31. Amelia Earhart, Once Again

Amelia Earhart

New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, poetry, children’s literature, movies, television, books, and the Arts. It will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface.

Important Columnist Note: I made a mistake trying to load this column Sunday. I sent messages to 45 of Jenny’s friends in Canada and then gave them the wrong access code. I will run the first story for one more day, so everyone can view it without going to a sub-level on my site. New ideas for today will follow my Mary Higgins Clark and Jenny Witterrick discussion. It will say New Ideas For Wednesday in boldface following their story.


A Good Day…It is a good day when you can spend thirty minutes talking books, creative projects, and vacation plans with Mary Higgins Clark and Jenny Witterick. This chance meeting could not have been planned to run any better. Mrs. Clark, the world-renowned author, just finished her new book Daddy’s Gone A Hunting and was looking forward to vacation. She gladly shared ideas on her new writing as she expressed how relieved she was to finally finish her latest book. Her books have been impossible to put down. She is an outstanding writer. She looked outstanding in pictures, too. Her new book Daddy’s Gone A Hunting comes out April 9th.


Jenny Witterick is one of Canada’s most successful business-woman. Ms. Witterick’s success story should be followed and emulated by women everywhere. Research both the work she has accomplished heading Sky Investment Counsel Inc. (Sky) since 2004 and the path she forged years earlier in financial circles throughout Canada. It is an inspiring journey.This vignette, however, is about Jenny’s writing not the money she has helped thousands to wisely invest. My Mother’s Secret is her new book.


Anita Pyclik in an email to Jenny summed up Ms. Witterick’s work far better than I could ever do. Jenny said I could share it in my column. She let me read it on her iPad. After reading what Anita said, I suggested to Jenny that she use Anita’s comments on her book cover or in her forward. After reading this moving description you will want to buy Jenny’s new book, immediately. The book comes out March 29th.

Anita said: Please find my heartfelt and honest thoughts on the novel, ‘My Mother’s Secret‘ below:

When J. L. Witterick first handed me a copy of her manuscript, I was excited … but there was a bit of skepticism as well. As J. L.  explained, her first novel ‘My Mother’s Secret’ was a story about the Holocaust of WWII … a truly tough subject for anyone. Having completed a double major in History and Theology, I like to think of WWII novels as something that I have already read thoroughly. In my years of study, I must have covered countless topics, each providing me with vivid details and horrific accounts of the holocaust.

Nevertheless, having been born in Poland and coming from a strong Polish background, I started to read out of nostalgia.  Unexpectedly, I could not stop once I started and continued to read for almost the full day until I finished.  I did not want to leave one word behind.

J. L.’s  book has an incredible capability to draw you in.  The story is about compassion and our hope for humanity all in one. I felt emotional and proud to be reading this book on heroism, love and hope during a dark time in history that aimed to destroy all such notions.

Coming from a Christian-Polish background, I do not have any ties to Judaism … so perhaps many will wonder why this book appeals to me?

This book is not just a tale about how Jewish families were saved by a Polish woman.  It is the story about a compassionate and brave soul, who in the midst of the horrors around her, still followed her conscience. You do not have to be Jewish, or religious, or a history enthusiast to have this novel appeal to you. It will seep into your heart and stir up powerful and beautiful emotions, no matter who you are or where you come from.

At first glance the novel seemed short to me, but I realized by the time I completed one third of it that J. L. did exactly what a powerful and memorable book does … it leaves you in awe!  Sometimes this can happen 50 pages into a book, sometimes 400 pages, and sometimes not at all. But just a few chapters into J. L.’s  book and I felt a swell of inspiration … a moment where I was deeply moved and intrigued and I dare not put the book down. J. L.  filled the book with such powerful characters, drawing on facts, data, accounts, emotions and of course love.

I can see this novel changing and touching many hearts … including mine.  I wish nothing more than to see ‘My Mother’s Secret’ have the same effect on millions as it did for me

New Ideas For Wednesday

Movies…When the movie Identity Thief opened in theaters last week, my recommendation that you should see “silly” was followed by America to the tune of 37 million dollars. Sure, like all twenty-five people who read my column went to see the movie. That is an astonishing box office number, especially when half of the country was stuck in their homes under a massive snowstorm. Melissa McCarthy and her comedic talents are given credit for this windfall, but there were a number of creative pieces that came together to make this movie a success. Jason Bateman isn’t any slouch at playing the foil for a creative comic. Movie critics who gave this movie a ‘thumbs-down all the way’ didn’t count on huge audiences that are tired of vampires, karate fights, and things going boom in the night. USA Today reported that the women’s demographic is carrying this movie. Guess they carried a large number of men into the theaters with them to reach the 37 million dollar mark?

This week the fight for movie bucks is between:

Silly…Identity Thief
Explosions…Bruce Willis Dying Hard again; and
Kissing…With Nicholas Sparks orchestrating kissing between Josh and Juliann.
My guess is Bruce, though his action hero buddies have really flopped at the box office recently.

Movies II…Local papers are reporting that this is one of the first years that all the movies nominated for an Academy Award this year will pass the 100 million dollar mark by the time the show rolls around.

Argo_125 million

Life of Pio_110 million

Django Unchained_153 million

Lincoln_172 million

Silver Linings Playbook_92 million

Les Miserables_143 million

All six of these movies will be worthy opponents for best movie come Academy Award time.

Television…What is more fun, the stage antics and the performances at the Grammy Awards or the critics skewering the outfits at the conclusion of the festivities? I hope Joan Rivers is played all week, so I can catch her irreverent barbs once again after an award’s show.


Children’s Literature…The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis deserves to be rediscovered as a great book after the run of its two movies. This book is the beginning book in The Chronicles of Narnia. It is an awesome read aloud and an even more interesting individual ‘sit down and absorb’ book. Four children while playing tag in their house find an opening in a wardrobe to a snowy, imaginary land called Narnia. There they find a witch and her minions who want to keep the land cold and prevent old legends from coming true and replacing her. It is a story that has everything from unique characters to challenging adventures to a spirit that all readers will love to embrace.


Children’s Literature II…The Pirate Queens by Jane Yolen is a great lead-in to narrative and historic poetry.  The book is a richly illustrated, poetic chronicle of Ann Bonney and her pirate ship the Vanity. This narrative poem is highlighted by a quatrain on every other page that mimics “Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum.” The model provides springboard ideas for classroom poetic storytelling and writing. The book introduces an historic period that is not covered in many 6-12th grade curriculums. If you ever take a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, visit the pirate dungeons and review some of their activities in the area and their history on the high seas. Don’t forget to visit Fort Sumpter. It is an eyeshot from Charlestown. Jane Yolen has written dozens of books on challenging subjects. This one is one of her best efforts. The illustrations drive the story and are keepers, too.


Children’s Literature III…Elijah’s Angel by Michael J. Rosen Introduces us to a must own holiday story. This is, through woodcuts, the beautifully illustrated story of a young Jewish fourth grade boy and an Afro-American barber and woodcutter. After meeting the woodcutter on a class trip, they become best of friends. The two exchange presents…one gives an Christmas Angel and one gives a Hanukah Menorah. The presents open a family discussion of sharing what we hold dear and what makes us happy. The book is not a lecture on either religion or the importance of it in our society. It is the real story of friendship and inter-generational sharing. The artwork makes the story jump off the page for any reader. It is a good illustrator’s classroom reference for those artists that have an individual style that is perfect for the pages of a book.

New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.

New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends and other lovers of discussion.




About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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2 Responses to 31. Amelia Earhart, Once Again

  1. jordan says:

    Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Cheers

    • tjpalumbo says:


      Please share my column with your group. I also have an educational website that
      has won four national awards.

      Please share that site also. Everything on it is for free.
      aimtjp.wikispaces.com (no www. Is needed).

      I am the author of 18 books of creative curriculum, games, and puzzles.

      I would love to join your Zynga group, also.

      If that is your company, I applied to it for a game designers position and never
      heard anything back.

      Please give me a call on the number below as I would like to talk a few things
      over with you or give me your number and I will call you.

      Tom Palumbo

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