A Family Festival of Lights!

Hanukkah menorah with eight candles lit

One of my favorite holiday traditions is sitting in front of a glowing menorah with friends and family during Hanukkah. We eat latkes until our stomachs are full of fried food. Then we play dreidel, betting chocolate in this simple top-spinning game and trying not to eat our winnings. These are all classic Hanukkah traditions, […]

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Friendships in Teen Literature


Romantic partners come and go...but friends are FOREVER. Romance is great and all, but let's not forget our friends in the midst of all those butterflies, yeah? Friends will be there to pick you up when you're down, to remind you when you're being dumb and to keep you from making stupid choices. Friends keep you […]

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What’s Beyond Our Earth?

Horse head nebula

Look up! Way beyond our atmosphere are 11 Planets, nebula, comets, asteroids, galaxies, billions of stars and much much more. What we know, and even what we don't know, about the universe can't be contained in a Space Encyclopedia, which is why astronomers and everyday citizens, like you, keep searching the skies above. Between December 15 and January […]

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Explore Our Nearest Space Neighbor


When you look up into the sky on a clear night, you may not be able to see many stars, but on most nights, you will be able to see the moon. At one quarter of a million miles away, The Moon is the closest object to the Earth in space. How do the Earth and […]

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Neil Patrick Harris: The Life You Choose

test two

Neil Patrick Harris has never had a public meltdown, feuded with his family, nor gone to rehab (nor needed to). So what could he possibly do to spice up what on the surface would seem to be a dull autobiography? Well, there's the books he liked as a child, the Choose Your Own Adventure series. In […]

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Animal Heroes

Source: United States Department of Defense, Wikimedia Commons

Any pet owner will tell you that animals exhibit profound sensitivity to the needs and emotions of their humans. In celebration of this year's One Book, One Chicago selection (Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) here are some books that celebrate animal heroes: Man's Best Hero shares stories of ordinary dogs doing extraordinary things- including dogs who […]

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History of Grant Park 1931 to 1970

Bandshell with crowd in front

By 1931, Chicago was deep in the Great Depression and the South Park Commissioners were unable to build on the scale of the 1920s. According to the Historical Register of the Twenty-two Superseded Park Districts a band shell was constructed at 9th and Columbus in the early 1930s, starting a long tradition of free concerts in […]

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History of Grant Park 1991-2014

Aerial view

Previous: Grant Park 1971-1990 In the 1990s, major physical changes happened at both the north and south ends of Grant Park. When first completed, the north- and south-bound lanes of Lake Shore Drive had wrapped around the Field Museum’s front door. With increased and faster automobile traffic on Lake Shore Drive, this became unsightly and […]

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Captains of Commerce

Captains of Commerce

I can say with a great deal of confidence that all successful businessmen are greedy and corrupt, but this just means I'm jealous. I want nothing more than to be wealthy, greedy and irretrievably immoral, but unfortunately, I have neither the intelligence nor the discipline to be so flagrantly determined. At least I can read books about […]

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History of Grant Park 1971 to 1990

aerial photo of Grant Park

Previous: Grant Park 1931 to 1970 The largest of Grant Park’s garages, the 3800-space Monroe Street Garage, opened in stages in 1976 and 1977. It replaced the 2700-space parking lot built on the old military reservation. It also cut across a corner of the Illinois Central freight yard. Above it were built landscaped gardens, tennis […]

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