Cosmic Bookshelf's newsletter archive

Our bimonthly newsletter is part megaphone, part love letter, all free. Take a look at our past newsletters below. If you like what you see and want to stay updated, sign up to get a little stardust in your inbox using the form in the website footer.


Beautiful, Also

Grace McKinney

february 6


Change is happening, and, though often paired with growing pains, it leads to beautiful things. Sit with me a while and cheer for the new and beautiful. Then close the screen and look for beauty in the real world, please. I promise, it won't be too hard to find. To pull from a beloved musical: Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now...



You Say You Want A Resolution?

Grace McKinney

january 2


It's a new year! A new decade! It's a little intimidating to be the very first newsletter for the year, I must admit, but it's almost too easy to pinpoint a theme to guide these resources and musings. For all the reflecting we do at this time of year, we're also pushed to look ahead to what's next. There's a tension between nostalgia for the years past and hope (and maybe a little fear?) for the one that we have yet to experience. 



How to Hygge

Grace McKinney

december 6


Several years ago I went to an exhibit at the MFA in Boston featuring the work of William Merritt Chase. I remember next to nothing about this exhibit except for the fact that his oldest daughter (and favorite model) had been nicknamed Cosy. I don't know what one does to earn such a delightful nickname, but since then I've collected a large amount of flannel and an almost unwieldy store of tea in hopes of earning the name for myself. 



On Hold at the Library

Grace McKinney

november 7


It snowed on Halloween. Not the kind that sticks, but enough to be a nuisance before driving to school. I didn't have an ice scraper, and, being me, I resorted to my plastic pastry scraper to get the job done. (Don't worry, Mom, I'll get the real thing soon!) The seasons are changing more quickly than I anticipated, and it's got me reaching for flannel pajamas and books that reflect the mood of such a time: a little darker than you'd like and a little more beautiful than you'd expect. 


This newsletter reflects on just that—the dark where it appears and the beauty pierces through it. (Gaby touched on this theme in her last newsletter, but I'll thank you to go along with me anyway.) Let's go find it, okay?



Knot, Not, Naught

Grace McKinney

october 10


It's been almost exactly one year since Gaby and I made the plunge into the creation of Cosmic Bookshelf. Many readers of this newsletter have been with us since the beginning, but it's been amazing to see how word has gotten around about this project as it's been shaping and reshaped and shaped again. It's been such a joy to share what we both love (and would probably be doing anyway) with so many wonderful people, and we can't wait to keep going. 



How Many Apples Should I Try?

Grace McKinney

september 12


This is the first installation of our new twice monthly newsletter, in which Gaby and I will alternately share with you what we're reading, watching, probably eating, and seeing out in the world. These little notes, musings, and maybe a link or two will hopefully feel like those scribbles in the corner of your notebook; they may, in fact, come straight from our own. We'll work to make these an added bonus for *you,* dear readers, so we can offer more resources in a variety of ways.

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Well Done is Soon Enough

Gaby Brabazon

january 17


As adults, we're almost always heading off somewhere or dashing in from somewhere else. It's more frequent that we're getting kids to move a little quicker than remind them they have time. It's gotten me thinking more about the ways we can encourage children to take their time, listen to their gut, work through their options without feeling the crush of rush. How do we make this space, and how do we protect it?

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Spark in the Dark

Gaby Brabazon

december 19


A candle is a common symbol across cultures, from an Irish Catholic’s beacon of remembrance to the diyas of Diwali representing enlightenment, from the Hanukkah menorah on the table to the crown of lights on St. Lucia’s head. A bright point in the inky blackness, a spot of hope in uncertainty, warmth in the window on a cold night: A candle in the window has been used to tell weary visitors they’re welcome inside, to tell lost souls they’re on our mind, and to stand sentry to remind us of hope retained in the face of pain, fear, and loss. 



Ways of Seeing

Gaby Brabazon

november 21


Conversations around visual art were baked into my childhood: Picture books were gorgeous, plentiful, and accessible in our house, which was vital, but the thing that really inspired me was my mom's decision to get a degree in studio art back when I was starting middle school. Watching an adult I admired follow her creative passion, struggle, and ultimately succeed became perhaps the most formative period of observation in my young life, and had a massive impact on the adult I myself became.



Darkness before Dawn

Gaby Brabazon

october 24


Not everyone is a fan of Halloween, but from its likely origins as the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain to its present Party City iteration, I'm entranced by it all. A widespread acknowledgement – even celebration – of the dark and the fringe could feel archaic, sure, but I'd argue it's also necessary. A celebration of masks and lanterns, where we look at darkness squarely, saying "what if" all together.



Doing Good, Making Trouble

Gaby Brabazon

september 26

This week's newsletter is a reflection on the inevitability of change, the power of young people, and the stories we're in the middle of right now.

This is the first September I'm not spending in the classroom since I started school myself. Thanks to my apartment's prime position a block away from a Cambridge elementary school, though, I get to celebrate vicariously. The tweep of recorders and crumbs of conversation from kids walking past keep me acutely aware that September means, has always meant, will always mean, change.


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