#AtHome learning using my books

The inspir­ing image above is a spread from my upcom­ing pic­ture book, ELIZABETH WARREN’S BIG, BOLD PLANS, illus­trat­ed by the amaz­ing Susan­na Chap­man and releas­ing on May 5 (hooray!). These days, it often feels hard to con­ceive of big, bold plans. I’ll admit, some days just get­ting out of my paja­mas feels like a vic­to­ry. And for those of those par­ent­ing or teach­ing young­sters and attempt­ing #AtH­ome learn­ing for the first time? Hats off to you!
To try to help you with your big, bold plans–or even the just-get­ting-through-today plans–I’ve been work­ing to cre­ate and assem­ble what­ev­er mate­ri­als I can that might be of assis­tance. I’ll con­tin­ue to add to this list as I get more requests (feel free to reach out if there’s some­thing spe­cif­ic you’d like!), ideas, and time. Hope­ful­ly, you can find access to the books via an online read-aloud, ebook down­load, inde­pen­dent book­store, or your own book­shelves. I hope these resources are help­ful for your #AtH­ome learn­ing efforts!

Emmanuels Dream cover with sticker

Two Truths and a Lie coverTwo Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries coverTTL3 Forces of Nature coverThe TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE series



Again, my goals here are to be as help­ful as pos­si­ble for YOU to con­tin­ue lead­ing #AtH­ome learn­ing, so please email me if there is any­thing spe­cif­ic I might be able to do, includ­ing ways to con­nect with your stu­dents. We’re all in this togeth­er, even while we’re apart. So, until we meet again, stay safe, #Stay­Home… and stay sane. xoxo

Empower kids and teens during COVID-19

girl looking out window at virus
girl looking out window at virus
Image by enriquelopez­garre from Pix­abay

Why empower kids and teens during COVID-19? They need it!

Tak­ing action is one impor­tant way to make a prob­lem seem more man­age­able and less fright­en­ing, so get­ting young peo­ple involved can actu­al­ly help them cope with the sit­u­a­tion we are all fac­ing. Giv­ing them a pur­pose gives them some­thing else to focus on besides what they’ve lost or what they’re wor­ried about. And remind­ing them that we are all in this togeth­er (even while six feet apart!), can help them feel less iso­lat­ed and anx­ious dur­ing this chal­leng­ing time.

We need them.

Dur­ing a cri­sis, we need all hands on deck to get through it as well as we pos­si­bly can. And young peo­ple have a lot to offer, even in the case of the cur­rent COVID-19 cri­sis. But try­ing to come up with ways for a young per­son in your life to BE A CHANGEMAKER while com­ply­ing with social dis­tanc­ing guide­lines and keep­ing every­one safe dur­ing this COVID-19 cri­sis may feel like an impos­si­ble task. It’s true that life looks very dif­fer­ent now for most peo­ple, but there are still many use­ful ways for kids and teens to give back.

So, how can we empower kids and teens during COVID-19 in a safe and responsible manner? Here are a few ideas and resources for them to choose from:

    • Do you play a musi­cal instru­ment? Per­haps you can per­form a “dri­ve-by” con­cert to cheer up neigh­bors or sched­ule one for your apart­ment build­ing. I’ve even heard of one group let­ting peo­ple “hire” them for this pur­pose, and then donat­ing the mon­ey raised to orga­ni­za­tions in need dur­ing the cri­sis — win, win!
    • Do you have some durable mark­ers or paint? How about dec­o­rat­ing some rocks with pos­i­tive mes­sages to leave along the side­walk, in build­ing entrances, or on trails in your area? I’ve also seen a lot of fan­tas­tic chalk art on streets, side­walks, even the fronts of hous­es or build­ings (be sure get per­mis­sion before dec­o­rat­ing some­one else’s pri­vate prop­er­ty!). Art, espe­cial­ly that with mes­sages of hope and con­nect­ed­ness, can go a long way toward lift­ing peo­ple’s spir­its these days.
    • Write let­ters or draw pic­tures for senior cit­i­zens or any­one else who may be iso­lat­ed now. Reach out to your local senior cen­ters and ask if you can send pho­tos of the let­ters and pic­tures for them to share with their residents.
    • Clean your room! Seri­ous­ly. Now is a great time to tack­le that over­due chore. Some items to con­sid­er purg­ing include gen­tly used cloth­ing you no longer wear, sports equip­ment you’ve out­grown, toys, books, etc. You may not be able to donate them right now, but it’ll be nice to have them out of your way now, and orga­ni­za­tions will appre­ci­ate them when things open back up again.
    • Check in on friends and fam­i­ly. Use the phone or oth­er avail­able tech­nol­o­gy just to see how they’re doing. Talk about how you’re doing. No mat­ter how old or young you are, this is one that ben­e­fits every­one. It may seem triv­ial, but it may be just what the per­son on the oth­er end needs.
    • Be kind to your teach­ers. Whether your cur­rent teach­ers are your usu­al teach­ers, your par­ents, your grand­par­ents, or an old­er sib­ling, all of this is new to them (yes, even if you are home­schooled!) and they are doing their best to help you be suc­cess­ful while also doing all of the oth­er things they need to do right now, many of which are also new to them. Offer a word of encour­age­ment, a thank you note, or a gen­uine smile when­ev­er you can.
    • Youth Ser­vice Amer­i­ca has a bunch of oth­er great ideas here, includ­ing hold­ing a vir­tu­al dance-a-thon, orga­niz­ing a ted­dy bear hunt, rais­ing aware­ness for an issue you care about, and more!
    • For teens, look into mutu­al aid orga­ni­za­tions in your area and see if you can con­tribute. Not famil­iar with mutu­al aid? The basic idea is that every­one has some­thing to give and that we are all depen­dent on one anoth­er. You can read more about the idea here, but, in short, they are net­works cre­at­ed by indi­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ers among spe­cif­ic groups of oppressed peo­ple or dur­ing local emer­gen­cies like nat­ur­al dis­as­ters. With the cur­rent pub­lic health cri­sis, how­ev­er, they’ve been sprout­ing every­where. Paired with the pow­er of today’s read­i­ly acces­si­ble tech­nol­o­gy, they are an even more pow­er­ful force. There’s a mas­sive list of exist­ing mutu­al aid orga­ni­za­tions here. If you can’t find one that fits, start your own with this Mutu­al Aid 101 Toolk­it, and be the hero of your community!

What­ev­er you do, be sure to check fed­er­al, state, and local guide­lines to make sure you are com­ply­ing with the most recent advice. And… stay safe, stay home!

Happy holidays (and a gift idea)!

Are you buy­ing any of my books to give as a gift this hol­i­day sea­son? If so, thank you!
I’d be thrilled to send you a signed book­plate and some book swag for you to include with your gift. Just send an email to laurie@lauriethompson.com with the details (which book, to whom it should be per­son­al­ized, and what mail­ing address you’d like it sent to), and I’ll pop them in the mail for you ASAP.
And, again, thank you! It’s like giv­ing a gift to me, too. =D
Be a Changemaker gift wrapped

How #ChangemakerEd is improving #BacktoSchool

Be a Changemaker cover

I came across an inter­est­ing arti­cle on Medi­um the oth­er day. It talks about “reimag­in­ing edu­ca­tion in this his­toric time of change” and the impor­tance of #Change­mak­erEd, the glob­al move­ment to empow­er young peo­ple to cre­ate a bet­ter world by mas­ter­ing empa­thy and iden­ti­fy­ing as changemakers.
#ChangemakerEd book "Be a Changemaker" coverThis move­ment isn’t new, but it is grow­ing. And as the author of BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS, I could­n’t be hap­pi­er. Through my work with stu­dents and teach­ers based on my book, I have seen it first­hand time and time again. Once stu­dents real­ize they CAN be change­mak­ers, their whole out­look on life changes. Sud­den­ly they see prospects and oppor­tu­ni­ties they could­n’t have even imag­ined before. And it goes far beyond the indi­vid­ual stu­dents them­selves, of course. As it says in the article:

The key fac­tor for suc­cess for every com­mu­ni­ty — be it a com­pa­ny, a city or a coun­try — is the pro­por­tion of its pop­u­la­tion who are change­mak­ers. A col­lec­tive abil­i­ty to address com­plex social prob­lems — and to antic­i­pate future ones — is para­mount to pos­i­tive­ly shap­ing our world.”

#Change­mak­erEd schools and edu­ca­tors are lead­ing the charge to pre­pare today’s young peo­ple for exact­ly that kind of suc­cess by help­ing them gain the knowl­edge, prac­tice the skills, and feel the sense of pur­pose that is nec­es­sary for them to thrive as glob­al cit­i­zens and have a pos­i­tive impact on their com­mu­ni­ties. Along with the core sub­jects, more and more teach­ers are also teach­ing their stu­dents to have empa­thy, be thought­ful, be cre­ative, take action, lead the way, and col­lab­o­rate with oth­ers, while allow­ing them to apply their edu­ca­tion to real-world prob­lems right now.
Inter­est­ed? Read the full arti­cle here to find out more about this impor­tant move­ment, and watch this inspir­ing video about one #Change­mak­erEd high school in Arizona:

And, of course, check out BE A CHANGEMAKER for inspi­ra­tion, real-life exam­ples, and tons of prac­ti­cal how-to advice that teens can start putting to use imme­di­ate­ly, whether they have access to #Change­mak­erED in their own school or not!

7th Graders Changing the World

I recent­ly came across this arti­cle about some 7th graders from Owas­so, Okla­homa. It says, in part:

Sev­er­al read­ing stu­dents at the Owas­so Sev­enth Grade Cen­ter recent­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in the school’s first “Be a Change­mak­er” program.
The pro­gram – based off Lau­rie Ann Thompson’s book, “Be a Change­mak­er: How to Start Some­thing That Mat­ters” – enabled stu­dents to affect change in their class­rooms and the com­mu­ni­ty through dif­fer­ent pas­sion projects.
Eighty six stu­dents across five class­es com­bined what they like, what they’re good at, and a prob­lem they felt pas­sion­ate about to cre­ate a cam­paign that would make a last­ing impact in that area.
Lan­guage Arts teacher Amber McMath, who led the two-week pro­gram, used the premise of “Be a Change­mak­er” as the foun­da­tion for the course, designed to help stu­dents in read­ing reme­di­a­tion improve their skills.
“They’re only assign­ment was to come up with a ven­ture that would change the world,” she said. “The book inspired us to do that because it had sev­er­al projects in it, and it also was kind of a guide that walked you through how to do it.”

The kids addressed bul­ly­ing at their school, start­ed a video game club, col­lect­ed food for a home­less shel­ter, and raised aware­ness of issues includ­ing human traf­fick­ing and food waste. They engaged in pub­lic speak­ing events and social media cam­paigns, wrote meet­ing agen­das and press releas­es, con­tact­ed busi­ness­es to ask for help, and researched grants and oth­er crowd-sourc­ing out­lets to raise funds.
Way to go, Owas­so 7th graders (and their awe­some lan­guage arts teacher, Ms. McMath)!
Read the full arti­cle and see a pho­to here.

Young People Changing the World at We Day Seattle 2017

I did­n’t get to attend this year’s We Day Seat­tle 2017 event on April 21, but it looks like it was incred­i­ble, as usu­al! The event was co-found­ed by change­mak­er Craig Kiel­burg­er, who is pro­filed in Be a Change­mak­er: How to Start Some­thing that Mat­ters, and it is all about young peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice. Despite the star-stud­ded line­up, you can’t buy a tick­et to WE Day—students from across the coun­try earn their way by the actions they take on one local and one glob­al cause of their choice. WE Day is free of charge to stu­dents and edu­ca­tors, thanks to the gen­er­ous sup­port of Microsoft and The All­state Foundation.
“Every year, more than 200,000 stu­dents from over 10,000 schools around the globe earn their tick­ets to WE Day through the year­long WE Schools pro­gram, cre­at­ing pos­i­tive impacts in their com­mu­ni­ties,” says Craig. “WE Day Seat­tle will unite and cel­e­brate thou­sands of young lead­ers who are work­ing pas­sion­ate­ly for the caus­es they care about most, cre­at­ing sus­tain­able change in their own back­yards and around the world.” And it looks like it once again did just that.

Craig and Marc Kielburger and Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll at We Day Seattle 2017
Craig and Marc Kiel­burg­er and Sea­hawks Coach Pete Car­roll at We Day Seat­tle 2017 (Pho­to Cred­it: Suzi Pratt/ Get­ty for WE Day)

As report­ed on Geek­Wire:

Write down your goals, lis­ten more, and dream big.

These are good pieces of advice for any­one, real­ly, but they held spe­cial impor­tance for more than 15,000 stu­dents who gath­ered inside an ener­getic Key Are­na on Fri­day in Seat­tle for WE Day, an annu­al event that cel­e­brates youth empowerment.

Astro­naut Buzz Aldrin told kids:

“No dream is too high,” Aldrin told the crowd. “I know because I am liv­ing proof.”

Buzz Aldrin at We Day Seattle 2017
Buzz Aldrin at We Day Seat­tle 2017 (Pho­to Cred­it: Suzi Pratt/ Get­ty for WE Day)

Seat­tle Sea­hawks quar­ter­back Rus­sell Wil­son, a WE Day Seat­tle co-chair, told them:

“I hope every­body in this room is writ­ing down their goals and what they want to do in life,” he said. “Once you set those goals out, go achieve them. But you can’t achieve them alone — you need to achieve them with oth­er peo­ple.” –Rus­sell Wilson

Russell Wilson at We Day Seattle 2017
Rus­sell Wil­son at We Day Seat­tle 2017 (Pho­to Cred­it: Suzi Pratt/ Get­ty for WE Day)

Many more stars were in atten­dance, too. What a treat for the young peo­ple in attendance!
And what a ben­e­fit to our local com­mu­ni­ties, as well. Dur­ing the 2015–2016 school year, WE Schools groups in Seat­tle vol­un­teered more than 500,000 hours for local and glob­al caus­es and raised more than $900,000 for more than 600 local orga­ni­za­tions. Since 2007, WE Schools have raised near­ly $80 mil­lion and vol­un­teered more than 27 mil­lion hours for var­i­ous causes.
Who says kids can’t change the world? It looks to me like they already are.

We Day Seattle 2017
We Day Seat­tle 2017 (Pho­to Cred­it: Suzi Pratt/ Get­ty for WE Day)

Be a Changemaker update: StudentRND

CodeDay logoStudentRND logo
I thought some of you might be inter­est­ed in read­ing an update from one of the co-founders of Stu­den­tRND, which was one of the orga­ni­za­tions pro­filed in Be a Change­mak­er: How to Start Some­thing that Mat­ters. Stu­den­tRND is now the force behind Code­Day, which is “a nation­wide event where stu­dent pro­gram­mers, artists, musi­cians, actors, and every­one else can get togeth­er and build apps & games for 24 hours.”

a scene from CodeDay
Kurt Schloss­er inter­viewed Tyler Menezes, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Seat­tle-based non­prof­it and GeekWire’s lat­est Geek of the Week, and I espe­cial­ly loved this ques­tion and answer, which has stuck with me and is rat­tling around in my brain in inter­est­ing ways. Schloss­er asked, “What do you do, and why do you do it?” to which Menezes replies:

I’m the exec­u­tive direc­tor of a tech edu­ca­tion non­prof­it. You don’t get rich or famous work­ing for a non­prof­it, but we can solve prob­lems that fly under-the-radar of pure-prof­it ini­tia­tives. If you asked most tech investors who we were, they wouldn’t know our name, but if you asked a stu­dent from a low-income school in Auburn, Phoenix, or Boca Raton, there’s a decent chance they could tell you a sto­ry about an impact it made on their life. That’s why I do it.

Way to go, Tyler and Stu­den­tRND! Read the full arti­cle here. 

Check out the Starbucks Upstanders series

Starbucks Upstander photo

Starbucks Upstander photo
Have you seen the new orig­i­nal series that Star­bucks is putting out, called Upstanders? It’s real­ly cool! Accord­ing to their web­page:

Upstanders is an orig­i­nal col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, films and pod­casts shar­ing the expe­ri­ences of Upstanders – ordi­nary peo­ple doing extra­or­di­nary things to cre­ate pos­i­tive change in their com­mu­ni­ties. Pro­duced by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chan­drasekaran, the Upstanders series helps inspire us to be bet­ter citizens.

Appar­ent­ly, they–like so many of us–were feel­ing a bit dis­heart­ened by our cur­rent polit­i­cal cli­mate. Their press release says,

In con­trast to the divi­sive­ness and cyn­i­cism cur­rent­ly fuel­ing our nation­al dis­course, Star­bucks today debuted “Upstanders,” its first orig­i­nal con­tent series, which aims to inspire Amer­i­cans to engage in acts of com­pas­sion, cit­i­zen­ship and civil­i­ty. “Upstanders” fea­tures ten sto­ries, each told in writ­ten, video and pod­cast form, about ordi­nary peo­ple doing extra­or­di­nary things to cre­ate pos­i­tive change in their communities.…
“We’ve asked our­selves what is the role and respon­si­bil­i­ty of a pub­lic com­pa­ny and, as cit­i­zens, how we can cat­alyze hope in a time when we need more opti­mism, empa­thy, com­pas­sion and lead­er­ship,” said Schultz.  “The upstanders fea­tured in this series are inspir­ing indi­vid­u­als whose actions are emblem­at­ic of the Amer­i­can spir­it and what is miss­ing from so much of today’s nation­al dia­logue. We have always been sto­ry­tellers at heart, and more of these sto­ries need to be heard. We are using our scale to share them as broad­ly as possible.”

I love see­ing these kinds of exam­ples of how every­one can choose to Be a Change­mak­er, so the Upstanders pod­cast is now added to my sub­scrip­tion list! Here’s a trail­er to give you an idea what it’s all about:

Cat­alyz­ing hope in a time when we need more opti­mism, empa­thy, com­pas­sion and lead­er­ship? Now that’s some­thing I can stand up for. Thanks, Starbucks!
Upstanders image

Two more awards for Be a Changemaker!

Be a Changemaker cover

Be a Changemaker cover
Be a Change­mak­er was recent­ly award­ed two more pres­ti­gious awards:
Moonbeam AwardFirst, it was rec­og­nized last month with a Moon­beam Award! These awards were cre­at­ed “to bring increased recog­ni­tion to exem­plary children’s books and their cre­ators, and to sup­port child­hood lit­er­a­cy and life-long read­ing.”  You can see the full list of win­ners here. Be a Change­mak­er was select­ed as a Gold Award win­ner in the Mind-Body-Spir­it/­Self-Esteem cat­e­go­ry. They even sent a gor­geous (and seri­ous­ly heavy) medal to wear around my neck!

Burgess Award seal
And, just today I found out it has also been award­ed a 2015 Gelett Burgess Award, too! The Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award “high­lights excel­lence in fam­i­ly-friend­ly books cov­er­ing the broad expanse of a child’s exis­tence, help­ing them grow social­ly, emo­tion­al­ly, eth­i­cal­ly, intel­lec­tu­al­ly, and phys­i­cal­ly.” Be a Change­mak­er was select­ed as the win­ner in the Lifestyle cat­e­go­ry for “Help­ing Oth­ers & Phil­an­thropy.” Look how pretty!
Burgess Award Be a Changemaker display

Radio Interview: T Love’s Energy Awareness

head shot of T Love
T Love, host of Ener­gy Awareness

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get to par­tic­i­pate in anoth­er fan­tas­tic radio inter­view to talk about Be a Change­mak­er, and it was a blast! I real­ly felt like the host and I just “clicked” and were on the same wave­length. I wish we weren’t on oppo­site coasts, because I think we’d have a great time hang­ing out together.
Please check it out here. Enjoy! 🙂