Actor Matt Malloy reads a short story by Aimee Bender, from her book The Girl in the Flammable Skirt: Stories.
Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity and About a Boy, explains the travails of driving his autistic son to the park.
Jay Allison and his 12-year-old daughter discuss what radio station to listen to. She wants music.
Producer Alex Blumberg conducts an investigation, perhaps the first ever, into this American subspecies: People who compulsively imitate their mother's voices in everyday conversation, well into adulthood.
Beau O'Reilly and his mother Winifred, who had 14 children, discuss her secret feelings about Johnny Cash and other matters on Mother's Day.
What happens when seventh graders become an angry mob? Karen Bernstein reports on her own seventh grade class from small-town Connecticut. In 1973, a teacher turned them into an angry mob, an event they all remember decades later.
In the early 1970s, a geographer named Roger Hart did a study of exactly where it is that children go during the daytime. For two years, he followed 86 children—all the children in a small town in Vermont, during the hours when parents were away at work.
Writer Mona Simpson reads from her forthcoming novel My Hollywood. This excerpt is about the daytime life of Filipino nannies, during the hours in which they run the lovely homes of certain Los Angeles neighborhoods.
The story of a company trying an experiment at marketing dolls to little girls:A new kind of doll store near Chicago's Magnificent Mile called "American Girl Place." The company has figured out all the ways little girls love dolls and they're trying to sell to nearly every one of those desires. Susan Burton reports that it's as if they've settled into a perch inside little girl's dreams and are selling from there.
Kindergarten teacher and "Genius Grant" recipient Vivian Paley is the author of many books about the stories children invent and the way they play, and what it's about. At a time when schools are cutting back on having a doll corner, she tells the story of a child in her class who was sort of saved by a doll, and the story he told about the doll.
The teenagers try to get to know the locals, without a lot of success.
True stories of what happens when children are allowed to bring nature's own creatures into the house as pets. When it comes to rodents, fish and amphibians, it often works out badly...for the pets.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name: A Family, a Town, a Murder.) This is how it goes sometimes.
Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters, Elise and Mathilde, at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from Jurgensen's book, The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain her children's lives and their deaths to a friend through a series of letters.
Barbara Clinkscales grew up in Chicago's public housing projects, had her first child when she was 15, and is now—over two decades later—struggling to get her teenage son to finish his senior year of high school. Barbara is a working mom, with a network of close friends who look out for her.
Barbara's story continues, as she hears some terrible news about her son.
One of the most powerful forces in a room can be the thing that is unspoken between people. Five writers—Scott Carrier, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Brady Udall and Lan Samantha Chang—give us case examples: stories when they felt the presence of something unspoken.
A few years back Alex Kotlowitz wrote a book called There Are No Children Here, about two boys growing up in Chicago's Henry Horner public housing projects. Those projects were across the street from the site of the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and when the convention came to town, money poured in for a makeover.
The story of the lengths a father will go to to retrieve a lost teddy bear, and why—after he's enlisted many other parents to help him wade through tens of thousands of bags of trash to find it—none of the parents involved think he's nuts.
What happens when a dad tries too hard to protect his child from disappointment and instead enthrall the child. With the best of intentions, New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler did all that, and in the process accidentally broke his daughter's heart.
The tendency toward self-reinvention is so deep in American culture that we have an entire industry, a self-help industry, telling us how to transform ourselves into someone new. And usually, we see this as a positive thing.
Over the course of his life, Keith Aldrich was a child of the Depression in Oklahoma; a preacher-in-training in booming California; an aspiring Hollywood actor; in the 1950s, a self-styled Beat writer, and then a man in a gray flannel suit; in the 1960s, a member of the New York literati, and then a hippie; in the 1970s, a denizen of the suburbs with a partying, Ice Storm kind of life. Then in the 80's, when the moral majority helped put Ronald Reagan in office, he became a born-again Christian. Today we're devoting our entire show to story of Keith's life, as told by one of his nine children, Gillian Aldrich.
When is a chicken your friend? When is he your dinner? This American Life's former webmeister Elizabeth Meister talks with Kamiko Overs, an 11-year-old girl at the annual poultry exhibition run by the American Poultry Association in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth Meister is a producer with Long Haul Productions.
Writer Jack Hitt talks about his daughter Tarpeley's first day in her new school. It was her first "first day" of any kind.