About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Books in My Life

   For ten years, I have maintained a reading log.  Back in 2003, I was given a hardcover, spiral bound book from a kindergarten student as an end-of-the-year gift.  At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with the book with the pretty heart cover.  And that summer, I saw a store selling a “reading log.”  It was also a hardcover book, with lined pages inside (just like mine), but the store’s version had pre-printed prompts to record a book’s title, author, and the reader’s critique.

   Thus, my reading log was born.  I document the books I read by recording each book’s title, author, date completed, and my thoughts.  

   Browsing through my reading log is like looking at a scrapbook of my life.  You can trace stages of my life by looking at the books I have read.

   For instance, during my teaching career I have sought inspiration and encouragement from books including Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul edited by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen; One Day, All Children by Wendy Kopp;  A Cup of Comfort for Teachers edited by Colleen Sell; and The Essential 55 by Ron Clark to name just a few.  Teaching can be a solitary endeavor, and I found it infinitely helpful to read of others’ adventures (and mis-adventures), sometimes finding ideas to implement in my own classroom, sometimes a laugh, sometimes a virtual pat on the shoulder. 

   In terms of my writing aspirations, I have sought guidance and inspiration from books such as Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott; Escaping Into the Open by Elizabeth Berg; Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See; Pen on Fire by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett; and A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie.  For me, writing is even more solitary than teaching.  Most times, there is no one for me to brainstorm with, and books like these give me the helping hand I need to keep going.

   As a Mommy, my preoccupations, concerns, and anxieties changed and I sought reassurance and levity from It’s a Boy edited by Andrea J. Buchanan; Momfidence by Paula Spencer; Babyhood and Familyhood by Paul Reiser; and Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott.

   And in my journey as a woman turned wife turned mother, a woman who sometimes forgets to take care of herself, I have found refuge in books such as Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love; Julie and Julia by Julie Powell; and C’est La Vie by Suzy Gershman to name just a few.

   For the duration of my pregnancy, I kept a journal.  I documented every doctor’s appointment, every change - the first time I wore maternity jeans, the night my husband and I decorated my son’s bedroom with the alphabet, the day my husband and my dad built my son’s crib.  For the first two years of my son’s life, I tried to maintain a journal documenting his growth, my return to teaching, time spent with his babysitter.  Life got busy, I became ill, and somehow or another, Ryan’s journal was put away.  

   Intermittently I have written in random journals, but life seems to get in the way of me maintaining a consistent journal.  However, it is my reading log that I have faithfully maintained.  It doesn’t report on the weather or our daily activities, but it does provide a glimpse into my life.  The books I have read and the connections I have made with the written material are my way of documenting my growth -- as a reader, and also as a wife, a mother, a teacher, a woman.


  1. I really like your idea of a reading journal.I think it is very clever.It would seem cool to look back at later times to see what you wrote about the books and see if you still felt the same way.It amazes me how you come up with such great ideas to write about.I love reading your work.I am so happy that you have been having so many of your essays being published lately.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  2. You are an impressive Wife and Mother especially with your advocation of writer and observer of life around you. I think it is fair to say that Ryan has picked-up many of your talents. We had a situation where Ryan was reading my calendar, an entry listed was take Honey bowling, Ryan's question was what does this mean? He is very smart and observant, like his Mom. Your Mother & I are proud of you.

    Love, Dad

  3. Honey,

    I am so proud of your dedication to reading and writing. It has positively impacted Ryan with all of your books, reading, and writing!
    I Love You!