If you’ve been hanging around here on the Margins for a while, you know I have a weakness for reference books. These days I try to exercise some self-control when it comes to adding a volume or three to my hoard.* The bookshelf dedicated to references books is close to  full** and every book added…

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For my first ten or twelve or thirty years in Chicago, I was regularly taken by surprise by a local holiday. On the first Monday in March, Chicago’s administrative offices, and public libraries are closed for Pulaski Day, a holiday honoring Casimir Pulaski, the Polish nobleman who fought on the colonial side in the American…

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve recently been working on a book for 8 to 12 year olds about an incident in WWII. Non-fiction books for kids inevitably include one of my favorite things: sidebars.* Sidebars are a chance to explore an issue that enriches and expands the central text. They also are often a chance…

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