Author: Frances Schoonmaker

Is Halloween Too Scary for Some Kids?

Is Halloween too scary? In my neighborhood Halloween is a joyful time. But it may not be so joyful for young children as we like to imagine.  4-5 min. read. Families in my neighborhood go all out to decorate. On Halloween we welcome the ghosts, ghouls, Dr. Who’s, Saitamas, Elsas, Charlie Browns, witches, and characters

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Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer, a Review

“Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer will go down as the best historical novel I have ever read.” Wow! A review like this one means a lot to a writer, even better, it is from Readers’ Favorite, a website that offers reviews by people who enjoy books but make no claim to being professional

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The Death of a Cat: Remembering Luna

Remembering the death of a cat, our cat. How do you deal with the death of a pet? 6-8 minute read. Luna’s obituary did not appear in The New York Times. Nor could you have found it in The Baltimore Sun or even in The Towson Times despite her long residence in the area. She

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Thoughts on Badger, Bees, and Re-wilding at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage as seen from a garden seat. A walk in Anne Hathaway‘s Cottage gardens got me to thinking of Badger, bees, and re-wilding. The cottage and gardens are kept open by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. My daughter works there and was stationed in the cottage garden the afternoon I visited. The gardens of

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Dealing With Disappointment: Orchids and Ice Lollies

Picking Yourself Up After Disappointment and Failure Orchids are thought to represent love, beauty, strength, luxury, elegance, and uniqueness. These orchids brightened my room when I was away from home a few years ago. What if we were defined by our disappointments and failures rather than by our successes? No, seriously. Our successes are cause

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A Debt to Jonathan Walker, “The Man With the Branded Hand”

Jonathan Walker was an abolitionist known as “The Man With the Branded Hand.” Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer, my forthcoming book, owes a debt to the abolitionist for its title. A lot goes into choosing a title for any book. Choosing the title for Sid Johnson’s story was a challenge until I got

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Welcome-You Belong Here

You Belong Here, by Baltimore Artist Kacey Stafford Tucked into the basket that I prepared for the Malice Domestic live auction was a Kacey Stafford signed print, “You Belong Here.” The print is a contribution from the Baltimore artist and friend. Kacey’s work reflects her priorities of family, nature, and social responsibility. The Found Studio

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Tea and Biscuits and the Silent Auction at Malice Domestic

Tea and Biscuits from Betty’s I was very happy that my Silent Auction Basket at Malice Domestic went to someone who was delighted to win it. Not only will she have the fun of drinking tea from a reproduction of the Mimbreno china created by Mary Colter for the Santa Fe Chief trains, but she’ll

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Silent Auction at Malice Domestic

The Silent Auction at Malice Domestic benefits KEEN Greater DC, supporting reading, literacy and communication programs. Creating a basket for the Silent Auction requires thought and creativity.

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Mark Twain: Writers and Their Cats

Mark Twain was a writer who loved cats, maybe better than he loved many people. When he was on vacation he rented kittens. The Clemens home was one where cats were welcome. 3 min. read, Kid Friendly.

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