ardenashley:

You guys. The #Internet is just the best place. Thanks for my amazing print, @unforgettabledetritus! So glad to be part of your awesome! #SensibleNonsenseProject

Our first Sensible Nonsense poster sighting in the wild!

ardenashley:

You guys. The #Internet is just the best place. Thanks for my amazing print, @unforgettabledetritus! So glad to be part of your awesome! #SensibleNonsenseProject

Our first Sensible Nonsense poster sighting in the wild!

16 April 2014 ·

powells:

Pretty sweet haul… #Repost from @dollysevier —- #ihaveaproblem but I’m so happy @powellsbooks. Thanks Novio.

powells:

Pretty sweet haul… #Repost from @dollysevier —- #ihaveaproblem but I’m so happy @powellsbooks. Thanks Novio.

8 April 2014 ·

"Give a kid a book, and you change the world. In a way, even the universe."

~

In the third episode of his Cosmos series, Neil deGrasse Tyson echoes Carl Sagan even down to the timeless sentiment about books.

For good measure, complement with Maurice Sendak’s little-known and lovely posters on the joy of reading.

(via explore-blog)

4 April 2014 ·

The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin
I never got past the flyers. One summer afternoon, between fifth and sixth grade — or was it between fourth and fifth? — my friend Emily and I walked from her house on Hunter Drive to Midnight Sun Drive and back, rolling our colored pencil prints and placing them into mailboxes. 
We never went so far as to call ourselves a “baby-sitters club” since there were just two of us and, given our lack of experience and respect for the brand, we didn’t want to create expectations. But we did write the word “baby-sitters” on each piece of construction paper with each letter inside a block, a nod to the logo on the books’ covers.
Unlike in the books we devoured, we got very few calls. Emily wound up with a few gigs for a family in the neighborhood — it made more sense for her to take the job since she lived in walking distance. I have no memory of being disappointed. My infatuation with The Baby-Sitters Club had nothing to do with babysitting. An only child, I never hoped for a younger sibling or for the chance to borrow someone else’s. Now, I am thirty-one years old, I’ve never changed a diaper, and I’ve babysat just a handful of times.
My infatuation with The Baby-Sitters Club had everything to do with wanting to be a part of something, specifically a club of 13 year-old girls, who later added two 11 year-old “junior members,” which helped me think I might eventually have a chance. 
Each member of the club was her own version of cool. In Chapter 2 of every book, author Ann M. Martin gave background on the baby-sitters and told the club’s creation story, also known as “Kristy’s Great Idea,” the title of the series’ first book. I would occasionally skim over the story of Kristy’s brainchild: a group of kid-loving teens who turned out to be best friends, meeting weekly to discuss business and schedule appointments. Kristy’s epiphany came to her when her own mother once called every teenager she knew from Stoneybrook to Stamford, CT in search of a sitter, to no avail.
I never skipped, but savored, each volume’s rundown of the baby-sitters themselves:
Kristy Thomas, club president, was a bossy tomboy with brown hair, which was always in a ponytail, dressed simply, in jeans and sneakers. Claudia Kishi, vice president, hosted the club’s meetings because she had her own phone line, was a junk-food addict known for her funky style and her “exotic” look, her almond-shaped eyes and jet black hair. Claudia was Japanese. Mary Anne Spier, the dutiful secretary, another brunette, was soft-spoken and conservatively dressed in skirts and sweaters. Stacey McGill, treasurer, had permed blonde hair and a sleek, cosmopolitan style from having grown up in New York City. And Dawn Schafer, the group’s “alternate officer” and Californian, had recently moved to Stoneybrook from Palo City, a suburb of Anaheim. Dawn had blonde hair, a relaxed nature, and a penchant for healthy foods, including avocados, which I had never heard of, but intrigued me. 
It began in second grade, during Ms. McPhee’s class’s weekly visit to the library. As our classmates made a beeline for the picture books, Emily and I hung back. “Let’s go over here,” I said, pointing toward the beanbag chairs and the third grade classrooms. “To the chapter books.” 
Emily and I had been deemed the strongest readers in our class, and I decided it was time to embody our title. I was also the kind of kid who’d always felt different from my peers, and sought out ways to demonstrate my separateness. Emily was smart, quiet, and laughed at my jokes, a faithful sidekick. We wound up crouched by the block-lettered volumes that day, settling on book 9, The Ghost at Dawn’s House, because the library had two copies. 
I couldn’t read fast enough. Emily and I made quick work of the library’s supply. My neighbor Meredith, who was six years older than me, gave me a box of her old books. Then I began begging my parents for $3.50 whenever I found a volume I didn’t have at the local Ben Franklin store, Exeter’s Water Street Books, or wherever else Baby-Sitters Club books were sold. I kept the books organized chronologically, with designated sections for “Super Specials” and the Mystery Series in my otherwise messy bedroom. 
The Baby-Sitters Club found its way into every possible aspect of my elementary school life. When Emily and I played Barbies, we’d choose names of the baby-sitters for our dolls, with Logan, the series’ token male, an excellent stand-in for Ken.
My friend Dana wasn’t a Baby-Sitters Club reader, but she and I spent afternoons at her house playing a game we called “Teenagers,” where we’d each take on the persona of a girl with a job and a boyfriend. Our teenagers were roommates and I don’t know how we filled hours of make-believe, nor what was so intriguing about teenage life. We were usually caked in her mother’s make-up by the end of it. 
My teenagers were always named Dawn or Stacey, even though, or maybe because, in reality, I was somewhere between a Kristy and a Mary Anne, but I longed for my brown hair to be more interesting and to be not from Epping, New Hampshire, which seemed much more boring than Stoneybrook, but from a more worldly place like New York or Palo City. My baby-sitter’s qualities jump-started the character I’d create. “Well, you know, I grew up in New York,” I’d say on a Stacey day, “So I know a lot about city life. Have you ever heard of Rockefeller Center? I used to go there all the time. And because I have diabetes, I know the best shops for sugar free candy.” 
Each baby-sitter had her own hardship — Stacey was diabetic, which we learned in book 3, The Truth About Stacey, and confronted again in number 42, Stacey’s Emergency. Kristy’s mother remarried in book 6, Kristy’s Big Day, and Watson, her wealthy new husband, lived in a mansion across town, which forced Kristy to reckon with her own socioeconomic identity. Claudia had a learning disability and struggled in school, all while living in the shadow of her older and much smarter sister, as told in book 7, Claudia and Mean Janine. Mary Anne’s mother died when she was a baby and her father married Dawn’s mother in book 30, Mary Anne and the Great Romance — small world, Stoneybrook. Dawn’s mother had been divorced and was infamously “scatter-brained,” forcing Dawn to keep things organized for herself and her younger brother Jeff.
I had my own hardship too. My mother was an alcoholic who grappled with depression. While I’d grown up absorbing the effects of her addiction, from second through fifth grade, my Baby-Sitters Club years, I began to identify her behavior as abnormal and adapted as needed. I would get home from school on her days off from waitressing and look for clues around the house: beer cans in the trash, a heap of laundry on the couch, a glass sticky with cranberry juice and vodka on her bedside table while she slept, or more precisely, was passed out, mid-afternoon. My mother’s drinking would spark an argument between her and my father when he returned home from work, and unless she happened to run out of steam early, the fighting would last into the night.
Children of alcoholics tend to become intuitive observers and clue-finders, as I did, and are often extreme rebels or overachievers. I fell into the nerd camp, reveling in any praise and attention I could get from my beloved teachers and friends’ parents. 
I’m not sure if other kids in situations like mine adopt the obsessive nature that I had, which went beyond my complete collection of Baby-Sitters Club books and corresponding preoccupation, rereading favorites between new issues. There were also rows of puffy-haired Troll dolls on my shelves which I had collected with a similar voraciousness, and later on, after I reluctantly grew out of The Baby-Sitters Club, I became enthralled with the music and movies of Barbra Streisand and a super-devoted fan of The Late Show with David Letterman, admittedly odd objects of affection for an adolescent in the 90’s. Even in adulthood, hobbies run deep with me, as evidenced by the seven marathons and countless shorter races I’ve run. The Baby-Sitters Club was the original source of this go-big-or-go-home approach.

I came to need these books and these characters’ presence in my mind during those trying years. It’s impossible to imagine that time without such an outlet. My own friends were as supportive as any pre-adolescents could have been when I disclosed the truth to them, which wasn’t until around fifth grade, because they couldn’t come home with me. But, stacked along the shelves in my room, I had Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Dawn, and junior members Mallory and Jessi too. They, and their stories, saw me through.
———
—Jamie-Lee Josselyn received her MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College and she has taught creative writing in a few places, including at the University of Pennsylvania and in St. Paul’s School’s Advanced Studies Program. Jamie-Lee has published personal essays on topics ranging from her mother’s life and death to her experience attending cat shows. When not on campus, Jamie-Lee may be performing some feat of endurance: running a long way, biking an even longer way, or consuming a massive quantity of food.

The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin

I never got past the flyers. One summer afternoon, between fifth and sixth grade — or was it between fourth and fifth? — my friend Emily and I walked from her house on Hunter Drive to Midnight Sun Drive and back, rolling our colored pencil prints and placing them into mailboxes.

We never went so far as to call ourselves a “baby-sitters club” since there were just two of us and, given our lack of experience and respect for the brand, we didn’t want to create expectations. But we did write the word “baby-sitters” on each piece of construction paper with each letter inside a block, a nod to the logo on the books’ covers.

Unlike in the books we devoured, we got very few calls. Emily wound up with a few gigs for a family in the neighborhood — it made more sense for her to take the job since she lived in walking distance. I have no memory of being disappointed. My infatuation with The Baby-Sitters Club had nothing to do with babysitting. An only child, I never hoped for a younger sibling or for the chance to borrow someone else’s. Now, I am thirty-one years old, I’ve never changed a diaper, and I’ve babysat just a handful of times.

My infatuation with The Baby-Sitters Club had everything to do with wanting to be a part of something, specifically a club of 13 year-old girls, who later added two 11 year-old “junior members,” which helped me think I might eventually have a chance.

Each member of the club was her own version of cool. In Chapter 2 of every book, author Ann M. Martin gave background on the baby-sitters and told the club’s creation story, also known as “Kristy’s Great Idea,” the title of the series’ first book. I would occasionally skim over the story of Kristy’s brainchild: a group of kid-loving teens who turned out to be best friends, meeting weekly to discuss business and schedule appointments. Kristy’s epiphany came to her when her own mother once called every teenager she knew from Stoneybrook to Stamford, CT in search of a sitter, to no avail.

I never skipped, but savored, each volume’s rundown of the baby-sitters themselves:

Kristy Thomas, club president, was a bossy tomboy with brown hair, which was always in a ponytail, dressed simply, in jeans and sneakers. Claudia Kishi, vice president, hosted the club’s meetings because she had her own phone line, was a junk-food addict known for her funky style and her “exotic” look, her almond-shaped eyes and jet black hair. Claudia was Japanese. Mary Anne Spier, the dutiful secretary, another brunette, was soft-spoken and conservatively dressed in skirts and sweaters. Stacey McGill, treasurer, had permed blonde hair and a sleek, cosmopolitan style from having grown up in New York City. And Dawn Schafer, the group’s “alternate officer” and Californian, had recently moved to Stoneybrook from Palo City, a suburb of Anaheim. Dawn had blonde hair, a relaxed nature, and a penchant for healthy foods, including avocados, which I had never heard of, but intrigued me. 

It began in second grade, during Ms. McPhee’s class’s weekly visit to the library. As our classmates made a beeline for the picture books, Emily and I hung back. “Let’s go over here,” I said, pointing toward the beanbag chairs and the third grade classrooms. “To the chapter books.”

Emily and I had been deemed the strongest readers in our class, and I decided it was time to embody our title. I was also the kind of kid who’d always felt different from my peers, and sought out ways to demonstrate my separateness. Emily was smart, quiet, and laughed at my jokes, a faithful sidekick. We wound up crouched by the block-lettered volumes that day, settling on book 9, The Ghost at Dawn’s House, because the library had two copies. 

I couldn’t read fast enough. Emily and I made quick work of the library’s supply. My neighbor Meredith, who was six years older than me, gave me a box of her old books. Then I began begging my parents for $3.50 whenever I found a volume I didn’t have at the local Ben Franklin store, Exeter’s Water Street Books, or wherever else Baby-Sitters Club books were sold. I kept the books organized chronologically, with designated sections for “Super Specials” and the Mystery Series in my otherwise messy bedroom.

The Baby-Sitters Club found its way into every possible aspect of my elementary school life. When Emily and I played Barbies, we’d choose names of the baby-sitters for our dolls, with Logan, the series’ token male, an excellent stand-in for Ken.

My friend Dana wasn’t a Baby-Sitters Club reader, but she and I spent afternoons at her house playing a game we called “Teenagers,” where we’d each take on the persona of a girl with a job and a boyfriend. Our teenagers were roommates and I don’t know how we filled hours of make-believe, nor what was so intriguing about teenage life. We were usually caked in her mother’s make-up by the end of it.

My teenagers were always named Dawn or Stacey, even though, or maybe because, in reality, I was somewhere between a Kristy and a Mary Anne, but I longed for my brown hair to be more interesting and to be not from Epping, New Hampshire, which seemed much more boring than Stoneybrook, but from a more worldly place like New York or Palo City. My baby-sitter’s qualities jump-started the character I’d create. “Well, you know, I grew up in New York,” I’d say on a Stacey day, “So I know a lot about city life. Have you ever heard of Rockefeller Center? I used to go there all the time. And because I have diabetes, I know the best shops for sugar free candy.”

Each baby-sitter had her own hardship — Stacey was diabetic, which we learned in book 3, The Truth About Stacey, and confronted again in number 42, Stacey’s Emergency. Kristy’s mother remarried in book 6, Kristy’s Big Day, and Watson, her wealthy new husband, lived in a mansion across town, which forced Kristy to reckon with her own socioeconomic identity. Claudia had a learning disability and struggled in school, all while living in the shadow of her older and much smarter sister, as told in book 7, Claudia and Mean Janine. Mary Anne’s mother died when she was a baby and her father married Dawn’s mother in book 30, Mary Anne and the Great Romance — small world, Stoneybrook. Dawn’s mother had been divorced and was infamously “scatter-brained,” forcing Dawn to keep things organized for herself and her younger brother Jeff.

I had my own hardship too. My mother was an alcoholic who grappled with depression. While I’d grown up absorbing the effects of her addiction, from second through fifth grade, my Baby-Sitters Club years, I began to identify her behavior as abnormal and adapted as needed. I would get home from school on her days off from waitressing and look for clues around the house: beer cans in the trash, a heap of laundry on the couch, a glass sticky with cranberry juice and vodka on her bedside table while she slept, or more precisely, was passed out, mid-afternoon. My mother’s drinking would spark an argument between her and my father when he returned home from work, and unless she happened to run out of steam early, the fighting would last into the night.

Children of alcoholics tend to become intuitive observers and clue-finders, as I did, and are often extreme rebels or overachievers. I fell into the nerd camp, reveling in any praise and attention I could get from my beloved teachers and friends’ parents.

I’m not sure if other kids in situations like mine adopt the obsessive nature that I had, which went beyond my complete collection of Baby-Sitters Club books and corresponding preoccupation, rereading favorites between new issues. There were also rows of puffy-haired Troll dolls on my shelves which I had collected with a similar voraciousness, and later on, after I reluctantly grew out of The Baby-Sitters Club, I became enthralled with the music and movies of Barbra Streisand and a super-devoted fan of The Late Show with David Letterman, admittedly odd objects of affection for an adolescent in the 90’s. Even in adulthood, hobbies run deep with me, as evidenced by the seven marathons and countless shorter races I’ve run. The Baby-Sitters Club was the original source of this go-big-or-go-home approach.

I came to need these books and these characters’ presence in my mind during those trying years. It’s impossible to imagine that time without such an outlet. My own friends were as supportive as any pre-adolescents could have been when I disclosed the truth to them, which wasn’t until around fifth grade, because they couldn’t come home with me. But, stacked along the shelves in my room, I had Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Dawn, and junior members Mallory and Jessi too. They, and their stories, saw me through.

———

Jamie-Lee Josselyn received her MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College and she has taught creative writing in a few places, including at the University of Pennsylvania and in St. Paul’s School’s Advanced Studies Program. Jamie-Lee has published personal essays on topics ranging from her mother’s life and death to her experience attending cat shows. When not on campus, Jamie-Lee may be performing some feat of endurance: running a long way, biking an even longer way, or consuming a massive quantity of food.

27 March 2014 ·

thesensiblenonsenseproject:

WE’RE DOING IT AGAIN!
One week from today — 3/25, at 6PM EST — we’ll host our second live Sensible Nonsense event. 
Wait, what is this?It’s a live reading where eight people will share their reflections on their favorite children’s books. If it is anything like last year’s, you will laugh and you will cry.
Who’s reading?An eclectic group of professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates: Jay Kirk, Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Andrew Panebianco, Erin Peraza, Andie Davidson, Ana Schwartz, Meg Pendoley, and Juan Cabrera.
Where?Only the coolest place in Philadelphia, the Kelly Writers House.
Oh, well, I’m not in Philadelphia.Well, do you have an internet connection? (You must, if you’re asking these questions!) So all you have to do is click the link for KWH-TV and press play at the time of the program, and you can watch live on your computer.
I have low blood sugar.That sounds rough. Luckily, we’ll be serving up a reception full of your favorite after-school snacks following the program.
Gosh, that sounds cool. I wish I could have been a part of the project!Oh, but you can! The Sensible Nonsense Project ALWAYS takes submissions. Send us your essay here!
Any particular reason I should come to this?There’ll be an exciting announcement about the future of the project.
Last time it was cancelled because of snow. Will this time be cancelled because of snow?We really hope not.
Will it ever be spring again?We really hope so.

Tonight! Tonight! Tune in live online!

thesensiblenonsenseproject:

WE’RE DOING IT AGAIN!

One week from today — 3/25, at 6PM EST — we’ll host our second live Sensible Nonsense event. 

Wait, what is this?
It’s a live reading where eight people will share their reflections on their favorite children’s books. If it is anything like last year’s, you will laugh and you will cry.

Who’s reading?
An eclectic group of professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates: Jay Kirk, Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Andrew Panebianco, Erin Peraza, Andie Davidson, Ana Schwartz, Meg Pendoley, and Juan Cabrera.

Where?
Only the coolest place in Philadelphia, the Kelly Writers House.

Oh, well, I’m not in Philadelphia.
Well, do you have an internet connection? (You must, if you’re asking these questions!) So all you have to do is click the link for KWH-TV and press play at the time of the program, and you can watch live on your computer.

I have low blood sugar.
That sounds rough. Luckily, we’ll be serving up a reception full of your favorite after-school snacks following the program.

Gosh, that sounds cool. I wish I could have been a part of the project!
Oh, but you can! The Sensible Nonsense Project ALWAYS takes submissions. Send us your essay here!

Any particular reason I should come to this?
There’ll be an exciting announcement about the future of the project.

Last time it was cancelled because of snow. Will this time be cancelled because of snow?
We really hope not.

Will it ever be spring again?
We really hope so.

Tonight! Tonight! Tune in live online!

25 March 2014 ·

This seems appropriate: take Buzzfeed’s What Childhood Book Are You? quiz!
And remember to come by Kelly Writers House tonight at 6pm for our live Sensible Nonsense Project event, or tune in online!

This seems appropriate: take Buzzfeed’s What Childhood Book Are You? quiz!

And remember to come by Kelly Writers House tonight at 6pm for our live Sensible Nonsense Project event, or tune in online!

25 March 2014 ·

THE SENSIBLE NONSENSE PROJECT’S BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Sensible Nonsense creator Arielle Brousse has been named a Penn Social Impact Fellow for 2014. 

Here’s the one-minute pitch video she made to bring Sensible Nonsense to the program. (She shot and edited it in an hour. Be kind.)

She’s hoping to use the Social Impact program to figure out how to leverage the enthusiasm and energy around Sensible Nonsense in order to increase access to early childhood reading programs. 

Wanna help her do it? 

Arielle has a Crowdtilt page here. Your gift (of any size!) helps her with travel, tuition, room and board, and supplies for this two-week intensive — plus, she’ll personally send you a postcard from the program, thanking you for being an early patron of this fabulous project. 

Thanks for being a part of this, friends — and happy reading!

24 March 2014 ·

scholasticreadingclub:

Happy Very Hungry Caterpillar Day!

Did you know it’s the 45th anniversary of the book?

P.S. You can bring your own kids’ book buddy to the Sensible Nonsense live event on Tuesday. 

Maybe we’ll bring Lilly

(via powells)

21 March 2014 ·

WE’RE DOING IT AGAIN!
One week from today — 3/25, at 6PM EST — we’ll host our second live Sensible Nonsense event. 
Wait, what is this?It’s a live reading where eight people will share their reflections on their favorite children’s books. If it is anything like last year’s, you will laugh and you will cry.
Who’s reading?An eclectic group of professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates: Jay Kirk, Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Andrew Panebianco, Erin Peraza, Andie Davidson, Ana Schwartz, Meg Pendoley, and Juan Cabrera.
Where?Only the coolest place in Philadelphia, the Kelly Writers House.
Oh, well, I’m not in Philadelphia.Well, do you have an internet connection? (You must, if you’re asking these questions!) So all you have to do is click the link for KWH-TV and press play at the time of the program, and you can watch live on your computer.
I have low blood sugar.That sounds rough. Luckily, we’ll be serving up a reception full of your favorite after-school snacks following the program.
Gosh, that sounds cool. I wish I could have been a part of the project!Oh, but you can! The Sensible Nonsense Project ALWAYS takes submissions. Send us your essay here!
Any particular reason I should come to this?There’ll be an exciting announcement about the future of the project.
Last time it was cancelled because of snow. Will this time be cancelled because of snow?We really hope not.
Will it ever be spring again?We really hope so.

WE’RE DOING IT AGAIN!

One week from today — 3/25, at 6PM EST — we’ll host our second live Sensible Nonsense event. 

Wait, what is this?
It’s a live reading where eight people will share their reflections on their favorite children’s books. If it is anything like last year’s, you will laugh and you will cry.

Who’s reading?
An eclectic group of professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates: Jay Kirk, Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Andrew Panebianco, Erin Peraza, Andie Davidson, Ana Schwartz, Meg Pendoley, and Juan Cabrera.

Where?
Only the coolest place in Philadelphia, the Kelly Writers House.

Oh, well, I’m not in Philadelphia.
Well, do you have an internet connection? (You must, if you’re asking these questions!) So all you have to do is click the link for KWH-TV and press play at the time of the program, and you can watch live on your computer.

I have low blood sugar.
That sounds rough. Luckily, we’ll be serving up a reception full of your favorite after-school snacks following the program.

Gosh, that sounds cool. I wish I could have been a part of the project!
Oh, but you can! The Sensible Nonsense Project ALWAYS takes submissions. Send us your essay here!

Any particular reason I should come to this?
There’ll be an exciting announcement about the future of the project.

Last time it was cancelled because of snow. Will this time be cancelled because of snow?
We really hope not.

Will it ever be spring again?
We really hope so.

18 March 2014 ·

The Sensible Nonsense Project has a pretty cool announcement coming up, but in the meantime: enjoy this gifset, which is pretty much what we’re all about. 

(Source: coolarmin, via ragtimeroastbeefy)

17 March 2014 ·

Get Involved

To share your story about a favorite childhood book that left a lasting impact on you, submit here.

Ask me anything.