New Year’s Message

Last week’s Christmas message talked about my daughter’s book, so it seems only right to start 2016 by telling you about the project my son Daniel and I did together in 2008-2009.
Daniel was 6-7 years old in those years and was fascinated with both robots and dinosaurs, so we decided to combine them in a kids’ book, Daniel, the Robot Dinosaur (click the link above to its Amazon page).
Being a student of history, I’ve been aware for many years how different the lives of today’s children are from those of our ancestors a century or two ago. The biggest change for all of us, of course has been greatly increased life expectancy. This is a great boon to society but it has often insulated younger children from seeing family members die.
The other great trend of the 20th century, urbanization, means that children are nor exposed to the death of farm animals as their great-grandparents were. This has resulted in death supplanting sex as our greatest modern taboo.
For that reason, I decided to have a death scene early in the book but I still strongly feel that it’s very appropriate for 7-10 year olds.
Other themes in the book are friendship (my favorite film is still 1969’s Midnight Cowboy, which shows how a strong friendship can come from two people from radically different backgrounds), the advantages of bilingualism and dealing with emergencies, another phenomenon very familiar in the past but almost completely unknown to today’s kids.

Have a wonderful 2016!


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