46 Mommas Shave For The Brave

46mommas_2011_650pxOn September 21 at Union Station in Washington DC, 46 mothers from around the country will gather to shave their heads in solidarity with their children who have fought or are currently fighting cancer.  These 46 women call themselves the “46 Mommas.”

Why the 46 Mommas? This group represents the startling reality that each weekday 46 families are told that their child has cancer. The Mommas come from all over the country, and there may be one from your area.  A complete list is below.  If you’d be interested in interviewing one of these extraordinary women, we can put you in touch.  Any coverage we can garner for this event helps raise awareness, funds and most important, spirits.

Video from last year’s event in Los Angeles:

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (proclaimed in 2010 by President Obama), which means it is the perfect time for the 46 Mommas to join together with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, in supporting the Foundation’s mission to  “Conquer Kids’ Cancer!” The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers.

Find the 46 Mommas on Facebook as well as their website!

Winnie the Pooh the Reboot

image001Walt Disney Animation Studios returns to the Hundred Acre Wood with “Winnie the Pooh,” the first big-screen Pooh adventure from Disney animation in more than 35 years. With the timeless charm, wit and whimsy of the original featurettes, this all-new movie reunites audiences with the philosophical “bear of very little brain” and friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo—and last, but certainly not least, Eeyore, who has lost his tail.

“Ever have one of those days where you just can’t win, Eeyore?” asks Pooh.

Owl sends the whole gang on a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit. It turns out to be a very busy day for a bear who simply set out to find some honey.

Zooey Deschanel (“Almost Famous,” “(500) Days of Summer”) joins Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, performing three songs for the film, including her own take on the classic “Winnie the Pooh” theme song, “A Very Important Thing to Do” and the original end-credit song “So Long,” which was written by Deschanel and performed with She & Him bandmate M. Ward.

image002“I’m a big fan of Winnie the Pooh and all his friends,” says Deschanel, who also plays the ukulele in the song. “It’s really hard to pick a favorite: Winnie the Pooh is so special, he loves honey and he’s just cool. Eeyore is amazing, I love Eeyore. And Piglet is so small. It’s really a four-way tie between Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger.”
 
Among the songs Deschanel performed for the film is “A Very Important Thing to Do”—a song that helps illustrate the contest the friends from the Hundred Acre Wood take on to find Eeyore a new tail. She also lent her voice to “Everything is Honey” and “Pooh’s Finale,” joining Jim Cummings (the voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger), Tony Award®-winning songwriter Robert Lopez (“Avenue Q”) and other cast members.
 
For the end-credit song, Deschanel teamed up with Ward to perform “So Long,” a song Deschanel wrote.  “When I was writing ‘So Long,’ I just held the images for the end credits in my mind,” she says. “I spent a number of days tinkering with ideas, melodies and chord progressions that I thought would fit the images, the new music being written and the original Sherman Brothers stuff– but still be my own thing. The song definitely has its own feel, but also pays respect to the original.”

Inspired by three stories from A.A. Milne’s books in Disney’s classic, hand-drawn art style, “Winnie the Pooh” hits theaters in select international markets in Spring 2011; the U.S. release date is July 15, 2011.

Watch Zooey talk about “So Long” and her love of Pooh Bear!

Who is your favorite character from the Hundred Acre Wood? Mine’s Eeyore – I can identify with that sad little emo guy, lol

Book Review: Educating Esme

Educating Esme New Cover Recently, I had the opportunity to read an interesting (and might I add – hilarious) book called Educating Esmé written by Esmé Raji Codell. Ms. Codell is a nationally renowned advocate for literacy and literature-based instruction and is “one of the nation’s most sought-after voices for empowering teachers" (People Magazine) and a “Superstar of Education” (Scholastic Instructor).

Educating Esmé is the exuberant diary of Esmé Raji Codell’s first year teaching in a Chicago public school. Fresh-mouthed and free-spirited, the irrepressible Madame Esmé—as she prefers to be called—does the cha-cha during multiplication tables, roller-skates down the hallways, and puts on rousing performances with at-risk students in the library. Her diary opens a window into a real-life classroom from a teacher’s perspective. While battling bureaucrats, gang members, abusive parents, and her own insecurities, this gifted young woman reveals what it takes to be an exceptional teacher.

The diary itself is exactly the same as it was when it was first released , but there’s a new foreword by Katherine Paterson, author of "Bridge to Teribithia", and a meaty guide that’s been added called “Hit the Ground Running,” which I created to help new teachers do just that. The most common question I’m asked is, “Do you have any advice for new teachers?” Now readers will find over twenty-five really specific and hopefully pragmatic pieces of advice and also a comprehensive shopping list for the first-year teacher.

I am not a teacher and have never had any desire in this world to be one – but I am a parent and I know that children are curious, crazy and sometimes obnoxious little beings. This book shows kids in every one of those lights and shows how one teacher took it all in stride, made learning fun and taught her students valuable life lessons. I would’ve LOVED to have “Madame Esmé” as a teacher when I was young! Esmé is young, hip, inventive, sassy and an amazing writer. I was hysterical reading some of the comments that came out of her fifth graders’ mouths!

Educating Esmé is a wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone who comes in any contact with children. Parents, teachers and care providers alike will benefit from the lessons and humor in this book. I know a few teachers and I know that they give 110% of their hearts to their students. They spend their own money to try and make their classrooms fun and engaging and often do not get any help (or credit … or assistance …) from the schools they teach in.

Teachers are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT and should be treated as such. It was eye opening to me to see just how many brick walls they run into trying to teach our children – and I’m not even talking about over-crowded classrooms. It’s high time we let our teachers teach and stop making them teach the answers to standardized tests. Our children need to learn – not determine how much money a school earns based on how high they score on a boring, hours long test. *steps off soapbox*

Esmé has been interviewed on CBS This Morning, CNN, CSPAN’s Book Talk, and NPR. The author of "How to Get Your Child to Love Reading" as well as numerous award-winning books for children, Esmé lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she spent many years as an educator in Chicago public schools and now runs the popular children’s literature web site PlanetEsme, and the unique literary salon, The PlanetEsme Bookroom.

You can purchase Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year from Amazon!

Big Thanks to JBH Marketing & PR for the chance to read this book!

Support This: THE FRESH AIR FUND

In 1877, the Reverend Willard Parsons, minister of a small rural parish in Sherman, Pennsylvania, asked members of his congregation to provide country vacations as volunteer host families for children from New York City tenements. This was the beginning of The Fresh Air Fund tradition of caring for NYC’s neediest children.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2008, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

Thanks to host families who open up their homes for up to two weeks each summer, children growing up in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods have experienced the joys of Fresh Air vacations. More than 65% of all children are reinvited to stay with their host family, year after year.

There is no such thing as a “typical” host family. If you have room in your home – and your heart – to host a child, you could be one too.

Fresh Air children are boys and girls, six to 12 years old, who reside in low-income communities in New York City and are eager to experience the simple pleasures of life outside the city.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZrpKA9ueKk&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Donate: Donate to the Fresh Air Fund
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FreshAirFund
Facebook: http://facebook.com/freshairfund