It's hard to give things up. Host Ira Glass tells the story of Walter, a three-year-old boy who had to give up his pacifier, and then, wanting comfort, asked all the adults around him to tell the stories of when they gave up their pacifiers.
We hear kids recorded at Chicago's Navy Pier and at a public swimming pool, talking about their mean friends. Host Ira Glass interviews Lillie Allison, 15, about the pretty, popular girls who were her best friends—until they cast her out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Myron Jones and his sister Carol Bove explain what happened when they were teenagers, and they ended up babysitting children who didn't exist.
We hear the story of a disastrous birthday party and how it's hard not to see these kinds of moments as symbolic of something bad.
Host Ira Glass reads an excerpt from Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy. The narrator, Will, recalls a time when he was a child that he convinced a friend that a portal to another world existed at the back of his closet.
Host Ira Glass describes a children's book from the 1970s called Nobody's Family Is Going to Change by Louise Fitzhugh, the author of Harriet the Spy. On the surface, it sounds like a rather menacing title for a kids' book. But in fact, the story is about how kids can finally find peace if they stop hoping that their parents will ever be any different.
What happens when you want your dad to change—and he wants to change, too—but there's literally nothing that can be done to change him. Jon Sarkin was a chiropractor with workaholic tendencies.
The teenagers try to get to know the locals, without a lot of success.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name: A Family, a Town, a Murder.) This is how it goes sometimes.
The story of the lengths a father will go to to retrieve a lost teddy bear, and why—after he's enlisted many other parents to help him wade through tens of thousands of bags of trash to find it—none of the parents involved think he's nuts.
When is a chicken your friend? When is he your dinner? This American Life's former webmeister Elizabeth Meister talks with Kamiko Overs, an 11-year-old girl at the annual poultry exhibition run by the American Poultry Association in Columbus, Ohio. Elizabeth Meister is a producer with Long Haul Productions.
Writer Jack Hitt talks about his daughter Tarpeley's first day in her new school. It was her first "first day" of any kind.
Camp kids explain how their non-camp friends and their non-camp loved ones have no idea why camp is the most important thing in their lives. Most of this hour takes place at a pair of camps in Michigan—Lake of the Woods, a girls camp, and Greenwoods, a boys camp.
David Himmel is a college sophomore and a former camper who became a counselor. He says all the best experiences of his life have been at camp or with camp people.
Sure, kids today are sophisticated. But get them living in the woods for a few days, and they revert to some of the most stupidly primitive forms of entertainment known since the dawn of civilization.
Host Ira Glass talk with Claire, who obsessed over a Chilean friend — and then started to tell people she was Chilean herself.
Host Ira Glass describes what thousands of people do all over America on our holiday weekends: we go to historic sites with our kids and stare at bricks and statues, trying to feel some connection with the past. It's not easy.
This is a story about an odd breach of trust between father and child, done unintentionally, and what happens next. Lawrence Weschler is an author and journalist. He and his 11-year-old daughter Sara tell the tale.