A Doll Comes To Visit

You are a fifth-grade girl who comes home from school to find a doll on your front porch. The doll looks like you, is dressed like you, and there is something about the eyes. Who left it? Why is it here? And what makes this doll so special?

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With a Little Help From My Friend

Jim Jenkins is an ace detective who solves the most difficult crimes. Yet he always works alone. Or does he?

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The Boy Who Could Wiggle His Ears

Learning how to wiggle your ears is really hard. But you can do it if you keep trying. And if you learn to keep trying, no problem is too big. So if you can wiggle your ears, you can do anything!

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A Positive Story For Thanksgiving

The city of Baltimore has more than 16,000 vacant buildings. Also, the percentage of Black households who own their own homes lags white households by 29%. Put those facts together, and you have an opportunity. As a carpenter by trade, Shelley Halstead saw that opportunity. She founded, and is now executive director of, Black Women

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Dogs Without Us

There about a billion dogs on this planet. Over the past several thousand years, they have become our helpmates and companions. Which brings up the question — what would happen to our furry companions if we were to suddenly disappear? A new book, A Dog’s World by Jessica Pierce and Marc Bekoff (https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691196183/a-dogs-world), considers two

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Killing Weeds the Modern Way

Weeds — any plants that grow where they are not wanted — are the bane of agriculture. The preferred way to kill them is with herbicides. But these chemicals are expensive and deposit tons of poison into the environment, with the attendant risk of collateral damage. Is there a better way? There just may be.

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Confronting Aging

I had signed up to substitute teach yesterday and today for an English/language arts teacher at the middle school. While I was working another job earlier in the week, he made it a point to come find me. In order to teach his eight-graders, I was going to have to prepare, so he gave me

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Buying Nothing For Christmas

Are you worried about Christmas? Afraid that the supply bottlenecks will leave you bereft of gifts for everyone who expects them? Then perhaps you should try the Buy Nothing Project. Founded in 2013, the project’s purpose is to build community by connecting people through local giving, with a secondary purpose of helping the environment. In

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The Fires of Philadelphia

It’s remarkable how selective our memories can be when it comes to history. In school, I never learned about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre (https://www.tulsahistory.org/exhibit/1921-tulsa-race-massacre/). Like most of the rest of the country, I heard about it only recently. So it stands to reason that I would never have been taught about the 1844 riots

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Solving a Problem by Eating

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “When you have lemons, make lemonade.” We might also consider saying “If you have a problem, just eat it.” The problem in question is invasive species. From zebra mussels* to pythons in the Everglades**, some parts of the ecosystem are virtually under siege by plants and animals that aren’t

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How Much Halloween Candy Can You Eat?

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween, and I’m sure many of you now have piles of candy as the remembrance. Not that I eat much candy myself, but when I saw the article “The Exact Amount Of Halloween Candy You Can Eat Before It’s Lethal” by Erica Sweeney (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-much-halloween-candy-lethal_l_6172241be4b010d9330ec746?), I couldn’t help but be

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