Season 3

Episode 82, – “The End of the Reading Instruction Wars?”, August 3, 2023

Nearly everyone can learn to read — if they’re taught correctly. It turns out that one of the primary approaches to teaching reading in schools was proven wrong decades ago. Emily Hanford, the host and investigative journalist behind APM Reports’ explosive “Sold A Story” podcast, joins us to explain how educators came to believe in something that isn’t true and are now working to undo it.

  • Emily Hanford

    Emily Hanford is a Senior Producer and Correspondent at American Public Media, and has been working for more than two decades as a reporter, producer, editor, news director and program host. Her work has won numerous honors including a duPont-Columbia University Award and a Casey Medal. In 2017, she won the Excellence in Media Reporting on Education Research Award from the American Educational Research Association. Emily is the host of “Sold a Story”– a six-part podcast series that investigates how teaching kids to read in America went so wrong. (source: APM)

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Episode 81, – “Jerry Pinkney: An Artist Against the Odds”, July 20, 2023

Jerry Pinkney is one of the most celebrated children’s book illustrators of all time. Having illustrated more than 100 books, Jerry won numerous awards including multiple Caldecott medals and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards and Honors before his passing. Gloria Pinkney, Jerry’s wife, creative partner, and best friend for more than 60 years, joins us to talk about Jerry’s life, talent, and his relentless drive to show young readers and those with learning disabilities how he became an artist—against the odds.

  • Gloria Pinkney

    Gloria Pinkney was Jerry’s wife and creative partner for more than 60 years. She not only raised four children with him, but worked alongside him professionally as inspiration for his models, assembling costumes, photographing sets, and helping him with his research. Gloria is the author of ‘In the Forest of Your Remembrance’, and a practicing Minister in Bethel Nursing Homes. (source: G. Pinkney)

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Episode 80, – “The Teachers”, July 6, 2023

Politics, greed, and mismanagement have made this profession incompatible with physical and mental health.” Who are we talking about? It’s teachers, and we talk to Alexandra Robbins, author of the new book “The Teachers: A Year Inside America’s Most Vulnerable, Important Profession.” It’s a great look at the reality of America’s teachers: what’s working, what’s not, and how we can fix it.

  • Alexandra Robbins

    Alexandra Robbins is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of five New York Times bestselling books including The Overachievers, The Nurses, and The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth. Alexandra’s latest book is The Teachers: A Year Inside America’s Most Vulnerable, Important Profession. Alexandra has written for several publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, Forbes, and The Atlantic, and she’s appeared on multiple national television shows. (source: A. Robbins website)

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Episode 79, – “Optimal Motherhood”, June 22, 2023

New parents are often encouraged to ask for help. But the source of that help, and how we provide it — whether it’s physical or emotional – has changed drastically over the years. Instead of turning to close friends and family, many modern mothers turn to social media – sometimes with unexpectedly harsh results.

Jessica Clements and Kari Nixon, co-authors of Optimal Motherhood and Other Lies Facebook Told Us, join us to talk about modern motherhood, how groups meant to support and uplift mothers somehow tear them down — and how we can do better.

  • Jessica Clements

    Jessica Clements is an associate professor of English and Composition Commons Director at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. She has served as style editor for Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society since 2012 and stepped into the role of co-managing editor in fall 2020. Her scholarship centers on ethos and the role of human and object-oriented actors in contemporary multimodal communication. She has co-written an interdisciplinary book evaluating the influence of social media networks in shaping binary-bound parenting decisions called Optimal Motherhood and Other Lies Facebook Told Us. She has published in WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship on “The Role of New Media Expertise in Shaping Writing Consultations” and in edited collections on using game-studies ethnography to raise tutors’ intersectional awareness as well as pedagogical performance of neutrality at faith-based institutions. (source: J. Clements)

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  • Kari Nixon

    Kari Nixon is a postdoctoral fellow at NTNU, Norway’s scientific and technological university, on two year leave from her role as an assistant professor at Whitworth University. Her research focuses on the interfaces limiting and facilitating understanding between science and the public. Much of her past research has focused particularly on the history of epidemics and social reactions to them. Her mass-market book teaching lay audiences how to critically interpret COVID-19 public health messaging came out through Simon and Schuster in June 2021.

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Episode 78, – “Elbert in the Air”, June 8, 2023

“Just be yourself” is often easier said than done. It requires time, contemplation, awareness, and often, bravery. And it’s really difficult to write a children’s book that doesn’t come off as simplistic advice, but is carefully crafted and delivers the message well.

Author Monica Wesolowska joins us to talk about her new children’s books that explore what kids experience when they want to ‘be themselves’, how they can connect with others once they do, and the support they need along the way.”

  • Monica Wesolowska

    Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life which was named a “Best Book of 2013” by The Boston Globe and Library Journal, and two new children’s picture books: Leo + Lea and Elbert in the Air. Her essays and short stories have appeared in many other venues including The New York Times. For over fifteen years, she’s taught creative writing at UC Berkeley Extension, Stanford Continuing Studies, Left Margin Lit and elsewhere around the Bay Area as well as working one-on-one as an independent editor. (source: M. Wesolowska website)

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Episode 77, – “If I Betray These Words”, May 25, 2023

“Clinical burnout” is the phrase often used to describe the number of health care practitioners who feel a loss of joy in their work, a sense of despair, and a feeling of disengagement. But is this an individual problem…or a larger systems problem?

Dr. Wendy Dean, CEO and co-founder of The Moral Injury of Healthcare, joins us to talk about how those responsible for treating some of the most vulnerable patients in society are employed by corporations whose explicit goal is to maximize shareholder profit — and that term we should be applying to the consequence of this isn’t burnout — but rather moral injury.

  • Dr. Wendy Dean

    Dr. Wendy Dean is the CEO and co-founder of The Moral Injury of Healthcare, a nonprofit focused on alleviating workforce distress through research, education, consultation, and training. She is the author of, If I Betray These Words: Moral Injury in Medicine and Why It’s So Hard For Clinicians to Put Patients First, and co-host of the Moral Matters podcast. Before co-founding the nonprofit, Dr. Dean practiced as a psychiatrist, worked for the Department of Defense in research innovation, and as an executive for a large international nonprofit supporting military medical research. (source: Dr. Dean)

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Episode 76, – “New Directions at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University”, May 11, 2023

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has been a leading voice in the field of early childhood development, especially around the role of relationships. Their new work, termed “ECD 2.0″, focuses on connecting the brain to the rest of the body in a broader ecological context.

Dr. Lindsey Burghardt, Chief Science Officer at The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University and a practicing primary care pediatrician, joins us to help synthesize and translate the science behind the impact of the built and natural environments on a child’s health and development.

  • Dr. Lindsey Burghardt

    Lindsey Burghardt, MD, MPH, FAAP, is the Chief Science Officer at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University and a practicing pediatrician. At the Center, she identifies emerging areas of scientific interest and knowledge to create the Center’s scientific agenda. Her areas of expertise include the impact of the built and natural environments on young children, including the ways in which our changing climate impacts health and development. Lindsey is the director of the Early Childhood Scientific Council on Equity and the Environment and works closely with the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. With these groups, she works to build a multidisciplinary scientific understanding of early childhood and translate that understanding for a variety of audiences, including policymakers, practitioners, and the private sector. Lindsey earned her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital Colorado, followed by a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She completed her Masters in Public Health in Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Lindsey is a board member of the Massachusetts Chapter of theAAP and a former executive committee member of the AAP’s Council on Early Childhood. (source: Dr. L. Burghardt)

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Episode 75, – “Changing Hearts and Minds Like a Pro”, April 27, 2023

We spend a lot of time trying to change other people’s minds on all sorts of subjects. Does it work — but just a little, or maybe not at all? How we attempt to shape the opinions of others matters, and as it turns out, there’s a science behind how to do it well. Moira O’Neil, Senior Vice President of Research Interpretation at the FrameWorks Institute, joins us to explain how we can best communicate around contentious issues, and do so in a way that builds progressive change.

  • Moira O’Neil

    Moira O’Neil is the Senior Vice President of Research Interpretation at the FrameWorks Institute. She leads FrameWorks’ efforts to interpret and share communications science with the nonprofit sector so it can more effectively drive social change. Moira manages a team of communications professionals and social scientists who help fields of practice frame social issues in ways that have the proven power to deepen understanding and inspire action. A senior researcher, Moira also directs the organization’s efforts to analyze framing patterns in the media and nonprofit sector and writes in-depth research reports on a wide range of topics, including immigration, child mental health, and housing and homelessness. Her work has also appeared in USA Today, The Hechinger Report, The Boston Globe, and other publications. (source: Frameworks Comms Team)

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Episode 74, – “Becoming Better Grownups”, April 13, 2023

Parents often worry about how to raise their children to be “good people.” But there’s an assumption that once you’re an adult, you’re done “growing”, and no longer need to progress on that journey to being a better version of yourself. Brad Montague, author of “Becoming Better Grownups”, says we can counter that notion in a unique way… in a world which can seem increasingly childish, he says we should become more childlike.

  • Brad Montague

    Brad Montague is a New York Times best-selling author of books for kids and former kids. He is creator of the web series Kid President, and author of several books including “The Circles All Around Us”, and “Becoming Better Grownups: Rediscovering What Matters and Remembering How to Fly” – both of which are invitations to living a life of wonder and love. Brad lives in Tennessee with his wife and kids, and can currently be seen as the host of the television special The Kindness Project on The Magnolia Network and Discovery Plus. (source: B. Montague)

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Episode 73, – “A Perfect Mistake”, March 30, 2023

One in five of us have learning and attention issues, including specific learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD. Increasingly, children’s and YA books are not only including but embracing neurodiverse characters, and the conversation is expanding to include – and normalize – many facets of the broad variety of how we engage with the world. Melanie Conklin, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book winner, and author of A Perfect Mistake, joins us to talk about how neurodiverse kids are represented in children’s literature, and how that literature can help kids deal with some very difficult – and very real – emotions.

  • Melanie Conklin

    Melanie Conklin is a writer, reader, and all-around lover of books and those who create them. Her debut middle grade novel, Counting Thyme, is a Bank Street Best Children’s Book, winner of the International Literacy Association Teacher’s Choice Award, and nominated to four state reading lists. She is also the author of Every Missing Piece, A Perfect Mistake, Crushed (2024), and her picture book debut, When You Have to Wait (2023). (source: M. Conklin’s website)

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Episode 72, Book Friends Forever, March 16, 2023

As we know, strong relationships are key to success in personal and professional endeavors. Our next guests combine both: Grace Lin, an award-winning author, and Alvina Ling, Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, join us to talk about their professional success, how as Asian-American women they navigate an industry that still struggles with diversity, and, notably, how they draw on the friendship they’ve had since childhood to bolster themselves to do their important, much-needed work.

  • Grace Lin

    Before Grace was an award-winning and NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels, she was the only Asian girl (aside from her sisters) going to her elementary school in Upstate NY. That experience, good and bad, has influenced her books—including her Newbery Honor WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON, her Geisel Honor LING & TING, her National Book Finalist WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER and her Caldecott Honor A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR. In 2016, Grace’s art was displayed at the White House and Grace, herself, was recognized by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. In 2022, Grace was awarded the Children’s Literature Legacy Award from the American Library Association.

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  • Alvina Ling

    Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she has worked since 1999. She edits children’s books for all ages, including A Big Mooncake for Little Star and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, and Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier, among many others. She co-hosts the podcast “Book Friends Forever” with her friend, Grace Lin.

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Episode 71, What Happened to You?, March 2, 2023

Trauma in children is shockingly common — almost half of all children have experienced at least one significant traumatic experience. Yet trauma-engendered behaviors are often met with ‘What’s wrong with you?’, when, as our guest Dr. Bruce Perry relates, the question should be ‘What happened to you?’. His co-authored book with Oprah Winfrey helps us disentangle trauma and understand the powerful, protective role of healthy relationships with family, community, and culture.

  • Dr. Bruce Perry

    Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network and a Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria Australia. Over the last thirty years, Dr. Perry has been an active teacher, clinician and researcher in children’s mental health and the neurosciences holding a variety of academic positions. His work on the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs and policy across the world. Dr. Perry is the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Dr. Perry’s most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released in 2021.

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Episode 70, Maybe an Artist, February 16, 2023

We turned our ‘author spotlight’ on an up-and-coming, engaging, and extremely talented young voice. Liz Montague is a cartoonist, writer, and illustrator who weaves social justice, personal and political awareness into smart, thoughtful, and deeply resonating cartoons.  She also happens to be one of the first Black female cartoonists to be published in the New Yorker. Liz joins us to talk about her book and how she became comfortable with her own identity as an artist.

  • Liz Montague

    Liz Montague is a cartoonist, writer, and illustrator whose work focuses on the intersection of self and social awareness. She began contributing to the New Yorker in 2019 as a cartoonist and has illustrated for the U.S. Open, Food Network, Google, and the Joe Biden presidential campaign. Liz is also the creator of the popular Liz at Large cartoon series, which previously ran in Washington City Paper, and is passionate about documenting social change and protest movements.

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Episode 69, Portable Magic, February 2, 2023

Books are magic. The way they smell, the feel of their pages, the illustrations on their covers, the weight in your hands – all these elements convey meaning above their verbal content. Our guest, Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University, and author of Portable Magic: A History of Books and Their Readers, joins us to talk about these factors and how, when, and why books became iconic.

  • Emma Smith

    Emma Smith is Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University, and the author of This is Shakespeare. Her latest book is Portable Magic: A History of Books and Their Readers – a book about ‘how, when and why books became so iconic.’

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Episode 68, The Case for Make Believe, January 19, 2023

What is “play,” and how hard is it to understand what it really is? Turns out it’s more of a challenge to grasp than you’d think, and not everyone understands that play is not merely amusement for children. Dr. Susan Linn, psychologist and world-renowned expert on creative play, joins us to talk about the role of play in a child’s development — and how children can use creative play to access and express their feelings.

  • Dr. Susan Linn

    Dr. Susan Linn is a psychologist, award-winning ventriloquist, and a world-renowned expert on creative play and the impact of technology, media, and commercial marketing on children.  She was the founding director of the children’s advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (now called Fairplay), and is currently a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical school. She is also the author of Consuming Kids, The Case for Make Believe, and her newly published book, Who’s Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children.

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Episode 67, The Legacy and Future of Native American Education, January 5, 2023

Native American education is one of our country’s culturally richest areas, but it comes at the expense of a very dark past. We take a closer look at the abuse Native American children experienced at government-run schools in the US in the 19th and 20th centuries, the intergenerational trauma that followed, and how Native American educators address this and move forward now. Francis Vigil from the Pueblo of Zia, is Jemez Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache, and an indigenous educator and consultant. He joins us to talk about how Native American educators confront the past and help build strong, well-supported families — which will boost their children’s academic and cultural success going forward

  • Francis Vigil

    Mr. Francis Vigil is from the Pueblo of Zia, and is Jemez Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache. Currently, Mr. Vigil serves as the Tribal Education Specialist for the National Indian Education Association. Mr. Vigil’s areas of concentration are in Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Education, Community-based Education, and Indigenous Methods, Methodology, and Pedagogy.
    He utilizes those areas to intersect with his social justice work, which includes diversity, equity,
    inclusion, and accessibility. Previously, Mr. Vigil served as the Educational Specialist for Culture, History, and Language for the Bureau of Indian Education under the U.S. Department of Interior. In addition, Mr. Vigil has served as a high school science teacher and as an educational administrator at the school, school district, state, and federal levels. In addition to serving on the Parents as Teachers Board of Directors, Mr. Vigil also serves as a Commissioner for the State of
    New Mexico’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, and he currently serves on Google’s Education Equity Board. He recently served as the President of the New Mexico Tribal Language Consortium. Mr. Vigil continues to provide educational consultation services to various educational entities at the local, state, and national levels. Most importantly, he is honored to continue to serve and work with numerous tribes and tribal communities across the United States.  Mr. Vigil holds a B.S. in Microbiology from New Mexico State University, a M.A. in Secondary Education from University of New Mexico, and is continuing his work on a PhD in Social Justice with a focus on educator identity and social emotional learning in Native American education systems.

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Episode 66, Malcolm Mitchell Loves to Read, December 22, 2022

We’ve turned the spotlight on many gifted authors, but our next guest is the first to win a children’s book award and a Super Bowl ring. Malcolm Mitchell, American football professional, children’s author, youth literacy advocate, and CEO of the Share the Magic Foundation, joins us to talk about his journey to literacy and how he overcame professional and personal adversity in the process.

  • Malcolm Mitchell

    Malcolm Mitchell is a Super Bowl Champion, a children’s book author, a youth literacy advocate, and is the Founder and CEO of the Share the Magic Foundation.

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Episode 65, I Talk Like a River, December 8, 2022

Stuttering affects approximately 5% of U.S. children—it’s very common!  Jordan Scott, poet and author of “I Talk Like a River”, and Brooke Edwards, Director of Speech for SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young, join us to talk about how stuttering affects children and how all of us — caregivers, professionals, and beyond — can make their interactions with people who stutter a more positive and communicative experience.

  • Jordan Scott

    Jordan Scott, a poet and children’s author. His debut children’s book, I Talk Like a River (illustrated by Sydney Smith), was a New York Times best Children’s Book of2020. The book was translated into nineteen languages and was the recipient of the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Award, which honors authors for the artistic expression of the disability experience. Scott is also the author of four books of poetry and the recipient of the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, given to amid-career poet in recognition of a remarkable body of work, and in anticipation of future contributions to Canadian poetry.

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  • Brooke Edwards

    Brooke Edwards, a speech language pathologist and board recognized stuttering specialist. Brooke is the director of speech for SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young. SAY is a national nonprofit organization that empowers, educates and supports young people who stutter by offering summer camp, regional day camps, speech therapy, and creative arts programming.

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Episode 64, Seeing Into the Reading Brain, November 24, 2022

Thanks to advances in brain imaging, we can measure reading’s structural and functional benefits. Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician and assistant professor in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, joins us to talk about what we can learn from neuroimaging about how children’s activities can affect their brain structure, and what probably helps — or hinders — children’s development.

  • John Hutton, MD

    Dr. John Hutton is a pediatrician and assistant professor in the Division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center and Director of the Reading Literacy Discovery Center. His unique reading background includes almost 20 years at the helm of the blue manatee children’s bookstore, which in 2019 was converted into the Blue Manatee Literacy Project, a nonprofit providing books and reading experiences to underserved children. He serves as the “spokes-doctor” for the Read Aloud 15 MINUTES national campaign and is on the national Medical Advisory Board of Reach Out and Read. Dr. Hutton’s research at Cincinnati Children’s covers all facets of pediatric general and health literacy. He is utilizing magnetic resonance imaging to better understand the influence of modifiable aspects of home reading and screen environments on structural and functional brain networks which support emergent literacy, the skills and attitudes preparing a child for reading.

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Episode 63, Leadership on Location, November 10, 2022

Leadership on Location”: After three years, the annual Reach Out and Read Leadership Conference was finally back in person last month. More than 150 leaders gathered in Madison, Wisconsin over three days to share their vision, values, and voice – all in the name of Reach Out and Read’s mission. Listen to their conference takeaways, what inspires their work, and what drives our community forward.

Episode 62, Puppet Talk, October 27, 2022

Why would someone write a research paper involving puppets?  Well, puppets can not only be a tool for helping children feel more comfortable in medical settings, but more recently have been used to support relational health.  Dr. Gretchen Domek, Associate Professor and the Frankenburg Research Professor in Developmental Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, joins us to talk about her work introducing finger puppets as a tool to help caregivers talk with their infants both at home and abroad.

  • Gretchen Domek, MD

    Dr. Gretchen Domek is an Associate Professor in Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, a general pediatrician, and the Director of the International Adoption Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In addition to her medical training, she received a Master of Philosophy degree in Medical Anthropology and completed a Global Health Research Fellowship. Her current research focuses on early childhood development in resource limited settings. She has designed and implemented a community health program promoting early childhood health and development in southwest Guatemala and rural China. She has also developed a primary care-based intervention to promote infant language acquisition in underserved children in the U.S.

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Episode 61, Environmental Health & Children, October 13, 2022

Children are uniquely vulnerable to climate change: rising temperatures and poor air quality increase asthma attacks and allergies, and natural disasters can lead to physical displacement, food insecurity, and an increase in mental health concerns. Dr. Jerry Paulson, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Medicine, joins us to talk about this subject – and how caregivers can separate the noise from the science.

  • Dr. Jerry Paulson

    Dr. Jerry Paulson, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and of Environmental & Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. He spent the majority of his career teaching and practicing primary care in the system that bridges Children’s National Medical Center and GW. He is the founder of the American Academy of Pediatrics Program on Climate Change and a founding member of Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action. He works as a consultant to the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health fostering the development of state CCA organizations.

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Episode 60, Health Equity by Design, September 29, 2022

There’s a lot of conversation around health equity, and rightly so: research suggests that many disparities in overall health and well-being are rooted in early childhood. But how can one meaningfully address that in our healthcare system? Dr. Darrell M. Gray, the inaugural chief health equity officer for Elevance Health, joins us to talk about how to help shift health care from a transactional relationship to a deeper one using an equity framework.

  • Dr. Darell M. Gray, II

    Dr. Darrell M. Gray is an outspoken health equity advocate, a clinical and policy expert, and a passionate voice for a better healthcare system. As the inaugural chief health equity officer for Elevance Health, he leads the execution of comprehensive strategy to advance health equity through a whole-health approach (addressing physical, behavioral, social, and pharmacy needs) among Elevance Health’s more than 45 million members and their respective communities.

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Episode 59, Read Charlotte, September 15, 2022

The world of literacy has a dizzying array of systems that go well beyond schools and home — including legislatures, philanthropies, and other NGOs — but they aren’t always collaborating well. Munro Richardson, Executive Director at Read Charlotte, NC, reimagined how these systems could work, creatively connected groups that hadn’t before, and got community buy-in in the process; a clear example of how to make a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

  • Munro Richardson

    Munro Richardson is Executive Director of Read Charlotte, a community initiative that unites families, educators, and community partners with the goal of improving third grade reading proficiency in Charlotte, North Carolina. Read Charlotte is a capacity-building intermediary that supports local partners to apply evidence-based knowledge about effective reading instruction and interventions, high-quality execution, continuous improvement, and data analysis to improve reading outcomes.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, and graduate degrees from Harvard University, Oxford University, and the University of Illinois. He is co-author of Read With Me: Engaging Your Young Child in Active Reading, published by Rowman & Littlefield in November 2018.

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Episode 58, Adventures of Fatherhood: Rasing Raffi, September 1, 2022

Parenting is often tough. While our society has better normalized talking about the highs, lows, and in-betweens of raising children, there’s still a lot that’s hard to say publicly. Keith Gessen, the author of the new book Raising Raffi, takes on these challenges, asks the many unvoiced questions, and does so as someone not heard as frequently in the parenting book space: the perspective of a father.

  • Keith Gessen biography

    Keith Gessen is the author of several books, including A Terrible Country and All the Sad Young Literary Men, and is the founding editor of n+1, a print and digital magazine of literature, culture, and politics. Keith has translated or co-translated several books in Russian and is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and New York magazine. He teaches journalism at Columbia University in New York, where he lives with his wife and two sons, one of whom is the namesake of his latest book, Raising Raffi: The First Five Years.

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Episode 57, Raising a Baby the Government Way, August 18, 2022

As in other times, women in the late 1910s-20s from all over the U.S. looked for parenting advice.  Who did they ask? The federal government, believe it or not.  They flooded the Children’s Bureau, a division of the Department of Labor, with letters about their worries and concerns around raising children. Molly Ladd-Taylor, author of “Raising a Baby the Government Way: Mothers’ Letters to the Children’s Bureau,” joins us to share the story behind the letters and what they can tell us about what has changed – and what hasn’t – regarding maternal and infant care.

  • Molly Ladd-Taylor

    Molly Ladd-Taylor is a Professor of History at York University in Toronto. Her research has focused on the history and politics of motherhood, resulting in publications such as Raising a Baby the Government Way: Mothers’ Letters to the Children’s Bureau; Mother-Work: Women, Child Welfare and the State, 1890-1930 and a co-edited anthology called ‘Bad’ Mothers: The Politics of Blame in 20th Century America. Her most recent book is Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare.

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Episode 56, What is Material Culture of Childhood, August 4, 2022

What can a piece of clothing tell us about how a child lived? How can parent interactions be revealed through a pair of gloves? What might a baby’s quilt tell us about family dynamics? Dr. Sarah Anne Carter, Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Human Ecology takes us on a field trip into the Center’s vast collection to examine childhood objects throughout history and how these objects can help tell the stories of the children who used them.

  • Dr. Sarah Anne Carter

    Dr. Sarah Anne Carter is the Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture, and an Associate Professor in Design Studies at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Carter is the author of the recently published book Object Lessons: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Learned to Make Sense of the Material World and teaches a course on “The Material Culture of Childhood” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Episode 55, Love Letters to Food, July 21, 2022

Using the talents of both writing and illustrating to offer messages encapsulated within compelling stories through children’s books is difficult.  Yet, Shabazz Larkin is an artist, author, illustrator, and activist who manages to do just that. He joins us today to talk about his craft and the unique way he has been able to weave healthy messages surrounding food and nutrition into his work for children and their families.

  • Shabazz Larkin

    Shabazz Larkin is an artist and activist interested in creating images of black culture and contemporary spirituality. Shabazz is a multi-disciplinary artist, painting vibrant portraiture on canvas, typographic printing techniques and film.  He made his picture book illustration debut with Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table and his author/illustrator debut with A Moose Boosh, both selected as American Library Association Notable Books.  His most recent book, The Thing About Bees, was named one of School Library Journal‘s Best Picture Books of 2019.

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Episode 54, Planet Word, July 7, 2022

Is a museum with words and not objects still a museum? Yes! Planet Word, a unique museum in Washington DC, houses immersive experiences dedicated to the celebration of words and language. Ann Friedman, Founder and CEO of Planet Word, joins us to talk about Planet Word’s overall mission and atypical design – both of which are deeply grounded in language arts and science.

  • Ann Friedman

    Ann Friedman is the Founder and CEO of Planet Word and the developer behind the restoration of the Franklin School, the museum’s home. Her interest in literacy began with a lifelong love of reading, early work as a copy editor and translator, and a later career as a beginning reading and writing teacher in the Montgomery County Public Schools. She previously served as the Chair of the Board of the SEED Foundation, the parent body of the nation’s only public, inner-city, college-prep boarding schools, where she currently serves as Vice Chair.  Ann was recently elected a trustee of the American Alliance of Museums.

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