Pine Valley Elementary School Site for Global Launch of New Book on 9/23
Students Skype™ and blog about their experiences with the new book
(Students in Mrs. Ladd’s class blog about their experiences as they read Jena Ball’s new book “The Not Perfect Hat Club.”)
Wilmington children’s book author and illustrator Jena Ball, the creator of the CritterKin series of books and programs designed to teach empathy, compassion and kindness, will debut her latest book, The Not Perfect Hat Club, on September 23, 2015 at Pine Valley Elementary School during assemblies held at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The Not Perfect Hat Club is the fourth in the CritterKin series and will be used as the basis for a global blogging challenge (NPHCBlogIt.com) starting November 2nd. The challenge, which will bring students in classrooms around the world together to read, discuss and write about the book, was co-created by Ball and Beverly Ladd, a second grade teacher at Pine Valley Elementary. Ladd, who is known for the innovative ways she uses technology to expose her students to new people, places and ideas approached Ball with the concept. “I loved the message Jena was sharing,” says Ladd, “and thought it would be a great book for kids to blog about.”
“If you have ever seen the look on a child’s face when she gets a comment from another student on the other side of the world,” Ladd adds, “then you’ll know why we’re doing NPHCBlogIt. That look is priceless. Our goal is to make that moment happen for as many kids as possible.”
The book, which revolves around the stories of three recovering perfectionists, is the result of dozens of visits with 2nd 3rd and 4th grade students over a two year-period. “Time and time again, kids told me their work was ugly, messed up, stupid or bad,” says Ball. “It was clear that even though they understood that no one is perfect, they still felt they were expected to be. I wrote The Not Perfect Hat Club as way to give kids stories and characters that reflect their struggles with perfection and show them they can only be perfect at being themselves.”
“What I liked about Beverly’s idea,” says CritterKin Co-founder Marty Keltz, the Emmy award winning producer of The Magic School Bus, “was it was simple, elegant and easy to scale. Blogging is a great way to empower students by connecting them with peers in other parts of the world and giving them a voice.”
As part of the official launch of the book, Ball will not only read, answer questions and sign books at the school, but spend time getting to know Ladd’s second graders as well. “Beverly’s classroom will be ground zero for the blogging challenge,” says Ball. “Her students are just the right age for the CritterKin stories and are comfortable using digital technologies. Working with them will help us fine tune the activities we have planned and iron out any technology issues before the challenge starts.”
To learn more about NPHCBlogIt, the events planned for the launch, or to schedule an interview with Jena Ball or Beverly Ladd please contact Jena Ball: JenaBall@CritterKin.com, Phone: 919-615-0666 or Beverly Ladd: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 919-233-0170.
About the Author
Jena Ball has been writing and illustrating stories since she was a horse obsessed eight year old begging her parents for a pony. When they flat out refused to even consider the idea, she drafted the family’s beagle-spaniel mix named Ginger as a stand in. “I could always count on Ginger’s sweet furry self to be there are the end of my bed each morning,” says Ball. “She was always happy to see me no matter what. That is the gift of animals – unconditional love.”
The CritterKin series of books is about a goofy pack of 8 mixed breed dogs and their leader Ms. Jenaia, and is loosely based on real dogs Ball has known. Her goal is to use stories to entertain and engage kids while evoking their natural empathy, compassion and kindness. Each book is told through the eyes of one of the dogs and is focused around a particular topic or theme.
About Beverly Ladd
Beverly Ladd teaches second grade for the New Hanover County Schools district in North Carolina. An experienced global educator, Beverly’s firsthand experience as a Skype Master teacher has shown her how global connections allow students to become more aware of their world and appreciate one another’s differences. Beverly completed a 24-hour Skype-a-thon this past March, the second of its kind in the world, and first of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere. Beverly is passionate about sharing and collaborating with teachers globally as well as integrating technology to extend learning and build relationships. blog: beverlyladd.wordpress.com Twitter: @bevladd
About Marty Keltz
Marty Keltz is the co-founder of the children’s media property, CritteKin. The foundation of the property is a series of books by Jena Ball designed to teach children kindness, empathy and compassion. An Emmy award-winning producer, Keltz co-founded and was President of Scholastic Productions, Inc. (1978-1995) and the Senior Vice-President of New Media at Scholastic Inc. He led the teams that created over 300 hours of television programming, including The Magic School Bus and Goosebumps, and was an executive producer for The Indian in the Cupboard and The Baby-sitters Club feature films.