When I Was Eleven . . . No One Made a Movie about Me

6878794757_82b564e1a2_mWhen I was eleven . . . no one made a movie about me.

The same cannot be said of Jiter, Goh, Siham, Giorgi, Jack, Oliver, Billy, Obey, Remya, Rika, Vandana, Priya, Dagan, Sree Kutty, Sam, Sahin, Luca, Fang, Osama, Kim, Grace, and Sharif. They are the subjects of a documentary, filmed over a period of six years by Australian Genevieve Bailey, called I Am Eleven.  The children, all (of course) eleven years old, are from India, Thailand, Morocco, France, Bulgaria, England, the US, Australia, Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, China, and the Czech Republic.

When I was eleven . . . I was trying to figure out the world. And I’d guess that the words that came out of my mouth were sometimes ridiculous and sometimes profound.

Sounds like these kids.

What about when you were eleven? Let everybody know at wheniwaseleven.com.

[photo: “Aluminium Tag Bingo Number 11,” by Leo Reynolds, used under a Creative Commons license]

Sweet-Dreams Liner . . . Maybe Someday

5287865564_65b5330065_nIt’s been big news lately that the new Boeing 787 is having problems, resulting in its grounding until a solution can be found to its lithium-ion batteries catching fire. Certainly, that’s not the track record that was expected when it was christened the “Dreamliner” in an online naming contest (beating out “Global Cruiser” by 2500 votes).

There’s another kind of jet that I’m waiting for with more anticipation. It’s only in the concept stage, but it’s a well-thought-out concept—aimed directly at families with children. It’s called cAir, and it’s the brainchild of RKS Design. I heard about it from Karolyn Wojtowicz at the blog William Penn University Study Abroad (lots of good stuff there for “opening the eyes of students, of all ages, everywhere to opportunities available anywhere”). Read her take at “cAir: The New Child-Friendly Airline.”

cAir innovations include

  • Toy rental
  • Sound curtains that pull down from the ceiling (reminds me of Get Smart‘s “Cone of Silence”)
  • Child-friendly, family-size lavatories
  • Places for storing and reheating food
  • Built-in child seats
  • Spinnable seat pairs that allow family members to face each other (my favorite—just like the trains in Taiwan)
  • Lower-level overhead compartments for child access to smaller items
  • And half-price discounts for parents flying with children (OK, I made this last one up, but we’re dreaming, aren’t we?)

“Flying with children can be a real nightmare. . . . So why not do something to fix it?” —RKS Design

(David M. Ewalt, “Dreamliner’s News May Be Getting Worse, and Not Just for Boeing,” Forbes, January 22, 2013; “Puget Sound Employee Wins ‘Name Your Plane’ Sweepstakes,” Boeing Frontiers Online, July 2003)

[illustration: “Flying Duck Patrol,” by Colorful Bleeding, used under a Creative Commons license]

Two Books for Helping Us Picture the Kids of the World

When people miss home, they often say they wish they could be back in their own beds. Children, especially, find comfort underneath familiar covers. Of course, there is a great variety of beds, and bedrooms, around the world. That’s the theme of James Mollison’s Where Children Sleep (2010), “stories of diverse children around the world, told through portraits and pictures of their bedrooms.” It’s aimed a 9-13 year olds, but the photos of the bedrooms and portraits of the children are engaging for adults, as well. See for yourself at the author’s site, where you can view 27 of the photo/portrait pairs.

And another book that shows the diversity of children around the globe is Children of the World: How We Live, Learn, and Play in Poems, Drawings, and Photographs (2011). Authored by Anthony Asael and Stephanie Rabemiafara, founders of Art in All of Us, the book helps us “learn a little of the geography, traditions, and peoples of 192 countries around the globe—including our cultural similarities and differences—ultimately discovering that children everywhere draw, smile, play, and rejoice in their different backgrounds and in their universal friendship.” More information about Art in All of Us and a gallery of children’s artwork and photos is at the organization’s site.

[photo: “Portrait two boys – Sri Lanka,” by World Bank Photo Collection, used under a Creative Commons license]