Behind The Vids: El Deafo Book Review, Rolling With The Punches

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Initially I think Cece Bell, author of the graphic memoir El Deafo, might’ve asked for her hearing back. (She lost it when she was four years old due to meningitis.) But some things we can’t change.

Life guarantees us only a few things, one of them is change. Lucky is the child whose parents can teach them how to roll with the punches. . . the valuable gift of resilience. Where one might see doom, another sees an opportunity to better their life, and maybe those around them.

The graphic novel focuses on Cece going to a regular hearing school when she enters first grade. She is the only one who can’t hear, and very conscious of how different that makes her. To make her stand out even more, in those days she had to wear a phonic ear. The phonic ear is a huge contraption that Cece draws and explains well in the book.

Though the book has been out for a few years now, I’m not going to talk much about the story just in case you, or your kids, haven’t read it yet. In fact our latest interviewee, Pam Simon, hadn’t heard of it. Being a part of the deaf community for so long, she instantly read it and loved it.

So since much of last week’s interview focused on what it’s like to be ‘the other,’ the different person, we decided to review El Deafo for this week’s book review vid.

What I will say is that through trial and error, Cece finds that not fitting in can have its advantages. Ultimately her deafness becomes a superpower that allows her to help her classmates, and thus become the hero of her class.

Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Oxford Dictionary

Cece has resilience in spades.

Do you have a story about resilience, either your own, or someone else’s? Please share it with me by replying to this letter, or on the comments page of our YouTube channel under the El Deafo book review video.

Please spread the word about our project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and/or our YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them.

Because we view our channel as a shared experience, we’d love it if you’d send us suggestions of what you’d like to explore next on this journey. Ex. You want us to look at how personal identity plays a part in choosing acceptance. You may even know someone who can help lead us along this path. If so, brilliant! You can send us names/contact info, video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on our YouTube channel. We can use all the help we can get.  
 
#ChooseAcceptance

Purple Passion of the Week:
Batgirl


Posted in Acceptance, Books, Diversity, Empowerment, Imagination, Inclusion, Self-Acceptance by with no comments yet.

Behind The Vids: Ada Twist and Curiosity

Tomorrow we’ll drop a book review on you, but it won’t hurt.  I promise.

The subject of said book review is Ada Twist, Scientist. Tho written for younger readers, 5-7 yrs old, Ada teaches the rest of us some important lessons too. The value of curiosity and support. You’ll see how in tomorrow’s vid.

What isn’t in the vid is the bio of the woman mathematician/scientist that inspired Ada’s name: Ada Lovelace.

Ada Lovelace, born in 1815 is considered the first computer programmer because she could see that computing machines could do more than just calculate numbers. She wrote extensive notes on the potential for using Charles Babbage’s Analytical Computer in areas not previously imagined, which introduced many computer concepts. She was also the poet Lord Byron’s only legitimate child.

It was her curiosity about all things, and her openness to innovation that paved the way for the computers we use today.

Like her predecessor, Ada Twist sees potential in asking “Why” and then falling down the rabbit hole to see where her curiosity takes her.

Do you have a favorite STEM hero or heroine? I’d love to hear about it!

Please spread the word about our project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and/or our YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them.

Because we view our channel as a shared experience, we’d love it if you’d send us suggestions of what you’d like to explore next on this journey. Ex. You want us to look at how personal identity plays a part in choosing acceptance. You may even know someone who can help lead us along this path. If so, brilliant! You can send us names/contact info, video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on our YouTube channel. We can use all the help we can get.  
 
#ChooseAcceptance

Purple Passion of the Week:
Purple Computer Codes


Posted in Acceptance, Books, Diversity, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Inclusion, Self-Acceptance, Thinking Outside The Box by with no comments yet.

Behind The Vids: Disrupting The System with Cornelius Minor

“Disrupt the system!” When I first heard Cornelius Minor utter these words at a Social Justice Institute event here in Chitown last year, I had very little understanding of what he meant.

Which system or systems? What exactly are we changing? How do we do it?

All I knew was that this man was magical, and I wanted to be part of this movement he was espousing.

In this week’s interview, he elaborates more on what it means to disrupt systems, particularly educational systems, so they are more inclusive. “It’s about changing a system – a rule, procedure, practice or policy – that’s preventing equal outcomes in the classroom.”

Turns out exploring how and when to choose acceptance more often can be an important part of that change. Accepting who someone is, or where they’ve come from, and learning about that culture, can help you meet them where they are at now.

Suffice it to say, this interview is a little longer than our average vid, but we feel that what he has to say, combined with our silliness, is worth your time.

As a teacher of teachers, one who spent time in the 7th grade trenches before his current gig, he’s in a position to take down policies, rules etc. that have failed many students for decades.

And lest you think I’m only talking about minorities, who of us hasn’t had a few teachers who at best ignored our needs, and at worst made us feel stupid or worthless, and thus unable to succeed in our classroom? I’ve had a couple, and to this day I remember them and the damage they did to me.

On a lighter note the faces we make in this vid are priceless, if I do say so myself!

Remember: if you prefer, any of our vids can be treated as podcasts. (Though you will miss some of our silly faces. But we don’t mind if you don’t.)

Please spread the word about our project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and/or our YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them.

Because we view our channel as a shared experience, we’d love it if you’d send us suggestions of what you’d like to explore next on this journey. Ex. You want us to look at how personal identity plays a part in choosing acceptance. You may even know someone who can help lead us along this path. If so, brilliant! You can send us names/contact info, video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on our YouTube channel. We can use all the help we can get.  

#ChooseAcceptance

Purple Passion of the Week:
Purple Sand


Posted in Acceptance, choose acceptance, Empowerment, Inclusion, Self-Acceptance by with no comments yet.

Behind The Vids: Drum Roll Please Asks Us To Be True To Ourselves

“Let your freak flag fly!” Easy to say, usually much harder to do.

If you know me, you know that I was the purple sheep of my family. Born to corporate athletic types who viewed the arts as a hobby, not a career, I was an oddball almost from the start. Add to that the fact that my parents divorced when I was 3, at a time when I would be the only kid with divorced parents until high school, and you can see a bumpy road lay ahead.

As a kid, dancing on tables with my gold rhinestone sandals, going to Interlochen National Music Camp, spending months rehearsing for a school musical was tolerated, even encouraged to some extent. But once I hit 13, the same age as Melly in Lisa Jenn Bigelow’s Drum Roll Please, I was told who I was and what I would be. (In my case President of the U.S., I kid you not.)

My freak flag was folded up and put in the attic–out of sight.

In Lisa Jenn Bigelow’s forthcoming book Drum Roll Please (launch date June 26th, but you can preorder now) Melly doubts herself all the time. Her freak flag has never been unfolded, let alone flown.

Hesitant about going to band camp, she’s not sure she can hack it with the other students. She’s only going because her BFF Olivia convinced her to go by promising to stay by her side the whole two weeks. A promise Olivia will break in short order, leaving Melly to defend for herself.

Having no choice, Melly soldiers on hoping she can make it through without completely embarrassing herself or her assigned band mates.

Surviving all sorts of trials and errors, she not only unfurls her freak flag, but flies it proudly. She becomes part of a real rock band, as a drummer, makes new friends, and discovers her own unique rhythm in this middle grade coming-of-age story.

This book speaks to the rebel, or the freak, or the oddball, or the ‘who am I’ that lives in all of us, at one time or another. Though Melly is figuring some of it out at 13, I think this is a recurring challenge we face throughout our lives as we change and grow.

An extra bonus for me, or anyone who went to camp in MI, is that Camp Rockaway is based in MI, and “Interlochen is that camp for prodigies up the road.”

At a time when the ground is shifting beneath us, this book  inspires its readers to not only embrace their authentic selves, but to allow that self to take them to wherever, or to whomever, they need to go.

What does your freak flag look like? I want to know! Reply to this letter or tweet me.

Hey if you’re in the mood, create your freak flag and send me a pic. I’ll post it on our Choose Acceptance Twitter account.

Please spread the word about our project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and/or our YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them.

Because we view our channel as a shared experience, we’d love it if you’d send us suggestions of what you’d like to explore next on this journey. Ex. You want us to look at how personal identity plays a part in choosing acceptance. You may even know someone who can help lead us along this path. If so, brilliant! You can send us names/contact info, video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on our YouTube channel. We can use all the help we can get.  

#ChooseAcceptance

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Purple Sheep


Posted in Acceptance, Books, Diversity, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Inclusion, Self-Acceptance by with no comments yet.

Life Begins When You Get Back Up, Revisiting After The Fall By Dan Santat

Two years ago I went extra crazy.(Hormones can be very mean.)

The anxiety I inherited at birth skyrocketed. It got so bad that I could barely eat, leaving me too weak to leave the house for about six weeks. It was the second ‘dark night’ I’d experienced in my life, and just like the other one, I came out of it with wisdom that changed my life.

I realized that without peace of mind, nothing else mattered. Without peace of mind, I couldn’t create the life I wanted. I couldn’t be the person I wanted. Ultimately, I couldn’t really live.

The problem with anxiety is that it forces you to make your life small. The terror that comes when your anxiety is triggered is so overwhelming, you’ll do anything to avoid whatever freaks you out.

Humpty Dumpty suffers from anxiety too. After he falls off the wall, he becomes afraid of heights. This new phobia immediately robs him of his favorite activity, his favorite cereal and other things. I’ll stop here so as not to spoil the rest of the story for you.

Because kids dance with anxiety too, Dan’s picture book is for all ages.

This book is important because Dan takes mental illness out of the closet, and shows the stages we can go through on our way to getting back up again. And he does it in a subtle, powerful way without preaching.

As Dan says, “Fear is a really tough beast to tackle.” Maybe because Dan has had a front row seat to his wife’s journey through anxiety and back out the other side, he can stand in our shoes a little bit.

If I could, I’d give this book to everyone I know, and ask them to do the same.

I wanted to revisit this book with Christina, who hadn’t read it, because now that we’ve wrapped up play as a way into acceptance, recap video here, Christina and I will be looking at how fear and acceptance intersect.

Please watch or listen to our review, which I’ll post on our channel tomorrow. If it resonates with you, go out and buy my favorite picture book of all time. (At least so far.)

Please spread the word about our project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and/or our YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them.

Because we view our channel as a shared experience, we’d love it if you’d send us suggestions of what you’d like to explore next on this journey. Ex. You want us to look at how personal identity plays a part in choosing acceptance. You may even know someone who can help lead us along this path. If so, brilliant! You can send us names/contact info, video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on our YouTube channel. We can use all the help we can get.  
 
#ChooseAcceptance

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:

Purple Cereal

 

 

 

 


Posted in Acceptance, Books, choose acceptance, Empowerment, Self-Acceptance, Thinking Outside The Box by with no comments yet.

Behind the Vids: Courage, a Middle Grade Story For All of Us-Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Barbara Binns did the impossible! She pulled a white privileged woman into the heads of two black brothers living on the South Side of Chicago! And I liked being there.

Courage centers on the consequences felt by T’Shawn and his community when T’s older brother Lamont returns home from prison. (Sadly this is not an uncommon event for many families, particularly those with black Fathers and sons.)

By making the story from T’Shawn’s point of view, Barbara has given those of us who live far from that world a way into it. We empathize with T and the choices he’s forced to make. We feel a Mother’s need to help her son overcome his criminal past, while trying to keep her family together. We revel in, and maybe envy, 4-yr-old Rochelle’s ability to simply accept both of her brothers. It’s the an old adage, the more personal the story, the more universal.

In a time when we need more diverse books, Courage provides a mirror for those who don’t always see themselves on the printed page, and offers all of us some insight on how to handle a complex family situation.

Readers 11+ and up, should run to pre-order this book, which comes out 7/31/18.

Our detailed review of Courage will be up on our YouTube channel tomorrow.

In the meantime, you can watch, or just listen to our interview with Barbara if you haven’t already. Reminder: You can listen to our vids in the car, on the bus, while you cook etc. We don’t mind if you don’t stare at our silly faces!

Fun Fact: Barbara teaches a course for female writers on how to write male characters.

Please spread the word about our project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and/or our YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them.

Because we view our channel as a shared experience, we’d love it if you’d send us suggestions of what you’d like to explore next on this journey. Ex. You want us to look at how personal identity plays a part in choosing acceptance. You may even know someone who can help lead us along this path. If so, brilliant! You can send us names/contact info, video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on our YouTube channel. We can use all the help we can get.  
 
#ChooseAcceptance

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Purple Swim Trunks
(Okay, T’Shawn probably wouldn’t wear these, but I would!)


Posted in Acceptance, Books, Diversity, Inclusion, Self-Acceptance by with no comments yet.

Behind The Vids: Elisa Gall, Inclusion and Play

This week we’re playing the Acceptance Game with Elisa Gall.

Elisa is the Youth Collection Development Librarian at Deerfield Public Library in Deerfield, IL and is also a contributor to the Reading While White blog. (One of the best blogs about diversity and inclusion period, and esp if you fit the title’s demographic.)

Reading While White’s Mission:
We are White librarians organizing to confront racism in the field of children’s and young adult literature. We are committed to working in the ongoing struggle for authenticity and visibility in books. We are learning, and hold ourselves responsible for understanding how our Whiteness impacts our perspectives and our behavior as we strive to advocate for this movement.

Because Elisa’s passion is inclusion and empowering underrepresented voices, we wanted her to help us test our theory that play makes it easier to choose acceptance. That play creates a safe space where tough and honest conversations can be had.

Watch this week and let us know what you think. Does playing with others allow acceptance to flourish?

Please spread the word about our project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and/or our YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them.

Because we view our channel as a shared experience, we’d love it if you’d send us suggestions of what you’d like to explore next on this journey. Ex. You want us to look at how personal identity plays a part in choosing acceptance. You may even know someone who can help lead us along this path. If so, brilliant! You can send us names/contact info, video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on our YouTube channel. We can use all the help we can get.
 
#ChooseAcceptance

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Watch the video to find out why…


Posted in Acceptance, choose acceptance, Inspired Creativity, PLAY, Self-Acceptance, Thinking Outside The Box by with no comments yet.

My First Movie Review: Victoria, Abdul, and Active Acceptance

Have you seen the film Victoria and Abdul yet?

If not, I recommend you do. 

Full disclosure, I worship Dame Judi Dench. Can’t remember a movie she’s been in that I haven’t loved.

But I didn’t choose this movie for my first YouTube review because of the Dame. I chose it because it’s an unequivocal example of how to practice active acceptance.

Active Acceptance: a willingness to stand up for another whether you agree with, or understand, their beliefs/choices or not.

That being said, defending those who are persecuted due to race, beliefs, sexuality etc. isn’t easy for those of us who don’t  rule our own countries. (Though Victoria faced all kinds of opposition and threats while standing up for Abdul. You can read more about it in my review.)

In recent weeks, people in Hollywood have found the courage to stand up for themselves and others as whistle blowers. Not easy to do when your paycheck/career is on the line.

I guess what each of us has to ask ourselves when faced with an unfair and potentially harmful situation is what are we willing to endure to defend another’s right to be who they are…whether we agree with their beliefs/choices or not.

I’ve never had to risk my livelihood to stand up for another, so I hope, but don’t know if I’d have the courage to do that. But I have continued to hone my active acceptance skills in daily life, especially with my husband.

My aim is that we model and teach the practice of active acceptance to our kids so they won’t have to face as much prejudice, judgment, and even harm due to their choices. That we can raise a generation that when faced with ‘the other,’ will use their initial fear as a trigger to activate their curiosity and acceptance towards that person, and courage if necessary.

Check out my review and let me know what you think by replying to this letter, or posting your reactions in the comments section of my YouTube page. 

And if you go see the movie, please post your own reviews and thoughts about the film on my YouTube page comments section too.

Click here to watch my YouTube review.

Please spread the word about my project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to my newsletter/YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them.

Feel free to suggest other neat ways I can expose folks to Active Acceptance. You can send me video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on my YouTube channel. I can use all the help I can get.  
 
#AcceptanceIsAChoice

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
My Queen Katherine of Aragon (the only wife of Henry the VIII to keep her head) purple wedding dress.


Posted in Acceptance, Active Acceptance, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Self-Acceptance, Thinking Outside The Box by with no comments yet.

Review: After The Fall, or How Humpty Dumpty Got Up Again

Any picture book readers out there?

I don’t write PBs, so I don’t read them often, but AFTER THE FALL by Dan Santat caught my attention right away.

But it wasn’t the book itself that first grabbed me, it was the story behind it. Long story short, Dan’s wife has struggled with anxiety for years. After many attempts, she’s finally found her formula for creating a peaceful and meaningful life.

While watching her journey, Dan realized the courage it took to dance with terror and rise above it, so he decided to write a book about it. He chose to look at what happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell. Could he get back up on his wall?

It’s a powerful tribute to all of us who manage brain illnesses, and a great example of Active Acceptance. That’s because Dan shows us that the first step to wellness is actively accepting our own fear. Not trying to hide it, or deny it, or beat ourselves up about it, but just sitting with it and maybe even making adjustments for it at first.

For more of the story, but not the surprise ending, check out my YouTube review.

Please spread the word about my project/channel and encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and/or my YouTube Channel if you think they would speak to them. (If you haven’t already subscribed to my YouTube Channel, I hope you will too.)

Feel free to suggest neat ways I can expose folks to Active Acceptance. You can send me video ideas, and whatever else you can think of by replying to this letter, or tweeting me, or posting a comment on my YouTube channel. I can use all the help I can get.  
 
#AcceptanceIsAChoice

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Humpty Dumpty of course!


Posted in Acceptance, Active Acceptance, Empowerment, Self-Acceptance, Thinking Outside The Box by with no comments yet.

My New YouTube Channel-Changing The World One Video At a Time

At long last, I’d like to unveil my YouTube Channel to you, my dear subscribers!

So far I’ve posted 4 videos with three more being edited for uploading. (The next one should be uploaded today.)

Because the characters in my books wrestle with acceptance, and choosing to make decisions from a place of curioustiy and self- love rather than fear, the current focus of my channel is my Active Acceptance Project.

What is Active Acceptance? I’m still figuring that out, but here’s my definition so far:

ACCEPTANCE DOES NOT DEMAND AGREEMENT. By ACTIVELY ACCEPTING others we learn to find delight in the diversity around us, and to break the cycle of confrontation embedded in the idea that we must agree with others in order to co-exist with them.

The ACTIVE part of active acceptance is our willingness to defend others against bullies or other types of challenges, especially when we don’t agree with their beliefs or lifestyle choices.

My videos will include examples of Active Acceptance in the form of reviews of books, (see my first book review below) movies, and tv shows that model active acceptance, interviews, some of which are already up, and activities that you can do with kids of all ages. These activities are designed to introduce tools and concepts that will help you, and those around you, practice active acceptance in your daily life.

For active acceptance is a muscle–a muscle that must be used as much as possible. And like building any other muscle or habit, it takes time to incorporate it into your daily life.

My first video book review.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

Please suggest books, tv shows, activities, articles etc. that I can use to help make Active Acceptance a mainstream concept and provide folks with more tools to help them practice it every day.

You can share by leaving comments below, or by leaving comments on my YouTube Channel.

Learning to meet those that are different from us, and life’s challenges from a place of curiosity and self-acceptance instead of fear, will change our world.
 
FYI: Please share this post with others you think would enjoy it.
 
#AcceptanceEmpowers

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
YouTube’s logo if I were in charge!


Posted in Acceptance, Active Acceptance, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Girls, Imagination, Self-Acceptance by with no comments yet.