Monthly Archives: April 2014

Splash on, Minnesotans! It’s National Walking Day!

Wake up!  Dig out the galoshes, grab your parka, add mittens, earflap cap and scarf – it’s National Walking Day.

No, this is not a post-April Fool Day joke, it’s for real.

National Walking Day is a well-meaning program of the American Heart Association.  Planners envision employees wearing sneakers to work so they can stop everything and walk for a half hour during the workday.  They suggest meetings be held at remote locations so attendees can get in their 30 minutes en route.  They even have a tool kit, but it’s too late to get your free kit now

In truth, it’s a great idea.  Minnesotans who have been forced into hibernation for six months would welcome the opportunity to dash out to do errands.  We dare to dream of a brisk constitutional and fantasize about the freedom to walk to the mailbox.

Then we remember – the impenetrable mounds of packed black ice at the corner, the perilous puddles that conceal sheets of treacherous ice, the long-term consequences of a broken limb….

So we slump back in the chair, sip our high test coffee, and listen to the meteorologist remind us that Yes, there is another blizzard on the way.

We check the National Walking Day website again  —  to no surprise we learn that the contact address for NWD is in Dallas!

Thanks, American Heart Association for a great idea.  One suggestion, if you want a national crusade, check the records re weather trends across the nation.  We can inch and splash our way to the car or bus today, but for us to embrace the joy of a brisk 30 minute walk is asking a lot this early in the season!

Maybe this time next year….



“Rejoice the Legacy!” Andrea Davis Pinkney Delivers 2014 Arbuthnot Lecture May 3

Born in Washington, DC in 1963 Andrea Davis Pinkney was an infant during the Civil Rights Movement, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary.  And yet she tells the stories of those days with beauty and passion – in words and pictures that communicate with children of today.  Today Pinkney is a highly regarded writer, editor and publisher, creator of stories that bring deeper understanding of African American heritage to young readers.

Pinkney’s elegant books for children, many illustrated by her husband Brian, have earned her a host of awards, including the famed Coretta Scott King award.  Her acceptance speech on that occasion warrants legacy status.  (

And “Rejoice the Legacy!” is the title of the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture she will deliver on May 3, 2014, at Willey Hall on the University of Minnesota campus.   The Arbuthnot Lecture is a prestigious honor bestowed by the Association of Library Services to Children, a network of over 4000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educators.

Andrea’s husband Brian Pinkney is just one of several talented family members who contributed to a profile of the writer in The Hornbook.(

To prepare for and further illustrate the Arbuthnot Lecture Lisa VonDrasek, Curator, and staff of the Children’s Literature Research (Kerlan) Collection  at the U of M have prepared an exhibit that brings to memory the stories of the Civil Rights Movement era.  One visual highlight of that exhibit is a real-life reconstruction of the famous lunch counter where protesters sat in to protest the ways in which the civil rights of African Americans were trampled in a nation that prides itself on equality.

The exhibit at the Andersen Library on the University of Minnesota West Bank is open now during library hours.  Included in the exhibit are original art and sketches selected from Pinkney’s children’s and young adult titles, “providing insight into one writer’s creative process as well as a peek into editorial practice.”

The Arbuthnot lecture is set for 7:00 pm. at Willey Hall on the U of M campus.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m.  A reception and signing will follow the event.  Required tickets are free for the lecture and can be obtained from the U of M website.(

For more information or with questions, contact the Children’s Literature Research Collection at  One treasure on the CLRC website is a great Educator’s Guide to one of Pinkney’s books, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, the story of the peaceful sit-in at Woolworth’s lunch counter and its role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Read more about Andrea Davis Pinkney: