2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards: Pink Fire Trucks


Happy Happy Happy News…

Pink Fire Trucks has been awarded a 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards (First Place: School Issues).

The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards are geared toward stories that appeal to children of all ages. We are looking for stories that inspire, inform, teach or entertain. A Purple Dragonfly Book Awards seal on your book’s cover tells parents, grandparents, educators and caregivers they are giving children the very best in reading excellence. 

Also, big shout out to my friend, Hayley Rose who’s picture book, The Do’s and Don’ts  was also awarded.

I am tickled pink that Pink Fire Trucks has won this award. I visited the Ezra Jack Keat’s exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center and my sweet mother bought everyone an ice cream cone in celebration of this great day.

Congratulations to all the book winners!

Here is a complete list of the 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Contest Winners: http://www.fivestarpublications.com/bookcontest/book-award-winners.html#2014pdbawin 



Read A Book, Travel The World And Make A Wish

Read A Book, Travel The World And Make A Wish

This is a guest post I wrote on Jump Into A Book: Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza. It was a gentle and heartfelt reminder that all parents want their children to succeed.  You will also find other summer reading suggestions for your own children or the classroom.

2014 Horace Mann Upstanders Book Awards: Books to Enhance Social Justice


I attended the 7th Annual Children’s Literature Conference & Horace Mann Upstanders Book Awards. This small but mighty conference is hosted by Antioch University in Los Angeles in an effort to celebrate children’s literature that promotes social justice. An upstander is defined as an individual who stands up to an injustice, even if they stand alone.

The-Real-Boy-211x300The 2014 recipient of the Horace Mann Upstanders Book Awards was Anne Ursu for her YA book, The Real Boy. As she received her award she candidly spoke about the inspiration for this story, her own 7 year old son with autism. She beautifully painted a world with her words and the need for children’s lit to encourage fantasy, dreaming,and creativity.  Paul Fleischman was awarded the Lifetime Upstander Award, and Linda Christensen and Rethinking Schools for Community Upstander Achievement Award. As Paul Fleischman spoke and shared a bit of how his wonderfully amazing brain works, I kept thinking how most schools don’t provide students opportunities to “think outside the box”, doodle, nor create things from scraps.  Many music and art programs have been scrapped in public schools. When Lina Christensen’s colleague accepted the award on her behalf, she shared a piece of history that I had never heard of, The Tulsa Race Riots. Whose history do we tell in our schools? Perhaps not everyone’s stories are told.

I also got a list of children’s books that begins to tell the stories of the children, men, women and groups of people who are the “others”, the ones without a voice.  I have read some of them to my first graders and I am always impressed by the level of understanding they have for important world concepts. I hope our children will stand up against injustices and maintain open minds in order to really listen to the other side. Most importantly, our students can have the opportunity to learn the art of dialoguing in a respectful and humane manner. As a teacher-friend put it, “To respectfully disagree. To find win-win solutions.”


Books to Enhance Social Justice. Compiled by Cynthia McDermott, Ed.D.

1. Almost Zero, by Nikki Grimes

2. How the Children Stopped the Wars, by Jan Wahl

3.  The Araboolies of Liberty Street, by Sam Swope

4. The Dunderheads, by Paul Fleischman

5. The Librarian of Basra, by Jeanette Winter

6. Violet the Pilot, by Steve Breen

7. Magical Hands, by Marjorie Barker

8. Grandpa’s Corner Store, by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

9. Unspoken, by Henry Cole

10. Mrs. Marlowe’s Mice, by Frank & Devin Asch

11.  Mr. Maxwell’s Mouse, by Frank & Devin Asch

12.  Pink and Say, by Patricia Polacco

13.   Farmer Duck, by Martin Waddell

14.  Angelo, by David Macaulay

15.  Biblioburro, by Jeanette Winter

16.  Four Feet, Two Sandals, by Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed

17. That Book Woman, by Heather Henson

18. The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig

19.  The Deliverance of Dancing Bears, by Elizabeth Stanley


THE SHIFT: A Movie Made By A Movement

butterflyI came across an email my sister sent me saying, “I want to see this movie! Let’s go.” I clicked on the link and began to watch the movie trailer for THE SHIFT. In an instant I was hooked. I wholeheartedly know and feel that our world as we know is changing for the better.  While that isn’t necessarily depicted on news channels and other sources of media, every day I see the random acts of kindness people bestow on others.  And while for some that might not be a game changer, it is.  Every time someone chooses love and kindness it starts a ripple effect and that gets passed on and on.

My team teacher had a yoga workshop for kids a few months ago and my sister enrolled her two children in the program. My sister shared that her 7 year old was having a fit about something or other and then he did something unexpected. He went to his room and a few minutes later he came back and told his mom, “I’m better now.” My sister, surprised, asked what had changed. He said, “I practiced my yoga breathing and it helped calm me down.”  Now while this might not seem like a big deal, it is. There has been a change, a shift in how to deal with conflict and this is essential for an individual to tackle life in a healthy manner.

I’m still working on my yoga certification and I hope to offer community yoga for the families where I work  in the fall.  My team teacher is on a mission to empower parents and educators to better support ours students and children through a program called Echo Parenting & Education. My best friend is tirelessly working to provide comprehensive healthcare, heath education and emotional support for women and children in low income communities. Lovely Penny is always fundraising and bringing awareness for the need to support the arts and music programs in schools that are unfortunately dwindling due to budget cutbacks.  I can go on and on, but the point is there are a lot of people who are collectively part of this shift in consciousness.  I hope you enjoy the trailer as much as I have. I’m excited to the see what the future brings, I’m excited to see people’s efforts bring positive changes and I look forward to watching this movie.