Professionals Against Bullying

Friday, December 31, 2010

HIGHLIGHTS, THANK YOU'S AND BIG DREAMS FOR '11


I love to reflect before the new year rolls in and reflect upon milestones that I have experienced.

Highlights include building amazing bridges with various community organizations, planning and leading diversity walks, a 5K and being a coach for Girls on The Run. We were able to make so many kids smile by offering various workshops and outreach programs for young people in Michigan and on the East Coast. We celebrated literacy by launching "Summer Camp Survival" our first chapter book this year! We fought hard to get people to recognize the damage and impact that bullying and destructive behaviors adds not only to the intended victim (s) but the whole community. This year we were recognized by CORP Magazine for our work in Diversity and for the "Who I Am" series. We shared the message of my books at Princeton University and had an amazing speaking engagement at their National Symposium on Race. We celebrated our mission by allowing others to join us as we participated in laptops drives, beautification projects and conferences that celebrate the hope that is amongst us. I met some amazing people who nominated me and allowed me to receive A Yellow Envelope Award (A project based in Texas) which celebrated my work in our local community. If I leave anyone out I am sorry but a special thank you to: Jason Michener-My Hubistrator, Joni Hubred-Golden, Chelsea Rodgers My intern and Marketing Associate/Consultant, Social Media Club Detroit, Tweetea, Black Women in Business Brainstorm, CORP Magazine, PBS: A Wider World, Operation: Kid-Equip, Lighthouse PATH, Salvation Army, Princeton Prize in Race Relations, Detroit Soup, Michigan Diversity Council, Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, Detroit Church of Christ, Holocaust Museum, Celebrate Michigan, CW50, MYTV20, #BackChannel from WXYZ, Stephen Clark, Alicia Smith, Ann Arbor Book Festival, Workantile, Flourish Florals, Mia Verde, Trinity Life Solutions, Girls on The Run, Biggby Coffee, Bonefish Grill, Borders, Detroit Regional Chamber, Detroit Synergy and so many more that are in my heart even if not in my head at this point. Let's make 2011 amazing! I am so excited to step into new territory, take on new ventures and create content that allows us to grow, be entertained and to make a difference! Thanks for reading and for being a part of WHOIAM! -Read something great!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A guest blog from Torrie Bush...Read something great!

Full Circle

It’s easy to get inspired when you’re taught by the greats. No, I’m not talking about Milton, Shakespeare, or Keats. I’m talking about local heavyweights, Jackson, Hayes, and Waits. Yes, as a student at Southfield-Lathrup High School from 1996-2000, I was taught by literary heavyweights…scholars ahead of their time and their colleagues; scholars who inspired me to teach. So when I got my first teaching job at my old alma mater, you can only imagine the rush of emotions I felt when I found myself among the ranks of those I looked up to. I was told to call them my their first names (I can’t do that, I thought) and I did. Two out three were still there when I returned, and today only one remains.
The “heavyweights” quickly became my mentors and friends. We taught together, shared ideas & frustrations, and honed in on our craft. But what surprised me the most was when they came to me for ideas or help. Me? No really, me? I suppose I had taken for granted the fact that I was a college student during the age of blogs, wikis, and podcasts. To me these were just various forms of technology to get students interested and involved in the lesson, but to my veteran colleagues, these were foreign words. I had something meaningful & awesome to share with the people who had already given me so much. At that moment I felt like we had all come full circle. I was the teacher, and for a few moments during the school year, they were my pupils. They learned from me and I from them.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Something old Something new




When I first got married everyone I talked to stressed to me the importance of preserving my wedding gown. I really never got around to shelling out the extra bucks to have it placed in the wedding dress fountain of youth and here I am almost six years later wondering if it has changed colors and textures in my original wedding bag. I had a talk with a friend at a meeting and he talked about junking a wedding gown. He mentioned that his bride to be was going to have pictures taken of her in her dress having fun. He said that she thought it would be great to have non traditional poses that might ruin the dress but preserve the memories. I thought this was a great idea.
My mind began to think about how I could use my old wedding dress if it was still in tact. I also had a self-esteem check wondering if it still fit properly. Today I tried it on and grabbed my hubistrator and he happily took photos of me around the house being silly and just having fun.
What did I learn from this? I learned that life is meant to smell the roses and enjoy the special moments. That's what we did tonight! This might be a non traditional post for ma and my blog but think about it. My goal is to help others to embrace inner beauty and self-esteem. These pictures include me in no make-up, freshly washed unstyled hair and a big smile. Let's teach our kids to enjoy the little things in life! :)
-Read something great

Thursday, December 2, 2010

BE A PART OF THEIR STORY...DECEMBER EDITION!

Readers, I have been so blessed to Lead up the "Be A Part Of Their Story Literacy Project" since 2009. This project started because I was asked by various charitable groups for books, presentations and supplies for their participants. It broke my heart when I realized that I did not have enough capitol to help these groups out in the way that I wanted to so I was inspired to be creative. I developed a model for a project that would help the non-profit groups in Michigan to be able to enjoy the "Who I Am" series and my other books at no cost. I tapped on the shoulders of my business colleagues, held fundraisers, brought in the community and teamed up with other groups to make this possible.
To date we have been able to partner with Little Girls Big Dreams, Operation: Kid Equip, LightHouse Path, Detroit Reality Check, Salvation Army and many other groups to make their dreams come true. I recall being a young girl who's family had to rely on special groups such as these to get by. Lighthouse helped us to be able to have groceries and they even went out of their way to provide funding for an educational goal for me when I was a teen. Salvation Army provided food, and lots of gifts during the holiday season for me and my family.
I can't forget how much these acts of kindness impacted my life and I can't turn my back on the needs out there today. There are so many girls out there who were like me who yearn to live their dreams but they might need to see someone who came from an under served background who is now considered successful to give them extra inspiration. This Saturday I am going back to LightHouse to share my books, story and hope with the girls and we even added a special feature this season by asking Girls in Tech to get involved and to have a laptop drive to share with the parents. Would you like to help? We are still seeking donations it extra special-you can use the button on this page to give back. If you can't help this week-no worries this project is ongoing and the next December distribution will be at Detroit Reality Check on December 18th.
If you have specific questions-please email me at whoiamnotwhatiam@yahoo.com
Read something great!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Night Before TG

A bit of a retro look back; I wrote this poem last year and thought it was appropriate to share it again. Happy TG!(Read something great!)

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

THANKS TO THOSE WHO SUPPORTED THE SHOW & TELL







We had an amazing day at the 1st Annual Show & Tell, celebrating the creative community of Michigan. Every vendor donated books to our "Be A Part Of Their Story Literacy Project" that provides new and signed books to local charitable organizations. This event is meant to celebrate their creative talent and allow them to show and tell about what they do because they are heroes for literacy. The public enjoyed viewing and purchasing their works and giving back to our project. A Special Thanks to our premier vendors and givers Mike Han, of Street Culture Mash www.streetculturemash.com Erica Howell and Melanie Verdell of Mia Verde, www.Shopmiaverde.com Kristina Marie of www.flutterbycreations.biz Nichole Wylie, Photographer & Poet; Chelle Enerio, Graphic Designer and Artist www.coroflot.com/cenerio Jennifer Halls, Singer and Voice Coach.
So many others helped this event to be a success and we thank you! Please view our pictures and enjoy! Read something great!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Show and Tell!


This weekend the creative community in Michigan will embark on a fun event that brings together two important subjects... Art & Literacy. We will have many talented artists in the form of photographers, jewelry makers, clothing designers, and other creators display their work, talk about it and share it with you for purchase.
Our goal is to ignite the spirit of creativity that helps Michigan to grow and florish. Each of these artists were kind enough to donate funds to help us out with our goal is supplying local non-profits books for the Holiday spirit. Are you a creative spirit? Do you enjoy learning about the work that is put into a beautiful painting? Join us! You can also donate to our effort to support Lighthouse Path, Detroit Reality Check and Detroit Parent Network. The Be A Part of Their Story Literacy Project was my idea to give back to our youth and help them to embrace the joy of reading. My hubistrator and Creative Director, Jason inspires the young people with his illustrations and talks about the way that their doodles can become more than just a past time.
If you can join us we will be at 118 S. Main (Workantile) top floor from 2-6 on Sunday November 21st. If you would like to donate but you can't make it take a close look at this page and donate a book or two to a deserving child. Lighthouse was helpful to me and my family when I was a kid and allowed me to enhance my education and everyday life so that I could be who I am today.
You might just be helping the next children's book author fall in love with reading.
-Read something great

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Guest Blog By Chelsea Rodgers #Breakingthepattern

Educators: Mentors or Bullies?
We have been discussing over the last month about students being bullied or the one who does the bullying. Recently, I have had an encounter with a professor and it was not a good one. I was insulted and bullied through e-mail. She tore me down and accused me of things that were not true and she passed this along to other professor that I admire and look up to and this really got to me. I have been working so hard and in a matter of one e-mail she made me look incompetent. That being said after all the professors saw her e-mail, this event I was throwing was canceled. I had a complete melt down. This came out of no-where and I could not figure out what to say to her. I also could not believe that she was such a mean bully. At that moment I felt defeated. Once I got it together and got some advice from an amazing mentor, this incident reminded me of something that happened to my brother as a child and it made me wonder; are the kids really the ones to blame for being bullies or are they acting out what they see in the classroom?

Teachers are supposed to be an important figure in a child’s life. Besides the children’s own parents teachers see their students for six hours or more a day. Teachers are to be mentors not bullies. They are supposed to help children find their skill and to develop it, not tear it down. Teachers are supposed to pick a child up if they fall down. Teachers are supposed to stop bullying if they see it happening. Are they the real bullies and is this why teachers have not put a stop to bullying in the past? Many admit to seeing the bullying occur in the hallways but do nothing to stop it, is this because they started it? What happens when that trusted mentor turns out to be the bully; the instigator. Children act out what they see and hear every day.

When my brother was in third grade he had a teacher who was a bully to him. She was so bad that she got the whole class to pick on him. I remember him coming home one day crying because during story time he raised his hand to ask a question about the story and when he asked the teacher in front of the class called him stupid. He said after that the kids started laughing and called him stupid all day long. He even said on recess one of the kids pushed him outside and not one teacher stopped this boy from harassing my brother. Every day my brother dreaded going to school knowing what was to come. He said it did not matter if he did anything because she found something to yell at him about everyday and that it was always in front of the class. This teacher was such a bully that she even began talking to other teachers about my brother saying that he was uncontrollable. My brother is smart and he would get done with the work before all the other kids so he would get restless and this teacher never gave him anything more to do. She would wait for him to do something so she could pick on him in front of the class.

It got so bad at one point of the year that my mom and dad went in to a meeting with her. The principal, and this counselor and they told my parents that my brother had ADD and needed to be medicated. My mom said no but just to make sure she took him to the doctor. The doctor examined my brother and told my mom he did not need medication. He said he is sitting in this room calmly and listening to us, he is fine. This was a relief to my mother but this also showed her that these adult figures were not going to challenge my brother’s creative mind. They were going to keep on bullying him. It was shortly after this doctor visit that my parents decided to move my brother up a grade because this teacher was still singling him out. This was the best decision made for my brother. He still got teased shortly after moving up a grade but he soon made a good friend that he still has in his life today.

In the end, where is bullying stemming from, the students or the mentors in our school system. Are we paying these professors/teachers to be bullies? The answer is no, we are paying to be educated and to be taken care of. Parents drop their kids off everyday thinking they are in good hands and the truth may be that they are placing them right into the hand of the bully. We need to start holding teachers accountable for not stopping bullying when it occurs. Being a bystander is just as bad if not worse. Teachers need to lead by example and to be mentors and teach children respect.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Identifying Conflict starters...

Readers, as we take the issue of bullying seriously we must be realistic. Many of us know bullies. They may be in our classrooms, work places or even our homes. The best thing that we can do is to educate young people on how to deal with conflict and anger to prevent them from being bullies. When kids feel equipped to deal with the hard stuff they can navigate problems in a respectful way and become solution-oriented.
Here are some common conflicts that young people face:

1.) Being teased
2.) Being caught in the rumor mill
3.) being called names
4.) being accused
5.) being treated unfairly
6.) Being excluded
7.) being picked on for being different
8.) Being cheated
9.) Being threatened
10.) Mean notes/texts or cyber bullying

It is obvious that many conflicts can lead to bullying but if we can prep young people on how to identify these situations and have a planned response they may be more equipped to deal with them in a positive way. Do you have any ideas on how to deal with bullying? Have you ever helped a bully to reform? What can you share with the readers of this blog to help them continue to build an atmosphere of self-esteem? Your ideas are appreciated. If we all ban together we can eradicate this behavior and move towards a more peaceful future for our kids and adults. If you are free on Friday October 22nd we are having a Anti-bullying Townhall to disucss solutions and strategies to overcome this growing problem. We will be meeting at 118 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor, 48104 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
-Read Something Great!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Careful with the labels...


One of the best parts of my job is that I get to meet so many diverse, creative and talented people. When I go to schools I see kids that have their own style. I love when young people feel comfortable enough to spell their names in a special way and express who they are. The books that I write support this type of thinking. Something incredible happens when we are able to let ourselves evolve into the art of expression. We are not meant to all look alike, act alike or talk in the same way. It is so important that we sincerely celebrate our differences.
How accepting are you of those who are different than you? Have you ever been labeled for being dressed a certain way or because of your personality? I have been labeled so much in my life that it is hard to count.
I created the Breaking The Pattern Anti-Bullying project this Fall. This project helps people to have healthy dialogue about their experiences with bullies and solutions to end this problem that is attacking not only our youth but our adults as well. We will be having many online forums including informal polls and up close and personal meet-ups where we discuss this topic thoroughly.
If we don't talk about it-we can't change it.
-Read something great

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guest Blog by Chelsea Rodgers-Chelsea & The Bee

There was only one subject that I always looked forward to as a kid and that was spelling. I was great at spelling. I may not have been the strongest writer but for whatever reason spelling just came natural to me. I think spelling came natural to me was because I was reading more and the more I read my vocabulary improved and it was easier for me to sound out the words and see if that word looked right on paper.
I came to school that day expecting the same boring routine when my teacher announced instead of a spelling test we would be doing a spelling bee. I was ecstatic. I never won anything and for once I had a feeling that I could go really far in this competition. One by one my classmates were eliminated and I stood strong yet to be defeated. Finally, it came down to me and one other person and he was good. I was starting to get nervous and was trembling standing in front of my class. I kept focused on my goal to win and to get an A in the spelling bee.
We had gone back and forth a couple rounds now when he finally misspelled a word. Now was my moment to shine, it was my turn to correct his mistake and become the spelling bee champion of my class. I took a deep breath and very carefully spelled the word. Afterwards there was a pause, the class was silent and the teacher stood emotionless. Then she said the words I had been waiting to hear. You are correct! I never felt that happy as I did in that moment, finally I felt like I fit in. It was the first time I ever won something. I got a star that read Spelling Bee Champion. I was very proud to wear that star. What subjects made you feel like a superstar? How did you feel when you discovered your success?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Breaking the Pattern of Bullying


Have you ever wondered what creates a bully? As a victim of countless bullies I sure have. Think about it for a second. Okay now that you have pondered the cause-what did you come up with? I have seen studies that link the act of bullying with low self-esteem, inner sadness or a difficult home life. I'm sure that many theories exist for the cause of bully-like behavior. Let's move on to solutions. How can we stop the act of bullying? Can we break the pattern?
I think it is possible. A technique that may be helpful is to confront the behavior as soon as it starts. I'm not saying that we should attack-but we should ask good questions. If we ask a child why they picked on someone instead of allowing it to be a right of passage we might make some incredible headway. Have you ever wondered what is going on in the head of someone who is intentionally cruel to others? How about we ask the child to write down exactly what they are thinking when they exhibit these behaviors. When I was a kid I was told that kids will outgrow bullying behaviors. Do you think bullying is something that is outgrown?
If you do take a look at this...
There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:

Narcissistic Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or her self, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
Impulsive Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property, rather than physically confronting the victim.
Verbal Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage - to the bully - of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.
Secondary Bully: This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.
Adult bullies were often either bullies as children, or bullied as children. Understanding this about them may be able to help you cope with the behavior. But there is little you can do about it beyond doing your best to ignore the bully, report his or her behavior to the proper authorities, and document the instances of bullying so that you can take legal action down the road if necessary. (info on adult bullying provided by www.bullyingstatistics.org)
It is important that we address this problem early so that those who are aggressors and victims can get the help they need. Do you have an opinion on the matter? Have you ever been bullied as a child or adult? I'd love to hear your comments.
-Read something great

Thursday, September 16, 2010

SPEECH + READING= SUCCESS GUEST BLOG BY CHELSEA RODGERS

This is a guest piece by our resident guest blogger Chelsea. I hope that you enjoy this vulnerable-yet heart warming and inspiring post.
Tara Michener –Read something great!

As a kid I had a speech problem. I couldn't’t pronounce certain syllables. As my speech got worse my mom had no choice but to put me in speech therapy. I thought it was the worst thing that could happen to me. I thought for sure my peers would pick on me and think I was stupid. I was dreading my first session. There is only one thing that works when it comes to improving speech.

The day came for me to start speech therapy and I had no idea of what I was in for. The room was full of books. I was asked to pick out a book to read and all that was going through my head was, that’s it, pick a book. Then I thought what kind of book do I grab? I did not read a lot outside of school so my knowledge of books was nonexistent. The first session came and went and I did not get much out of it. Once I started to go more and more I started to look forward to going and to pick a new book to read. It was not until about a month in that I realized that my speech was improving. I could not wrap my head around it; reading helped my speech to improve.
In the end, reading out loud also increased my reading level. I not only wanted to read what was required for school but I began to read on my own. The first book I read for fun was The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy.
Today, I still love to read. Children need to know how important and beneficial reading is and know the one phrase that holds true is practice makes perfect. Do you remember what made you fall in love with reading? Feel free to comment.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guest Blog about Bullying by Chelsea Rodgers


Today's blog is from our intern Chelsea Rodgers. Chelsea is a student at University of Michigan Dearborn. She is pursuing a degree in the marketing field. I hope you enjoy her post on bullying.
-Read Something great!
Going back to school can be fun and exciting for some kids, for others, it can be scary. Most children look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones, but just as so many are ready to go back to school the same amount or more are afraid of being bullied all year long. School bullying is becoming a daily event at schools. How can parents prepare their children?
In the U.S. 30% of teens are involved in bullying by being the bully or being bullied. It is something that has gotten out of hand and under the radar for too long. A lot of officials do not see bullying or do anything about it. People think being bullied is like a right-of-passage, that it makes kids stronger, it’s not. Being bullied causes kids to be scared, anxious, and insecure.
I know as a kid I was bullied, moving around a lot I had to make a lot of new friends and sometimes bullying was a ritual for the new kid to go through. I was teased about my hair or my braces or being small. Looking back on it being bullied is probably the reason I was shy as a kid. For me the bullying stopped by the time I reached middle school. The only reason the bullying started to subside was because of me.
It’s scary to be bullied and the rule parents tell their kids is to ignore it and it will eventually go away. That does not always work. Parents should give their kids more than just one way to face being bullied. Parents should help their kids practice confidence. Help them to feel good about themselves. Every time they say something negative make them tell you three positive characteristics about themselves.
Let them talk about bullying. There is a new book out, Summer Camp Survival that deals with bullying and self-esteem. Summer Camp Survival is a fun, quick read for teens to learn about gaining self-esteem because in the end everyone is in control of their life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Do kids see color?


School is back in session. The supplies are bought, the lunches are packed-it feels like you are done right? Wrong. The best thing about a new school year is meeting new people. Your kids are exposed to people from every background, culture and ethnicity in their learning environment. They are getting regular lessons on math, English and history...what about race?
You may be thinking that it is not necessary to discuss this topic with them. Many people have shared with me at book signings that their kids do not see color. I smile and say untrue. Kids are learning their colors everyday. Crayola has a ton of names for them. When we avoid simple questions such as "Why is she brown and I'm not" we may be avoiding a teachable moment.
Some parents have shared that they feel that it is awkward to bring up ethnicity and race with young people because they are afraid of making them focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. I understand this concept but try this on for size. Take your children to museums, read them books and have conversations about a variety of cultures so that they can be...well you know cultured. Children shape ideas about the world when they are very young and when they are able to read books with characters from all walks of life it only expands their mind-it does not close it. Many people feel as though they need help bridging the conversation about race-my 1st book helps with this.
"Who I Am Not What I Am" was mentioned in the last edition of Corp! Magazine for the principles that it shares about diversity and inclusion for children. The main character is Janelle and she is asked "What are you?" by her classmates. In the book Janelle has a talk with her parents that help her to understand that she is not a "what" she is a "who". She also learns more about her Multicultural heritage. In the end she also learns that who she is includes her love of biking, ice cream and pets. Have a talk today-even if you've discussed it before. Many awesome stories are available to make the topic fun and interesting and if you get one of my books-I promise to sign it. :)
Read something great!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fresh as a pack of newly sharpened pencils! (No. 2 that is)


Readers!
Happy Fall. Okay-I know Fall officially starts later in September-doesn't it feel like it now though? The schools are flooded with students and the stores are low on office supplies. I have always associated these things with Autumn. Have you been to a Cider Mill yet? I have! 2 freshly made donuts and counting...see it is Fall! So many great things are on the horizon for me. I was named a Diversity Business Leader by Corp! Magazine last week. It was a great experience and honor to be amongst some of the best business people in my area. The "Who I Am" series received special attention at the ceremony and in the latest issue of the magazine.
Tomorrow we will be welcoming our newest member to the team at Tara Michener Industries, LLC Chelsea Rodgers. Chelsea will be at events, helping out with ideas and you will see her in our blogosphere. She is a student at University of Michigan-Dearborn and a great person.
Do you want to hear a couple of other great facts that make Fall great? My newest book is available now for order. Yes! Summer Camp Survival is ready to be signed by me and read by you-be sure to order your copy before you leave the site today using the paypal buttons.
One more bit of news...I have a new space! I am working from Ann Arbor, Michigan every week starting today. My goal was to make this season fresh and new by meeting people outside of the bubble of my home office. So far-so good. I know that I just shared a ton of news about me-what is new with you? I am always eager to hear more about my readers-especially their work in literacy, diversity and self-esteem.
If you have something great to share-please feel free to comment.
Read something great!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Untitled

GIVING BACK!

Do you have a person or organization that changed your life as a kid? I recall being helped a lot when I was a kid by many people. Tutors, Teachers, organizations, authors that inspired me and the like. I am happy to work hard at being a memory in the life of area kids. I don't do this alone. So many people that I know sacrifice so much to give back. Today I want to highlight Operation: Kid Equip. This is a awesome non-profit that strives to supply Southeastern Michigan students with backpacks, books and more to make sure that they are well-equipped for a good education. They have a teacher's annex that allows educators to obtain free resources and they have special days that they give kids a chance to partake in getting everything that they need for the school year. I was blessed to be able to take part in one of their events over the weekend. Me and my hubistrator, Jason had an amazing 3 hour long raffle in which we provided books, t-shirts and pens to the lucky winners. We even got to meet the "Yak" from the Detroit Free Press and many other amazing volunteers. If you have a desire to give back look around. Many opportunities are everywhere and if you are in doubt-just ask! :) Read something great!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Introducing Mackenzie Larson and Teen Books By Tara Michener

Readers!
My newest book, Summer Camp Survival is available for pre-order. This book is a chapter book geared towards the teen readership market.

About The Book

Summer Camp is supposed to be easy right?

Not for Mackenzie Larson who has always been considered “the brain” in her small town. Kids at school tease her for being smart and friendless. Vowing things will be different this summer, she arrives at summer camp determined to make new friends only to find the girls here are meaner then back home!
Teased and tormented about her hair, weight and everything else, she feels completely alone and hopeless…until she meets Zach, a hazel-eyed soccer player from the boys' camp, who thinks she is cool. But will Mackenzie finally take a look inside and believe in herself?

Are you interested in pre-ordering your own copy for someone special in your life? Use the paypal buttons to place your order. -Read something great

Friday, July 30, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly at it's best



Do you remember Summer stories and snack times? How about running in to have a sandwich cut just right waiting for you when you were finished playing? I recall times like this with fondness. I also remember the people who helped me to be able to enjoy such luxuries. When I was young we had to rely on foodbanks from time to time to get us through the summer. Light House of Oakland County was one of the banks that contributed to our family in great detail. They helped us with food, toys and more. I remember when I had to rely on them with funds for a special class that I needed. I was a teenager but I recall vividly the feeling of gratitude in my heart. I looked the cooridnator in the eye and said to her that one day I would help them out...the day has come!
You can help too! This summer we are having PB&J drives at many area businesses and drop-off locations. We also are including a special storytime series for those who give back. Are you interested in giving bread, jelly or peanut butter? How about raisins? Let us know and you might just be featured on this blog!
Let's make this a fun summer for those in need!
Read something great!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest blog from Jessica Presner & The Village Kid's Club



Note: I had the pleasure of partnering with this amazing kid's club in Rochester Hills, MI. This guest post should inspire and inform. -Read something great!

Seven-year-old Rochester Hills Resident Names
Village Kids Club Mascot

The Village of Rochester Hills announced the winner of the “Name the Kids Club Mascot Contest” during their free story time on Wednesday, July 21. Over 75 children submitted entries suggesting name for the Village Kids Club bluebird mascot. Zachary Oberdier of Rochester Hills suggested the name “Chirpy”, which was selected as the winning name. Zachary, a seven-year-old Musson Elementary student, was awarded a $25 Village of Rochester Hills gift card and a prize from Brilliant Sky Toys and Books.


The Village Kids Club, sponsored in part by Cornerstone Community Financial of Auburn Hills and Kiddie Klub of Rochester Hills, provides free children’s activities to community all summer long. Every Tuesday from 11:00AM to 12:30PM, children are invited to create a free craft in the Village’s Fountain Park. On Wednesdays, children can bring their favorite cuddly pal to Festival Park to enjoy free story time from 11:00am to 11:30am. Each child in attendance receives a free membership card to have punched during weekly activities. Children will receive a prize pack for collecting ten stamps throughout the summer. In addition, participation prizes are awarded after story time every Wednesday.


¬The Village of Rochester Hills brings fashion, dining and ambiance together to create Rochester Hills’ very own downtown. From Parisian to Whole Foods Market and fifty more shops and eateries, there is something for everyone. With parking available in front of your favorite store, shopping the Village is easy and convenient. The Village is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 9:00pm and Sundays from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. Village gift cards are available at Whole Foods Market or online at www.thevorh.com.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wisdom I Planned to ignore Guest Blog by Kea Wheeler

Wisdom I planned to ignore
There are famous words that reverberate through homes around the world “You’ll understand when you’re older.” But to me, it always seemed that I would never be that old to understand. So why wait? I just figured that the words that some people told me would literally jump in one ear and fall out the other without ever embedding themselves into my gray matter. But words have a funny way of drifting up from underneath years of forgetfulness to present themselves to help you understand the world around you. So here are a few of the words of wisdom that I planned to forget but never had a chance to…
Wisdom #1: Expand Your Mind
One of my mother’s favorite sayings whenever she felt that my sister and I had made a less than stellar decision was “You have a mind of an acorn.” Really? I didn’t know acorns had minds, but apparently they do. And I had a mind just like one. Eventually I realized she meant that she believed my actions to be short sighted and my decisions were of those more suitable to an inanimate object then a person with common sense and reason. Ah ha! Well with that light bulb moment my mind capacity just had to increase to at least…a pine comb. And a good thing too. There was more wisdom that was thrown at me throughout my years and an acorn just didn’t have enough storage space.
Wisdom #2: Be Proud
My mother didn’t always point out me or my sister’s shortcomings. She has also helped us to be stronger. When I was younger, I had a hand puppet that looked like a sleeping baby. The baby’s head and hands were covered with nylon for whatever reason. But I knew I loved that hand puppet and played with it constantly. In fact, I played with it so much that the nylon had snagged and started to run. My sister, who loved me dearly but still fell prey to sisterly duties, teased me over that doll and its face and hands with nylon runs in them. I remember crying in my bed over the fact that my sister made fun of my beloved doll. My mother heard me crying and came and knelt down beside my bed and told me, “Don’t ever let anybody make you so upset over something. Don’t give them the satisfaction.” So I held my puppet baby even tighter that night and played with her the next morning. And with that knowledge my now pine comb sized mind had to be at least….a coconut. Score one for me!
Lesson #3: Entertain Yourself
Speaking of my sister, she is six years older than me. The big joke in our family is that I’m her first child and she is my second mother. So as surrogate mother, she instilled her own brand of wisdom in me. I can admit now that I did not make her job easy or pleasant. There were plenty of times that my mother’s wisdom of “kids can wait” was reinforced to my sister by my many childhood antics. From the time I got in the shower with all of my clothes on because my sister just wanted me to be clean and I couldn’t think of anything more ridiculous, to the countless times I wanted to sleep in her bed until she moved to the basement to get away from me. But I digress. This is about a lesson she taught me, not the lesson of patience that I taught her.
As I was a rambunctious child, there were times when she watched me when I was bored. Not just normally bored but the type of bored that dissolves an overactive kid into a big pile of crabby, unreasonable madness that finally explodes into a colossal whine of “I’m soooooooo bored!” And my sister would look at me and reply, “I’m not Michael Jackson. I’m not here to entertain you.” Well….she was right. She was not Michael Jackson. I mean, she did have a red jacket like his, but moonwalk she could not. So thanks for the lesson, dear sister, if you want to be entertained, entertain yourself.
Wisdom #4: Scars are badges
And entertain myself I did. I entertained myself in the summer by climbing trees and playing in the creek near our apartment complex and in the winter by sledding or having snow ball fights. Inevitably, there would be some sort of incident where I would end up with less flesh and red stickiness seeping from the aftermath. And off I would go limping, running, and even on occasion, being carried back to my home. My mother would always do the things that mothers do to make you feel better. My father would tell me that I would be fine and send me back outside. Whenever this would happen, there were sometimes “discussions” between my mom and dad that went something like this:
Mom: “You know she is going to regret when she is older that she has so many scars, especially on her legs. She may actually want to wear skirts one day.”
Dad: “Don’t worry about her, let her go out and play.”
But secretly my dad actually did have a lesson for me about my scars. Whenever I had a new injury and he would ask me what happened and then tell me, “Well then maybe you’ll have cool scar. And don’t pick at it.” I probably would not have so many “cool” scars if I actually listened to that second part of the advice. But of course I didn’t. But each one of my scars has a story. They are their own little markers of the roadmap of my life. And I don’t regret them, even the ones on my legs.
Wisdom #5: Be Grateful
I am grateful of my scars because they remind me of a life lived. But being grateful was something I learned from my Uncle Gary. Every year at Christmas my mom would give me money to go to the dollar store and buy gifts for my family. I was so happy to buy my gifts for others and couldn’t wait to wrap them and put them under the tree. One year, I remember giving my uncle a shoeshine kit with shoe polish and a little rag. At the time, I had thought the shoe polish was some sort of car grease as my uncle was always working on refurbishing a corvette that he kept in his garage that was always in a constant state of rework. When he opened the shoeshine kit he said with a smile “Thank you sweetheart. It was just what I wanted.” I know now that shoe polish is not the ideal gift to receive, but my uncle made me believe that it was the perfect present. Thinking of this moment reminds me to be thankful for any good thing that is given from the heart. And although my Uncle Gary is no longer here, I still carry his words, and him, with me.
Wisdom #6: Old people will make you old
As I get older, I do realize that the words people have told me do stay with you even if you planned to not listen. But as I collect years under my belt, I will take with me many wise words, but I will take an especially large collection of wisdom from my grandmother.
When my grandparents first moved to Florida a number of years ago, my grandfather had picked out a lovely ranch style home in a retirement community….and my grandmother hated it. I would talk to her on the phone and she would say, “You know what Kea, all the people here don’t want to do anything. They just want to sit around and be old. But I refuse to have these people make me old.”
My grandmother has always been a get up and go type of person: volunteering, taking line dancing lessons, attending fashions shows and the list goes on. So to put her around a group of people that believe that retirement is a comfy spot on the sofa and the remote in one hand and a snack in the other was just not her speed. I knew what she meant when she said “old people make you old.” It didn’t have anything to do with the age of the people around her. It was the lack of fire to keep living and not to just exist. I want to never just exist, I want to live at any age. My grandparents eventually did move to another community, one my grandmother felt had more lively activities and was not for the old of heart.
Now in my musings about these lessons I have collected over the years, it may seem that I took the advice at exactly the time it was given to me. But that was definitely not the case. It took me becoming older in years for these words to manifest themselves at appropriate times and situations to make me actually listen to them. But I am fortunate that the words of wisdom I planned to ignore never truly were ignored or forgotten. They were just laid in different areas of my mind for later use. So I guess it is a good thing that my mind didn’t stay the size of an acorn’s…perhaps it’s even a watermelon by now.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beauty for all...

I had the pleasure of going on a shopping/hang time with a great friend this week. I was inspired to write this blog post because we stopped into a large department store retailer cosmetic area where we were greeted by very friendly make-up artists who asked if we wanted make-overs. I instantly felt the discouragement in my heart. Something told me that they would not have my shade of foundation or powder but I quieted the voice inside-reminded myself that we were in 2010 and simply asked about the shades of foundation that they carry. I could tell that the artist that I was speaking to had never thought of that dilemma and she looked a bit nervous. She grabbed a shade and tried it out on my hand.
I noticed that it did not blend and my heart sank. The lady asked if I wanted a makeover again. I told her that the shade did not match and she let out a breath and said yeah I agree but I wasn't going to say anything. She proceeded to ask me if I wanted a makeover without foundation and I declined. I figured that if you were going to get dolled up foundation is the...well foundation.
I watched as my friend who is more fair than I in skin tone received a beautiful makeover. She is very pretty anyway and her heart matches her outward appearance. The store did a great job on her and I could not help but feel like this experience could make an enriching and thought provoking blog post.
I thought about how the cosmetic industry at this particular counter had shades that ranged to fit many hues but not mine. I also thought about how this could impact women and girls who needed beauty products but had to settle for less.
As an advocate and author for self-esteem and diversity I realize that this encounter did not happen by chance but that it could be a learning experience for beauty retailers that don't meet the needs of all shades of beauty. Have you ever felt that you were not acknowledged by the beauty industry in any way? Please share. I'd love to have an open discussion on this topic and think about how we can help the industry know that there is room for improvement.
Read something great.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blood, Sweat & Gear guest blog

Readers,
Enjoy the guest blog from Catherine Hilker.... (Read Something Great!)

Whether you live in the suburbs or inside the city, you are a Detroiter. The issues in our community are ours to resolve. Yes, you and me. There are so many ways to make positive change in our city and we have to do it together. Them is us, they are we, their problem is our problem. Considering the following:

Stop seeing yourself as separate
Stop blaming the problems on others
Stop tuning into disempowering news & media

Start getting involved. It’s that simple.

The Blood, Sweat & Gear Community Service campaign is just one way to be the change you want to see in the world. Just do it! http://motorcityconnect.groupsite.com/group/MCCRGS



Passionate, Prosperous & Meaningful Living

Catherine's Website

Catherine's Blog

Follow Catherine on Twitter

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Shorts...

Readers,
When you see the title Summer shorts you may think that I am talking about attire...I'm not. Summer is the best time to work your writing muscles and get your thoughts on paper. Today I am introducing our summer shorts program. This is a contest that embraces the beauty of getting your thoughts on paper. What is on your mind? What do you want to share with my readers? Think about it...write it... and send it to whoiamnotwhatiam@yahoo.com and you will get "Who I Am" branded merchandise.
The contest ends on August 1st. I can't wait to be inspired by your thoughts on paper. Remember that a special announcement for teens is coming soon too-so stay tuned to the site for details.
-Read something great!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Who wants free books & food???

Operation: Kid Equip will be having a Summer Reading Celebration on Saturday, June 12 at the Kulick Community Center, 1201 Livernois, Ferndale, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

There will be a variety of FREE reading books for school-aged children. There will be also be light food and refreshments.

Children’s Author, Tara Michener, will be present to lead some fun activities and read from her book “Who I Am Not What I Am” throughout the event. The first 50 children in line will receive a free autographed copy of her book.

This event is open to all families!
The event is FREE, although cash donations are accepted.
Hope to see you tomorrow!
-Read something great!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Small beginnings make a large impact

This past weekend was our 1st annual Small Business Summit, A toolbox to success. We were fortunate to have wonderful sponsors such as Bonefish Grill Novi, Target, and Aubrey's Pizza. Our speaker list gave a fresh perspective on topics such as the business of being organized, managing public relations, and igniting the passion into your company. Our keynote speakers included Gail Perry-Mason, Best-selling author and Bob Fish, CEO and Co-founder of Biggby Coffee.
It was a dynamic experience for those interested in taking their pursuits to the next level. I want to give a special thanks to Zak Walsh of Tanner Friedman Communications, Lori Robinson of BLAC Magazine, Lisa Lagrou of Oakland County Moms and Sheila Hawkins of Third Eye Group for being amazing speakers, panelists and content contributors. Beginning a business is no easy feat but this weekend left many inspired to take on new tactics to acquire success. When I began as an entrepreneur I realized that there should be a format that allows for knowledge to be shared, inspiration to be increased and connections to be made. Pictures will be forthcoming later this week.
What dreams do you have? What is standing in your way. Let's work together as a community and assist others in reaching their goals and creating new alliances so that our dreams take flight.
-Read something great!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More than just a walk...huge steps!





The diversity walk sponsored by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion took place on this past Sunday. It is always amazing to see a large number of people walking-it makes a bigger impact when I see them walking for a difference. Diversity & inclusion is a verb in Michigan. I am so happy to share the participation of everyone through photos. TMI, LLC and the "Who I Am" series was blessed to be a part of this annual event. In the 60's marching made change happen and now we do it with walks-either way we are striding into a better tomorrow. -Read something great!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Connecting




As promised I wanted my readers to see some of the activity from the 2010 Connections Conference, hosted by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion. The event had an amazing walk through exhibit of the history of race relations in Michigan. The picture that you see with the child in black and white with the sign reflects how attitudes used to be in our Metro detroit area. The pictures that you see of vibrant, energetic teens is what we want to move closer to.
I loved being a guest at this event because it is clear that all attitudes towards diversity are not perfect but we have come a long way in making a difference. I was happy to see teens from different schools, backgrounds, belief systems and race come together to build bridges and to share their goals for their schools in regards to improving diversity relations.
It was a treat to see some of these teens and their teachers honored at this event for making strides towards positive attitudes towards diversity as well. I will be walking with a team of people on Sunday at 1 p.m. who understand that diversity and inclusion is vital to progress. What are you doing to make a difference in race relations? Every little bit helps. It is always a good thing to get to know people for who they are as people not just their outer appearance. My books reflect these messages in a fun and friendly way for young people to understand. Please take a look at the "Who I Am" series and share it with a young person. The only way that change happens is by spreading the good news.
-Read something great

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Celebrating Cinco!

The fifth of May is Cinco de Mayo in Spanish - It is a national holiday in Mexico, although it is generally celebrated in Mexican-American communities in the U.S. on a much larger scale. It commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The victory was an important step for Mexico in their fight for independence. Today in Mexico, and in Mexican-American communities, May 5 brings celebrations, fiestas, and parades.

Fun Facts About Cinco de Mayo

It is often confused with the Mexican Independence Day, which occurred on September 16, 1810, about 50 years earlier.
Cinco de Mayo is one of more than 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent.
The holiday was popularized in the U.S. in part by Chicano activists in the 1960s and 1970s, who identified with the Mexican Indian and mestizo (people of Mexican Indian and European descent) soldiers' triumph over European conquest attempts.
Cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston host annual Cinco de Mayo festivities that draw hundreds of thousands of celebrants.
What will you do to celebrate today?
A few books that might interest you are...
Cinco de Mayo Holiday Recommended Reading
Kids Books for Cinco de Mayo

Abuela
by Arthur Dorros
Cinco de Mayo (Rookie Read-About Holidays)
by Mary Dodson Wade, Nanci Reginelli Vargus
Colors of Mexico
by Lynn Ainsworth Olawsky
Festival of the Bones / El Festival de las Calaveras : The Book for the Day of the Dead
by Luis San Vicente
Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English
by Alma Flor Ada
Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book
by Yuyi Morales
Magda's Tortillas / Las Tortillas De Magda
by Becky Chavarria-Chairez
My Mexico / México mío
by Tony Johnston
Saturday Market
by Patricia Grossman
Secrets in Stone : All About Maya Hieroglyphics
by Laurie Coulter

Read something great!!

(Fun facts from Parents)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PRINCETON PRIZE PHOTOS...








Readers, I promised to share pictures from the amazing Princeton Prize in Race Relations Symposium...the wait is over!!
This past weekend was not only fun and exciting but it reflects that many of the teens all over America are committed to improving our world. I'm not sure if you can look at these photos withourt smiling...Enjoy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

PLAYING CATCH-UP!

Readers, please forgive my absence. I am happy to say that my time away was well worth it. I apologize for not keeping you in the loop. Since I have been away from the blogosphere-great things have been happening. I have been able to meet some of the most amazing teens across America!! I connected with some great local teenagers at the Connections Conference hosted by the Michigan Roundtable For Diversity & Inclusion. Young people from the metro area and behond got together to make a change in their schools (Pictures will be forthcoming.
This past weekend I met with some wonderful people who are not only making a difference in diversity realtions in their communities and schools but all over the world. I was able to to be a presenter at the Annual Symposium on Race Relations tat is hosted and founded by Princeton University. I promise to share lots of photos with you soon. Please let me know if you plan on taking some of this inspiration and changing your school, workplace, neighborhood, etc. I'd love to know about positive energy flowing globally.
If you have been inspired by a book that focuses on positive energy and being a giver-I'd love to hear about that too. Keep me posted.
-Read something great!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earthy creativity



In honor of Earth day I thought it would be great to share some creative activities to commemorate our planet's health and longevity.


-research the history of this special day and discuss with your family the need to conserve and protect our earth

-Make a poem or story about nature and the beauty of our planet (if you send this to whoiamnotwhatiam@yahoo.com I'll send you a "Who I Am" treat!)

-Volunteer at a recycling center

-Donate old or unwanted items instead of throwing them away

-Make a earth day scrapbook; Take photos of trees, flowers, etc. Add to it every year on this day and compare photos annually

-Have a Earth day celebration party and talk about why this day is important

-Brainstorm with friends your own ways to make this day special!

As always books have a great impact on our lives and our planet. If you find an interesting book that addresses this day and nature share it with a friend!

-Read something great!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Princeton comes to Michigan...

I have heard my fair share of stereotypes about young people and their lack of motivation. Today's blog makes me feel great because it always an awesome feeling to dispel generalizations.
My hubistrator (Jason) and I are co-chairs this year for the Princeton Prize in Race Relations Committee of Michigan. Our duties include seeking out young people (high school age) who have made strides in race relations. I am happy to say that this year's winner Shirisha Thota made an amazing difference in race relations by being innovative, hardworking and creative.
One of the first things mentioned about ths student when we talked to her reccomender was that "Shirisha's one of a kind; she's going to be president one day!" She describes Shirisha, a junior at Farmington H.S., as incredibly friendly, gregarious, passionate about social justice issues, a leader who leads by example and is well-respected and liked by her peers.
Shirisha has made personal contact with her state representative, Vicki Burnett, about promoting race relations in her school and county area, and is apparently on a first name basis with her! Shirisha is very proactive and has gone above and beyond in her role as a Youth Policy Leader. She is "thirsty for this kind of work" i.e.. work related to race relations, social justice, and intergenerational/interracial dialogues. She is working with her Vice Principal and community officials (like Representative Burnett, aka, "Vicki") about organizing more programs and dialogues to promote race relations, including people of all ages.
Shirisha was awarded with a monetary stipend and acknowledgement from Princeton University-she also was given an opportunity to meet her peers around the world at the National Symposium on Race at Princeton University.
Today's blog is dedicated to Shirisha for making Michigan stand out in diversity!
-Read something great!

Monday, April 12, 2010

TAKING INVENTORY...

As we get ready to enjoy this beautiful season of Spring with the flowers, bike rides and barbeques...let's add one more activity to the list. I always ask those that I speak to to take a closer look at themselves. Not just in the mirror but inside. We all have an internal mirror that tells us where we are with our self-esteem and confidence. If you are used to rushing through the day and not taking a closer look at your feelings_this post is for you!

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Am I satisfied with the way that I look?

Am I proud of my accomplishments?

Do other people like being around me?

Do I forgive myself for making mistakes?

These are just a few to jot down in your journal and ponder.

I believe that exercises like these help us to discover ourselves in ways that a physical mirror cannot.
Smell the roses...enjoy spring and be sure to take a closer look at your internal mirror!

-Read something great!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy April...more than just showers!

Readers, if you are ever wondering how you can be more involved in your community-try researching the themes that coincide with the month. April brings many special topics to celebrate. I thought that today's blog would concentrate on sharing some of these with you. Many people are on spring break and this is a great time to build up your own self-esteem or someone else's in a creative way.
Take a look....

April Is Autism Awareness Month (find out more about charity walks, research, etc.)

April Is International Guitar Month (plan a concert in honor of this theme)

April Is Keep America Beautiful Month (volunteer to clean a park or neighborhood)

April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month (donate goods to a shelter or youth organization)

April Is National Frog Month(read books based on frogs, have a event w/this theme)

April Is National Garden Month (plant a herb garden, help someone with their yard)

April Is National Humor Month(tell a joke a day)

National Volunteer Month (help someone in need-many opportunities are out there!)

April Is National Mathematics Education Month(tutor a child in math)

April Is National Poetry Month(send a poem to my blog-via comments!)

April Is Stress Awareness Month(Be aware of the stress in your life and take time to relax!)

-Read something great!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Top Ten Tips...self-esteem!

Readers,
Thanks to all of you who came out to our recent Spring Seasonal Showcase! It was a great time and one of the segments that I appreciated the most was our top ten tip talks. This is when I gave certain business owners/authors a chance to give us a top ten suggestion for spring. We had top ten tips on everything from spring cleaning to cupcakes. I'd like to try my own top ten now...

TOP TEN QUOTES FOR SELF-ESTEEM
10.) “To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.” Anon.

9.)“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”
-Jamie Paolinetti
8.)“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”
John Jakes
7.)“Believe in your dreams and they may come true; believe in yourself and they will come true” Anon
6.)“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” Anon“Go out in the world and work like money doesn't matter, Sing as if no one is listening, Love as if you have never been hurt, and Dance as if no one is watching” Anon.
5.)"If you aren't good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you'll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren't even giving to yourself.”
Barbara De Angelis
4.)“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.”
Robert Collier
3.)To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance”
Oscar Wilde
2.)“You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, "I'm proud of what I am and who I am, and I'm just going to be myself."”
Mariah Carey
1.)“There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.”
Nathaniel Branden

That is my list! In short...Spring is here and nothing is more i fashion than the way you feel about your self. Take some time to smile at others as well as yourself in the mirror today!
-Read something great!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Spring...Let's Celebrate!

Readers,
If you are free on Saturday I am holding an amazing event that is free to the public! Starting at 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. the Spring Seasonal Showcase will be going on. What does this mean? This is an event that will feature the best food, fun and more! It is open to the whole family. Some of the perks...

-Kids will receive free teddy bears while supplies last
-Free Chair Massage
-lots of give-a-ways
-Door prizes
-Authors
-vendors
-so much more!!!
A Special thanks in advance to Stephanie's Bags, Third Eye Group, Dreams Do come True, Biggby Coffee, Michigan Women's Forum, The Black Women In Business Brainstorm, Tamera Eddington, Author of God did it by His Word, The Page Turner Society, Ann's Luscious Licks, Trader Joes, Ebony Iris Studios, Flourish Florals, Denise Neis, Diane Fernandez, and so many more!
-Read something great!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

READ SOMETHING GREAT!

I always close my blog posts with "Read something great". I could end my online messages with sentiments about anything-why focus on reading? It is important to me as an author to encourage those who enjoy my blog to also seek out great literature. When I was in college I truly missed having the time to read for fun. This is not to say that I did not come across great books that were assigned to me to read. There is something different about going to a bookstore, library or even your friend's book shelf and picking out a book that speaks to you and your interest. I talk to so many young people who mention that reading is boring and that they can never get into it.
I feel as though reading is active and an adventure...if you find the right book. The right book for me may be different for someone else. I tell young people to think about what they love and find it in a book. What do they like to watch on television? What do they like to do for fun? Where would they go if they could go anywhere they wanted to?
These are great starter questions for finding books that not only entertain them but help them to become an avid reader. When I close my blog with "Read something great" I say this because I want those that read my blog to find books that make them think, grow, change and be inspired.
What are you reading now? Why? Do you have an author that you absolutely love? Is there a genre that you find to be your favorite? Are you in a book club? YOu can feel free to answer some of these questions in the comment section or you might just want to answer them for yourself. Now that I've got your mind set on reading....
-READ SOMETHING GREAT

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guest Blog by Jasmine Pearson, an aspiring teen writer

I have the opportunity to work with some great teens on a volunteer basis. Jasmine is one of the newest additions to our youth group. I asked her if she wanted to share her love of writing with my readers and she happily agreed. I hope that you enjoy her post! Feel free to comment. -Read something great!
I've been writing since I could type. I started with these 5 page scripts with a thousands of misspelled words. As a little kid I would use my imagination to escape mentally, when I was bored or feeling lonely. I wanted to be a screen writer and I knew that writing my mini plays was a good start on this path. My first attempt to write a book was when I was in middle school. It was called My Best friends life, then I later change the title to One step at a time. As life went on, I lost interest in the story and left it alone. But my love of writing was rekindled, when I read the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Myer.
I have to give my "props" to her because she really got me into reading a lot of books and series. And a lot of people say in order to be a good writer you have to be a good reader, and vice versa. And I find that to be true. Last year, early in the school year, I started my new project Shattered Glass. It's about a girl, Alivia, dealing with depression. Shattered Glass is so much more personal to me because I entered my real life and feelings into this book. I really feel like Shattered Glass is the one that I'm going to publish.
-Jasmine Pearson, Aspiring writer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Back in the Swing of things...


As we get closer to the birds singing and the leaves blooming it's time to take a closer look at ourselves. Spring is a time of energy, refreshment and invigoration to clean out the old and bring in the new. I had a great experience today at Uptown Body, A fitness studio in Northville, MI. I realized that it is time to rise to new challenges with my health goals. Summer dresses and sandals automatically make me think of fitness classes and Lynn, the owner was gracious with me today as I stepped into uncharted territory.
Are you writing down any Spring resolutions? They are not just for the new year. Goals should be something that are on the forefront every season. It is a fresh time to evaluate the progress from the previous quarter and change what is needed so that success can be sure. I learned that I need to devote time to making myself healthier in diet and exercise so that I feel better but also to be a better example to my readers as well. I always feel as though it is important to take care of ourselves inside and out. I am now committed to a program that will allow me to do this in a great way. Do you take time out for yourself? How do you relax? What makes you feel accomplished? write it down. A goal written is a goal achieved.
So as we get back in the swing of things...take some time to smell the roses. We are having our 1st Annual Spring Seasonal Showcase on March 27th from 9:30-12:30. This is a great event to enjoy with the whole family. We will have free food, door prizes, demonstrations, vendors and more! Hope to see you at the Hampton Inn, Northville 20600 Haggerty Road. Be sure to enjoy the season that is creeping upon us and the benefits that it holds for you to accomplish your goals.
-Read something great

Monday, March 8, 2010

Guest Blog post from Megan Anne...

Don’t Stifle our Children: The Importance of Arts, Sports, Trades, and Specialized Classes in Schools
While doing some Quarter-Life Crisis-style pondering about my future, I realized something: The talents I fostered as a child are my strongest today. Think about it: What did you love to do as a kid? In what did you excel? That’s probably what you are doing now—or secretly wanting to do. Drew Brees, Whitney Houston, Oprah Winfrey: all found their talents as children. For four easy steps you can take to foster growth in our children, please read the rest.

Give them opportunities to achieve, but don’t be a “Soccer dad” or “Pageant Mom”- My 5 year old Godson is becoming quite the renaissance kid: He’s enrolled in swimming, piano, and Spanish classes, and is enjoying them all. However, if it became overwhelming or if he was unhappy, I know his mom wouldn’t pressure him to continue—pressured children become stressed adults.
Find their gifts and help them develop them- Parents/guardians oftentimes can’t see their children’s gifts because they think that “all kids are like that,” but teachers/mentors deal with several different children and can see their gifts—or shortcomings—easily. For example, my Kindergarten teacher is the one who suggested I be tested for the Gifted program; Turns out, I was on a 7th grade reading level and
3rd grade math level!
Also, my 3rd grade teacher suggested I audition for the Talented in Theatre program, and my 4th grade teacher recommended me for a scholarship to a summer writing program (Write Camp) at the University of New Orleans. Funny, back then I thought going to Write Camp was a punishment…and here I am, a bloggerina.
Pay attention to what they like to do in their spare time- As a kid, I would read every magazine I could, cover-to-cover; Now, I’m a published author whose ultimate goal is to write for magazines and be the editor-in-chief of one. My best friend Erica liked to pretend she was a high-fashion model and would runway walk when giving presentations for class; Now she’s a highly recognizable model who has walked numerous runways, including during New York Fashion Week.
Support arts, sports, trades, and specialized classes in schools and communities- Many of the greats were once involved in school plays, church choirs, or neighborhood sports teams. It’s hard enough nowadays, having to pull kids away from video games and television; Without extra-curriculars, they often have no choice but to become slaves to machines. Numerous studies show us that children who participate in extra-curriculars are: less likely to engage in criminal activity, more disciplined, less prone to obesity, etc. Supporting these programs in schools and communities can often be as easy as attending an event or signing a petition. Think about it: Who would you rather have run our country?
Readers: What were your gifts as a child? Do you still nurture those gifts? What talents do you see in the kids that you know? Do you feel like video games have sucked the creativity and talent out of our children? We want to know! Please share below!
With a Child's Heart,
Megan Anne
--
www.momentswithmegan.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Comfortable in your own skin...

Why is diversity an important topic for young people? This is a question that I am asked often at book signings and events. Many feel that we should not complicate kids with the worries of culture studies and race. I have been told that it is better to let them just be and ignore color. In a perfect world this sounds adequate. Our world is improving but it is far from perfect. Diversity is an important topic for young people because it teaches them to learn to embrace people different from themselves and to accept themselves as well.
When kids don't understand that the world is much bigger than one race or class it can be detrimental to their social development. As a young person I have had people touch my hair, ask me why I don't talk like a Black person and various questions about my ethnicity and background because of a lack of education on cultural understanding and etiquette. I wrote my book series to help kids to discover the importance of race relations, diversity and self-esteem in a fun and healthy way.
I think that my smile is the biggest when kids happily embrace the characters Janelle and Zoey. March is reading month and women's history month. If you think it would benefit your school or group to have a woman author give a presentation on diversity involving my books and or the topic overall. Please let me know at whoiamnotwhatiam@yahoo.com
Feeling comfortable in our own skin involves us allowing others to be comfortable in their skin.
-Read something great!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweet Escape...

I think that my love of books is partly because I get to walk in someone else's shoes for a while. Reading opens up possibilities, challenges my mindset and gives me something worthwhile to cling onto. My Be A Part of Their Story Literacy Project has helped to give quality reading materials to young people in Michigan and to boost their self-esteem with the written word. This year partnering with Operation: Kid Equip will assist many kids in their literacy goals and give them something worthwhile to look forward to for the summer.
I am so excited about the virtual bookfair that I and several other authors have made a reality. We are giving out great give-a-ways and signing books for anyone who purchases during the time of the fair. The last day is today. I have already sold some books to some great readers be sure to get in on the fun and feel free to pass the word.
I thought that having a fair virtually helps readers to save time and to engage in a new way with published authors.
Our Main portal for more info is http://www.virtualbookfair.net

Be sure to visit our other participating authors/illustrators involved in this year's fair! Purchase signed copies, get give-a-ways and more!

Tara Michener- author of the "Who I Am Series" that promotes self-esteem & diversity in kids. "Who I Am Not What I Am" Meet
Janelle, A fun girl who discovers the secret to happiness is loving herself for who she is, not for fitting into what others want her to be.
100% Real-What does it mean to be real? Meet Zoey who wonders the same thing after her classmates question her about being adopted. With the help of a close friend in Janelle and her parents she discovers that she has more in common with her family than she thought. www.taramichener.com

JD Holiday-Janoose The Goose likes life in the barnyard very much. She is visiting her cousin, Molly duck and her baby, DeeDee. Her vacation is over and Janoose must go home because there are no job openings on the farm. When her flight arrives home she learns that the fox has begun a crime spree. Janoose is the only one who can stop him. www.jdswritersblog.blogspot.com

Adra Young-The Everyday Living of Children and Teens Monologues (Volume I and II)
This series is in a class by itself. These books address multifaceted issues that kids are faced with. Parents may utilize these books to address sensitive subject matters and establish stronger bonds and communication with their kids. These books have been acknowledged for creating an acting guide that addressees appropriate socialization skills. www.ardannyl.me

Grace Hatton-The Guys The Roses & The Regrets; the Girl to Girl Dating Guide Written by a teenage girl for teenage girls this book offers practical tips and real life stories that will help teenage girls and young women navigate the crazy world of dating, relationships and break ups. This book is an Amazon Best Seller! www.gracehatton.wordpress.com

Riley Carney-The FireStone (Book one of the Reign of the Elements) Sixteen-year-old Riley Carney works magic in this high fantasy adventure story with memorable, vibrant characters, fast-paced action, and humor. This book chronicles a journey of courage, friendship and danger as a groups of teens, led by fifteen-year old Matt, attempts to save their world from an evil elf who can harness power of the elements. www.rileycarney.blogspot.com


Colleen Murray Fisher-The One and Only Bernadette P. McMullen This book promotes appreciating who you are, as well as accepting others. Does liking peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, or painting with your toes, or even havining an imaginary friendmake a person strange? That's what kids say about Bernadette. But when Bernadette meets her new neighbor, Sofie she realizes that her uniqueness is nothing strange at all. www.colleenmurrayfisherbooks.com


Dawn Stephens-The Little Pot Soon after a potter forms a new pot and declares that he has important plans for his creation, the little pot begins to wonder what its purpose will be. Will it be used to hold important documents? Great riches? Beautiful flowers? As various expectations prove wrong the little pot is cautioned to see...The little pot is a simple profound story about inevitable reversals. www.DawnStephensBooks.com

Dan Bodenstein-The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle Based on the true story of a loggerhead sea turtle names Eartha, this enchanted tale tells the story of a young sea turtle who finds help in the last place that she expected. Through colorful imagery it helps kids to help injured animals... www.danbodenstein

Patty O'Brien Novak-Engineering The ABC's Imagine a world without cars and computers, or toys and televisions, or movies and microwaves...then imagine a world without engineers. This book answers questions about how everyday things work and how engineering relates to so many parts of a child's daily life http://www.pattyobriennovak.com/
-Read something great!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Authors in Unity

One of my personal missions is to strive for unity in everything that I do. I work hard to build bridges through diversity and inclusion in my books. It is always important for me to help young people to know the damage that can be done when cliques are formed and people are outcasted. Many of the programs that educators enjoy the most involve me sharing how to break down barriers and help everyone to see the value in their fellow classmate.
This is not only something that I write about in books. It is something that I believe in on every level. In my business I always talk about the benefits of collaboration over competition.
This mindset helped me to come up with the virtual children's bookfair idea. I realized that many children's authors work hard everyday selling their own books-but what could happen if we helped to promote each others? The virtual children's bookfair is going on right now and includes amazing writers that believe in giving back to children in the form of the written word. We appreciate your support and purchases. Every book purchased will come with a give-a-way and every book bought between now and Sunday will be autographed.

Be sure to visit our other participating authors/illustrators involved in this year's fair! Purchase signed copies, get give-a-ways and more!

Tara Michener- author of the "Who I Am Series" that promotes self-esteem & diversity in kids. "Who I Am Not What I Am" Meet
Janelle, A fun girl who discovers the secret to happiness is loving herself for who she is, not for fitting into what others want her to be.
100% Real-What does it mean to be real? Meet Zoey who wonders the same thing after her classmates question her about being adopted. With the help of a close friend in Janelle and her parents she discovers that she has more in common with her family than she thought. www.taramichener.com

JD Holiday-Janoose The Goose likes life in the barnyard very much. She is visiting her cousin, Molly duck and her baby, DeeDee. Her vacation is over and Janoose must go home because there are no job openings on the farm. When her flight arrives home she learns that the fox has begun a crime spree. Janoose is the only one who can stop him. www.jdswritersblog.blogspot.com

Adra Young-The Everyday Living of Children and Teens Monologues (Volume I and II)
This series is in a class by itself. These books address multifaceted issues that kids are faced with. Parents may utilize these books to address sensitive subject matters and establish stronger bonds and communication with their kids. These books have been acknowledged for creating an acting guide that addressees appropriate socialization skills. www.ardannyl.me

Grace Hatton-The Guys The Roses & The Regrets; the Girl to Girl Dating Guide Written by a teenage girl for teenage girls this book offers practical tips and real life stories that will help teenage girls and young women navigate the crazy world of dating, relationships and break ups. This book is an Amazon Best Seller! www.gracehatton.wordpress.com

Riley Carney-The Fire Stone (Book one of the Reign of the Elements) Sixteen-year-old Riley Carney works magic in this high fantasy adventure story with memorable, vibrant characters, fast-paced action, and humor. This book chronicles a journey of courage, friendship and danger as a groups of teens, led by fifteen-year old Matt, attempts to save their world from an evil elf who can harness power of the elements. www.rileycarney.blogspot.com

Colleen Murray Fisher-The One and Only Bernadette P. McMullen This book promotes appreciating who you are, as well as accepting others. Does liking peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, or painting with your toes, or even havining an imaginary friendmake a person strange? That's what kids say about Bernadette. But when Bernadette meets her new neighbor, Sofie she realizes that her uniqueness is nothing strange at all. www.colleenmurrayfisherbooks.com

Dawn Stephens-The Little Pot Soon after a potter forms a new pot and declares that he has important plans for his creation, the little pot begins to wonder what its purpose will be. Will it be used to hold important documents? Great riches? Beautiful flowers? As various expectations prove wrong the little pot is cautioned to see...The little pot is a simple profound story about inevitable reversals. www.DawnStephensBooks.com

Dan Bodenstein-The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle Based on the true story of a loggerhead sea turtle names Eartha, this enchanted tale tells the story of a young sea turtle who finds help in the last place that she expected. Through colorful imagery it helps kids to help injured animals... www.danbodenstein

Patty O'Brien Novak-Engineering The ABC's Imagine a world without cars and computers, or toys and televisions, or movies and microwaves...then imagine a world without engineers. This book answers questions about how everyday things work and how engineering relates to so many parts of a child's daily life http://www.pattyobriennovak.com/

-Read Something Great!