New book coming soon...

My next project is tentatively called Oman, Iran to Turkey: How We Make Sense of the World and What it Means for Our Children. It's the story of a dad, his son, and our perceptions of the world.

Here's a short excerpt:

Matthew Map.jpg


Around the time my son Matthew turned three, he began to show an interest in learning about other countries. He’d question me about pictures on our wall and ask me to tell him stories from my trips abroad. He began a foreign coin collection, proudly showing it to anyone who came over. And his favorite show became a seven-hour video of a slow train ride through Norway.

To support this interest, I bought him what was described as a “colorful atlas for kids.” It had maps of each of the continents, pictures of flags for every country, and fun facts on every page (Example: Which country likes to put on puppet shows? The Czech Republic!). At night, before my son would go to bed, we’d often flip through the book and he’d ask me questions about why Chile was so thin or why the Democratic Republic of the Congo had such a long name or why Antarctica counted as a continent when nobody lived there. One day, I showed him how one country, Turkey, was actually in two different continents.

“Wait,” he said. “That place is called Turkey?”

“Yeah,” I said.

His big blue eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face. “Turkey? Have you ever been there?”

“I have,” I told him. “It’s a great country. Its biggest city is named Istanbul and…”

But he didn’t care. He turned back to the book and said, “Are there any other countries with funny names?”

“Um… well this place is called Iran,” I said, deliberately mispronouncing the name. “You know, like ‘I ran to the park.’”

“Ha!” he said. “I ran. I like that one too. What else?”

My eyes scanned the page. “How about this one? Oman. You know, like ‘Oh man, that’s a big strawberry.’”     

He sat up laughing. “Oh man! Like ‘Oh man, I’m hungry.’” He continued to giggle and said, “Oman! Iran! Turkey!”

“That’s a pretty funny sentence,” I said.

“What’s a pretty funny sentence?”

“Oh man, I ran to turkey. Like you’re really excited for lunch.”

His eyes lit up again: pure glee. “OH MAN, I RAN TO TURKEY!”