons couched in story, you can't go wrong with Angelou.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi The title says it all. This book breaks down the author's own journey toward active anti-racism, while serving as a guide for people who want to go beyond not being racist, into working to create a more just society. It's essential reading for anyone asking, "What more can I do?"
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine With her signature blend of essay, poetry, and imagery, Rankine illustrates the many racial aggressions that permeate society, from the grocery store to the classroom, and in the media. For anyone who's ever thought we lived in a post-race society, this book will change their mind.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Ranging from the broad social issues of our time to an intimate conversation between a father and son, this powerful book reckons with our shared history in a way that will both touch and challenge readers. It's part memoir, part reported history, and totally essential.
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad Use this workbook to help dismantle your own biases, with personal anecdotes and examples, digestible explanations and definitions, and further reading to continue your journey. Wherever you are on your quest to combat racism, this book can help.
When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Collors and Asha Bandele This memoir from one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement is a poetic exploration of what it feels like to be a Black woman in America and how Patrisse Khan-Cullors turned her pain into political power. It's an empowering call-to-action that will make the reader want to stand up and do something.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum By looking at the psychology of racism and self-segregation, this classic text can help us enable conversation across racial divides. It may help you understand and look honestly at the makeup of your own social structure, too.
The 4th of July is often an exciting day of summer that involves friends and family coming together for delicious food, fun outdoor activities and to celebrate America's independence. But this year, due to COVID-19 and social distancing, your 4th of July probably won't look like it has in years past. But that's no reason to cancel your celebration; there are still plenty of fun 4th of July activities that you can do and still safely practice social distancing. If you want to stay at home, you can plan something as inexpensive as firing up the grill and baking patriotic desserts; or you can go all-out and plan a big barbecue for your quarantine pod. If you'd rather enjoy the warm summer weather and your day off work, you can get out of town and see something new or even explore your hometown with the lens of a tourist. Whether you want something relaxed or adventurous, this list will give you plenty of ideas for some fun 4th of July activities.
Make homemade popsicles. The 4th of July is typically a very hot holiday, so cool off by creating homemade popsicles. Try these yogurt swirl pops, or one of these other favorite popsicle recipes.
Create a waterpark at home. Between sprinklers and a fun hose extension, you can create a waterpark in your own backyard. The kids will be entertained for hours (and cooled off) by playing fun water games.
Read a book about American history. If you've got a little one who doesn't quite know what the 4th of July is about, use the holiday as a chance to teach them more about American history. There are so many great kids' books about history and historical figures, like I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer and Two Friends by Dean Robbins.
Have a hot dog eating contest. If there's one food that represents the 4th of July, it's hot dogs. If you're feeling adventurous, recreate Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition, or if you want something a little more tame (and easier to stomach) try a hot dog taste test where you can try out various relishes and mustards.
Rehearse and perform famous American speeches. Think of this as an Independence-Day-themed talent show. Parents and kids alike can learn and perform famous speeches by great Americans such as the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King or Abe Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address."
Pack a picnic. Take all of those adorable red, white, and blue recipes you made and celebrate with a picnic in the park.
Go for a bike ride. Get active on your day off and go for a bike ride before all the eating and partying begins.
Celebrate on the beach. If you're lucky enough to live within driving distance of a beach, pack up for a fun day in the sun. If you stay until the evening, expect to see fireworks. Just check with the local authorities first, to make sure the beach is open.
Head to the ballpark. Sure, professional baseball might still be cancelled due to coronavirus, but that doesn't mean you and your family can't partake in the all-American sport. Take your family out to the neighborhood park for some friendly competition.
Make a festive craft. Plan a holiday-themed DIY project with the kids to deck out your home in red, white, and blue, like one of these cute wreath projects.