Friday, September 12, 2014
This is a FREE event open from 12th – 21st September 2014, exhibiting a series of large scale portraits of young women surviving breast cancer, by New York Fashion Photographer, David Jay.
As a breast cancer survivor, I encourage you to see it, so maybe you’ll see what I saw…
Warriors after a battle.
Eyes pleading for acknowledgement of the truth.
And not a smidgen of pink.
But why no pink?
Because there’s nothing pretty about breast cancer!
The deep beauty depicted in these portraits goes far beyond ‘pretty’.
To all those watching a warrior going through their battle, please don’t forget who they were before.
Please don’t forget they have no choice in the matter.
Please don’t forget the whole damn thing is out of their control.
Remember their battle.
Remember their beauty.
Remember their courage.
Salute them for their honesty.
Thank them for inspiring you to live a better life.
And please do one other thing…
When you see a Pink Ribbon…
Don’t roll your eyes.
Don’t complain that you’re tired of giving.
Don’t come up with any conspiracy theories.
Instead, remember these beauties.
Remember research is the source of our hope.
Remember, in order to win the battle, we must never give up!
This October is Pink Ribbon month. You can support the National Breast Cancer Foundation in reaching their aspirational goal of ‘zero breast cancer deaths by 2030’ by purchasing Mrs T’s Kooky Pants, with $1 from every book sold going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
You can also attend my Book Launch and Art Exhibition on 20th September 2pm at The Children’s Bookshop Beecroft. A portion of sale proceeds on the day will also go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Hope to see you there!
Saturday, August 30, 2014
It's finally here...
Mrs T's Kooky Pants is now published, with my official launch being held at The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft on 20th September at 2pm (refer invitation for full details).
Proceeds from the sale of every copy of Mrs T's Kooky Pants will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), who have actually endorsed the book.
My Fantangle Designs artworks will also be on exhibition at the launch, with a portion of art sale proceeds going towards breast cancer research.
It all seemed a little surreal that I'm finally a published author, until being notified by my publisher, eTV Publishing, that online sales of my book have already reached '53 books sold' as at today! I feel so honoured that people are buying my book!
Here's what my publisher and the NBCF say:
“Mrs T’s Kooky Pants is an engaging and vibrant story suitable for younger readers, that tells a valuable lesson in an interesting and entertaining format. With themes including cancer, death, acceptance and learning how to move on, it is a story that will connect with children and allow them to understand some of the more unpleasant aspects of life in a supportive format.” eTV Publishing
“For many years Jennifer has helped people from all walks of life understand more about breast cancer by sharing her own personal story as a National Breast Cancer Foundation speaker. Jennifer has now drawn on her own experience to help explain cancer to children through Mrs T’s Kooky Pants. Mrs T’s Kooky Pants is a beautiful tool to fulfil an unmet need - for teachers and parents with young children, how to communicate the reality of cancer in an age-appropriate way.” Carol Renouf – CEO, National Breast Cancer Foundation
“Cancer comes with a myriad of challenges. But perhaps one of the greatest is communicating this to our loved ones, especially children. Research tells us that communicating to children about what is happening with family members can really help to reduce their anxiety. Jennifer has used her own experience with breast cancer to help young children better understand cancer.” Dr Alison Butt – Head of Research, National Breast Cancer FoundationHere's what the lovely Jackie Hawkes, Children's Book Council of Australia NSW Inc. Committee Member, iRead Editor and Teacher Librarian, says:
"Wow Jennifer, what a beautiful book. Absolutely full of your own kindness and energy! I didn't realise it was part of a personal journey. We can't ignore cancer, but it seems we CAN move on from it.
You have really captured the essential qualities of what teaching is about - helping kids become positive and caring so that they do cope with personal snags along the way and giving them a support base for when big issues become part of their lives. Ready to go because "every day is a new day and a chance to start again." The soft and subtle pictures contribute to the gentleness of the story.
There has to be a lot of you in Mrs T. I just get the feeling that you are great plus with your kids. Writing can make you feel very vulnerable, but words and ideas just need to be out there to share with the broader world."
"Jennifer Reid's personal experience of grief has been channeled into a sweet, gentle tale to help children discuss and understand the sadness of loss."If you're in town, I'd love to see you at my book launch on 20th September. If you can't make it and you happen to be one of the 53 people who have already purchased my book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Feel free to write a review on Amazon or my Facebook page.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation's aspirational goal is for zero breast cancer deaths by 2030 ... gathering interest in my book is my way of continuing my ongoing support of this goal, so please help me spread the word.
(Free Download - Teachers' Notes for Mrs T's Kooky Pants)
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
As I felt the stones beneath my shoes and looked down, I couldn't quite believe I was there.
Walking on the same ground my parents and grandparents had played on as kids.
The exact road my mother, wearing a white dress and flowers in her hair, rode on her father's donkey to meet her love (my father)...who was eagerly awaiting the love of his life to marry her.
I couldn't believe I was actually walking on the same soil and stones that were part of the very life and labour of my grandparents and their parents before them.
I could hear with my own ears, the church bells that my ancestors heard.
I watched the same sun rise and set in the distance...and gasped each time I witnessed a soft blanket of clouds mysteriously covering the twinkling lights of the village below, ready to fall asleep for the night.
At every moment, I was completely stricken with a myriad of emotions.
Thankfulness, sadness, jubilation, love.
But to all those newfound family and friends around me, I was simply a traveler checking out the place.
Did they not know that I was a writer in search of my history?
Did they not know that I was the daughter of those great men and women who went before me...whom I greatly loved (even those I had never actually met)?
Did they not know that I had an inexplicable love for a land I had never before set foot on?
Did they not know what I had been through to get here?
Nope, they didn't know.
They knew only what they could see.
A curious, carefree girl checking out their humble hometown.
The breathtaking views they'd seen every day of their lives.
The majesty of the cedars, olive orchards and grapevines they'd witnessed on a regular basis.
The harvesting of fruit and vegetables that was their labour, not just a novelty...the fresh organic produce they ate daily.
And I noticed them gaze into each other's eyes each day. With love yes, but also a familiarity. Perhaps they don't know, as I do, that today could be the very last day they get to look into one another's magnificent eyes.
Or perhaps they know it better than I.
Maybe that's why they live much less complex lives than ours.
Maybe that's why some choose to live and die in their beautiful mountain village home.
Maybe that's why they hold on to a faith, deeper than I've ever known, as though it is as vital as the air they breathe.
I loved Lebanon before I ever set eyes on it.
I loved Lebanon when I eventually trod on its soil.
And now, I love Lebanon more and more....
...knowing that I may never have the privilege of stepping on its holy soil again, may never harvest and eat of its nutritious produce, and may never look into the beautiful eyes of my beloved family there....
Lebanon will be in my heart forever!
Sunday, June 1, 2014
This advice is pure gold to me. Thought I'd share it in case someone else out there is stumped about how to go about their research adventure. But what a great problem to have, don't you think?!
Alla mahkoun (meaning God be with you/a Lebanese farewell)
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014
These holidays have been very productive. I've revamped my art studio...
I entered a Digital Fabrics design competition...
I've read some awesome books, including this gorgeous New York love story by amazing author/illustrator Gus Gordon...
And I've been writing...maybe not what I should be writing, but any writing is better than no writing, don't you agree? I was recently featured on fabulous author, Julie Hedlund's blog, and was blown away by the love and encouragement sent to me through cyberspace via that post. Thought I'd share it here.
This is a special Tuesday 12 x 12 post, and NOT because it’s being posted on Wednesday (result of jet lag). No, today’s post from author Jennifer Reid is special because it reminded me of everything that is important in life while also underscoring why we need to give ourselves permission (TODAY) to create. We must OWN the fact that we are writers, illustrators, poets, artists, creators. Even better if we can support each other along the way. I won’t say anything more so as to allow this post to unfold for you in the way it did for me. Please welcome Jennifer.
April 30, 2014 at 9:33 am
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Well, you get what I mean, don't you? C'mon then...if you don't know what I mean, it's obviously been way too long since you've read a picture book!!
I recently had the privilege of attending a Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) event, along with many other children's book lovers, so I'm not loony after all... heaps of other clever adults love picture books!
Anyway, it was the CBCA “anticipate, appreciate, applaud” event, where the 2014 list of Notable Books and the Short List for the 2014 Children’s Book of the Year Awards were announced.
What did I do there?
- Mingled with authors, illustrators, publishers, other teachers, teacher-librarians, and fellow book-lovers.
- “Anticipated” the Short List with a panel of experts who shared their personal choices before the announcement.
- “Appreciated” the wonderful array of Australian children’s literature.
- “Applauded” the authors and illustrators whose books have been chosen for the 2014 Notable Book List and the Short List.
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” C.S. Lewis
- It’s all about EMOTION!
- There is such beauty in words!
- In picture books, every element of text and pictures should work together to enhance the emotion in a story.
|Illustration by Tony Flowers, which he cleverly created on the day|
- "To fully appreciate a story, we should read with our heart first"…this is a great lesson to teach our kids, from the amazing Mem Fox.
- Book Week dates: 16-22 August 2014
- “Connect to Reading/Reading to Connect” - I think the theme of Book Week this year is very exciting… encouraging connections between:
- Australian Curriculum definition of literature...
“The Literature strand aims to engage students in the study of literary texts of personal, cultural, social and aesthetic value. These texts include some that are recognised as having enduring social and artistic value and some that attract contemporary attention. Texts are chosen because they are judged to have potential for enriching the lives of students, expanding the scope of their experience, and because they represent effective and interesting features of form and style. Learning to appreciate literary texts and to create their own literary texts enriches students’ understanding of human experiences and the capacity for language to deepen those experiences. It builds students’ knowledge about how language can be used for aesthetic ends, to create particular emotional, intellectual or philosophical effects.”
- The NSW Syllabus definition, which is not as joyful...
“In this syllabus, the study of a wide range of texts is central to the study of English. This includes the study of texts which are widely regarded as quality literature, providing students with the opportunity for aesthetic experience and to develop an appreciation of the artistic expression found in texts.In the primary years of schooling, the study of text types, as part of a broader study of texts, is intended to facilitate student literacy skills and help to establish knowledge about the purpose and audience, structures and language features of a broader range of texts.”
- What Gail Erskine (President CBCA NSW Branch) thinks:
“When teachers are looking at selecting books, we need to see if quality literature will fit into the relevant categories/cross-curriculum priorities of the syllabus; not just buy any book that will fit into that category. Let’s choose quality that will inspire children to understand why these priorities are important.”
“The new curriculum also looks at developing General Capabilities. And literature is just amazing because we can tick off every single one of these general capabilities by reading a quality children’s book.”
“Students become literate as they develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently for learning and communicating in and out of school and for participating effectively in society. Literacy involves students in listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts.”
“Literature is not just about a story, it is about life and one’s world. It can act as a mirror to enable readers to reflect on life’s problems and circumstances; a source of knowledge; a means to peer into the past, and the future; a vehicle to other places; a means to reflect on inner struggles; an introduction to the realities of life and death; and a vehicle for the raising and discussion of social issues…literature offers ‘endless possibilities’ for readers to explore their world and learn from it, to enter ‘other worlds’ and to engage in meaning making.” (Cairney, T.H. (1995). Pathways to Literacy. London: Cassell, pp. 77-78)
I believe there’s nothing quite like holding a quality book in your hands.
If you've read “It’s a Book” by Lane Smith, you’ll know exactly what I mean! If you haven’t read it yet, watch this…