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.

On sale July 13th, 2021. Pre-order today from your favorite online bookseller:

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).



“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”  This lyric from the final song in Hamilton, captures not only an important question about our history but also about our present.

There are different versions of our histories – within our families, our institutions, our country and our world.

In many ways, it is less important to reconcile our complicated personal and national histories than it is to at least spend some time examining them.

That is exactly what I did in this conversation with Natasha Trethewey in the latest episode of my podcast, Attribution. She is a two time U.S. Poet Laureate, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of the very moving, Memorial Drive:  A Daughter’s Memoir.

We talked about our moms and the lengths they go to protect us. We dove into questions of race – in a more nuanced and productive way than perhaps I ever had before. We discovered how wonderful examining our life and our history is – even if what is revealed can be uncomfortable.

Socrates, famously wrote, “an unexamined life is not worth living.”  His reasoning was that it is only through examination that we can find meaning.

I hope you take the time to have a listen to this episode. If not, and perhaps better yet, maybe have a conversation where you examine a shared history you have with a friend, family member or fellow citizen.

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Episode 10: Our Histories with Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey is a two-time U.S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems, Native Guard. Her latest book is Memorial Drive; A Daughter’s Memoir. It was a moving and deeply personal conversation. We talked about the debt we both owe to our mothers and how we examine and reconcile our complicated personal and national histories.

Links to Learn More About: Natasha Trethewey,  Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir,  Native Guard