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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

Fun?

I’m not sure if I would describe myself as a fun person. Sure I can be funny and I like to have fun – who doesn’t? I also lead a happy and satisfied life. But am I “fun”? Are you?

By “fun,” I’m referring to someone who is naturally disposed to fun. They seek the company of other people, enjoy novel experiences, always up for a good time, like to be the life of any party – even if it’s a party of one or two. As the French would say they bring a certain “joie de vivre” to most occasions.

My wife, I believe, fits these descriptions whereas perhaps to her chagrin, I do not. I have always had some level of seriousness about me. Perhaps not surprising given the environment I grew up in and the difficulties I’ve faced – particularly in those early years. As a result, I find myself spending a lot of time in my own head. Introspection has a lot of benefits but generating fun isn’t one of them.

The added responsibilities and stressors of adulthood and parenthood can also suck the fun out of us – depleting whatever reservoir we had.

Two years of a pandemic doesn’t help matters. Nor does two decades of a harshly divided country.

When someone is about to go out and do something that sounds enjoyable, our standard response is to tell them to “have fun.” As if it is something we go to find on occasion or acquire externally – rather than possess within us always.

I wonder why we don’t instead encourage each other to just “be fun.” To let down our defenses, set aside our insecurities and distractions, to allow our daily stressors to subside and free ourselves for fun – if only for a brief time every day.

The holiday season is one that can be understandably stressful but it is a time of year when fun can be found around every corner and, more importantly, within us. If we only allow ourselves to embrace it.

I, for one, am going to try to choose fun. To embrace it, to be fun I hope you can as well.


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:

Fun?

I’m not sure if I would describe myself as a fun person. Sure I can be funny and I like to have fun – who doesn’t? I also lead a happy and satisfied life. But am I “fun”? Are you?

By “fun,” I’m referring to someone who is naturally disposed to fun. They seek the company of other people, enjoy novel experiences, always up for a good time, like to be the life of any party – even if it’s a party of one or two. As the French would say they bring a certain “joie de vivre” to most occasions.

My wife, I believe, fits these descriptions whereas perhaps to her chagrin, I do not. I have always had some level of seriousness about me. Perhaps not surprising given the environment I grew up in and the difficulties I’ve faced – particularly in those early years. As a result, I find myself spending a lot of time in my own head. Introspection has a lot of benefits but generating fun isn’t one of them.

The added responsibilities and stressors of adulthood and parenthood can also suck the fun out of us – depleting whatever reservoir we had.

Two years of a pandemic doesn’t help matters. Nor does two decades of a harshly divided country.

When someone is about to go out and do something that sounds enjoyable, our standard response is to tell them to “have fun.” As if it is something we go to find on occasion or acquire externally – rather than possess within us always.

I wonder why we don’t instead encourage each other to just “be fun.” To let down our defenses, set aside our insecurities and distractions, to allow our daily stressors to subside and free ourselves for fun – if only for a brief time every day.

The holiday season is one that can be understandably stressful but it is a time of year when fun can be found around every corner and, more importantly, within us. If we only allow ourselves to embrace it.

I, for one, am going to try to choose fun. To embrace it, to be fun I hope you can as well.

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 12: How Less Leads to More w/ Leidy Klotz


Leidy Klotz is a professor of the University of Virginia who studies how we transform things from how they are to how we want them to be. He has written for The Washington Post, Fast Company, The Globe and Mail, and The Behavioral Scientist. We discussed his latest book, Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less and its many implications both on our personal happiness and as a tool for social change.


Links to learn more about: Leidy Klotz, Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less, Sustainability through Soccer