CP Brings home the gold Hollywood legends taking home their Oscars may get more press, but they aren’t the only ones winning awards this spring. Chicago Parent, your favorite source for parenting news, was a big winner when the Parenting Publications of America handed out its annual awards last month.

We brought home 11 gold, including one for best overall writing and two for best overall cover design. We also won a silver for general excellence in competition with the largest circulation magazines from around the world that belong to the PPA.

It’s always nice to be recognized. But these awards only confirm what we hear from readers: You like us, you really really like us. OK, you don’t always like us. Sometimes you get pretty angry at us. But that’s OK, too. Because it makes us better. If we do good work, it is because our readers demand it.

You top the long list of people we want to thank. But there’s also Sandi Pedersen, our calendar and online editor who knows what to do before anyone else even thinks of it, and all the writers, designers, photographers, copy editors, interns as well as the circulation, advertising and distribution teams. Corny as it sounds, they go for the gold each month and it shows.

Of the awards, the one that went to River Forest mother Jean Bacom Detmer was particularly gratifying. She won for “Meet Maeve’s Mom,” the heart-wrenching yet uplifting account of the eight-hour life of her sweet baby girl and the ways in which Detmer and her family celebrate “Maeve the Brave.” It is our hope to nurture new voices and we are especially proud to see Detmer recognized for her first published essay.

We also are glowing over golds won by two of our long-running columnists, Dave Jaffe of Deerfield and Fred Koch of Lake Bluff. Jaffe writes our humor column, and if you have read it, you have laughed out loud—no higher compliment for a writer. Koch writes our children’s music reviews, which works well since he is a musician and music educator who runs nationally recognized children’s music workshops. “The terrific writing is packed with detail that brings the music to life,” the judges wrote. We couldn’t agree more.

The magazine’s annual “Going Places” guide to Chicago and Editor Mary Haley garnered a gold, as did Jana Christy for a cover illustration, our ShortStuff section, Cindy Richards’ travel story on taking the kids to Iowa and Eric Gyllenhaal’s feature about children’s collections.

In addition, we took silver awards for headline writing and for overall writing in our sister publication, Chicago Baby. We took home the bronze for Frank Pinc’s terrific cover photo and Brett McNeil’s moving profile of a mother waiting for a lifesaving liver transplant.

Our wonderful design team also won much-deserved awards. Mandy Burrell was honored for her ShortStuffs layouts and our chief designer, Jason Smith, won a gold and a bronze for his designs.

Thanks to former editor Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, for setting the bar high and teaching us well.

And to the members of the academy ...


A fitting legacy for Mr. Rogers We mourned along with fans everywhere when we learned our television neighbor Fred Rogers had died. There is little to add to the tributes that followed his passing. Instead, we want to suggest a way to honor his memory: Make children’s television better.

Sound like a big order? It is. But, as Mr. Rogers would say, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. For more than 30 years, Mr. Rogers hammered home, ever so gently, his message: Respect children, nurture their self-esteem, don’t talk down to them. We wonder, who will carry on that message? The answer that would make Mr. Rogers proud is that we, as parents, will.

How? By writing a letter, sending an e-mail, making a call.

In an era when cable and satellite television transmissions are cutting into network audiences, it is more important than ever for local television stations to hear from parents. If parents don’t agitate for quality children’s programming, station managers won’t offer it.

Think parents can’t make a difference? Peggy Charren did. The grandmother was appalled at the dismal state of kids’ TV and told politicians she was mad as hell and wouldn’t take it anymore. The result: the Children’s Television Act of 1990. You can read more about that law and additional ways to make television safe for children in Monica Ginsburg’s story on page 53.

Once you finish reading, start writing. Since most viewers suffer in silence, sending a letter makes a difference. The networks equate one letter with 10,000 viewers. So speak up for children’s television. Tell them Mr. Rogers sent you.


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