Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Announcing the Skype WINNER for MY SPECIAL WORD

Dear Friends,

We’re all in a flurry of getting ready for the holidays so this will be an extra short post! First, thank you for the wonderful comments you left for Alison Green Myers.

Thank you, Alison, for the wonderful and generous gift you’ve given of a free Skype visit to a school or organization in this season of giving. It’s such a perfect way for us to end a year by committing ourselves to GOODWILL and to finding OUR right word to live by in the coming year. What will be your special word? What special word will be mine? You may want to revisit the previous post for inspiration from the children.

If you weren’t the lucky winner, you’ll still want to visit the website for the non-profit program: My Special Word. You can apply for a grant, donate to the program, or get in touch to find out how you can bring this kid empowering program to your school or organization.

And, the Lucky Winner, chosen by random.org for the "MY SPECIAL WORD" Skype visit is:
Nisha Gupta
(Please email me with contact information for Alison! claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com)

Alison Green Myers spent the first half of her career teaching reading and writing, and now finds herself working in children’s book publishing as program coordinator for the Highlights Foundation and reader for a small press. She is a regional advisor for SCBWI and a fellow of the National Writing Project. Alison joins Dwight Smith to co-present My Special Word in schools across the country. 




Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Author/Educator/SCBWI R.A. Alison Green Myers shares the Importance of Words + Free Skype Visit and Gifts

Peace, Goodwill, and Children’s Books by Alison Green Myers

Goodwill seems to pop up in December— literally on a Holiday Cards (like ours above) or in the actions of those moved by the spirit this time of year. I carry goodwill with me all year long. Maybe it’s the “goodwill” tattoo on my left wrist that reminds me, or more so, that I’m moved by the notion and its possibilities for our world.

1a : a kindly feeling of support : compassionate interest or concern 
2a : cheerful consent 
b : willing effort

I love the notion. Don’t you? 
Willing effort. 
It does take effort, doesn’t it? Each night I ask myself if I lived “goodwill” that day. Some days are better than others, but hopefully my daily actions showed kindness and support, hopefully my words showed compassion and concern. And if not, I vow to try again the next day.
While the word has always meant much to me (so much in fact that I named my son Will) the nightly question wasn’t something I came to on my own. Dwight Smith the founder of the non-profit program My Special Word influenced me. He asks himself a similar question nightly.
My Special Word began as a personal crusade fifteen years ago; Dwight Smith then developed the idea into an empowering program for children and teens. Through the My Special Word program, children learn about Mr. Smith’s journey, and his reliance on a power word (“special word”) to help guide his decisions at home and in his flourishing business. 
On starting the program, Dwight said, “I had to ask myself, ‘what can I do to make a difference in the life of a child’? I can share my story. I can give them a tool that worked for me. The power of my word SOLD, what it teaches me. What it reminds me. I can share that with kids and get them thinking about a word that would make a difference in their life. Once they have that word, they own it. They are accountable to it. They can use it to make positive choices and changes.”
Last year Dwight approached me to write books that would accompany his program. Along with Dwight’s team at My Special Word including Courtnee Carrigan and Renee Smith, we created a book team with illustrator Beth Bogert and graphic designer Greta Schmidt. The result: a series of books that spread the positive power of words. The books launched a conversation in schools and organizations across the country. 

Kids are encouraged to select a special word that makes them feel empowered. In addition, they offer reasoning behind the self-selected word. Whenever we visit a school I find myself engaged with kids talking about who they are, what they wish to become, and the journey that they are on getting to that place. They ask about my word too (and sometimes even notice the tattoo.)
As I was meeting with a fifth grader during a school visit this fall, he told me he wanted to change his word. He explained that when he heard about the program, he just picked a word to satisfy the assignment. His actions weren’t malicious. His word was love. 
He explained, “It was a good enough word but now that I am really thinking about it [the program], the word doesn’t fit me.” 
Words change. 
People change. 
Understanding changes, especially in education. After he finished the writing project he shared with me the new word that he wanted to “live by.” His explanation read, “My word is transform. I love science. I like to watch something change into something else. I like how in art some paint can transform into a picture. I feel that way about me too. Like how one day you are small and then you turn older, or how you are not good at a sport and then one day you are the best on the team. I think that is a word to live by because I want to keep changing and getting better.” The writing went on to describe other passions in his life and how the word “transform” meshed with them all. 
His writing, like so many others, showed a deep understanding of the program. Even young children that I work with share a profound connection to the word that belongs to them. I had one child share his word as “MY”. He said, “The ‘m’ stands for me and the ‘y’ for you.” He went on to talk about how important each person is that you meet. 

Kids are really freaking awesome.  
2017 was full of goodwill thanks in large part to the children that I have had the chance to meet because of My Special Word. It has been a privilege to carry out Dwight Smith’s mission in our 2017 book releases and I look forward to what 2018 has in store. 
I hope that 2018 has goodwill in store for all of you. And a special thank you to Clara for having me on today to talk about the My Special Word program.

P.S. Dwight and I would love to give away a free Skype visit to a classroom or organization. We will throw in a copy of the picture book and a class set of bookmarks and bracelets too. Please comment below and our fabulous host will use Random.org to select a winner. (Winner will be announced in one week. If you are new to the blog, please include your email address.)

Alison Green Myers wanted to join the circus.
She wanted to train tigers.
She wanted to jump through fire.
She wanted to stand on a wire, suspended high above a cheering crowd.
She probably spent too much time at her local library, especially inside the pages of If I Ran The Circus. Alison never made it to the circus (though she did travel on a carnival for many years) but her early trips to the library fed her in other ways. She spent the first half of her career teaching reading and writing, and now finds herself working in the majestic circus of children’s book publishing as program coordinator for the Highlights Foundation and reader for a small press. Alison writes about the wilds of life, mostly humans, but other scary beasts too. She is a regional advisor for SCBWI and a fellow of the National Writing Project. Carrie Howland of Empire Literary represents her novels and picture books. 

Thank you, dear friends, for stopping by to celebrate “goodwill” with us. Please leave a comment for Alison and the dynamic way she is sharing goodwill in classrooms across the country. What are you waiting for? A free Skype visit with your classroom, or a child or grandchild’s classroom, a friend's? Comment now! 

Peace. Love. Joy. GOODWILL to all.  ~Clara

Thursday, December 7, 2017

FREE CRITIQUES for Children’s Book Writers

Dear Writers,

Hurry over to KID LIT INK blog: thekidlitink.blogspot.com 
Leave a comment there for a chance to win a FREE critique
from one of the authors below! 


If you asked Santa for a little help with your writing this year, then this is the gift
he has on his sleigh for you… a bagful of Christmas Critiques from the children’s 
authors of KIDLITINK

Alison Meyers – (1) query letter critique – MY SPECIAL WORD.

Jan Cheripko –  (1) YA – first 10 pages critique – RAT (Contemporary-realism)

Kim Briggs – (1) YA – first 10 pages critique – STARFALL (Romance-Thriller)

Clara Gillow Clark – (1) MG first 10-pages critique – HATTIE ON HER WAY

Lindsay Barrett George – (1) author/illustrator PB critique – MAGGIE’S BALL

Gayle C. Krause – (1) rhyming PB critique – DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON?

Pat Thomas – (1) rhyming PB critique – STAND BACK SAID THE ELEPHANT

That’s seven (7) critiques in all. 

To be eligible, please follow the KIDLIT, INK blog and leave the title of your 
manuscript in the comments on thekidlitink.blogspot.com, as well as which
author you’d like to review your work.

Random.org will select the winners on Christmas Eve. Names will be posted 
on the KIDLIT, INK blog and you will have three months to respond. You can 
Private Message your email address to the authors from the KIDLIT Facebook 
page and each author will contact you.