Professionals Against Bullying

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The goal of friendship...

Many people are updating their goal lists to ready themselves for 2010. I like to reflect on my goals from last year before starting a new list. One of the most important on my roster last year was to be a better friend to those who I value.
I realized that time and distance can take us away from showing care and kindness to those we hold dear. I'm happy to report that I believe that I succeeded in making this goal in 2009. I made more phone calls, spent more time and had great conversations!
I let go of toxic relationships and drew closer to those that were sincere. Being a friend is important to always has been. I find it funny that 2009 was the first year that it replaced getting into shape on my goal list.
Friendship is so important especially to children. It teaches them some of the greatest traits of being a good person. 2009 is also the first year that my character Janelle gets a true friend in Zoey (100% Real).
The photo above is of me and my very good friend Jennifer. We have been friends for over ten years and we have had our up's down's and in betweens....:) Make it a goal to celebrate friendship in the new will be on my goal list again in 2010.
Read something great!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The sweetest gift!

For many years I saw Christmas as a time to show my family how much I cared for them. This is not a bad idea. Although my way of showing love was through expensive and lavish gifts. This year my husband and I set a $10 limit for our family and friends. I have to tell you it is not easy for me to give gifts that are this price. It is a big test of my character to help me not to be materialistic though.

I realize that a $10 limit is okay for a purchased gift as long as I don't limit love this season. I have the ability to break the bank with care and thoughtfulness this year. Is it challenging for you to give when it does not require money but thought? We made homemade candy and we will enjoy a breakfast with my beautiful family & friends this morning. It occurred to me how blessed I am. I have such a wonderful group of people that love me unconditionally and this is a true gift.

What gifts have you given that are priceless? I want to let you know that you, my reader, belong in the priceless category. Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas.

Read something great!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Thank you for being the best readers an author could wish for. I appreciate your comments, your purchases, your encouragement and your energy! This holiday season would not be as great as it is if you did not show up at my signings, enter my contests and have me at your events! I hope to see more of you in the new year and please pass this blog on to someone you know who celebrates self-esteem, diversity and literacy!
-Read something great!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Guest blog w/Kayci Baldwin...

Today we are featuring Kayci amazing advocate for diversity & race relations....

“Daddy’s Black, Mommy’s White, and I’m Brown with curly hair and golden tips.” So began the essay that launched my career as a multiracial activist. I was in first grade and had written an essay on Martin Luther King Jr. It was quite a thrill to win the contest. The thrill was not because Bruce Springsteen presented my award. (My parents were impressed, but I’d never heard of Bruce Springsteen.) It was not the U.S. Savings Bond or the fancy certificate that he gave me. I was thrilled because they put my picture in the newspaper and at six years old that was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me. I was once a little girl with a big dream!

That was where it began for me, but it was only the beginning. For four years now I have pursued that dream as President of Teen Project RACE, the youth arm of Project RACE, which advocates for the growing number of multiracial Americans and works to have a multiracial category included on forms that ask a person’s race. Since joining TPR in eighth grade, I’ve served as a spokesperson giving interviews to media outlets including the Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, and the Tyra Banks Show, written articles that have been published in magazines and on our website and interviewed multiracial celebrities. I’ve held minority-focused bone marrow drives, produced a video PSA and petitioned the US Department of Health and Human Services for inclusion in federally funded medical research. I’ve started social networking groups for multiracial youth that have grown to over 1000 members, been elected President of the Multicultural Club at my high school and awarded the 2009 Princeton Prize in Race Relations. I have helped conduct letter writing campaigns to legislators and the US Department of Education and more. To say that I’ve been passionate about multiracial advocacy would be an understatement.

But lately, I have seen some apathy toward this advocacy. There are many who seem to believe that because race is a social construct, that it is not an issue at all or that because the United States has elected a multiracial President that our job is suddenly done. How I wish that were true!

Let’s review what happened in a single week in October. First, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a progressive bill that Project RACE’s Executive Director helped draft. The bill would have added the term multiracial to the instruction section of the form asking for California school children’s race. Although, the US Dept of Education finally allows for multiple racial check-offs, which is of course better than the “check one race mandate,” they continue to reassign multiracial students back to one category. As long as there are children forced to choose between denying one of their parents and identifying as an “other”, there remains work to be done. Then a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana refused to marry an interracial couple because he didn't approve and had concern for their future children! As long as we allow the Keith Bardwells of the world to hold positions of influence, there remains work to be done. And finally, multiracial leukemia patient Nick Glasgow died because a suitable bone marrow donor could not be found. As long as there exists racial health disparities and a shortage of minority marrow donors, there remains work to be done. Remember, these are just a few examples from one recent week.

The job of those who aim to help our nation embrace its wonderful diversity is not finished. Despite all the good that has been achieved, there is much yet to be done and still too few people doing it. That is why I’m excited about the wonderful work that Tara and others like her are each doing in their own way and why I’m honored to be able to contribute to this site. There are lots of little girls and boys with lots of wonderful dreams and we want to do all we can to help them come true.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mean Girls...overcoming bullying & toxic relationships...

I had my share of teasing and taunting as a young girl. I was picked on for being too smart, not being smart enough, being too dark, talking too proper, and the list goes on. I remember being insecure and afraid of meeting new people because I wanted to escape rejection. It is a blessing that the insecure and cautious girl that I used to be blossomed into a confident person willing to talk to anybody about anything. I realize that many young people don't feel great about themselves and that those feelings can result in them being victims of bullies or becoming bullies themselves.
Confidence coaching by parents, peers and the community is a practice that should start early in a young persons life. Teaching a child about those who differ from them in appearance and inwardly can help them to be more accepting as they enter school and feel pressure to taunt others. The "Who I Am" series is a great addition to early diversity awareness campaigns and self-esteem workshops.
I would love to say that once children get older that these pressures go away...but it is not true. If a person does not learn to get along with others and to practice genuine kindness and compassion this just leads to adults that use the core principles of bullying in their lives as grown-ups.
Some of the people that targeted me as a child were the people that I thought I shared friendship with. Children need to know that it is okay to let go of friendships that prove toxic. I am not saying that forgiveness should be absent but I am saying that I would like children to learn when to walk away from a bad relationship.
If your school, church, etc. would be interested in a Dream/Esteem workshop on diversity & anti-bullying I would be happy to give you a quote and even happier that these principles are being shared to strengthen the characters of our future!
Read something great!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Spirit...

Last year I was in a very busy mall at a coffee shop during the holiday season. I had the sudden urge to buy the man behind me a coffee. It was the oddest thing to me. This man did not look like he needed anyone buying him a drink. He was dressed nicely and he smiled and looked rather content as he waited patiently for me to list off all of the items of my complicated coffee order.
I felt baffled as my instincts continued to nudge me to buy him a drink. I fought with those instincts and thought how weird would that be if I bought this man something. I argued back inwardly-I don't even know him. The end result of the battle is that I walked away from the counter having made only one purchase... my own.
I shared the inward struggle with my husband who said maybe you should have done it. I immediately felt regret-the man was no longer in the store and I tried to forget about the ordeal as I read the back of my coffee cup. The cup had a story on the back about buying gas for a stranger or doing a good deed for someone that you don't know. This did not make me feel any better.
I realized that one of the biggest acts of kindness is doing a good deed for someone who has done nothing for you in return. I often think of that missed oportunity and feel a bit of guilt. I am hopeful that this season I will listen to my instincts and do great small deeds for those who I have no affiliation with.
The holiday spirit as it is ofte called can refer to being nice, cheerful and kind. Unfortunately I believe that the to-do list can get so long that people often in the midst of doing nice things for those they know may not be so kind to those they don't know. With traffic jams, full malls, and worries of January debt it is easy to be distracted and not tak ehold of the meaning of the season. This year we set a limit for those on our list in our family. We are trying to get back to the pure magic of December and away from the materialism and greed. about a challenge??
I implore you to take sometime and do something nice for someone new. You can shovel a walk, make a card or just help them with the door. If you do take me up on this challenge be sure to share it in the comments field. We could all use a bit holiday warmth during this cold season.
Read something great!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger-Dawn Stephens

What You Hold Verses What You Grow
When I was young, I was often asked about what I would be when I grew up. I felt quite a bit of pressure to know the answer to that question. Frankly, though, I had no idea. I knew that I liked to draw pictures and make up stories. Both of those things usually got me in trouble in school since I drew pictures instead of listening and the stories I made up were sometimes interpreted as lies. I did imagine that someday I could use those things to be a children’s author and illustrator. Since school never went well for me, I knew that I did not want to be a teacher.
I came from a Christian home I was taught that I should pray for the things I want. Therefore, I simply prayed and asked God to make me an author and illustrator and then waited for Him to do so. It never seemed to me that He was actually doing that. When it came time for me to go to college I told my dad my plans and he said I could not become an author or illustrator, because I’d never make money doing it. I searched for another career that would allow me to draw pictures and write stories for kids and I found one. It was a teacher.
I figured since God didn’t seem to hear me about the author, illustrator thing I might as well go into teaching. I did and found that I loved it. I felt so full and complete. I knew that I was doing exactly what God created me to do. I taught for ten years until one day I knew that God wanted me to stop teaching and stay home with my children. One of my daughters had severe asthma and maintaining her health while teaching fulltime seemed impossible. I reluctantly quit and became a “Stay-at-home-mom”. Now, I admire woman who do this a great deal, but I never felt it was for me. I loved being with my children, but I also wondered continually if God was using me.
My husband sensed that I wanted to work again so he bought me a company to run. Running your own company may sound exciting to some, but for me- it was not exciting at all. It was terrifying. I had taught Kindergarten, First grade, and Second grade. One year I taught third grade and realized the third graders were smarter than me, so I went back to teaching Kindergarten. I couldn’t even keep my checkbook balanced. So, I had no idea how I would run a company. It seemed that’s what God expected me to do. So I did it. And, after some time, I began to love it. I wrote business plans and drew characters for my website all why staying home with my kids. I thought I was doing exactly what God created me to do. I felt full and happy. The only part of running a business I didn’t do well was the selling of stuff. And since I didn’t sell things, my company didn’t continue to do so well every year.
As my daughters got older and healthier, my husband suggested I go back to work and that we sell the business. I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I was all grown up and was suppose to go find a job. I prayed again wondering why God wouldn’t make me into an author and illustrator. It seemed I just kept doing these random things in life without knowing their purpose. I told God I take whatever job came along and that I’d do anything except, of course, sell stuff. We both knew I was not any good at that. Eventually a company called saying they wanted to talk to me about a job. They were a publishing company and I was very excited. I hoped they would want to publish my stories or let me illustrate for them. I was wrong. They did offer me a job, but it was in sales. They wanted me to sell their books. I did and eventually I got really good at it. I even had opportunities to write lesson plans for their books and draw pictures of things to go with those plans. This was the best job of all. I knew I was doing what God had created me to do and I felt completely full and happy. I did this for several years until the company decided they were no longer going to close the division I worked in. My job no longer existed. At this point, I was completely shattered and confused. I began to think of all the things in life I had held and wondered what I would do next.
Through all those jobs, a story began to develop. It is the story of The Little Pot. In this story, The Little Pot is continually filled and emptied with things. The potter puts papers into it and it believes it will be a smart paper pot. But the potter makes another vessel for that purpose and then empties Little Pot. Next the potter fills it with coins and it thinks it will be a rich coin pot. But the potter makes another vessel for that purpose and Little Pot is empty again. Finally the potter fills the little pot with dirt and a small green plant. Little Pot assumes it will be a beautiful flower pot. It still is wrong, however, because its flowers are really fruit. Little Pot finally discovers that it is a fruit pot and that its true purpose is to bear fruit for the potter.
I had to discover that through all the jobs I held and all the titles I carried, God had one purpose in mind. I was to bear fruit for Him. The author, illustrator thing did finally happen for me, but it isn’t the thing that makes me feel full and content. I know now that I can’t find contentment in what I hold. I can only find it in what I grow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little Girls...Dreams came true!

Yesterday was so awesome! I usually don't start off my post like that-but it was! Little Girls, Big Dreams is a group of girls in Pontiac Michigan (my home town) that are in an after-school literacy project. Natania Swirski is the developer of this non-profit 501 3 (C) group and she donates tons of time to these girls to make sure that they can achieve their dreams by being achievers in reading, writing ,etc. Natania and I began collaborating in the Fall to give the girls a bit of an reward for being so dedicated to their own education.
The business community in Michigan came to these girls aid in the fall by donating my books to the girls to encourage them. This holiday season I solicited donations from many businesses and used the power of social media to give these girls a bit more.
Donations were:
modeling clay
floor pads of paper
bubble gum
100% Real Books (Who I Am series)
BooksByTara (Tara McClintick books)
colored pencils
pencil bags
candy canes
A big thank you to:
Gardner White Furniture
Barb Tronstein
Tara McClintick
Stephanie Lewis
Cathy Lewis
Access Pointe Human Resources
Black Women In Business Brainstorm
My Busykits
These girls smiles are bigger and brighter because of you! A confession-I have not even started my holiday shopping yet-but this is the way of truly kicking off the season with a bang!
Read something great!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week update and Ann Arbor fun!

This week has been so much fun! I was able to join my husband at the Princeton Club of Michigan Alumni Dinner and represent the Princeton Prize In Race Relations. Which is a great Award program for Michigan area high school students making a difference in Race relations. These young people are extraordinary individuals who don't let barriers stop them in improving our state by taking a stance against prejudice and discrimination by taking it upon themselves to make the changes needed. I am honored to be a co-chair of the committee this year! If you know of any local high school students making strides in this area please leave a comment on my blog. The winner is able to be honored at an annual ceremony, flown to the Princeton symposium on Race and will receive a monetary gift of $1,000.
I will also able to spend some time in Ann Arbor at the Briarwood mall with fantastic people who enjoyed my book series! Thanks again to all of the people who purchased books and enjoyed candy canes with me at Borders Express! Your support means the world to me!
If you need copies of the "Who I Am" series for the holidays-you can get signed copies right here! My page has a paypal function and the books will be delivered to you asap!
Read something great!

Friday, December 4, 2009

On your mark...get set...sign!

I am so excited to see you in Ann Arbor tomorrow! I will be autographing copies of my "Who I Am" series. My books are for children and reflect diversity awareness related topics and the importance of self-esteem. My goal is for every child to pick up my books and to be able to relate to the characters in some way. Maybe they look like Janelle or Zoey. They could have a teacher like Mrs. Deneen or perhaps they understand the importance of having a true friend.
The first 15 people that show up and mention my blog post will receive a free gift! I hope that you can make it!

Location: Borders Express/Briarwood Mall (Ann Arbor)
Time: 12-2
Why: Because it will be worth it!

Read something great!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


If you follow my blog on a regular basis or my tweets-you know that I am a literacy fanatic! When kids feel great about reading...they typically excel in writing, comprehension, speech, etc. I am currently asking for donations for the "Little Girls, Big Dreams" Literacy non-profit in Pontiac Michigan. This charitable cause allows young girls who are in the 1st-4th grade to embrace literacy after school in a non-pressure environment. I had the pleasure of visiting the girls in early November and sign out books for all of them-thanks to some awesome sponsors!
On December 10th I am eager to visit them again bearing holiday gifts. If you are interested you can donate a book off of my page on the side panel or you can email me at and we can discuss gift items that may be helpful to the hardworking young ladies.
I will be sure to upload photo's of my December visit to the blog so that you can share in the experience!
To end today's blog post I thought that I would post a top five list for literacy development feel free to comment and add your own ideas if you goes:

1.) Read to children as early as possible
2.) Show kids how to write cards, letters, thank-you notes, etc.
3.)visit your local author (shameless plug-I'll be at Briarwood Mall from 12-2 this Sat)
4.) Play word games like Scrabble
5.)Allow your kids to read to you!

Read something great!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Update from the weekend and more!

I hope that you enjoyed a great thanksgiving this past week. I was able to reflect on my blessings and enjoy lots of time with family and even friends. My friend from college showed up to my signing at Borders Express/Great Lakes Crossings Mall on Saturday with her niece Skylar. Skylar's official birthday is Monday...a big Happy B-day to her. She was treated to the "Who I Am" series by her aunt and I gave her a Janelle glitter pen. The staff at the signing was great and I truly enjoyed signing out books for so many great people over the weekend.

If you would like to come and see me and get a signed copy of my are in luck! I will be at Briarwood Mall (Ann Arbor) in the Borders/Waldens bookstore this Saturday from 12-2! The first 15 people that mention this blog post will get a free gift! I hope that you are there.
In honor of cyber Monday I am throwing in a special gift for all orders of "Who I Am" merchandise purchased on my blog today...remember these books and accessories make great gifts!
Read something great!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Janelle & Zoey!

What Janelle is thankful for: I am thankful for my mom & dad! I am thankful for my best friend Zoey. I am thankful for my cat & dog. The book that brought me into your lives was the first in the "Who I Am" series and I am more than thankful for you-the reader! I am blessed, I am short for my age, I am a girl who loves to talk and I am more than just a color or two! Happy Thanksgiving!
What Zoey is thankful for: I am thankful for my new family which includes my mom, dad & brother! They are the best! I am so thankful for Janelle and my teacher Mrs. Deneen! I don't have any pets but that's okay because I can play with Janelle's anytime that I want to. I guess my biggest thing to be thankful for is that 100% Real is a book mostly about me! Have you read it yet? Make sure that you do!
-Read something great!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twas The Night before Thanksgiving

Readers! I am thankful for you! Tomorrow is the big day and my gift to you is a poem that I thought would make you smile (disclaimer) I am not a poet!

Read something great!

The Night Before Thanksgiving
By Tara Michener

Twas the night before Thanksgiving and look at my house
this place is so messy hope there is no mouse

The dishes are piled all the way in the air
and I still have so much food to prepare

The guests will help themselves to pies and breads
While thoughts of more gym time will be in their heads

I need my hair done but I threw on a cap
maybe while I'm under the dryer I'll take a short nap

I started banging pots and pans and made such a clatter
I lamented that after Thursday I would surely be fatter

The day will come and go like a flash
Then on Saturday I'll be signing books in a dash

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
Lots of little kids who want their books signed so dear

I'll sign at the mall and try to be quick
I'll be sure to have my sharpie never a BIC

But until Saturday I'll focus on dinner and try to stay lucid
Now potatoes, now rolls now tofukey and all
I hope I have enough to feed them all

My crock pot was boiling over like a brew
A house full of food and so much to do

And then, in a twinkling, I thought of my roof
and happily felt blessed to serve in spirit and truth

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, I noticed all of the blessings around.
I had great things and they would get done I needed to stay put
I said a small prayer and stopped tapping my foot

A bundle of food lay still in it's pack
And I smiled as I lined up the to-do's in a stack

My eyes -- how they twinkled! I no longer felt scary
I began to prepare the pies apple and cherry

I made things fancy adding a bow
and wondered if tomorrow would bring our first snow

I dug out our decorations and found our wreath
Now I was grinning and showing my teeth

I ignored my diet and embraced my little round belly
That shook, as I laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

The turkey looked pretty and plump, like art on the shelf
And I laughed when I saw it in spite of myself;

A tasted the gravy and tried out the bread
Yep I realized I had nothing to dread;

I stopped feeling bad and finished my work
And wrote cards so fast I felt like a clerk

Laying the bread in the dish that I chose
I gave a nod, when I saw how it rose

My hubby came in and looked impressed and gave a whistle
I gave him a kiss as I held up the toe of mistle

But I heard him exclaim, as he ran out of sight
I can't wait to watch the game tomorrow night

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So you think you can network??

Over the last 24 hours I have been on a true challenge. I committed myself to social networking for a whole day. I tweeted, facebooked used Linked In, emails and of course my blog for more hours than I ever have in one day consistently. I decided to take this feat on because I realized that our global economy allows us to connect directly with our readers...all of the time! I figured I would take some time from my schedule and truly stay plugged in to give 24 hours around the clock attention to you my readers!
Okay I had a few breaks...which were needed tremendously but I think this may have been a harder challenge than my 1/2 marathon that I ran this year. My tenacity rsulted in more facebook friends, twitter followers and Linked In users and I'm impressed to say that even more people are following my blog after my adventure.
It's not all about the numbers though...I was able to chat with people that I have never met but who love my books and the message that they bring. I received inquiries to meet up in person and collaborate with more people. I was able to remind many people that I don't always have access to to come and see me on Saturday at Great Lakes Crossings Mall at Borders Express from 12-2. I enjoyed listening as well. The other perk that few realize is that our global communications allow us to listen to our base. I read other blogs, tweets and statuses that I would normally miss. I was inspired by quotes, informed by articles and humored by jokes.
The challenge is complete and I'm glad that I did it! We should always push ourselves past our limits from time to time.
Read something great!

Monday, November 23, 2009

What a great weekend!!

I had the pleasure of kicking off this past weekend with those closest to me and near & dear to my heart...the teens that we have mentored over the past year. We had a Thankful Party complete with turkey dogs and burgers (veggie options for me) and celebrated the upcoming holiday. We played games, chatted and made sure before everyone left they thought of something that they were thankful for. This group of young people has been so inspirational to me and my hubby/illustrator (the hubistrator!).
It is a blessing to see so many young people strive to do what is right as opposed to doing what is easy. Thanks to Romika, Chris, Wes, Alex, Adasia, LaSaesha and Tony joining us to make this event a great one!
On Saturday I was inspired by the ladies of the Black Women In Business Brainstorm! A great group of women who are doing great things professionally and creatively showed up and networked with me at our monthly breakfast meeting. I am so happy to have new members join our number! Welcome to Adra Young, Tracie Christian, Lori S. Robinson, Adele Nieve, and Sherie Brooks.
Saturday afternoon I was able to join in with literacy efforts all over the country and be a part of the National Day Of Reading! We met at the Northville Public Library and had great chocolate and discussions about our favorite books old and new. I found it interesting how much I had in common with Annie an 11 year old who loves Judy Blume! Isn't it great how reading bridges gaps?!
This weekend save the date for my book signing at Great Lakes Crossings Mall in the Borders Express! I will be signing copies of the "Who I Am" series from 12-2.
I can't wait to chat more! Read something great.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Young guest blogger....with a purpose!

I had the pleasure of networking with an inspiring young lady and thought that my readers could profit from her story and her dedication to literacy. Riley will share why it was important to her at the age of sixteen to have a book of her own and to make a difference for others with her literacy efforts. Riley is our guest blogger today and her words are unbolded below...Enjoy & Read something great!

It was important to me to try to get published for a number of reasons:

First, I think I wrote a great fantasy adventure story, which I loved writing and which I loved reading enough to edit it repeatedly, and I’d really like to share that story with other kids.

Second, I am very involved in children’s literacy and I think a lot of kids stop reading between the ages of eight and fifteen, especially boys, and I think the fantasy genre keeps those readers interested and engaged in reading. It was important to me to publish because I hope that a boy or girl somewhere enjoys my stories enough to keep on reading.

Third, some of the proceeds from my books sales go to my nonprofit for literacy, Breaking the Chain.

Fourth, because I’ve written and published books, I am able to go to schools to speak. I am speaking at schools around the country to students in grades 3-8, and I talk to them about writing books and about literacy and Breaking the Chain. I hope to make them aware of how important their education is, what their lives would be like without an education, and to encourage them to take ownership over their own education.

I am passionate about promoting global literacy because I believe that the way to help people, especially children, break the cycle of poverty and exploitation is through literacy.

I created my nonprofit for literacy, Breaking the Chain, when I was fourteen, after learning that there are 120 million children around the world don’t have the opportunity get an education and that there are 800 million adults that cannot read or write, two-thirds of whom are women. These women and children are very vulnerable to exploitation. They are unable to get jobs and they cannot feed or clothe themselves. Only through education do they have the opportunity to make their lives better.

The mission of Breaking the Chain try to eliminate the bonds of poverty and illiteracy for children and their communities through education and sustainable development, both domestically and internationally. Building schools in places where the government cannot or will not build schools for their citizens seemed like a good place to begin. I adopted two villages in Africa, one in Kenya and one in Sierra Leone; I was able to raise enough money to build a school for each village, and to provide both villages with a water purification system. I’ve also created a children’s literacy center at a women’s shelter in Colorado, and bought over 1000 new children’s books for Reach Out and Read and The Heart of America Foundation.

This year, Breaking the Chain achieved tax-exempt status and my older brother, Nick, who is twenty, joined me (I wasn’t old enough to sit on the Board of Directors or to file the paperwork with the IRS).

I am really excited about our new projects this year. We have adopted another village in Sierra Leone, and will provide the funds to build a school and a water purification system there. We are also developing a domestic program which I think can have a direct affect on kids in the United States. It’s more difficult to dramatically impact children’s literacy in the United States because we already have schools in place, but many schools in the U.S. have very low reading proficiency rates. We are going try to have an impact on those kids. We hope to have that program in place within the next month or two.

As for my books, The Fire Stone is the first book in The Reign of the Elements series and it was just released. There are five books in the series and I have written all of them. The book is for ages nine to about fifteen, but even adults like teen fiction so there’s really no age limit. It is fast-paced and exciting, but the characters are very real; I think kids relate really well to my characters because my fifteen/sixteen-year-old voice resonates with them. I’ve also written the first book of an urban fantasy trilogy and I’m currently working on the second book.

Donations to Breaking the Chain are tax deductible and they are very welcome - even a small amount can make an enormous difference. You can find out how to donate at:

My other websites are:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I was so blessed to be able to be a guest on WDET 101.9 Detroit Today Radio program! I was able to be interviewed by Craig Fahle and talk about the motivation behind the "Who I Am" series and the programs and groups associated with Tara Michener Industries, LLC.
On this Saturday from 3-5 I will be at the Northville Public Library hosting the I love Literacy Party, an event that celebrates reading!
This event is in connection with The National Day Of Reading. People all over America will be joining together in book groups, chats and discussions about the joy of reading. My event in Northville is free and I hope to see you there!
On Monday November 23-24 from 12 noon till 12 noon I will be engaged in a 24 hour marathon of social networking. Many of you are familiar with my love of Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc. I want to challenge myself to be available to my readers for a whole day and blog about the results!
Saturday November 28th join me at Great Lakes Crossings Mall in Auburn Hills at the Borders Express as I sign copies of my book series from 12-2.
Hope to see you all!!
Read something great.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Access to "Who I Am"

If you enjoy my blog and the updates that I post I want to make sure that you know I am online on various sites! If you are active on Facebook or Twitter you can also access pictures, updates and info about "Who I Am" events from these social networking tools. My Facebook page is

And if you are interested in following my updates on Twitter you can find me at

It is so important to me to keep you aware of all things "Who I Am"!
Many great things are on the horizon for this year and I am grateful that you are apart of these exciting events!
Read something Great!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Little Girls, Big Dreams Update & More!!!

Little Girls, Big Dreams Fall Literacy Project was a big success and I owe that to many of you! The girls were extremely excited to meet an author from the area and to receive books and pens to encourage them to keep reading & writing!
I want to specifically thank:
The Thomas Family
Cleaner Options Dry Cleaning Service
Gerald Bricker
Traci Sincock
Georgia Conrad
Harriet Kirsch
Herman Smith of ECO-Testing LLC
Zach & Justin Norgrove
Kimberly Crafton
Karen Stewart, Stewart Law Office, Novi MI
The Klinger Family
Bill & Tammy Adams
Caroline Vacketta
Final Destinations LLC
Tearza Martin of Bryce Avery Designs LLC
Eric & Nicole Roll
Tanyeka & Que B Buchanan
Chad Talo
The Black Women In Business Brainstorm
Because of your contributions these young ladies are very happy and ready to be stars in Literacy!!
Read something Great!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My dream come true....

I have been anticipating tomorrow for a very long time. This summer I had the pleasure of speaking with the founder of "Little Girls, Big Dreams" A literacy non-profit for girls in Pontiac, MI. We decided on giving these hardworking young ladies a treat from me a home-grown author....books from the "Who I Am" series.
I am thrilled to have a private book signing just for them tomorrow at their after-school program. My goal is to encourage them to keep up the good work and not to give up. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who donated books to this program to make it successful!
I will be sure to share your kind gesture with the young ladies tomorrow. It is not enough to dream for yourself.
Dreams have to be big enough to share with others!
These girls have made one of my dreams come true!
Read something great!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Yesterday I had the pleasure of being a featured author at "Writer's On The River" One of the biggest Author Fair's in Michigan. I was so pleased to see old and new faces at my "Who I Am" table. It is amazing that Brooke, Kristin, Jenna and Jaylynn came to tell me that they really loved getting their "Who I Am Not What I Am" books last year and that they were excited to see the newest book in the series.
This fair had a very big showing of educators, community members and children and was very well attended. Jason Michener, My illustrator and husband was the balloon king as he decorated fancy pictures for those who bought my series.
I was so pleased to see fellow members of the SCBWI-MI group and meet new friends that write for children as well.
One of my happiest moments was talking to Carol McCloud, (The Bucket Filler Lady) Author of The Bucket Filler series. Carol and I have known each other almost ten years and she had been an extraordinary friend that gave me lots of wisdom and advice during my early career and college years. It was fantastic to see her and to do a book swap with her. I hope that you enjoy the pictures from this fun event and if you missed it maybe I will see you on November 28th at the Borders Express, in Great Lakes Crossings Mall! Save the date I will be there from 12-2!
Read something great!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Big Dream update...

Hi All!
On Wednesday I blogged about Little Girls, Big Dreams, the non-profit literacy organization in Pontiac Michigan. I have a new update on donations. Because of the generosity of our readers and those in the community our numbers are lower!
We now need 2 copies of "Who I Am Not What I Am" and 8 copies of 100% Real to reach our goal! Thank you so much for those who believe in sharing the gift of reading with the young girls of this great group!
Please pass this message on to those in your circle so that we can get the 10 books we need to allow these young girls to have a successful event with a published author. It certainly takes a village and I appreciate that the readers of this blog are indeed that village to help and assist with the literacy needs of those in the community.
Time is running out so please pass the word. Remember you can purchase the books for the girls under the paypal function on this page that is marked "Choose a book (s) to donate".
November is the time when many remember their blessings and in turn give back to those in need. I am thankful to have a platform to give back and to give others the opportunity to do the same!
Read Something Great!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Helping Little Girls reach their Big Dreams...

November 12th I will be going to Pontiac, MI. My hometown to celebrate and to motivate the girls of Little Girls, Big Dreams. This is a charitable organization that promotes Literacy in young girls ages 1st-4th grade. I am so proud of these young people that have worked so hard to embrace the love of reading, writing, comprehension and today's technology.
The best part is that I will leave these girls with books from the "Who I Am" series signed by me but purchased by their surrounding communities, businesses, families and individuals that also want to see them succeed. I am happy to say that we are almost at our goal for giving every girl one of each of the books that I have written. I am sad to say that we are not quite there yet.
We still need 3 more "Who I Am Not What I Am" books to be purchased and 9 more 100% Real books to be bought in order to reach our goal of every girl getting two books.
Please look to the pay pal panel and choose a book or two to give to this awesome group of girls.
I think that it is important for them to know that it everyone is pulling for their success even those that they do not know.
If you have questions please feel free to email me at
Read something great!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I enjoy being an author for many reasons one of the best... is meeting my readers!
I will be signing books this Sunday at a great literary event in Monroe!
"Writers On The River" is an annual author fair that features authors & illustrators from many genres...old & new to the industry!
Last year was my first year on board as an author and I was lucky and blessed to be able to sit next to the great illustrator Cyd Moore. She was extremely friendly and gave me lots of advice and of course I could not leave the event without purchasing her picture book "Willow".
I sold books but I came home with quite a few myself because the talent at this event is amazing. If you are looking for a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon...join us at the Monroe Library from 12-3.
It has been a wonderful treat for me to be able to share the "Who I Am" series at this top-notch author fair! I hope to see you there!
Read something Great!

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Thank-you's

It is that time of the year again where we remember to be grateful, thankful and mindful of our blessings. I have so many that it would take forever to list all of them but I will share a few with you! A great big thank you to the readers of the "Who I Am" series! This thanks should cover the bookstores, the schools, the community groups and libraries that hosted events to include my collection of books that promote diversity & self-esteem in children. Of course, my books would not be able to thrive without the wonderful children that support Zoey & Janelle (my main characters). My new illustrator, Jason Michener has visually allowed 100% Real to be the talk of the town and since this is his second job I just want to add a special thanks for all of his hard work and tenacity on this project.
I have many more people to thank but first I will ask you...who are you thankful for? Has someone helped your life in an incredible way? Have they encouraged you when times were tough? Loaned you some support in time of need? Think about those people close to you and savor their presence in your life as a gift. I realize that each day brings troubles but the blessings far outweigh the troubles.
Tonight Jason and I are going to put our troubles aside as well as our date night and we are going to read our books to children from a homeless shelter. Everyone needs support and if we can be a blessing to others it may help us to truly understand what thanksgiving is all about. We celebrate it in November but we should try to be mindful of our blessings and give back throughout the year. Enjoy this beautiful month of transition from Fall to Winter and share your blessings with someone in need.
Read something great!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Falling for Fall...

I have to admit that I have been known to brag about Spring as my favorite season. I was born in the Spring-so naturally having cake in my honor may have influenced that vote. Something magical has happened this Fall to give Spring a run for the money. I have actually taken the time out to appreciate the beautiful leaves and colors that represent Autumn in Michigan. Fall is such an inspirational time because it allows people to take time to reflect on change. The green leaves and flowers may take a recess but in their place we get to experience the beauty of red and orange leaves decorating the trees and this can be both calming and breath taking.
Have you thought about change in your life? It may start with taking away something that you regard as needed and beautiful but change may actually enhance your circumstances in a greater way. As you think about your goals and your dreams, take a second to reflect on the way that you are going about your mission and decide if it needs a make-over.
While you are pondering ...take time out to have a walk and look at the beauty around you-it's great for inspiration! Read something great!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Yesterday I attended a funeral of a truly inspiring man. This man was 73 years old and had changed many lives in the course of living his own. It was hard to find a empty seat in the packed church and many people recalled the times that he had encouraged them or helped them in some way. As I sat and listened to the memories being recalled by others it made me ponder. I know that Phil, my friend that passed was amazing and spiritual.
I also thought about all of the times that I encountered him and how he always made me feel very special. I left with sadness that in my lifetime I would never hear his greeting "Hiya Tara" to me again...but I also left with a lesson.
Phil's final lesson for me in life was that I should make sure that I remember what is really important....People. Phil had a way of making people feel like they were important despite their socio-economic, racial, or gender status.
I hope that my life is one that mirrors a similar reaction. For example, I realize from people's compliments that I have strengths that encourage people greatly. Many tell me that my smile has a way of uplifting others. I realize this means that I need to use it generously.
What is your gift? What do you want to be remembered by? How can you get closer to that goal? One of my biggest goals is to change lives with the books that I write. I don't "just" want to have monetary benefit...I want to have impact that surpasses dollar signs. I hope that my books can be used to teach children how to read, how to interact with others, how to feel great about themselves and how to be better citizens in this world. I also want my books to be a resource for parents to use to discuss the tough issues.
Today think about your life, your goals and what people say about you and decide if alterations need to be made.
Read something great!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Words that motivate...notes about 100% Real

Hey Readers!
Did you notice that 100% Real has a feature in the beginning of the book that allows you to write me an email or mail me a letter? I love to receive feedback from my readers of the "Who I Am" series. Your words help me to stay motivated as I work on more books and related projects. Your notes also help me to realize that my books are changing the lives of children for the better. The email that I received from a reader yesterday focused on appreciating the friendship between Janelle & Zoey.
The reader thought that Janelle was a great friend to Zoey and mentioned that it is hard to be a new student and it is nice to have someone be nice to you.
What is your example of a great friendship? Do you have a friend that goes out of their way to be nice to you for no reason? I'd love to hear your thoughts about 100% Real! It is always great to know your thoughts-keep the emails and feedback coming.
Read something great!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thank you for being 100% Real Fans!!


Saturday was my first official signing for the newest book in the "Who I Am" series...100% Real. I met so many wonderful readers who loved the message of the book, Zoey and the illustrations! I want to personally thank the staff of Borders, the people who bought signed copies of 100% Real and those that spread the word about this event.

A special thank you to Spike (of 95.5), Natalie & Nicole for making my day!!

The message of my series is simple and my books are meant to help children feel great about themselves and to help them to see the value in embracing others.

Stay tuned for more pictures from Saturday's signing!

Read something great!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


On November 21st people young and not-so young will gather around the country in appreciation of literacy! If you are in Michigan I invite you to come see the "Who I Am" Literacy Team at our I Love Literacy Reading Party. You will have the opportunity to donate books old & new, discuss your favorite book and be around like-minded people that have a passion for reading. This event is family friendly so grab a book and join us for this free event. More details to come in future post! Our event will be from 3-5 at the Northville Public Library.
Read something great!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Literacy Donations For Little Girls, Big Dreams...

I am currently working closely with a very special group of young women. Little Girls, Big Dreams is a non-profit literacy charity located in Pontiac, Michigan. The girls are 1st-4th grade elementary school children who stay after school and work very hard to improve their reading, writing, comprehension and more.
My goal is to help them with a Creative Writing workshop in November and at the end of my visit give them 2 of my books signed personally to each participant. I am asking for the help of the community to be able to help me in this endeavor. November is fast approaching and I am asking for your help in helping these great young ladies. If you would like to give to Little Girls, Big Dreams Literacy Project with Tara Michener please donate using the box on the side bar and choose a book to be given.
I will make sure that I include a blog post with the event on this site after my visit. The picture featured here is of me and Natania Swirski, Founder of Little Girls, Big Dreams. Let's make a difference together!

Read Something great!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thanks to young Readers...from Tara Michener

I had a very fun & full weekend! As you know my newest book 100% Real launched on Saturday. Some of my guests were children that had read "Who I Am Not What I Am" and they made up their own works of art, answered trivia and shared their support! Without their support my book series would not exist! A big thank you to the kids who came to enjoy lunch and "Who I Am" news!
Many kids said encouraging things on the paper table cloths and others made their own interpretation of Janelle and the "Who I Am" series! This was too good not to share. Remember to share the "Who I Am" series with a child that you care about.
Read something great!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

And the new illustrator is...

Yesterday's "Who I Am" Launch Lunch was fantastic! Many supporters of self-esteem and diversity came and enjoyed great food, fun and the love of reading! It was held at the beautiful Bonefish Grill in Novi and we had the whole place to ourselves! A special thank you to my friends at Bonefish for providing such a great meal and dining experience for true "Who I Am" series fans! The big news that was revealed yesterday was regarding my new illustrator. Jason Michener (My husband) is a talented artist and he dedicated many hours to all of the beautiful artwork in 100% Real. He is the creative genius that created Zoey's look. It was a wonderful experience collaborating with my husband on this book. If you have not ordered your copy yet-don't delay! Signed copies are available on my site.
Read something great!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Busy life? Try busy kits...


As I continue to network with positive people & comapnies I will continue to tell you about them!

One of the best gifts that we can give each other is information so here goes....Today my blog will feature an interview that I had with Lorraine Akemann of "My Busy Kit"

I hope that you enjoy!

T-Lorraine, tell me the goal of your business?

L-My Busy Kit makes portable activities for kids to encourage independent play. Our goal is to make family travel smoother by providing children with tools to build their imaginations while out and about.

T- Who or what inspired you to do what you are doing?

L-My business partner took a road trip to Mexico in 2007 with her husband and three kids. They had a clear sheet bag full of random, interesting gadgets that the kids loved. We figured, why stop at one? Let's find and test as many assortments as we can, and see if it works for other families.

T- How long have you been in business?
L-Since April of 2007
T- Are you in conjunction with any charities or other organizations?
L-Yes, we have donated activity kits to our local children's hospital, and regularly give kits to preschools and families in need.
T- Who is your ideal client?

L-Parents who are about to hop on an airplane or take a road trip with their kids.

T- Tell me about your biggest accomplishment with busykits?

L-In business terms, our biggest accomplishment is our account with a bookstore at San Francisco International Airport, which is a great niche location for selling our kits. Personally, the biggest accomplishment is the family balance of being able to work from home during school hours, and dedicate after-school hours to my daughters.

T- How can our readers find out more info about your business?
L-We would love to have folks visit us online at to preview our products and read our story. In addition, we started a blog about tips for traveling with kids at

Readers, I hope that you enjoyed hearing about Lorraine and "My Busy Kits". I love to see others making a living doing what they love and thought that you would too. Feel free to place a comment on the site if you wish about this post and if you would like to see more interviews or any other specific question that you might have for Lorraine!

On a side not today is the official launch of 100% Real please be sure to order your signed copy!

Read something great!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Anything is possible...

Hi Readers!
I cannot help but to reflect on my literary journey from time to time. Today is a very significant day because tomorrow Zoey (my newest character) will be unveiled to the world! 100% Real is the second book in the "Who I Am" series. It has the same values of "Who I Am Not What I Am" in the sense that it promotes positive messages for children and helps them to embrace self-esteem and diversity.
Last year at this time I had already put in my two weeks notice at my former job. I remember walking through the halls and saying my goodbyes just in case I missed someone before October 28th (which would be my last day).
I had hope and I was excited. Many people questioned my choice and said that I was making a mistake by quitting my day job to begin a new venture as a full-time author, diversity advocate and speaker. I had to smile at those people and remind myself that we differed in our faith and that they were entitled to their opinion.
Today I am still smiling, hopeful and even more faithful than I was that day as I hugged
co-workers and exchanged info.
I am sharing this specific entry with you because I am so happy that I can be a living example of a dream come true. I am also thrilled that not only can I reach my goals but that I can help others do the same.
In a year I have traveled to New york City, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, Chicago and more to promote "Who I Am Not What I Am". I have met so many people that were grateful for the message of my book and that continue to email me and ask me when is the next one coming out.
I have been able to serve on many diversity boards ones that have local status and some that are on a national level. I created a powerful networking alliance for professional African-American women to connect, promote and enhance using their business brand.
I have been blessed to help out with non-profits that tackle the cause of Autism, Literacy and more.
I have taught seminars on self-esteem, creative writing, social media and diversity.
My husband and I are still very active in mentoring a great group of young people at our church (that we refuse to share our age with because we want them to think we are as cool as they are).
So please share in this happy day with me by writing down your dreams and by one. Make a nice long list and muster up the faith that no matter how impossible your list may be...anything is possible!
I have no regrets... only satisfaction that I made the right choice by taking action.
Read something great!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


So many great events are coming up with the "Who I Am" series. Please stay tuned to my blog for the latest & greatest! Saturday, October 17, 2009 everyone will be able to get a up-close & personal look at Zoey and 100% Real!
My goal is to promote self-esteem and diversity through my children's book. I really want any child to be able to pick up my books and be able to relate to the characters and to feel great about themselves. Is their a book that changed your life as a child? Share it with us!
We want to know...add a comment or email me at
Once you send it in you will be entered in a contest to receive "Who I Am" merchandise! I am so grateful for your support and for your love of my series. Can't wait to chat soon and let you know where I'll be next!
:) Read something great!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Many of you are familiar with Janelle, the main character of "Who I Am Not What I Am".
I would like to introduce you to Janelle's new friend and the main character of
"100% Real"...ZOEY! If you have been waiting patiently or impatiently...the wait is over!
Zoey will be unveiled this weekend at a private Launch party and after that you can feel free to purchase as many copies of "100% Real" as possible. Remember that pre-order's can be made on this website. This book is great for elementary school level children and under.
The illustrations in "100% Real" are bright and beautiful and the story is very compelling and enforces the issues of self-esteem and diversity. The "Who I Am" series is dedicated to providing quality stories that feature characters that are diverse and that face real-life issues that many children face today. I can't wait to share her story with you... Read something great!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Readers, I wanted to update you on an amazing experience that I had on Sunday. Autism Speaks is a great charitable organization that is driving change in many lives. Please take a peek at some of the pictures that we were able to take as we shared in this annual walk celebration. Remember that you can still donate even if you were not able to walk! Please email me if you would like to contribute at