“May I Help the Following Customer?”

I was recently in a chain store in the middle of Manhattan with a long line of customers waiting to check out. When the person paying had finished gathering their belongings and left the register, the clerk called, “The following customer?” Woah! I thought. Don’t we say,’next customer’ in English? I thought perhaps this was just an…

What’s your superpower?

From the time they can talk, children ask a multitude of questions about the world and the people around them: Why is the sky blue? How can a tree grow from a seed? Are God and Santa Claus the same person? Around age 5, many parents hand off their children to schools for 12 years…

The evolution of education

My parents, immigrants to the United States in the 1950s, finished their formal education in Ireland around 6th grade. It was a different time, place, and circumstance. By sixth grade, students were considered literate: most having learned to read, write, and do math. My brothers and I, just one generation removed from our parents’ school…

Retroactive Censure

In June the American Library Association (ALA) renamed the Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Book Series Award. This honor was taken away from Mrs. Wilder because her memoirs honestly and accurately depict the fear and distrust between the Western Pioneers and the Indigenous People — from the settler’s point of view. I don’t want this issue…