What a great day! A huge thank you to Brick and Mortar Books for being such an amazing host and to everyone who was able to make it. Brick and Mortar Books still has signed copies of all of the books, so feel free to stop in if you need any for your collection! =D
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. This 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!
Several weeks ago I wrote about a school in North Carolina, Brooks Global Studies, which had selected Emmanuel’s Dream as their all-school read and then had Emmanuel come visit them in person! (If you haven’t seen it yet, please go check out the video. It’s pretty amazing!)
Recently, I came across this additional piece of the story, which I hadn’t been aware of… In addition to the shared reading experience and the inspirational visit from Emmanuel, the Brooks Global Studies school community took things one step further by organizing a charity bike drive and were able to collect 210 donated bicycles! The bikes will be shipped to Ghana, refurbished by a repair shop operated by people with disabilities, and then put up for sale there.
What an inspiring, rewarding event for everyone involved. Way to go, Brooks Global Studies! Click here to read the full article, and be sure to scroll through the picture slideshow!
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!
The Washington Center for the Book announced the Washington State Book Award finalists for 2016, and I’m honored to say that Emmanuel’s Dream is among the three finalists for the Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Award in the Picture Book category!
The Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library announces the Washington State Book Awards finalists in eight categories for outstanding books published by Washington authors in the previous year. This is the 50th year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards. The book awards are given based on the strength of the publications’ literary merit, their lasting importance, and their overall quality to an author who was born in Washington state or is a current resident and has maintained residence here for at least three years.
Winners will be announced at the awards celebration, held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Central Library. The awards program will feature emcee Frances McCue, an award-winning poet and arts administrator who received the Washington State Book Award for poetry in 2011 for “The Bled.” The program also features brief readings from 2016 winning titles. A reception and book signing will follow in the Living Room on Level 3 of the Central Library. The awards and celebration are sponsored by The Seattle Public Library Foundation.
Congratulations to all of the finalists, especially to friends Deborah Underwood, Martha Brockenbrough, Kelly Jones, and Jessixa Bagley!
A few months ago I announced that My Dog Is the Best would be translated and sold in Japanese. A few days ago, there was a package on my doorstep. I opened it to find these:
S U R P R I S E ! =D
This is the first foreign edition I’ve seen of any of my books, so it’s super exciting. And it was even better than expected, since we currently have a Japanese student living with us! She had already read the book in English, so it was fun to see her enjoy it in her native language.
She also rather sheepishly informed me that my bio, which I thought was rather clever in English, didn’t translate quite so well into Japanese. It originally said, “…many of her best friends have had four legs and fur,” but the Japanese version apparently says something along the lines of “many of her best friends have had four legs and were hairy.” She found it rather humorous that the Japanese version wasn’t clearly referring to animals, as the English version was. Ah, the subtleties of language, and the importance of word choice! 🙂
Finally, I can’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but now that the date is approaching, I’m getting more and more excited… My Dog Is the Best will soon be published in Japan! It is expected to release this summer, and in an even smaller (and cuter!) trim size. I’ll keep you posted!
There’s been a bunch of exciting news regarding Emmanuel’s Dream lately, and I wanted to share it all with you…
First, it was recently selected as a Notable Book in the Children’s Africana Book Awards! One of my all-time favorite picture books—One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul—was similarly recognized, which makes this honor even more special.
It was a finalist for the 2015 CYBILS (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary) Awards in the Elementary/Middle Grade Non-Fiction category. I’ve helped judge this category several times, but obviously had to bow out this year! Since I know firsthand what a thorough, careful job the judges do to select the finalists, it was truly a thrill to have my book recognized for this award.
Emmanuel’s Dream has started showing up on some state lists around the country, too, which means even more kids will be reading it. That’s super exciting! Some of the state honors I’m aware of so far include:
Last, but certainly not least, I’ve learned that Emmanuel’s Dream will be published in Korean! One thing I always dreamed of was having my books published in another country, and now I’ve got two (a Japanese version of My Dog Is the Best should be coming soon, too).
Be a Changemaker was recently awarded two more prestigious awards: First, 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!
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!
I LOVE this book trailer for My Dog Is the Best! Not just because it’s adorable (it is), or because it’s my first book trailer (yep), but because so many special people helped make it a reality.
First, check it out:
Isn’t that CUTE? Of course, huge thanks to Paul Schmid for providing the art. My sweet husband recorded the audio (with my awesome sister-in-law’s help) of my darling niece “reading” the book: She’s too young to read just yet, so she memorized the whole thing! And my talented friend Lelynn did the animations and editing. Thanks so much, everyone!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂