Leadership & Inclusion

Elephant’s Music: Interview with the Author

We all need to belong, but it can be hard to find a way to fit in. In Elephant’s Music, Edward, the elephant loves music, but has no musical ability at all. This lovely picture book explores how Edward and members of his favorite band find a way for him to be part of the performance. We’ve interviewed author and illustrator, Monika Filipina, about the process of creating Elephant’s Music.  Magination Press: What inspired you to write Elephant’s Music? Monika Filipina: I usually take inspiration from my own experiences and the world around me. For this story the main character is a little bit like myself. I always wanted to have talent for music, but sadly I am terrible at singing or playing any instrument. I tried to play guitar and flute in the past, but it just did not work! I had to accept that I am tone-deaf and that I will not make it as a singer. I tried to find the crowd that likes to listen to the terrible noise, but that did not happen.  MP: Why did you choose animals instead of people as your characters? MF: I love animals. They are fun and very playful to draw, they can have imaginary colors and fantastic shapes. Drawing the animal characters will always be my absolute favorite, and I believe that it shows in the artwork, when the creator had fun making the art. For some reason when I think about a story, the first thing that comes to me is the main character is an animal - the lion, the cat, the owl, the rabbit, the elephant… It works subconsciously, it just happens in my mind. Animals are perfect for exaggerating specific features without offending anyone. This time the main character happened to be an elephant because it all started with a single drawing of an elephant who had no fingers to play violin. The funny thing is that in Poland we have a saying that “an elephant stepped on one’s ear” which is a humorous idiom for someone who sings off-key or is very unmusical, and another one “to move like an elephant in the porcelain warehouse” about someone being very clumsy. So, the elephant seemed to be the perfect character for the story! MP: Why did you choose music instead of sports, art, or some other activity? MF: It is very difficult to explain. This idea of a clumsy elephant trying to play violin came to me. Sometimes it is very hard for me to tell where the idea comes from… It just happens. I walk, or sit, or read a book, or exercise, and suddenly, I have an image in my head and it all begins. I have to stop and write it down so it doesn’t go away.  MP: Edward found a way to participate in the concerts by being the band’s biggest fan. But it wasn’t until the other band members recognized his percussion abilities and the monkeys gave Edward

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Elephant’s Music: Interview with the Author 2021-04-27T11:49:59-04:00

Make Kindness the Norm: Books About Kindness for Your Child

Kindness may seem like an old-fashioned idea, but simple acts of kindness are powerful! “Scientific evidence shows us the positive effects of doing kind acts for others as well as receiving or even witnessing kindness. Even the smallest act of kindness can change a life.”1 In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week, celebrated February 14-20th, we’re featuring books about kindness. Share them with your child and help make kindness the norm. Grow Kind by Jon Lasser, PhD and Sage Foster-Lasser Kiko grows and cultivates her garden, harvesting and sharing the fruits and veggies with her friends, neighbors, and family. This delightful tale serves as a metaphor of nurturing relationships and community, while sharing kindness with others. Grow Kind is a gentle narrative based on positive psychology and choice theory, essentially about cultivating kindness. “Grow Kind is a wonderful book that helps teach children the importance of kindness and how small acts of kindness make a difference for others.” —Talking About Books for Kids Jon Lasser reads Grow Kind aloud in Magination Press Story Time. I See You by Michael Genhart, PhD I See You is an award-winning, wordless picture book that depicts a homeless woman who is not seen by everyone around her — except for a little boy. Over the course of a year, the boy is witness to all that she endures. Ultimately, in a gesture of compassion, the boy acknowledges her in an exchange in which he sees her and she experiences being seen. This book opens the door for kids and parents to begin a conversation about homelessness. In a "Note for Parents, Educators, and Neighbors," there are discussion questions and additional resources about helping the homeless. “About heart, compassion and connecting with others…the emotion and candor captured by this story are beautifully brought to life”. —Children's Books Heal   Big Brave Bold Sergio by Debbie Wegenbach Swimming with the Snappers makes Sergio feel BIG, BRAVE, and BOLD. But sometimes the Snappers' idea of fun gives Sergio "squishy" feelings. He doesn't like it when they start picking on a minnow named Gil...but it's hard to stand up to your friends! Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers by Julia Martin Burch, PhD, on bullying, friendship, fitting in, and ways to discuss these issues with your child. Read interviews with the author and illustrator: • Meet Magination Press Author Debbie Wagenbach • From Sketch to Book at Magination Press: Jamie Tablason   Red, Yellow, Blue by Lysa Mullady Red loves being red! Apples, wagons, fire trucks — he thinks all the best things are red! Yellow admires Red's roses, but Red just wants to be left to mind his own business — why can't Yellow mind hers? But when Yellow and Blue go off to make frogs, shamrocks, and caterpillars, Red realizes that he may be missing out. The possibilities are endless when the colors work together! Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers with more information on encouraging empathy and cooperation.   This is

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Make Kindness the Norm: Books About Kindness for Your Child 2021-02-16T14:42:02-05:00

Help Your Child Find Their Inner Hero

Heroes take chances, do hard things, and sometimes even change the world. To become a hero, kids can surround themselves with supportive people, boost their self-esteem and self-awareness, find their passion, and have the courage to make things happen. What makes a hero? Activists, advocates, allies, and friends. Sometimes heroes are our parents, teachers, or siblings. The truth is, heroes are inside everyone, and kids can and discover their inner hero, too. Here’s an adapted excerpt from the Preface and Chapter 1 of Matt Langdon’s The Hero Handbook, a new book that shows kids how to be the hero of their own story and discover their own hero journey. So you want to be a hero? Or maybe you’re not sure. What does that even mean, anyway? Well, we’ll talk about it. But this book is for anyone looking to find a little more direction -- whether that means setting some goals or coming up with a plan for your own life, or just means learning how to affect change in your community. Or the world! This book is going to help you figure out how to be someone who takes action instead of standing by, and who works to move their own journey forward… What Is a Hero? Dictionaries, the media, and history give us different definitions of what a hero is, but none of them are very useful for us. In myth and story, the hero offers us an example of how to live our lives. The hero is an exemplar--literally, a good example. That explains why we have so much trouble pinning down a definition in today’s world. There are so many of us, living in different cultures, but also living in each other’s pockets on our phones, that there’s no way we could all agree on what a good example is. Mythology and stories will let me get started on my efforts to define “hero” for you, though. Definition 1: The Hero In a Story A hero is the main character of a story. Back in 1949, Joseph Campbell wrote a book called The Hero With a Thousand Faces. He had spent years travelling the world reading and listening to stories about heroes from mythology. Campbell noticed that all of these stories were basically the same--they have the same pattern. A hero from two thousand years ago in the Middle East has the same basic steps in their story as a hero from two hundred years ago in England and the one in the movie coming out this weekend in India. Campbell called this pattern the “Hero’s Journey.” Campbell found about 40 steps in each hero’s journey, but I’ve reduced it to five basic steps that every hero story contains. The steps are: Mundane World: The hero begins the story in a normal, typical, or boring place. He doesn’t want to be there, but often they don’t know how to get out or even what else is available to them. This is Luke Skywalker’s Tatooine,

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Help Your Child Find Their Inner Hero 2021-01-28T15:44:19-05:00