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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).

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Citizen

As July 4th approached, I was reflecting on the state of our country. JFK’s famous exhortation from his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for our country,” popped into my mind.

In lieu of recent events, one could look at the first part of that quote and conclude that what little we have asked for from our country has been denied. Rights have been taken away, we show little regard for preserving our planet or protecting our democracy. This view undoubtedly can lead to frustration and even despair.

But what of the second part of his admonition? What can we do for our country? Or, what have we already done?

When I reflect upon my own life and what I have done for my country vs. what it has done for me, I’m afraid it may be an uneven ledger.

I have benefited from freedoms and rights that frankly have not been denied or taken away as they have for others. I have received a great education, economic opportunities and as a result have achieved a degree of success that belies my starting point in life. I am healthy and happy – both due in part to the environment and country in which I live. In all these regards, I know I am privileged relative to many, many others.

So what have I done for my country? Well I pay taxes, vote, obey the law, follow the rules. This is the very floor of citizenry. But what is its ceiling?

I have not served in the military or in government (although I have worked for government organizations.) Much of my work has been engaged in the world of social change but if I were honest, that work has been dedicated to helping people or certain communities. By extension this may be helping our country but it is not particularly focused on that as a primary objective.

When we consider how we make decisions, we may ask ourselves consciously or unconsciously – is this good for me? Is it good for my family? Maybe, it is good for my friends or communities? Politically, some may ask, “Is it good for my party?” Others may ask “Is this good for my business?” But do we ever ask “Is this good for our country?”

If we ignore this last question or put this question last, is it any wonder that collectively we are frustrated by the state of our nation?

In thinking about what it means to be a good citizen, I found this definition from the organization Citizen University: “Citizenship is about participating and taking responsibility for the good, the bad, and the ugly of our society.”

Taking responsibility for the good, the bad and the ugly. Ouch.

Like it or not, our country is just that, “our country.”

So what will you do for it?

This short article gives a nice starting point. A way to step out of the cynicism and into citizenship.

Maybe it will inspire you to take action. Consider your actions as a belated birthday present to your country – even if you don’t think it deserves one this year.


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:

Citizen

As July 4th approached, I was reflecting on the state of our country. JFK’s famous exhortation from his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for our country,” popped into my mind.

In lieu of recent events, one could look at the first part of that quote and conclude that what little we have asked for from our country has been denied. Rights have been taken away, we show little regard for preserving our planet or protecting our democracy. This view undoubtedly can lead to frustration and even despair.

But what of the second part of his admonition? What can we do for our country? Or, what have we already done?

When I reflect upon my own life and what I have done for my country vs. what it has done for me, I’m afraid it may be an uneven ledger.

I have benefited from freedoms and rights that frankly have not been denied or taken away as they have for others. I have received a great education, economic opportunities and as a result have achieved a degree of success that belies my starting point in life. I am healthy and happy – both due in part to the environment and country in which I live. In all these regards, I know I am privileged relative to many, many others.

So what have I done for my country? Well I pay taxes, vote, obey the law, follow the rules. This is the very floor of citizenry. But what is its ceiling?

I have not served in the military or in government (although I have worked for government organizations.) Much of my work has been engaged in the world of social change but if I were honest, that work has been dedicated to helping people or certain communities. By extension this may be helping our country but it is not particularly focused on that as a primary objective.

When we consider how we make decisions, we may ask ourselves consciously or unconsciously – is this good for me? Is it good for my family? Maybe, it is good for my friends or communities? Politically, some may ask, “Is it good for my party?” Others may ask “Is this good for my business?” But do we ever ask “Is this good for our country?”

If we ignore this last question or put this question last, is it any wonder that collectively we are frustrated by the state of our nation?

In thinking about what it means to be a good citizen, I found this definition from the organization Citizen University: “Citizenship is about participating and taking responsibility for the good, the bad, and the ugly of our society.”

Taking responsibility for the good, the bad and the ugly. Ouch.

Like it or not, our country is just that, “our country.”

So what will you do for it?

This short article gives a nice starting point. A way to step out of the cynicism and into citizenship.

Maybe it will inspire you to take action. Consider your actions as a belated birthday present to your country – even if you don’t think it deserves one this year.

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