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Three Little Engines

From Bob McKinnon comes this modern retelling of the beloved classic, Little Engine that Could, that asks young readers, “How does your journey differ from others?” It also serves as a thank you letter to all the parents, teachers, role models, and even strangers, who help to clear the storm or pull the tree trunk from their track.

Available in your favorite bookstores.

The Work of
Bob McKinnon

This website features the work of Bob McKinnon. He is a writer, designer, podcast host, children’s author and teacher. What unites all of his work is the desire to help others move up in life – just as others have helped him. Learn more about Bob and his work in the About section of this website.

Three Little Engines

I think I can, I think I can, I think I… can’t?  What’s an Engine to do when even believing in yourself won’t get you to the top of the mountain? In this modern retelling of the beloved The Little Engine That Could, The Little Blue Engine and her friends attempt to reach the town on the other side of the mountain, but they quickly realize that not every engine is on the same track, and they all face different obstacles in their journey. In Three Little Engines author Bob McKinnon asks young readers: How does your journey differ from others?

While paying homage to the beloved classic, author Bob McKinnon acknowledges that although positive thinking and confidence are important, they are not always enough to help you succeed. In many instances, success requires a helping hand. This book is a gentle introduction to the idea of socioeconomic mobility and inequality in America. Heavily inspired by his own experiences, McKinnon teaches the youngest of readers how to recognize opportunity and inequality in the American Dream, and, most importantly, how to extend a helping hand to those on different tracks of life. At its heart, Three Little Engines is a thank you letter to all the parents, teachers, role models, and even strangers, who help to clear the storm or pull the tree trunk from your track.

Three Little Engines is now a New York Times best seller!  Order your copy today from your favorite online bookseller or your local bookstore:

 

See “The life lessons of Three Little Engines” featured on CBS Sunday Morning

What is Your American Dream Score

What is Your American Dream Score?

Spend five minutes taking this quiz, and you’ll find out what factors were working in your favor and what you had to overcome to get where you are today. At the end, you’ll receive an overall score and a personalized summary of the results (and probably a big dose of pride and gratitude).

Blog

Promise

Over the last week, I attended concerts for two of my children. Both are in band, one is also in chorus. In an auditorium packed with proud parents, I doubt that I was alone in marveling at how these 12 and 14 year olds had become such accomplished musicians. They had surpassed my own musicality years ago.

Similarly as I watch all three of my children on the soccer pitch, I must acknowledge that they shortly will become more skilled at their sports than I ever was at mine. Likewise, as I see their school work and report cards, I envision an academic future and corresponding college and career opportunities that are more promising than my own.

Even reflecting on the things and experiences they collected or the places they’ve been,  there is little doubt that their lives are, on many levels, better than my own. 

This, of course, is satisfying on many levels. After all, one of our most treasured hopes for our children is that they will do better than we did.

Yet looking beyond the cozy and protected confines of our community, it is without doubt that the world they will inherit is far more troubling than what our parents left us. 

My first book, published over ten years ago, was titled, Actions Speak Loudest: Keeping Our Promise for a Better World.  It looked at over thirty issues that we needed to address if we wanted to keep our generational promise. By my count, over two-thirds of these issues have gotten worse over the last decade.

To compound things, I didn’t have the foresight to include certain issues that plague us today. Such as the undermining of democracy,  our growing mental health crisis, and the frightening  possibility that our daughters will have fewer rights than their grandmothers did.

It’s hard to wrap our heads around what we can and should do in light of all this. Of course, we should continue to provide our children with opportunities we didn’t have. And when possible do whatever we can to extend those opportunities to children less fortunate.

But what else?

Some friends, whose children are graduating, have told me about conversations where they counsel their children to consider factors previously unthinkable when deciding where to live.   

Are there states where you’ll have fewer rights than others?

Are there cities that are at increasing risk of extreme climate events, like flooding, droughts or tornados?

Are there communities where schools will ban books or not protect each other when (not if) there is another pandemic?

If these conversations are any indication, the promise noted above is on the verge of being irrevocably broken.

Contrary to what this post may suggest, I consider myself a relatively optimistic person.  But I’d feel better if we all, myself included, spent a little more time not just preparing our children for the world but preparing the world for our children.


See all posts from Moving Up Mondays blog

Monday Morning Notes

Delivered to your mailbox each Monday morning, these short notes offer an opportunity each week to reflect on who and what contributes to where we end up in life. Readers tell us it’s a great way to start their week on a positive note. See the latest note below:

Promise

Over the last week, I attended concerts for two of my children. Both are in band, one is also in chorus. In an auditorium packed with proud parents, I doubt that I was alone in marveling at how these 12 and 14 year olds had become such accomplished musicians. They had surpassed my own musicality years ago.

Similarly as I watch all three of my children on the soccer pitch, I must acknowledge that they shortly will become more skilled at their sports than I ever was at mine. Likewise, as I see their school work and report cards, I envision an academic future and corresponding college and career opportunities that are more promising than my own.

Even reflecting on the things and experiences they collected or the places they’ve been,  there is little doubt that their lives are, on many levels, better than my own. 

This, of course, is satisfying on many levels. After all, one of our most treasured hopes for our children is that they will do better than we did.

Yet looking beyond the cozy and protected confines of our community, it is without doubt that the world they will inherit is far more troubling than what our parents left us. 

My first book, published over ten years ago, was titled, Actions Speak Loudest: Keeping Our Promise for a Better World.  It looked at over thirty issues that we needed to address if we wanted to keep our generational promise. By my count, over two-thirds of these issues have gotten worse over the last decade.

To compound things, I didn’t have the foresight to include certain issues that plague us today. Such as the undermining of democracy,  our growing mental health crisis, and the frightening  possibility that our daughters will have fewer rights than their grandmothers did.

It’s hard to wrap our heads around what we can and should do in light of all this. Of course, we should continue to provide our children with opportunities we didn’t have. And when possible do whatever we can to extend those opportunities to children less fortunate.

But what else?

Some friends, whose children are graduating, have told me about conversations where they counsel their children to consider factors previously unthinkable when deciding where to live.   

Are there states where you’ll have fewer rights than others?

Are there cities that are at increasing risk of extreme climate events, like flooding, droughts or tornados?

Are there communities where schools will ban books or not protect each other when (not if) there is another pandemic?

If these conversations are any indication, the promise noted above is on the verge of being irrevocably broken.

Contrary to what this post may suggest, I consider myself a relatively optimistic person.  But I’d feel better if we all, myself included, spent a little more time not just preparing our children for the world but preparing the world for our children.

Attribution with Bob McKinnon

Attribution is a podcast, where people from all walks of life, reflect on who and what has contributed to where they ended up. Our hope is after each episode, you feel a little more inspired, grateful, or supported, then when you first hit play. Check out the latest episode below:

Episode 15: Dreaming w/ Darryl McDaniels


Darryl McDaniels is one of the founding members of the legendary hip hop group Run DMC. He is also the author of two memoirs, a line of comic books and a recent children’s book, Darryl’s Dream. This was an fascinating conversation that touched on many of the struggles that Darryl has faced during his incredible journey. This episode contains descriptions of suicidal ideation, alcoholism and depression, which some listeners may find disturbing. Listener discretion is advised. If you or someone you know might be considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454


Learn more about: Darryl McDaniels,, Darryl’s Dream, Run DMC