“I think I can.. I think I can…” how many of you know, by heart, where those words come from? Have you cuddled up with your kids and read those very same words to them? I certainly have.
The Little Engine That Could is a story with a timeless message we can all relate to at any age (even those older than dirt like, Moi). It is also one of the wonderful titles you can find in the We Give Books program. A joint venture of the Pearson Foundation and Penguin Books, We Give Books, is a new digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading online. It combines the joy of reading with the power of helping others, providing a platform for caregivers and educators to inspire children to become lifelong readers and lifelong givers.
The National Press Club, yesterday, was the setting for the launch of We Give Books. I was honored to be among the invited guests, there to learn about and support the program. Oh and also hobnob with some of my favorite authors EVER, like the unbelievably talented and funny as hell, Mr. Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Amy Tan. PLUS I’ll be taking my arm candy hubby to see Dave (yes we’re on a first name basis) and his fellow authors rock the stage as part of the Rock Bottom Remainders. The band plays the 930 Club in DC tonight. The show is part of their Wordstock Tour, which benefits school children in Hatti.
(My favorite Dave Barry book, “Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions”. If you didn’t adore Amy Tan’s “Joy Luck Club” YOU SUCK and “In Harms Way” from Ridley Pearson is MUCH better than the movie… when is the book NOT better, I mean really?)
(Me and Dave. So I was having a REALLY bad hair and chins day but this guy showed up to his kid’s middle school in the Wienermobile, so it “could” be worse.. maybe.. well.. okay maybe not but still, that’s DAVE BARRY next to my frumpy evil twin..too cool!)
Dr. Marvin Berkowitz, Co-Director of the Center for Character & Citizenship a leading parenting expert and I had the chance to talk about how children learn to be “good” people, and the importance of reading in the development of their character. He was a wealth of wonderful insight. Though I kept thinking “Dr. Mousekowitz”, I maintained a facade of professionalism.
(left to right: Dr. Berkowitz and his chic kid themed tie. Jen Haller VP, Associate Publisher of Penguin Young Readers Group, book chicks rock. Mark Nieker, President & Executive Director of the Pearson Foundation, an advocate for public schools and the joys of hand washing. Dave Barry, Author and proponent of the “Parenting by Embarrassment” method)
Dr. Berkowitz conducted a poll to study what teens thought were the biggest influences on their own charitable behaviors. I left the event with an inflated ego a lovely bag of goodies, but that wasn’t the best thing I left with. The poll found that three of the factors in building children of good character were:
Allowing your children to be a part of the discussion
Modeling the behavior yourself (walk the walk in other words)
Talking to them about how their actions impact others
All of which are great tools, reminders and things we try to do here at home. In the words of a certain credit card company.. PRICELESS!
I’ve created a group for the Nuggetiers over at We Give Books.. come join me! Or just settle down in front of your computer, lift your child into your lap and explore the word of reading and giving, together. NOTE: When the group has a total of 50 books donated, my lovely assistants aka my kids will choose one of our group members to win a $25 Amazon gift card! (Courtesy of the DiPaola Family readers. This is NOT part of the program it’s just my way of encouraging you to read with your kids. And to keep my kids entertained.)
It was my privilege and honor to write this post as part of a campaign by Mom Central on behalf of We Give Books I enjoyed a lovely breakfast and recived tickets to the Rock Bottom Remainders concert as well as a gift certificate.