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Why cooking matters

Meet Manal. She is one of the women I met in Lesbos, the Greek island that became a main transit destination for migrants trying to reach Europe via Turkey. Born in Syria, Manal has three children, the youngest of whom, Nina, was born in the

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Forever in the archive

Why the books we read matter

A reminder: this coming Monday, 13 June, I am moderating a panel on the mental health of children and carers. I think a lot of readers here will be very interested in the event. It will feature child trauma psychologist Chandra Ghosh Ippen, as well

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The politics of the shocking U.S. formula shortage

An alert before I delve into today’s topic: on 13 June, I am moderating a panel on the mental health of children and carers, which I think would be of much interest to many of your readers. It will feature child trauma psychologist Chandra Ghosh

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What’s it like to give birth in a refugee camp

Aziza never imagined she would become a mother while living in a refugee camp. A civil engineer, she fled Afghanistan last year when the Taliban takeover became a threat to her family because her husband had worked for the US-led government. When they arrived on

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The issue dividing feminists — and a country

After almost two decades away from Italy, I ended up moving back just after I found out I was pregnant in 2018. We lived in a stone house among olive trees in the Umbrian countryside, just off a beautiful Medieval borgo called Montecastello di Vibio. Even

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Is a gender-neutral world science fiction?

I’ve just come back from a trip to Gethen – a cold place, with beautiful glaciers and a society of people that are devoid of sex and gender for most of the time. They are simply *people*, undefined by what they have between their legs

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Creating safe spaces for children during war

Show kids they are in a safe space, physically and emotionally. They need to chose games freely and have enough time to play, in their own time. They require minimal intervention and guidance from adults. They need opportunities to create, no matter what the result

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LEGO Superman in shallow focus

Why a child’s imagination is a superpower

Baidui is a child, but he’s also an uncle. He is a boy, but he’s also a mother. He is one and many at the same time. He lives in Thailand, but travels daily to Argentina, Italy and Greece. He goes to a daycare, but

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Forever in the archive:

Off on a date on a working day

Dear reader, This week I had several plans for this newsletter. I wanted to reflect on climate anxiety, following the latest damning IPCC report. I planned to write a piece in praise of the work of midwives. I am also still processing an interview on

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War has no borders

Dear reader, I am in Lesbos this week, the Greek island that became the symbol of migrants and refugees in 2015 when tens of thousands of people arrived after crossing the sea from Turkey. Many drowned in the Aegean Sea before making it to shore.

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What does war mean for children?

Jasminko Halilovic was four years old when the siege of Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, started in 1992. His memories of the war are punctuated by the rare breaks from shelling when he would go out into the street to learn how to ride his bike.

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When children feel like a burden

When do children become a burden rather than a joy? I’m not ready for the question that Nacho, my husband, asks me while he’s driving us from one errand to another. Lorenzo, our son, is with us today because of something Covid-related (is it the

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The importance of learning how to be lazy

When we returned recently from our time with friends in Thailand, I was excited to take advantage of the time difference and jet lag to start my days at 6 a.m., as I had done for many months last year. Think of the possibilities! Writing

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Why we should give every child the right to quality daycare

In Italy, there is a new plan to invest heavily into building new daycare centres as part of the NextGenerationEU recovery plan. Initially I was surprised to find so much push-back against these early education spaces, even from right-wing spaces such as senator Tiziana Drago, who

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Not having children does not diminish us

Pope Francis recently created a big controversy by criticising couples who decide to have pets over children. “This denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity,” he said. “Civilisation becomes aged and without humanity, because it loses the richness of fatherhood

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sleeping fox

Let’s talk about sleep, baby

If you read my newsletter last week, you may remember that my intention for 2022 is to get enough sleep every day. Ten days into the new year, I am already sleep-deprived: I’m writing this after having slept only five hours, as I stayed up well

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