Sunday, November 28, 2010

Part 2 of My Interview by Michael Shaugnessy

Recently I was interviewed by Michael Shaughnessy for around my latest children’s book: YNK – You Never Know and the topic of cellphones, manners, texting and bullying. I really enjoyed speaking with Michael and think we had some great dialogue. I’m going to share it over the next week. Do you have any thoughts you would like to add to the conversation? Please comment below!

MS: And what are the duties, obligations and responsibilities that parents have?
Jacquie: Now this is my concern that I want to address. Parents by example and direct communication should civilize their children. By that, I mean to emphasize manners, specifically, treat others the way you want to be treated by actions and words. I interviewed Pop Fly, the Aqua Sox mascot, and he told me that frequently he was hit, spit upon and kicked by children while their parents stood aside and laughed. That example highlights what I find most disturbing about the misbehavior of the child and parents. What is funny about violence and disrespect? If the child thinks it is all right to punch a character, why isn’t the parent explaining that a real person is behind the puppet? One or two instances would be shameful, but Pop Fly stressed that this misbehavior occurred all the time. Parents are ones who should lead by example---yes, KNOW better---giving a child a compass to navigate through the uncertainties of peer ways. You may not post pictures or text that is harmful to another person, no matter what every one else does because it is not acceptable behavior. Dare I say it? It is NOT nice. I as a parent have to provide moral guidelines to make this world a better place for my children and my family and my community and myself. I do not want a disgusting picture of me shared over the phone or on the computer---and I promise you I will never embarrass you that way either.

MS: I guess the real problem is that teenagers NEVER KNOW what a friend, pal or peer is going to do with whatever message they send to another. Whose job is it to alert them that this is a permanent record and that sending a message that so and so may be pregnant, or has a venereal disease could be disastrous?
Jacquie: First of all, parents need to establish rules beyond the time and text limitations restricted by the payment plan. Bullying is an experience that we rarely talk about. It is sometimes hard to bring up the subject of the big elephant in the living room that we walk around, but one of the biggest concerns today is cyberbullying and the consequences of posting inappropriate text, and pictures. We no longer can hide from the bullies, as they can get us 24/7 by cell or computer. I am adamant about pointing out that these images do not go away with the delete button, but can stay in cyberspace forever. Think about that before you send off a snap of yourself compromised---the college recruiter, the employer, THE right person you want to spend a long time with, maybe forever---do you want that image to surface and make a statement about who you are?

Secondly, the abuse of privacy and the right to be left alone is a moral precept that should be emphasized in the home and school. It is not only rude but morally reprehensible to harass someone because you might not like that person for who he/she is, his/her lifestyle, dress or sexual orientation. Stop and think, you may fall into someone’s category and then will you remember that it is only fair if you did it to someone that it is done to you?

MS: Let’s talk about sexting. Some see this as stupidity, some see it as alluring, but don’t girls understand that taking pictures of their breasts or clitorises and sending them to someone else—just may send the wrong message to others? And that their pictures can go around the world? Jacquie: Let me emphasize that these pictures and texts can come back to haunt you. The real problem as I see it is objectifying yourself literally by sending a picture of your body. The message is one of disrespect; of oneself and others. Once that image is sent, it becomes fair game to be displayed to anyone, anywhere. You are not there, but a statement about you is clearly sent, and it is not a pretty picture.

MS: I know some states have outlawed driving and texting. How do we prevent deaths and give my EMT friends and our wonderful policemen a break and get kids to understand, driving while texting is not acceptable, appropriate, or reasonable?
Jacquie: Parents must set the example and not text or talk on the cell phone while driving. Having a cell phone should be a privilege given with the understanding that the owner is responsible for obeying reasonable, sane, safe laws, or the cell phone privilege is revoked. Think about how awful you would feel if someone, a family member, a friend or a neighbor, was injured or died, because you were distracted by the cell phone or trying to text and drive. This is a consequence of irresponsible behavior that will be with you the rest of your life.

MS: Okay, now that I have vented enough for today, tell us about your book and why you wrote it.
Jacquie: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi. This quote by Gandhi about sums up why I write.

I am writing a series of books dealing with issues that young people face today. I hope to make parents, kids, teachers, everyone aware of bullying, cbyer, physical, emotional is very real and needs to be addressed. Everyone is hurt by bullying: the victim of the bully, the bully, and the bystander.

WE can make our children safe by teaching social skills by example. I hope I can impart some basic values that I think are important for kids to know: the three r’s:
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Reality
What lessons, or words of wisdom, can you share with children to keep them safe when it comes to social skills, technology, and bullying? Please come back to read about the ABC's parents can use to help children use technology safely, correctly, and with respect to others around them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Technology and Children: What Parents Should Consider

Here are some things I think parents and adults should think about when it comes to technology and children.

Technology is changing on a daily basis. As adults we need to understand the new technology our children are continually exposed to. Then we need to understand how they can use it, both for good and bad. It is our responsibility to determine what technology our children are allowed to participate in, our responsibility to make rules for how they can use it, and our responsibility to have definitive ramifications of using it in any other way than the guidelines we have set.

Technology creates an opportunity to bully 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Remember when we were kids? Bullying for the most part was restricted to the schoolyard. When we were home from school, or hanging out with our friends we were safe from it. Today, there is no safe place for children as long as they are engaged and participating in technology. A cell phone in the pocket, or a computer open for instant messages, chat rooms, etc. means our children can be bullied any time of day. As adults, we determine how much exposure our children have to technology. Even though it may be out of necessity a central part of our lives, it does not have to be a central part of our children. Kids need to be kids. They need to be engaged in other activities that do not involve technology. If they aren’t, we are helping them to be exposed to ongoing and more frequent opportunities to be bullied or bully others themselves.

Technology requires that children be taught to place a high value on their relationships outside the family. Internet sites like Facebook have taught kids that making a friend is as easy as clicking “yes” to accept a friend request, and that ending a friendship is even easier. All you have to do is click on “block,” and that person is out of your life, or are they? Have you heard the ramifications of blocking or unfriending someone on facebook when it comes to school age children. It is a set up for being bullied. As adults, it is our responsibility to help our children understand the difference between “friending” and being a “friend.” We also need to help them understand the idea of an “acquaintance” vs. a “friend.” As parents, we know the difference: a friend has your best interests in mind. They share your values, your likes, your dislikes, hobbies, etc., and you would want to hang out with them in person if you could. Parents, through guidance and example, must show children that technology is not a “quick” way to be popular or make friends. Instead it should be used to interact with people we would have relationships with in-person. If that “friend” doesn’t share our own values, interests, hobbies, etc., they really shouldn’t be considered a “friend

I truly believe that as parents, we need to be more active in how, when, and if, our children use technology in their daily lives. It is up to us to provide them with the rules and guidance needed to help them manage how bullying plays a role in their lives. We cannot sit back and blame technology for the “cyberbullying” crisis facing our kids today. Technology is a tool. There is a human hand and a human mind behind every vicious text message and every texted threat. We need to bring our children a sense of basic core values about their relationships so that they don’t fall down the slippery slope that cell phones and the Internet is paving for them.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Don't Be a Bully Dog" Presentation outline

I wanted to share with you some of the elements of my "Don’t Be a Bully Dog" Presentation for schools, youth groups and parents.  I'd love to come to your place and share this presentation with your children so together we can fight the war on Bullying!

Bullying in its various forms is prevalent in schools around the globe, and sadly, many children learn, practice and experience bullying beginning at a very young age. To those being bullied, bullies often appear intimidating, strong and confident. They wreak havoc on a child’s self esteem and confidence while working hard to improve their own. Anyone who has been bullied knows that dealing with a bully is a daunting task. But there are ways. The first step is for school-aged children to talk about the topic. Author Jacquie Ream’s recent book, Bully Dogs, creates the perfect opportunity for school-aged children from elementary to junior high to do just that.

APPROXIMATE TIME: 45 minutes (Presentations can be customized for your schedule and group size.)

AUDIENCE: Kindergarten through junior high classrooms, youth groups and violence prevention programs

PROGRAM GOAL: To promote awareness and solutions around Bullying using the children’s novel Bully Dogs as a platform for safe discussion.


1. Author Story: The real life story of why author Jacquie Ream wrote Bully Dogs

2. Discussion: “Being Bullied” and “Being a Bully,” utilizing the Book Report (see below)

• Definition and examples of bullying

• Teasing vs. Bullying

• How to deal with a bully (FLOAT)

3. In Class Exercise: Children act out using “Bully Dog” masks an example of another child their age being bullied.

4. Take Home Exercise: Children write their own short story about a fictional character that is being bullied in school showing how their character felt about the situation and how they handled it.

5. In Class Agreement: Children sign the “I won’t be a Bully Dog” agreement that will be kept in class for everyone to see. Each child will receive a signed bookmark.

6. Author/Book signing

7. Class Materials Provided:

• Bully Dogs books (to be read ahead of time)

• Book Report – Questions related to the book for students to complete as homework

• The “I won’t be a Bully Dog” agreement

Review the whole presentation at:  

Please call Susan Burnash of Purple Duck Marketing (678)925-3582 or email: to schedule a presentation for your school, church, youth, or nonprofit group.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bringing my "Don't Be a Bully Dog" Anti-bullying presentation to schools, youth groups and parents

Now more than ever, bullying has become a big problem. Inside and outside of the classroom, children are coming face to face with a new enemy, one who’s often their age and their size. Parents and educators struggle to find a common place where they reach children being bullied, and as a result, children often end up dealing with bullies on their own. It falls upon the educators and parents alike to initiate clear rules of behavior that define, discourage and deflect bullies from targeting children. Bullying is never acceptable, in whatever form it takes. A child’s learning, social skills and self-esteem are impacted negatively. And too often, Bullying leads to violence, sometimes with tragic consequences.

As an Author and former educator, my new juvenile novel, Bully Dogs, was written to address the topic of bullying in a brand new way. Through the winning voice of sixth-grader Fran Reed, Bully Dogs offers a chance for children, parents and teachers to discuss bullying in a safe but entertaining manner.

Faced with her neighbor’s three ferocious dogs, and a group of girls at school determined to put her down, Fran isn’t sure whether to stand up for herself or sit the tough times out. When Fran sees that her school’s volleyball team won’t succeed unless the bullying ends, she realizes she’ll have to stand up for herself. But who should she face first: the vicious-looking dogs that chase her to school, or the girls who try to make her feel bad about being herself? As Fran begins to discover her own strength and find her self-confidence, she sees bullies are like growling dogs that just won’t go away. And Bully Dogs proves that when it comes to bullies, the bark really is worse than the bite!

In hopes of using my Bully Dogs story to create more dialogue around bullying, I am visiting schools, libraries and youth groups with my “Don’t Be a Bully Dog” presentation. In a safe classroom setting, and through the discussion of the challenges, obstacles and solutions my Bully Dogs characters experience, my goal is to create a fun and comfortable way for children to express their own feelings, experiences and solutions for bullying in their everyday lives.
As part of my effort to make my book and presentation accessible to all, I am providing, on loan, copies of the book so that each child has a copy to read prior to my visit.

I would love to share my story and presentation with your children and students. The complete outline for the presentation is on my website .

To schedule a presentation for your students, or youth group, please call Susan Burnash of Purple Duck Marketing at (678)925-3582.

My Inteview by Michael F. Shaughnessy

Recently I was interviewed by Michael Shaughnessy for around my latest children’s book: YNK – You Never Know and the topic of cellphones, manners, texting and bullying. I really enjoyed speaking with Michael and think we had some great dialogue. I’m going to share it over the next week. Do you have any thoughts you would like to add to the conversation? Please comment below!

MS: Jacquie I have to tell you, I am very tired of sitting in a restaurant, trying to enjoy a cup of coffee and these cell phone are going off all around me with all kinds of noises and tunes and buzzing and the William Tell Overture. What’s a sane adult to do.

JR: It is too bad that so many people have forgotten the common courtesy of respecting others’ space. I would frequent establishments that post a “no cell phones: quiet zone “ and know that I have to put up with celly chatter in places that don’t have a “no cell” policy.

MS: I recently saw good old Jerry Seinfeld on tv and even he comments on the fact that people answer their cell phones , ignoring the person they are talking to and then they text, continuing to ignore the person they are with and then they check their e-mail, continuing to ignore the person they are with—well, you get the idea. Have we become a nation of no courtesy? Or a very rude nation?

JR: Unfortunately, I think this is the crux of the problem we are facing with our advanced technology---we’ve forgotten some very basic manners, which are, after all, more common sense than rules. I want to feel like I am important to the person I am with at the moment; if he or she is texting, on a cell phone or laptop, I know that I am not the center of that person’s attention. I don’t care if everyone else does it, I am more important. If I have to call you on your cell phone to tell you that I am sitting beside you and want to converse, why would I bother to meet you in person?

MS: I go into the cleaners to drop off some khaki pants. The kid behind the counter starts to take care of my but then their phone rings and they stand there talking, yapping away for about 5 minutes. Where is the manager in this scene? What happened to “The Customer Comes First

JR: I would have no problem with a hard stare, a loud sigh and pursed lips until the kid got off the phone; then I would ask in my most motherly voice, “You do know that talking while I am waiting to conduct business is rude and unprofessional, right?”

MS: Moving on to children and cell phones. I can understand parents wanting to be in touch with their kids- but at what age should one of these little tykes be given this wonderful instrument with which to burden their thumbs?

JR: A lot depends on the circumstances for parent and child. One thing I appreciate about cell phones is the gps locator in the phones ---it is an added false sense of security, if the phone is on and has a full battery, then it is possible to track the whereabouts of the person’s phone, not necessarily the person. I personally don’t think elementary school children should have cell phones, unless the child is walking a long distance home after school, or is a latch-key child.

MS: And what are the duties, obligations and responsibilities that parents have?
to be continued.......

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Visit to Gregory Heights Elementary School for Author’s Day

On a sunny day in Seattle, I was invited to Gregory Heights Elementary School for Author’s Day, hosted by the librarian, Mr. Michael Bento. I have taught workshop for adults, but nothing is as scary as living up to the expectations of sixth-graders.

I have to say I am impressed with the depth and thoughtfulness of their questions and responses. One student got to the bottom line and asked me if I made any money writing; I replied you should have another job with a steady income. Another student asked about the creative process, and how I go about the writing process; we had a discussion about the different types of writing and methods to best approach an essay, a book report, a journal or short story. They were quiet and attentive as I explained the process of birthing a book from manuscript to publication, and the business of marketing a book.

Those two thirty-minute sessions with the sixth-graders zipped by all too fast, and I as I gathered up my materials, I realized that I left with a lot more than I had brought with me: a heartfelt appreciation for the students at Gregory Heights Elementary School.

Thank you to all the students who asked so many great questions!

I would love to visit your school for your Author's Day.  Please contact me directly if you'd like me to participate.  I am always inspired by children when I visit schools.  They help me keep my story ideas relevant and meaningful!
Contact me here:

Technology is a Privilege

I’ve had enough.

Between the proliferation of cyberbullying that has been dominating the headlines and the inappropriate communications that cell phones and computers enable teens to engage in, it’s time for us as parents to set new rules for how children use technology.

Lately, I’ve been on a rant, (really a radio anti-bullying tour) on this topic. And I’m using the books in my Bully Dog Series to help create dialogue about this topic between children, parents, and teachers alike. In my latest book “YNK-You Never Know,” and my school program to help children understand “How not to be a Bully Dog” Fran is back with a whole new set of challenges including engaging in cyberbullying.

Although YNK-You Never Know is a fictional book for middle school and early teen children who simply enjoy reading, and the return of the first book’s main characters, it is also is my way of bringing to the forefront the pitfalls of technology facing our children today. I’ve seen it myself, parents are currently experiencing the pressure of how new technology has become such an integral part of their children’s daily lives. And for many, they have no idea how to discuss this subject in a way that their children can understand that they have their concerns for how it is being abused. Think about it, only five years ago, most teens, never mind their younger siblings, didn’t own a cell phones. If they did it was carried for emergency purposes only. Today, not having a cell phone by the time you are a teen is a reason to get bullied enough.

Sadly, children today are holstering cellphones, and accessing the internet in ways that are as dangerous as a gun and we’ve all seen the news of bullied youngsters who have taken their own life. This has to stop, and as adults it is our job to do everything we can to see that it does.

I believe that the best way to prevent cyberbullying is for parents and educators to teach children about the “rules” of engaging in technology, and the ramification of their behaviors should they not follow them. Afterall, we can still take away that cell phone or move the computer out of their room, or even our house.

In my next post I will be talking about a few things that parents should think about when it comes to children and technology. I'd love to hear your comments too!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Live Event at Redmond!

Dear Friends, If you are out and about, drop by and see me!

Phil Taylor, Webmaster for Storytellers Campfire and substitute Co-Host for Poetry Wheel, is assisting the Program
Director, Lady Selah Sujuris in preparations for the Live event scheduled for Saturday, July 24, 2010.
Storytellers Campfire staff will Host their next event at Friendly Village, a retirement community in Redmond,
Washington, in the Club House.
The theme is Literacy in the Lives of Seniors. There will be two shows, the first will be from 1:30pm to 3:00pm
and the second show will be from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. There will be an intermission between the shows and attendees
will have the opportunity to meet the presenters and have their books signed or purchase books and CDs from the guest on the show.

Presenting on Author’s Voice:
Jacquie Ream, Author of .Forcing the Hand of God. A Vivid picture of life during wartime (1943) both on the
front lines and at home.
Paul Hansen, Author of .Turnaround Summer. The Story of How Real Men Launched a Lost Boy Into Manhood
Marcia Shaver, Author of .The Artist Journey. The Story of the 1,299,851 steps across Spain and her rediscovery.
Presenting on Writer’s Circle:
George Snyder of Snyder Online, .Family Genealogy, How and Why, and Tips to Begin.
Jacquie Ream, Author of KISS; Keep it Short and Simple / Easy Steps for Better Writing
Campfire Musician’s Performers:
Connor Worley Irish / Folk Music
Clint McCune

Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Signing at 3rd Place Books, Lake Forest Park

Out on a Saturday night and looking for a good book? Come see me at 3rd Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park (98155) on March 13th at 6:30pm. I would love to meet with readers and personalize FORCING the HAND of GOD, KISS, and/or BULLY DOGS.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Forcing the Hand of God is an EBook!

Dear friends and family,

Just wanted to let you know that my book, Forcing the Hand of God, was published today as an ebook at Smashwords. As many of you know, Forcing the Hand of God is a novel about a WWII flying ace, Rodger Brown and the women who love him. I hope you'll take time to check it out at Smashwords, where you can sample the first 20% of the book for free.

Here's the link to my Smashwords author profile:
Here's the link to my book page, where you can sample or purchase the book:

Please help me spread the word. Won't you take a moment to forward this email to everyone you know, and ask them to do the same?

Thank you so much for your support!