Kindness in the Classroom Giveaway: Toast Sticks and Teaching

Mama Bell Frampton and Freddie Rogers, as depicted by Matt Phelan

Mama Bell Frampton was a neighbor of the young Fred Rogers. Fred describes with fondness his visits to her home. Time and again, she welcomed him with a cheery greeting and the gift of a simple offering:  buttered toast. What’s more, she showed young Freddie how to make “toast sticks” all by himself. She had no way of knowing how deeply her everyday kindness would affect her young neighbor.

Mama Bell Frampton’s consistent, caring presence helped to form Fred’s vision of a healthy neighborhood—a place where all were welcomed and encouraged to grow. That sense of connection and warmth pervaded the television program that would bring Mr. Rogers into the homes and hearts of countless families over the decades it was on the air.

Fred recognized the transformative power of those who care for children, calling them his heroes. As a former teacher, I honor the vital work of educators. I’m cheering you on as you create communities that recognize the dignity of the students in your care. In honor of World Kindness Day, which is recognized on November 13th, I want to celebrate Kindness in the Classroom.

You Are My Friend cover

I am holding a giveaway for a special prize pack. It will include an online author visit and a signed copy of You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood as well as postcards and temporary tattoos featuring art from the book for every student in the winning teacher’s class.

If you are a teacher, you can enter the draw in four ways:

(1) comment on this blog post,

(2) comment on and share the corresponding World Kindness Day Classroom Giveaway post on my Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/aimeereidbooks/,

(3) tag me on Twitter (@aimeereidbooks) and use the hashtags #WorldKindnessDay and #teaching, and

(4) tag me on Instagram (@aimeereidbooks), using the hashtags #WorldKindnessDay and #teaching. Each of the four options will give you an entry.  

I’ll hold a draw on Sunday, November 14th and be in touch with the recipient to find out how you’d like your book personalized and where you’d like me to send the book, postcards, and temporary tattoos. We’ll also set up a time for the online visit.  

All teachers who participate will receive a link for a downloadable booklet that expands on the themes in You Are My Friend and invites students to write or draw about their own uniqueness. I’d love to see pictures of the booklets your students create!

Special note: I’m also holding a separate giveaway of two signed books for individuals. Check out my blog post entitled World Kindness Day Giveaway: Neighbors, Helpers, and Everyday Goodness for those details. Teachers are welcome to enter both draws.

Spark-makers

As I’ve chatted with booksellers, teachers, and librarians over the past while, I’ve  been reminded of the incredible gift you offer each time you place a good book in the hands of a child.

Beginner Books from Random House
Beginner Books from Random House

When I was young, the small town where I lived had no bookstore. Fortunately for me, my family subscribed to the Beginner Books Club from Random House. I can still remember the feeling of anticipation that swept over me as I gripped a new brown package in my hands. I could hardly wait to smell that new book smell and turn the first pages.

The sparks those books struck ignited in me a long-lasting love of reading that has never been quenched. Sparks form when two objects connect in just the right way. I think they provide an apt metaphor for what happens when we place the right book in the hands of the right child at the right time.

File:Sparkler.JPG
from the Wikipedia Commons, photographer Gabriel Pollard

I still carry a sense of gratitude for the people who created those books and placed them in my hands. Someone wrote the words, perfected the font, and crafted the ad copy. Someone slid the books into their brown cardboard packages. Someone delivered them to my door. 

Now, as I enjoy those same books with my own children. I realize more deeply the power story has to connect us with one another. We truly are shaped by the stories we share. I can’t help but hope that my own book, Mama’s Day with Little Gray, will be similarly cherished. That it will remind the children and adults who read it together of all that is good and fun and nurturing about their relationships.

Little-Gray-Water-Image2
copyright Laura J. Bryant

Because, yes, milk spills. Laundry piles up. Cereal gets ground into the floor. There is strife in the world, but there is also tenderness and beauty and caring that transform ordinary moments into extraordinary memories of connection. 

I realize that you may never fully know just how the work you do will change people’s lives. Perhaps yesterday you sold a bug book to a future world-renowned biologist. Maybe tomorrow you will chat with the next Dr. Seuss. It’s possible that today you will recommend a book to a mom whose relationship with her child will be forever shaped by that story she’ll read night after night.

Aimee's phone May 10-2014 838
My basket of thank-you treats for booksellers at Random House

My wish for you is that you will feel a little of the joy and wonder that you create in the world as you foster connections that will brighten and warm people for generations to come.