My sweetheart, my dear, my beloved, my love.

In many languages, you will find versions of these terms of endearment: honey, dear, sweetheart. Beyond that, animal names and food-related words are very common. Tiny bits of food–like morsels and crumbs–and baby animals, especially, are favorites because something smaller than small can be cuter than cute.

Why do we use terms of endearment?

I checked with my gut and think that, sometimes, calling one’s beloved by name simply doesn’t measure up to the love and affection one feels for them in that moment. It is kind of like spoken version of a kiss on the cheek or a squeezy hug.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

There are as many terms for telling someone that they are cherished as there are people in the world to be cherished. Here are some that didn’t make it into the book: French bout de chou (piece of sweet) mon chouchou (my dear) German mauschen (little mouse) Italian passerotto/passerotta (little Sparrow) Hungarian bogarkam (my little … Read more

Itsy bitsy teeny weeny little pip

We are wired to respond with protectiveness to anything or anyone young, new, and vulnerable. Because new young things are typically small or extra small, we are compelled to address them as buttons, microbes, pips, or other diminutive items. Maybe serving really big feelings into smaller, bite-sized pieces are easier to manage for both the … Read more

A Virtual Conversation with the MCLA Alumni Association

Listen as Mary Lee Donovan ’83, author of children’s book “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes” and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts assistant professor of education, Dr. Maggie Clark, discuss the genesis of the recently published children’s book, the publishing process, and Mary Lee’s storied career in the industry. From Mary Lee Donovan’s MCLA Bio page: Mary … Read more

A Year End Blessing

Cover of A Hundred Thousand Welcomes book

As the year winds to a close, I am mindful of a hundred thousand ways in which good fortune has smiled down on me: plenty of nutritious food and water; a comfortable home with heat, hot water, and electricity; a job that I love; freedom from fear; good health; the privileges of liberty; dear friends; … Read more

Kindling Words

In 1991, fellow Center for the Study of Children’s Literature alum, J. Alison James, and Donovan launched Kindling Words, a weekend-long retreat for children’s literature professionals, with the aim of challenging published authors, illustrators, and editors of children’s books to hone their craft. Kindling Words has grown to hold two retreats per year, one on the … Read more

Book Signing at Silver Unicorn Bookstore

A huge thanks to The Silver Unicorn Bookstore in West Acton, MA for hosting me for a book reading and signing. If you haven’t yet visited this wonderful independent in the village, what are you waiting for? This shop, established just a few short years ago, is a bright space that features books for readers … Read more

Littleton’s New Library

Welcome to the new Reuben Hoar Library, a stunning new facility that opened its doors to the public on a crisp sunny Saturday. As part of the opening day festivities, I was honored to read A Hundred Thousand Welcomes aloud in the new children’s room, a place with light galore, colorful fixtures, a separate room … Read more