The straws that break the climate camel’s back

I love a lot about Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate activist. She’s articulate, unpretentious, and usually focused on a pretty basic message that I, too, would like people to heed: unite behind the science, curb climate change, take immediate action that’s bold, effective, systemic, and redresses climate injustice. Sometimes, her message goes beyond that. […]

What we know (and don’t know) about the author Bruce Mack

What we know (and don’t know) about Bruce Mack, the author of the children’s book Jesse’s Dream Skirt.

Dragon Flame

The Princess and The Dragon, illustration by Elenore Abbott

Deep in the cave of his Shadows and hidden treasure, boundaries of cold hard rock keep The Western Dragon from the skies he could be flying. (My wings are diaphanous. He doesn’t recognize.) Stretching out my hands to him, I enter his space though dark and hard to see. —Jarring — thunderous roar — he […]

Silly Lies and Wide-Eyed Wows – Remembering Cathy Callihan

Stained glass by Cathy Callihan

Whenever the Home County Music & Art Festival comes around, in July in London, Ontario, I can’t help but think of Cathy Callihan. Back in 1982, it was called the Home County Folk Festival, and she had a craft booth there, selling her beautiful, extraordinary stained glass and metal work. I had a craft booth […]

Jesse’s Daycare Teacher – how to react to a gender-non-conforming child

In the previous post, I described the differences between the two versions of Jesse’s Dream Skirt in terms of the way his daycare teacher looks, based on the imaginations of two different illustrators. Now it’s time to look at the differences in how Bruce the teacher acts, based on the two versions of the text. […]

Jesse’s Teacher – could be black, could be white, could be straight, could be gay

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that there are differences between the two versions of the story Jesse’s Dream Skirt. I’ve already covered the differences in the way the mother is portrayed and the way the children react to Jesse wearing a skirt to daycare. Now it’s time to look at the portrayal of the […]

Shadow – a poem

I realize this poem may feel a little dark and despairing. I’m hoping the paradoxical sense of transcendence will come across as well. Shadow A blank philosophy filling the wounded spots shields her invisible threads with so many mysterious whispers. From the unseen to the known, a path is carved in pure uncertainties. Hunger echoes […]

The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt – Part 3

Joining in (or not) This is a continuation of the exploration of the differences between the two versions of the children’s story, Jesse’s Dream Skirt. I’ve covered the daycare children’s initial reactions and then the group discussion initiated by the teacher. Now let’s find out what happens next. In both versions, the discussion ends on […]

The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt – Part 2

Why does it matter to them that Jesse’s wearing a skirt? This is a continuation of the exploration started in the earlier posts in this series, and particularly the previous one about the daycare children in the Jesse’s Dream Skirt story. I mentioned there were several differences between the two versions of the story, relating […]

The Children in Jesse’s Dream Skirt

Overview, First Reactions, and the Dynamics of Shaming I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that there are differences between the two versions of the story Jesse’s Dream Skirt. I’ve already covered the differences in the way the mother is portrayed. Now it’s time to look at the two different versions of the children and how […]

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