An update from Miriam Peskowitz

December 2nd, 2009

Miriam Peskowitz was a writer recommended to us for the project by Amy Hudock. Elrena and I were both admirers of Miriam’s book, The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars: Who Decides What Makes A Good Mother? (Seal Press, 2005) and knew she would be able to contribute a foreword to the book that was both personal and political. She did not disappoint:

“At its worst, the professoriate is a callow institution, shortsighted and heartless. At its best, though, it has a venerable history as the gateway to the production of vibrant new ideas, of empathic and rigorous education that indirectly and at times very directly shapes our nation’s cultural and intellectual life. It is also an institution that comes with an incredible commitment to each professor’s lifelong contributions, which makes it all the more puzzling that efforts to suggest that universities take special care of their faculty during the years of a child’s new life have so slowly gained traction.

“For my part, I ended up leaving my academic job. After my first child was born, I took a year or two of unpaid leave. I agreed to some adjunct work at local universities, then, a few years in, I resigned my tenure. I continued to each, but in those years I began to find my path to a new career as an author. ”

Today, Miriam is a bestselling author, with Andrea Buchanan, of the terrific Daring Girls series of books; she writes: “Here’s what I’m up to in the land of Daring. Big news is that this summer, I experienced my own kind of daring when I boarded a plane headed to Detroit for a week of taping a special show with PBS, called Daring Kids, with Miriam Peskowitz. We taped nonstop, and it was the hardest work I’ve ever done, and the most exhilarating. That show is being used by PBS during their membership drives, and it’s premiering in December 2009 (anyone who wants to watch needs to check their local PBS station, or call in and ask for it!). The show is 14-odd activities, from kayaking to fishing to making a lava lamp, a volcano, a snowglobe or a pinata. We taped 12 extra segments for the DVD, which will be available in February 2010. For more info, just look at the website.

“I continue to imagine more Daring books, but no news to report.

“One highlight this Fall was visiting Duke University, and speaking at the What Does it Mean To Be an Educated Woman panel, honoring my mentor and friend, Jean O’Barr, on the occasion of her retirement. Very inspiring.”

Miriam’s own career is an inspiring model for us all, and we’ll continue to follow it closely!