a tote, a thought about reality and some mind-blowing books

All the girls in the family are currently ‘toting’ these totes—the slogan spoke to us so we ordered four at once to save on postage. (We have to co-ordinate when we go out or risk looking like a gang.) Our group-buy was completely about the slogan; we didn't even look at size or shape.


Luckily the totes are decently large and fairly heavyweight canvas so they can carry a whole lot of groceries, books or rock climbing gear, depending on who’s doing the toting.

Reality is such a moving target in modern life isn’t it? So when there are things that are simply real it feels like we should be vigilant in naming them as real and as immovable. I’m all for valuing varying perspectives—but let’s skip the alternate facts!

It could be that, in a new era of media and news, being able to recognise what is fake vs what is real becomes one of the most important skills we can teach children—and practice ourselves.

Some solid nonfiction books can help with that. So can a bit of surreal art. Both are brilliant for talking about things that look real but aren't, or things that seem to be impossible but are right there in front of us.

I love the Imagine … series illustrated by Rob Gonsalves. They’re mind-blowing fun for kids from about 6 years up, and they're just as fascinating for adults. (I own three in the series and have plans to buy Imagine a World soon too—it looks to be just the affirmation of the wonder, beauty and inherent goodness in the world that we need right now.)

Another fabulous book is If … by Sarah Perry. The pictures in this book are simpler with just one surreal element each. Things like, ‘If mice were hair …’—disgusting thought, amusing picture.

And lastly, while we're talking reality, you might like to try this history version of 'two truths, one lie'. It's good fun and just like the regular game but using historical rather than personal facts and fictions. Seeing how good some kids are at poker faces can be quite alarming!!! (I promise we're not really hopelessly nerdy—it's more fun than it sounds in print—try it out, you'll see.)

 P.S. The whole range of tote bags are here—there are lots more great slogans.