Thursday, October 25, 2012

PSA: The Cyber Bullying Virus

Did you know that girls are twice as likely as boys to participate in cyber bullying? Or that 42% of teens have been bullied online at least once?

The PSA video below presents cyber bullying as a viral disease that can spread around the world and infect anyone. I particularly liked how Anger, Envy, etc. were the profile names of the cyber bullies and Courage, Hope, etc. were the profile names of the people who were standing up for the victim. The short video produced by the students at Strutt Central in Ontario, Canada  is thought-provoking and very well-done.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall 2012 Book Events

This fall has been the season for sharing my books directly with readers during local book events. In late September, I exhibited at the Northwest Bookfest 2012 in Kirkland, WA where I shared a booth with Bill Westwood, the author of the young adult fantasy novel Shimmering. Our outdoor booth provided beautiful views of Peter Kirk park on the cool, sunny days. The free event was open to the public and featured author appearances and workshops. I enjoyed meeting some of my readers and fellow authors.

On Sunday, October 14th I attended the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association 2012 Fall Trade Show in Tacoma, WA. The show was open only to book industry professionals. The day was a marvelous success: I gave books away and made several valuable contacts with librarians and bookstore owners. I'd like to say a special thanks to those who stopped by the booth to tell me they support my mission and encourage me to keep writing about bully issues for the younger readers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Positive Messages in Songs: Lauren Irwin's Song Stand Tall

Stand tall, be firm
Stand tall, be hard
It doesn't have to be this way
Tomorrow is a bright new day

I've found another wonderful song with beautiful lyrics about standing up for yourself. In 2008, 17-year-old Lauren Irwin wrote the song "Stand Tall" as a tribute to her friend who was being bullied.

The song was the inaugural winner of the Anthony Walker Prize (Anthony Walker was a teen who was murdered in a street attack in 2005). After its translation into Mandarin, "Stand Tall" become the official song of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. "Stand Tall" can be purchased as a digital download on iTunes or AmazonMP3.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hey U.G.L.Y.'s I AM ENOUGH Contest

Calling all students! Are you a writer, videographer, poet or songwriter? Want to help us spread the word about bullying? The bullying prevention organization Hey U.G.L.Y. (Unique Gifted Lovable You) is hosting its annual contest for work produced by students like you. The deadline is May 31, 2013.

 From the organizations's website: "So many of your fellow students, and the adults you know, feel like they are 'not good enough.' When a person feels this way it makes them prey for the bully and sometimes actually turns them into the bully. Not feeling good enough sets a person up to fail in school, relationships and life. You can help and at the same time vie for valuable prizes. Through video, song, poetry and essay, your wisdom can help youth across the globe understand and embrace that they ARE good enough." Get more information about the I AM ENOUGH contest here>>

 Curious about past contest winners? Here's an excerpt from Alicia MacDonald's winning essay: "Since there will always be people in the world who are better than I am, and people who are not as good as me I have learned to not listen to people's negative comments. I believe that there is no person in the whole world who knows you better than yourself, so why should I bother listening to others belittling comments. Listening to the lies in life only makes you unhappy, so I use my own sense of self-esteem for contentment." Read the entire essay here>>

Hey U.G.L.Y. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping youth be part of solution to bullying. Its programs focus on self-esteem issues and building empathy. Visit the site for more information>>

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Magic of Love, Heartbreak, Loss and Transformation

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender intrigued me from the start. It is about the magic of love, heartbreak, loss and transformation; making sense out of the complexities of life and relationships. The main character, Rose Edelstein, discovers she has a cursed gift of discovering hidden knowledge of people and their emotions revealed through the extrasensory perception in her taste buds. She kneels, offering ‘thank yous’, before a vending machine dispensing factory food that she can subsist on, while her brilliant brother finds his way into another universe. While fantastical, this story is grounded and the characters heartbreakingly real. Rose suffers with the knowledge her gift gives to her, but through it all she endures and matures. Although emotionally wrenching throughout the story, it is in the end uplifting.