Happy Birthday Bass Reeves! Who was he?

July 23, 2010

Bass Reeves was born July 1838 and is thought be one of the first, if not the first, African Americans to receive a commission as a Deputy Marshal west of the Mississippi River.

I grew up with stories about Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Wyatt Earp, Pecos Bill, Maverick and Annie Oakley but I had never heard of Bass Reeves, a remarkable hero of the Old West.

The Coretta Scott King Author Award drew my attention to Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. This is a wonderful picture book biography and a very good first meeting of a man who is rumored to be the inspiration for the Lone Ranger.

Another serendipitous pleasure in meeting this book—akin to looking up a word in the dictionary and along the way discovering words that you never heard of—was discovering a different book, Don’t Squat With Yer Spurs On!: A Cowboy’s Guide to Life, by Teas Bix Bender. I had no idea how much fun these cowboys sayings offered.

A few pearls of cowboy wisdom:
~ Don’t let so much reality
into your life that there’s no room left for dreamin

~ Don’t worry about bittin’ off more than you can chew.
Your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.

~ Don’t never interfere with something that ain’t botherin’ you none.

~ Comin’ as close to the truth as a man can come without gettin’ there is comin’ pretty close, but it still ain’t the truth.

…As Dale Evans sang ” Happy trials to you, until we meet again.”

Do screen technologies dumb-down reading?

July 13, 2010

The Internet encourages us to read rapidly, skimming and surfing, bouncing from one link to the next. It does not encourage deep reading.  I clearly see how the Internet has impacted not only what I read, but also the way I read. The best way I can explain the difference brings to mind a wonderful […]


“The essential thing with a bully is they’re unhappy. — May Stolz

July 8, 2010

I am always looking for books with really good bullies. Why? Because bullies are part of growing up and the more exposure children have to stories where bullies play a role, the more children will have an opportunity to think and talk about how to cope with the bullies they will meet in real life.  […]


Let’s remember the pleasure principle.

June 30, 2010

We are approaching the Fourth of July which shouts “Summer!”—and summer hopefully brings the notion that NOW you can read for pleasure—read what you want and read for the sheer enjoyment of getting lost in a book. I recently read that so much emphasis is being placed on “functional literacy” that it has left little […]


How important is parental involvement once a child learns how to read?

June 21, 2010

I just had the pleasure of doing a training with community workers who are involved with promoting and supporting early literacy with children and their families, making sure these children enter school, ready to be successful learners and readers. Parental involvement is essential to a child’s success in school, and it makes perfect sense how […]


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