We hear the story of the Persian Gulf war, as told by Issam Shukri, a family man from Bagdad who was drafted into Saddam's army against his will. He had to explain to his three-year-old son why those usually civilized Americans were bombing their city night after night.
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Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters—Elise and Mathilde—at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from her book The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain their lives and their deaths to a friend, in a series of letters.
A father and daughter (Adrian LeBlanc and his daughter Adrian Le Blanc) decide to write his obituary—together—not really thinking very seriously at first about the real meaning of what they were doing.
Over the last ten years in Los Angeles, there's been a noticeable increase in the number of transsexual teenagers, kids who were born as boys but live as girls, and vice versa. Cris Beam has spent the last two years getting to know these kids, and tells the story of two of them, Foxxjazell and Ariel.
Host Ira Glass joins a group of tourists to walk through the captured German submarine that's on permanent display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He notes that the Museum chooses to underplay the murderous Nazi origins of the boat.
More stories like the one in the prologue, where kids look at something going on around them, observe it carefully, think about it logically, and come to conclusions that are completely incorrect. Includes a story set at Christmastime, where a father tells his daughter about the baby Jesus being born, and all the "good stuff." Then the daughter notices a picture of Jesus on the cross, and asks why they killed him.
Julie Hill with a story about her six-year-old son, and how he tries to make sense of his father's terminal illness.
Michael Chabon reads an excerpt from his short story Werewolves in Their Youth, from his collection of the same name, about an act of kid logic that succeeds where adult logic fails.
A collection of small stories, all on the the theme introduced in the prologue—the first few months after the divorce, and suddenly, your parents are less composed, more flawed, and more human, than perhaps you've ever seen them.
Ian Brown explains the lengths a normal dad will go to give his daughter a memorable birthday party, including a birthday stunt so crass that he and his wife shocked all their friends.
What happens when the kid next door wants to be your new friend...and comes over, tries to talk to you, befriends your dog. Are you a bad person if you don't want to accept the tiny hand of friendship? Cheryl Wagner tells the story of her young, persistent next-door neighbor.
Host Ira Glass talks with Cate, a white woman with a black, adopted, seven-year-old son, Glen. Sometimes Glen threatens that he's going to return to his real family—royalty, in Africa.
We hear a series of letters that originally appeared on the brief-lived, little-known, but well-loved webzine Open Letters. They're written by a woman who signs her name as "X" and are addressed to the father of her adolescent son.
In Seattle, Dan Savage and his boyfriend adopted a son, DJ. It was an open adoption, so the birth mother could keep in touch with her kid.
Host Ira Glass talks to two different people who have stories they just can't get over...stories that make them cringe...and stories from which we can glean what makes a cringe story different from other kinds of stories.
Scott interviews his 11-year-old daughter about his marriage. She sheds light on the previous three stories in the show.
An excerpt from Nicholson Baker's novel The Everlasting Story of Nory, which is narrated, more or less, by a ten-year-old. In this excerpt, we return to what Kayla Hernandez talked about in the prologue to the show: The narrator discusses the difficulty of remembering what happens on any given day.
Ira talks with journalist Jason Bleibtreu about Luther and Johnny Htoo, twelve-year-old twins, and the leaders of a rebel army of Burmese separatists called God's Army. Everyone around them, both their own forces and their enemies, believed they possessed superpowers, that they could not be harmed by bullets, that they had the power to command ghost armies.
The Jarvis family, a group of eight, goes on the run from the law—for seven years. They live on a boat, in a treehouse in a swamp.
Adam Gopnik reads a story from his book Paris to the Moon, about living in Paris with his family and wanting his son to be a bit more American. He tells him a bedtime story about the most American thing he can think of: baseball.
We listen in on a ritual that happens in millions of families every week: kids getting dropped off at the babysitters. Six-year-old Dylan and nine-year-old Sarah explain what they can and can't get away with when they have a babysitter.After that, host Ira Glass has a few words about Mary Poppins, who is the Gold Standard of all fictional babysitters.
Lots of babysitting is done by family members. Hillary Frank reports on what can happen when a teenaged son is put in charge of his younger brothers.
The story of several huge companies that accidentally got put into the babysitting business in a big, big way because of snow on December 26, 1988. Every year on the day after Christmas, divorced kids all over America fly from one parent to the other.
Myron Jones and his sister Carol Bove explain what happened when they were teenagers, and they ended up babysitting children who didn't exist.