Click Image Above to Read Jena’s guest article for Peter Dewitt’s “Finding Common Ground” blog on Education Week.
Click on the image above or HERE to hear the interview
Click HERE to read
an insightful and thought provoking review of The Not Perfect Hat Club by Jennifer Badr of That One Creative Studio. And don’t forget to stop by her site to see the amazing work she does: http://www.thatonecreativestudio.com/
Read Jena’s guest post on Champagne and Cheerios
Exploring the Myth of Perfection – An Interview for Evolutionary Woman Radio
Pioneering Worldwide Project Tackles the Perils of Perfection
Global blogging challenge seeks to debunk the myth of perfection by bringing students from around the world together to read and explore The Not Perfect Hat Club
“Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s always best to be you.” – from The Not Perfect Hat Club theme song by Jena Ball
Cary, NC (November 12, 2015) — “Helllloooooo!” That’s the sound of children’s book author/illustrator, Jena Ball, the creator of a new children’s project called “NPHCBlogIt,” welcoming 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students in Hong Kong, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Auckland and Lompoc, California to her virtual clubhouse. The response is instantaneous, jubilant and earthshaking in more than one sense.
“Helllloooooo!” the children reply, shaking the windows of their classroom with joyous shouts. They’re here to not only read the next chapter of a book that is reshaping how they see and relate to one another, but engage with Ms. Jenaia, the wise and whimsical main character in that book.
“When Jena arrives dressed as Ms. Jenaia, in her baggy overalls and floppy green hat, the kids feel like she’s stepped right out of the book and into their classroom,” says Marty Keltz, the Emmy award-winning producer of such celebrated children’s programs as The Magic School Bus andGoosebumps. “She’s living, breathing proof that there’s magic in the world, and she’s there to help them find and express that magic in themselves.”
Based on Ball’s latest book, The Not Perfect Hat Club, NPHCBlogIt is the result of a collaboration between Ball and Beverly Ladd, a 2nd grade teacher in Wilmington, NC. The project was originally conceived as a way for teachers and their students to connect and discuss the messages in the book through their blogs. However, as classrooms began gathering for live readings with Ball, and started posting their artwork, videos and photos to social media, it became clear that something much bigger was afoot.
“In my 45 years in education, I’ve never seen this kind of global engagement,” says Keltz.
“Thank you Jena Ball. You have offered an unforgettable experience to our students! Congratulations!” – Viviana Lopez, 5th grade teacher, Buenos Aires, Argentina
“I never expected this to be so fabulous!” says 5th grade teacher, Susan Wallace, New York
“It is so exciting to connect and share with so many great educators across the globe and see the amazing things they are doing.” – Brian Host, 2nd grade teacher, Sydney, Australia
But perhaps the most telling comments are coming from teachers who are deeply concerned about their students’ responses to the first NPHCBlogIt question. “Before we read the story, the students were asked to brainstorm what came to mind when they heard the words, ‘Not Perfect,’ wrote second grade teacher, Terry Stoufer on her own blog. “Here are some of my 2nd graders’ words: ‘Messed up, bad, wrong, horrible, mad, mean, not neat, try harder, work better, angry, and not great.’ These are just a few, but you only need a few to reveal their hearts and souls. My own heart sank and my soul was heavy…. So much to undo from their hearts and minds already!”
Far from being surprised by Stoufer’s post, Ball says it is words like these that motivated her to write The Not Perfect Hat Club in the first place. “Children must be helped to understand that perfect isn’t possible and their job is not to compete and compare themselves to others, but to find and celebrate what makes them unique,” she says.
Christina Luce, a 3rd grade teacher at Nate Perry Elementary School in New York, whose school has taken part in The Not Perfect Hat Club programs from the start agrees, saying, “I am excited to see this project unfold both as an educator, and as a mom. I want our children to know that learning is messy, and that while striving to do one’s best is important, perfection is not.”
Now in the second of five weeks, NPHCBlogIt will conclude with a final celebration on December 7th. In the meantime, teachers and students are gathering daily to share Tweets, comment on one another’s blogs and visit virtually via Skype and Google Hangouts.
To learn more about NPHCBlogIt, attend one of the live readings, and watch the conversations unfold on Twitter and the students’ blogs, follow these links:
All About NPHCBlogIt: http://nphcblogit.com/how-it-
Twitter Live Stream: #NPHCBlogIt
NPHCBlogIt Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/
For More Information About the Book and Author: http://notperfecthatclub.com/
— Anna (@dothinkeducate) October 8, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Children’s Book Tackles the Perils of Perfection on a Global Scale
The Not Perfect Hat Club book will bring students from around the world to read,
discuss and collaborate on multimedia stories about what it means to be not perfect
Wilmington, North Carolina, September 15, 2015 – On September 23, 2015, recovering perfectionist and children’s book author, Jena Ball, will launch a new book celebrating what makes each of us perfectly not perfect.
Entitled The Not Perfect Hat Club, the book revolves around the story of a purebred show dog, a skateboarding slam poet, and a Mozart obsessed violinist who are befriended by a retired teacher turned dog trainer named Ms. Jenaia. Loosely based on the author, who dresses as the character when she visits classrooms, Ms. Jenaia sees the world through the eyes of both humans and dogs, acting as a bridge between the two worlds. “I love putting on Ms. Jenaia’s overalls, stuffing my pockets with poop bags and dogs treats, and jumping feet first into the story with the kids,” says Ball. “We read, do all the sound effects and take turns playing the different characters. It’s a great way for the kids to experience empathy and learn to appreciate differences.”
The Not Perfect Hat Club will make its official debut at Pine Valley Elementary School in Wilmington, North Carolina on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm. Ball will not only read to the school’s 500+ students, but welcome students and teachers from classrooms around the world via Skype as well. “The message Jena has to share is universal,” says Beverly Ladd, the teacher who connected with and brought Ball to the school. “We wanted students everywhere to understand that perfect is not an option, and learn to love what makes them special.”
The international theme of the September 23rd event is just the start of a global campaign (NPHCBlogI) to bring The Not Perfect Hat Club story and related multimedia programs to classrooms around the world. “When Beverly Ladd came to us with the idea of using The Not Perfect Hat Club book as the basis for a worldwide blogging challenge, we thought it was a terrific idea,” says Marty Keltz, the Emmy award winning producer of The Magic School Bus. “The pressure many students feel to be perfect has been in the news a lot recently, and The Not Perfect Hat Club is an ideal way to address the issue for elementary school children.”
To date, NPHCBlogIt has more than 80 classes from 11 countries signed up to participate, with more expected to register as the start date gets closer. “Using technology to take down the walls of classrooms so that kids can learn from and share their stories with one another has been a long-term dream for me,” says Ball. “I can hardly wait to see what the kids come up with.”
To learn more about NPHCBlogIt, the events planned for the launch, or to schedule an interview with Jena Ball, Beverly Ladd or Marty Keltz please contact
Jena Ball: JenaBall@CritterKin.com, Phone: 919-615-0666
BeverlyLad: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: Phone: 919-233-0170
Marty Keltz: MartyKeltz@CritterKin.com, Phone: 416-587-3381
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.
A teacher at heart, Keltz visits classrooms with CritterKin co-founder Jena Ball via Skype and Google Hangouts, is a frequent co-moderator of Twitter EdChats and attends both live and virtual EdCamps and conferences. He lives in Toronto.
AussieEd Storify #1 and #2
Read this wonderful challenge by Christina Luce, global teacher exctraordinaire in New York as she talks about three ways to take down walls and give students a chance to collaborate with their peers around the world: http://ccsdslc.weebly.com/challenge-pages
Wonderful #WhatisSchool Edchat on Twitter – The Perils of Perfection: http://bit.ly/1QlubtU
CritterKin in the News at Nate Perry!
Click HERE or on Image above to see the News Clip
Read the complete piece here by clicking on the link below:
The ELLEN Show Features the NPHC’s First Kid Blogger
We’re excited to report that Not Perfect Hat Club member, Rylee Keehn, has been featured on the ELLEN show’s website! The article is based on the blog Rylee wrote for the Not Perfect Hat Club’s Kid Blog on February 26, 2015. Entitled, “You Can Only be Perfect at Being Yourself,” the blog talks about the importance of seeing yourself as awesome, as opposed to perfect, and tells the story of Rylee’s new project – making clothes for homeless dogs.
We could not be happier that the Not Perfect Hat Club has begun its global journey via the ELLEN show. Helping children understand that no one is perfect, and to think of themselves as awesome, is at the heart of the Not Perfect Hat Club mission. We want every kid to have a place to hang a hat and give them entertaining and fun ways to explore differences and learn empathy, compassion and kindness. Click the link to see the article on The ELLEN Show website: http://www.ellentv.com/2015/03/04/third-grader-finds-perfect-way-to-help-rescue-dogs/
To read more about the project and see additional press, follow these links:
“NEH Third-grader’s Project, Blog Capture National Attention” by Teresa Wood of The Daily Freeman Journal: http://bit.ly/1LxtZcS
“Perfect Not Perfect x 18″ by Jena Ball http://wp.me/p5CFVj-iP
“Consciously Kind” by Jena Ball http://wp.me/p5CFVj-ih
Not Perfect Hat Club Celebrated in NY
There’s nothing quite so rewarding as seeing the results of your hard work and dreams reflected in the smiles of kids. Today, the very first official Not Perfect Hat Club launched in Whitehall, New York as Deb Aubin’s 12 “Special Ed” kids proved once again that they are VERY special indeed. Watch this amazing video that aired on CBS 6 news in Albany, New York. Then read the inspirational story that appeared in the PostStar, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.
Special Ed Students in Whitehall, New York Champion the
“Not Perfect Hat Club” Campaign – A Place for Every Kid to Hang a Hat!
A School-wide Event – “Not Perfect Hat Club Day” – on February 6, 2015
Will Raise Funds to Support the Global Campaign
(Whitehall, New York, January 26, 2015)— “It’s awesome to see ‘my kids’ at the forefront of this campaign,” says Deb Aubin, M. Ed, a teacher at the Whitehall Junior-Senior High School in Upstate New York, and her class of twelve special needs students are spearheading a Not Perfect Hat Club (NPHC) Day. Planned for February 6, 2015 (87 Buckley Rd., Whitehall, NY), the students are raising funds to help bring the Not Perfect Hat Club message, book and song – created by popular CritterKin author and illustrator Jena Ball – to kids around the world.
Welcome to the World of Not Perfect Hats
The NPHC grew out of visits by author Jena Ball to classes with elementary and middle school children across North America (in-person and via Skype and Google Hangouts ) during which the kids repeatedly said negative things about their work. “The kids were so hard on themselves,” says Ball. “They would say things like, ‘I can’t draw,’ or ‘my picture is ugly.’ I realized we needed to find a way to help kids set their judgments aside; to trust themselves and the creative process.”
In what she refers to as a perfectly Not Perfect moment, Ball held up her hands and called, “Time out!” during a visit with a group of particularly self-critical third graders. She asked the kids to put down their pencils and imagine putting on their Not Perfect Hats. “Whenever we’re wearing our Not Perfect Hats,” she said, “it’s okay to make mistakes. Our goal is to experiment, have fun and decide what’s perfect for us.”
The concept of being perfectly Not Perfect is at the heart of the NPHC project. “Everyone needs to acknowledge that perfect is not an option and that each of us is unique in terms of how we learn and what we have to contribute to the world,” says Ball. “In my new book, The Not Perfect Hat Club, each of the characters faces a ‘Not Perfect’ challenge that can only be solved by accepting help from others and admitting that perfect isn’t possible.”
Not Perfect Hat Club Day at the Whitehall, NY School
The 7th and 8th grade students in Deb Aubin’s special needs class collaborated with her to create the Not Perfect Hat Club Day at their school. Rather than purchasing hats, the class decided to make and sell hats as part of their fundraising campaign. “The design they developed is charming and simple to make,” Aubin says, “and the kids feel good about being able to raise money to support the club.” They will be selling the hats for a week prior to the event, and every student who contributes a $1 to the campaign can wear a hat to school on Not Perfect Hat Club Day!
In addition to their hat making activities, Aubin’s class has created a large, NPHC bulletin board (where students will have their photos taken wearing their Not Perfect Hats), designed promotional flyers and posters, written morning announcements, and planned a hat judging contest for the February 6th event.
The Global Classroom Project
The NPHC campaign was launched in conjunction with the 2015 Global Classroom Project, an initiative begun five years ago with a goal of empowering teachers to connect, learn, share, collaborate, and lead – globally. The NPHC project includes the book, interactive, project based learning activities for teachers and schools, Not Perfect Hat Club events and a global “NPHC Sing Along.”
“Our goals are simple,” says Ball, “give every kid a place to hang a hat by starting Not Perfect Hat Clubs around the world. The clubs will be a place for kids to be creative, celebrate differences and learn that the world is full of wonderful people who are ALL uniquely and perfectly Not Perfect.”
About CritterKin and The Not Perfect Hat Club
CritterKin is a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Jena Ball. The books are designed to teach children that animals (critters are family (kin).
Currently, there are three books in the CritterKin series: Meet the Mutts, Poco a Poco (Little by Little) and Lead With Your Heart. Fundamental to the CritterKin mission is the belief that emotional education is as important as any intellectual skills we can teach. Children need opportunities to experience and practice empathy, compassion and respect in order to develop into caring responsible adults.
CritterKin’s “Not Perfect Hat Club” is an engaging, entertaining and delightfully playful way to teach kids that perfection is not an option. The project began with the idea for an illustrated storybook by Jena Ball, and has grown into a project to include teaching materials and outreach tools with the goal of making them available to teachers and kids around the world. Visit the website to learn more and join the club! www.notperfecthatclub.com
AussieEd Storify #1 and #2
For More Information, contact: