Kazoo news: May Update

May 16, 2023

Kazoo news: May Update

Hello friends,

Even though it happens every year, Springtime in New York is so beautiful, it takes my breath away. The Teeny editor and I got to spend a day together at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, with the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. She found beautiful places to sit and sketch and I got to watch something just as beautiful, her losing herself in the flowers. (Is there anything better than watching your child do something they love?) I always try to remember poet Mary Oliver's instructions: "Pay attention. / Be astonished. / Tell about it." and I hope I've passed that along to my daughters. In that spirit, here's more of what we've seen this May: 

• DYK honey bees sometimes sleep cozied-up together in flowers? Even in the hive, they entwine legs for their 5-8 hour nightly snooze, and scientists think they do it so they don't fall off the honeycomb, but I like to imagine they just like to cuddle. (pic via jmneelyphotography


• If girls can be anything, then why can't this one be what she wants to be? She said what she said. She wants to be Barack Obama. I don't know how I would've handled this, as a mom, but I agree we could use more people who want to grow up to be him, or more like him, anyway.

• This is a real-life wild thing is called “Kukeri,” a very serious Bulgarian custom intended to ward off evil spirits. In a new film, one says, “If you do not believe in something, it cannot exist.”  Kukeri extends back centuries, so far into the past that its origins are obscure. The costumes are amazing. Maybe we should start this in the USA? 

• A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption designed to perform a simple task in an overly complicated way. I love them so much, I even asked artist Ellen Forney to draw one for issue #14, (which was, well, awesome.) This one plays the song from Up! (see more @enbiggen.) 

• Are you a “BoyMom” with the keychain to prove it? An op-ed in the Washington Post says the term is "a cutesy, nuance-annihilating addition to parental vocabulary ... that makes its users nearly as childish as their offspring." I sort of cringe at "GirlDad" for the same reasons. But, I'm a "GirlMom" which is not a thing, apparently? 

• Let your PFLAGs fly! Fifty years ago, standing up for equality was considered radical activism, but to the founder of PFLAG, it was just part of being a parent. (This was before the term "BoyMom" but what a wonderful example of love.) 2023 update: A Republican Rep in Montana grabs the mic to say: "I prefer my transgender daughter commit suicide." Horrifying. It is still hard for LGBT kids, all over this country. It's time to dust your PFLAGs off, people. 

• Peanut Butter and What??? Dwight Garner, a book critic for The NYTimes, calls the PB and Pickle sandwich “a thrifty and unacknowledged American classic.” Yes or no? 

• New Books by Contributors: Alison Bechdel drew the cover art for a new edition of To the Lighthouse (which is almost as great as the Virginia Woolf-themed Spot the Difference she did for us for issue #7). Joy Harjo's Remember, encourages readers to pause and reflect on the wonder of the world. (You might remember Joy from issue #17). Lucy Knisley's sweet You Are New is now a board-book! 

• What we're watching & reading: Friday Night Lights with our 12 yo, and upon rewatching, this show is very problematic! From the underage drinking to the criminal activity (do you remember when that Lance kid killed a man?!) it gives us a great deal to discuss. And, with our 7 yo, we're taking a break from Harry Potter, and have been dipping into Shel Silverstein to compliment her school poetry unit. I'm not sure which of us likes it more. Let's hug it out.

• I'm taking myshow on the road. I had an amazing time visiting Greenwich Academy, a girls school in CT, where I spoke to the 3rd an 4th graders about Kazoo and some of the coolest stuff I've learned while making it. I made a whole slide show (with help from my 12 yo who has become a total computer whiz). It was such fun to get to see our readers in person, and hear them ask questions, and laugh at my terrible jokes. If you are within driving distance of NYC and want me to come to your school or club, let me know.

• Thank you for reading. (And looking. As you can see I added pictures to this newsletter, what do you think?) I'm so happy you're here.

We just sent the summer issue to the printer (more on that soon!) and I hope you are looking forward to summer as much as I am. If you see anything wonderful this month, please send it my way. You can always find me at erin@kazoomagazine.com

Kazoo magazine
Founder & Editor-in-Chief