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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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Grounded

As part of preparing to give the commencement speech at my alma mater, I talked with a university archivist to better understand various parts of our school’s history.

One specific area of interest was the school’s founding as a land grant university. I had planned to speak with pride that I was the beneficiary of this act of Congress that enabled states to fund public colleges. It was designed to make higher education more accessible to the “common people” and not just the purview of the rich and monied.

Countless millions have benefited from this act.

Yet I had never bothered to learn exactly how “land grants” worked. My assumption was that a certain amount of land within a state was set aside to build state colleges. I could not have been more wrong.

The archivist told me that 30,000 acres of land were granted to each state — but it didn’t come from that state. In fact, most of it was taken from Native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico. That land was then “granted” to other states who would sell that land in order to create endowments for their own state colleges and universities.

The original law was passed in 1862. Subsequent acts in 1894 and 1994 also increased investments in historically black colleges and universities and colleges for Native Americans and indigenous peoples.

Here is the full list of land grant colleges and universities.

Until then, I had not considered or imagined that some of my educational gain was the direct result of a loss incurred by Native Americans.

When confronting the stains on our nation’s history, it can often be met with varying degrees of guilt, denial or ambivalence.

None of which are especially helpful.

It is only by being honest with our history (both our nation’s and our own) that we can truly appreciate where we come from. We are grounded by our shared story – even if it is often difficult to confront.

This realization has the potential to draw us closer not tear us apart, if only we allow ourselves to see it.

This sentiment is beautifully captured in this song and video, We Americans, by the Avett Brothers. I encourage you to watch it and then ask yourself how you feel after.

I think it will be a different feeling than you might expect.


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:

Grounded

As part of preparing to give the commencement speech at my alma mater, I talked with a university archivist to better understand various parts of our school’s history.

One specific area of interest was the school’s founding as a land grant university. I had planned to speak with pride that I was the beneficiary of this act of Congress that enabled states to fund public colleges. It was designed to make higher education more accessible to the “common people” and not just the purview of the rich and monied.

Countless millions have benefited from this act.

Yet I had never bothered to learn exactly how “land grants” worked. My assumption was that a certain amount of land within a state was set aside to build state colleges. I could not have been more wrong.

The archivist told me that 30,000 acres of land were granted to each state — but it didn’t come from that state. In fact, most of it was taken from Native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico. That land was then “granted” to other states who would sell that land in order to create endowments for their own state colleges and universities.

The original law was passed in 1862. Subsequent acts in 1894 and 1994 also increased investments in historically black colleges and universities and colleges for Native Americans and indigenous peoples.

Here is the full list of land grant colleges and universities.

Until then, I had not considered or imagined that some of my educational gain was the direct result of a loss incurred by Native Americans.

When confronting the stains on our nation’s history, it can often be met with varying degrees of guilt, denial or ambivalence.

None of which are especially helpful.

It is only by being honest with our history (both our nation’s and our own) that we can truly appreciate where we come from. We are grounded by our shared story – even if it is often difficult to confront.

This realization has the potential to draw us closer not tear us apart, if only we allow ourselves to see it.

This sentiment is beautifully captured in this song and video, We Americans, by the Avett Brothers. I encourage you to watch it and then ask yourself how you feel after.

I think it will be a different feeling than you might expect.

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 11: Luck or Skill? w/ Maria Konnikova

Maria Konnikova is a New York Times best-selling author, journalist, and professional poker player. Her latest book, The Biggest Bluff, is now out in paperback. It was a fun and fascinating conversation exploring the balance of skill and chance in life. Among the many stories shared was how a chance encounter with a single line in a story she wrote led to my own forthcoming children’s book, Three Little Engines.


Links to learn more about: Maria Konnikova, The Biggest Bluff, America’s Surprising Views of Inequality, Shai Davidai, Three Little Engines, Walter Mischel