Good sportsmanship

Good Sportsmanship:

More Than Just Lip Service

What is good sportsmanship? Is it congratulating your opponent? Accepting wins or losses with equal grace? Ensuring that none of your equipment is under-inflated?

Those are good for starters, but true sportsmanship lies somewhere beyond. It is a knowing that ignores logic and conscious thought, prompting action without regard to accolades or criticism. Consider this moment from a track meet:

More than a mere gesture, such an act is a fine example of courage and kindness. It’s not an isolated incident, either. Crossing space and time to Australia in 1956 reveals another moment of selflessness:

Athletes are expected to do their best; this is another aspect of good sportsmanship. Sometimes that “best” means holding back and allowing another player to shine:

The truly powerful thing about good sportsmanship is its voice. More often a whisper than a roar, the little everyday moments of good sportsmanship echo for years, building upon all that is beautiful in humanity and assuring each of us that doing the right thing will one day become natural, rather than newsworthy.


Do you have an example of good sportsmanship to share with us? Relate it in the comment section; we’d love to hear your story!

San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Whoooooo do you turn to for the best in fun educational experiences? We’re not just fishing for answers here, because we’d be lion if we claimed not to know! The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is the place to go when you’re ready to learn about our amazing world.

Education happens at every age, which is why the San Francisco Zoo offers a full-family experience. Check out turtles with your toddlers and tigers with your teens; the zoo offers a variety of classes for kids aged eighteen months and up. For families, there are Wild Walks, scavenger hunts, and BikeAbouts. You can even check out the animal nightlife during an overnight camping adventure!

The staff members of the San Francisco Zoo know that people protect what they love. Once visitors fall in love with the resident creatures (who range from miniature to majestic), they’re given plenty of opportunities to learn about wildlife and habitat conservation. From local ideas to global actions, the San Francisco Zoo walks the walk.

Whether it’s through an in-person visit or a by-mail adoption, the San Francisco Zoo wants to share the world with you. When you put their conservation lessons into practice, you’ll help to share the world with future generations.

Sports Library

LA84 Foundation: An Olympic-Level Sports Library

When you qualify as an Olympic athlete, you count yourself among the best. It stands to reason, then, that the LA84 Foundation, a legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, operates one of the top sports research libraries in the world. The Foundation’s stated mission is “to serve youth through sport and to increase knowledge of sport and its impact on people’s lives.” To that end, the Foundation operates an enormous sports library and digital collection.

Offering access to more than two hundred thousand print volumes, photos, and digital items, the Sports Library provides information on nearly everything to do with professional and amateur sports and events. Though much of the material available relates to the Olympics, there is an extensive collection of periodicals and PDFs dealing with all levels of physical activity.

Thanks to efforts by the LA84 Foundation, more than three million boys and girls in Southern California have benefitted from increased sports programming, grants, coaching education, and other sports-related outreach programs. The Foundation examines the role—and impact—of sports in society. The information found in their sports library helps to further that research, and will hopefully inspire similar studies and collections around the world.

Whether you’re seeking the secret to coaching success or you just want to know who won the gold medal for Men’s 400m Freestyle Swimming in 1932, the LA84 Foundation and its amazing Sports Library will help you find the answers.

Do you have a future Olympian in your family? How have sports and physical activities made an impact in your life? Share your stories in the comment section!


25 Books and Movies for Teaching Kids Sportsmanship

This article was originally published on Tech Savvy Mama on February 21, 2014. Leticia has graciously allowed us to share this wonderfully informative post on books and movies to help cultivate good sports with all of our Little Pickle Press readers! What is your favorite classic sports flick?

We’ve been hooked on the Winter Olympics and have loved watching the games together for the conversations it’s inspired with my kids. We’ve talked about where the countries are that the different athletes represent, had discussions about perseverance through the human interest features that punctuate the coverage of the sports, and have watched what it means to be a good competitor as athletes that compete as individuals and teams congratulate each other whether they’re medal winners or not. With two kids who play sports, the Olympics provide inspiration and valuable lessons about teamwork and competition that can continue even after the closing ceremonies through age appropriate movies, shows, and books that convey the positive aspects of competition.

Fred Bowen All Star Sports Series

I had the opportunity to work with author, Fred Bowen, over the weekend. Those who live in the DC Area probably recognize him from his weekly KidsPost sports column in The Washington Post while those around the country know him for his All Star Sports series. Bowen’s books are written for kids ages 8-12 and weave in sports history to create fun and engaging reads. Boys and girls alike will enjoy any of his 19 titles even if they’re not sports fanatics.

Here’s a list of the books by sport along with a brief description of each of courtesy Fred Bowen’s website. Amazon affiliate links below will take you to the Amazon page where you can purchase the paperback or Kindle version. Our kids (ages 10 and 7) are reading Off the Rim and The Perfect Game and are already thinking of which titles to get next!





Sports Themed Movies for Elementary Ages

I love this age appropriate list from Netflix featuring content that can be streamed to inspire conversations about teamwork during our next family movie night. Parents and older teens will  enjoy The Fabulous Ice Age, a new documentary available only on Netflix that tells the never-before-told history of everyone’s favorite Olympic event, figure skating, along with these titles:

Movies to teach preschoolers teamwork and sportsmanship

Lessons can even be learned by preschoolers through these shows that teach teamwork with the help of favorite characters:

Fred Bowen gave my children autographed copies of his books but had no idea I’d be featuring them on my site in a post that was inspired as a Netflix Stream Team member. No compensation was received for my involvement and all opinions are my own. Images courtesy of Netflix and Fred Bowen.

Thank you so much to Leticia of Tech Savvy Mama for this informational post! You can read more on her blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.



Soccer Without Borders

“The Soccer Without Borders mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.”

I volunteered at Oakland International High School (OIHS) in Oakland, California throughout my undergraduate career. OIHS is unique because it a public school that caters to newly arrived immigrant and refugee students. At any given time, there may be up to 33 languages being spoken in a classroom. School for this underserved population is not easy, but I distinctly remember that soccer was always an outlet for these students. For some students, the promise of playing on the field was the reason they came to school and kept up their grades. Imagine my surprise when I ran into the founder of that soccer program at a recent leadership event in Berkeley!

I got to sit down with Ben Gucciardi, the Founder and Oakland Director of Soccer Without Borders, right after his return from the White House after being named the World Refugee Day Champion of Change. Ben plays ball, too. He captained the Lehigh Men’s Soccer Team, a D1 team, and played two seasons with the San Francisco Seals of the USL. While earning his Master’s in Education, Ben discovered that sports and education went hand-in-hand and it just “felt natural” to combine his two passions. Why soccer? For Ben, soccer is a universal language that everyone speaks. “When it comes to marginalized populations such as refugees, soccer offers an accessible, familiar space to build friendships and social capital, gain confidence, experience success, acclimate to new surroundings, and heal.”


There are over 10 programs throughout the world, including sites in Oakland, Baltimore, Boston, Uganda, and Nicaragua. SWB programs are community-based and -centered; they are staffed by community members and supported by the program. Besides soccer, its adaptable framework incorporates educational support, civic engagement, team building, and cultural exchange as fundamental activities. 100% of participants are learning English and 70% are refugees or asylees.

Ben explains that the power of sports lies behind its ability to capture people’s attention. Ben views it as an opportunity to connect with young people who may not be otherwise engaged by or successful in school. He advises harnessing that interest to involve more academic engagement, and that is exactly what I saw at OIHS. It brings people together and has inherent life lessons. Sports have “so much potential to teach things that aren’t always traditionally ‘teachable’.”

Ben firmly believes that coaches should be teaching sportsmanship instead of focusing on winning or the outcome of the game (“which nobody remembers anyway!”), especially at the youth level. Therein likes a huge opportunity for coaches to make the culture of the team where people can learn valuable lessons, like respect and controlling anger, and build stronger communities. That’s the point of a coach’s work.

SWB was born because Ben saw a lack in: safe spaces where young people feel cared for, have a voice and can experience the joy of sport, of opportunity for youth to actively explore social issues and community challenges, and social capital and access to potential opportunities for education, employment and personal growth.

The biggest challenge of running an international non-profit sport’s program? “Funding!” Even with limited resources, Ben explains the importance of having a dedicated staff over a long period of time that can guarantee consistent and meaningful engagement with young people. Ben also acknowledges the added difficulty of dealing with cultural norms towards women in sports. To combat this, Ben encourages participation from all students and works on campaigns to include girls in sports. #AllGirlsCanPlay is a campaign that encourages girls’ participation in sports education throughout the world. Over 3,500 girls have participated in activities directly led by SWB across 9 countries on 3 continents, many playing for the first time, and 57% of local coaches at SWB Nicaragua are women, 75% of whom are former participants.

Ben and his team even work with our featured B Corp this month, One World Play Project.

So what’s next for Soccer Without Borders? “A bunch of upcoming summer programs across the U.S.” and plans to continue growing and expanding throughout the world.

SWB will be celebrating their tenth anniversary next year! To get involved, find a team in your community, or wish them a happy tenth, visit:

If you aren’t already, follow them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Better than You

Better than You:

First Friday Book Review

We’ve all had that one “friend.” You know who. The one who does (or seems to do) everything better and faster, no matter how hard we try.

And then they rub our noses in it.

Tyler knows all about friends like that; his neighbor, Jake, is better at pretty much everything, and never misses and opportunity to remind Tyler.

Tyler learns to do a layup? Jake immediately shows him a cooler shot. Tyler struggles with a math test? Jake boasts about his higher score. When even simple activities are turned into competitions, Tyler loses the urge to try.

Until …

Better than You, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Adam Gustavson, is achingly familiar to anyone who has ever been in Tyler’s shoes. The story (with its surprising, thoughtful conclusion) is told in simple, honest language, with a lesson easily absorbed by readers of all ages. The artwork is beautiful and expressive, lending even more depth to the characters and situations.

As Little Pickle Press explores the subject of good sportsmanship, the lessons and themes from Better than You will surface often. Were you a Tyler in school, or a Jake? We invite you to share your own stories with us.

Good sportsmanship

7 Ground Rules of Good Sportsmanship

The advantage of marrying a musician is that musicians don’t really care enough about professional sports to lose every weekend to a giant television screen. For years, that’s proved true. Sure, my husband tuned in when the Red Sox had enough wins to make it count, or when the Patriots were on their way to the Big Game.

But the rest of the season? Not so much.

This year, everything changed. Our 6-year-old car-loving, piano-playing introverted son suddenly took an interest in football. Given that we are New Englanders living in Los Angeles, he quickly took on the role of super fan for the Patriots. So you can imagine the excitement leading up to the Super Bowl.

I won’t lie: our son looks cute in his Brady shirt. He jumps up and down when the score looks good and gets tears in his eyes when the chips are down. More often than not, I pull him away from the emotional roller coaster and update him on the scores later. Being a super fan is emotionally taxing at best.

The biggest problem I found during this football season, however, was not the emotions on game day. The biggest problem was a complete lack of sportsmanship. I’m not talking about the fallout from the annoyingly titled “deflategate” or even the taunts during and after the game on both sides (though, please, Tom Brady, lead your team to the high road next time). I’m talking about the behavior I witnessed from kids and adults leading up to and following Super Bowl Sunday.

Yes, we are Patriots fans living in hostile territory. And, no, I don’t follow the backstory closely enough to understand why some people have such a strong dislike for the Patriots. What I do know for certain, however, is that good sportsmanship begins at home. Whether you coach your child’s team or expose them to professional sports on the weekends, you provide that first glimpse into what it means to be a good sport. That first glimpse sets the stage for how your child will behave in the future.

My kids wore their Patriots shirts to school the day after the Super Bowl. More than anything else, they want others to understand them, to know that although they were both born in Santa Monica, they think of Connecticut as home. The truth is, they split their time on both coasts, and their Connecticut roots are important to them.

They were greeted with poor sportsmanship that day. Other kids yelled, “The Patriots are cheaters! They deflate footballs!” Or, “The Patriots still stink!” My kids were shocked. It wouldn’t occur to them to say anything like that to another person.

They were also a little bit hurt.

As I responded with kind words and assured my kids that the Patriots played their best on Sunday, it occurred to me that it might be time for a little kindergarten refresher on what it means to be a good sport. Let’s review:

  1. Always be friendly

You don’t have to be friends with every person you encounter, but you should be friendly. Smile. Give a compliment. Start a conversation. Sometimes in life we find friends in unlikely places. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a lifelong friendship because you were too competitive to stop and say hi, would you?

  1. Use kind words

Words are powerful. Words can heal suffering. But words can also cause great harm. It’s important to choose your words carefully and mean what you say. Never use unkind words in the heat of emotion; you will only regret it later.

  1. Make good choices

It’s hard to lose. It’s hard to fail. And it’s even hard when a team you’re rooting for comes up short. The difference between good sports and poor sports is how they handle both the win and the loss.

Always hold your head up high and choose to be kind, no matter the outcome.

  1. Play fair

Cheating isn’t fair. Calling a timeout in the middle of a game of tag isn’t the right thing to do, even if you really, really don’t want to be tagged.

Playing fair shows others that you respect and care about them.

  1. Keep your hands to yourself

Hitting isn’t nice and violence is never the answer. Learn to cope with your frustration so that you can play without hitting, pushing, tripping or bullying.

  1. Take responsibility for your actions

We all make less than perfect choices at times. That’s human nature. Sometimes we let competition get in the way of friendship. Other times we lash out in frustration. Take responsibility for your actions. Apologize for your mistakes. Be forgiving when others apologize for theirs.

  1. Show empathy for others

In sports and in life, we all work hard. We all face both disappointment and success at times. Have empathy for others. Show them that you understand with your words and your actions. Be the kind of person who makes the world a friendlier place.

Good sportsmanship doesn’t happen overnight. It requires patience and frequent conversations. While I wish that our highly paid professional athletes would choose to be role models of good sportsmanship, the truth is that being a good sport begins at home.

It’s on us, fellow parents. We can do this.

Katie Hurley, LCSW, is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, writer and speaker in Los Angeles, CA. Katie earned her BA in psychology and women’s studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania.  Katie’s work can be found in several online parenting publications, including, Everyday Family, Momtastic, and The Huffington Post.  Katie is the author of “The Happy Kid Handbook:  How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World.” (Tarcher/Penguin) We’re grateful to Katie for allowing us to share this post.


One World Play

One World Play Project:

Featured B Corporation of the Month

When I met Tim and Arnold, two big players behind One World Play Project, at the B Corp conference this past April (The company received an Edison award shortly afterwards—congratulations!), I was blown away by the sportsmanship they displayed during a presentation on small business ethics. They were team players: supportive, encouraging, and respectful. While we usually talk about sportsmanship within the context of sports, sportsmanship is a character trait that transcends fields, pitches, or arenas. Being a good sport is not about being a talented player; it is a valuable character trait that is cultivated through the act of play and helps us in every aspect of our life. One World Play Project exemplifies sportsmanship in every avenue of its business practice and cultivates sportsmanship in communities across the globe.

One World Play

It started with a simple concept: A ball. But not just any ball: the world’s first ultra-durable ball. “The One World Futbol is a simple yet major breakthrough in technology, dramatically improving the ability for children to play soccer among other activities. Unlike traditional balls, the One World Futbol never needs a pump and will never go flat even when punctured. It is made from unique (proprietary) cross-linked, closed cell foam that enables the ball to withstand harsh environments without wearing out, providing endless play where a standard football could not.” They began as One World Futbol Project in 2010 and have since expanded into One World Play Project. They make, sell, and distribute their innovative futbols and cricket balls.

Buy One, Give One: With your purchase of a One World Futbol, another One World Futbol is donated to a campaign of your choosing, including All Girls Can Play and Ethiopia Reads. You can also choose to simply give a ball, or purchase in bulk. You can even start your own campaign and raise One World Futbol donations for your own organization or another group that may need balls.

One Wold Play

Of sportsmanship: “Play is in our DNA—a need as important as food, medicine and shelter. It’s an intrinsic part of our lives, regardless of geography or culture, and through play we become stronger individuals, build better communities and create a more positive future.”

What is the power of play? “Play empowers and connects us. It enables hope, opportunity and optimism. To us, there is nothing more essential than play. Play doesn’t just belong on the schoolyard—it heals and rebuilds communities devastated by war, disaster, disease and poverty. Through play we help individuals and communities thrive and transform themselves and the world.”

In addition to play, giving makes up the backbone of sportsmanship— and the company. One World Play Project has partnered with thousands of nonprofits, community-based organizations and agencies worldwide to distribute One World Futbols. One World Play Project distributes their balls to organizations to be used as a shared resource accessible to the whole community. They carefully select communities with the greatest need that offer the greatest impact that are open to all, regardless of gender, race or political or religious affiliation.

They’ve changed the ball; now they’re changing the game.

Tell One World Play Project what play means to you on social media using #PlayIs. You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


A Call for Manuscript Submissions,

Especially Middle Grade and YA Novels

One of the professional highlights for me each year is attending the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA. This year, I have the added privilege of being on the faculty and speaking on a panel moderated by my dear friend, co-author, and editor, Emma D. Dryden—SMALL PRESSES: THOUGH THEY BE SMALL, THEY BE FIERCE. Be sure to follow the excitement of the annual conference in social media—#LA15SCBWI. Little Pickle Press values the commitment to excellence in children’s literature and the strength of community fostered by scbwi. We would be especially thrilled to meet the author (and/or illustrator; our Art Director will also be there) of our next book at the annual conference. Setting that as our intention, here is what we are seeking currently . . .

The common denominators. All of the manuscripts that we select involve conveying meaningful messages to children or youth. They catalyze conversations between parents and children, teachers and students, about the topics that matter most to the generation of children we are shaping today. The manuscripts are well written, thought-provoking, progressive, fresh, distinctive, and, if a picture book, lend themselves well to not only illustration but also to extrapolation into other mediums, such as interactive eBooks, book apps, and animated shorts.

The heart of the matter. At present, we are most interested in receiving middle grade and young adult submissions. What subjects are most interesting to us at this point? They include (in no particular order and not exclusively):

  • Kindness—the power of it
  • Dare To Be Different
  • Choices: It’s Not All Black And White; Most of Life is Gray
  • Racism—the deleterious effects of it
  • Refugees
  • Adoption
  • Complex Family Structures
  • Anti-Princess Themes
  • Creativity­­­—the importance of it, fostering it, etc.
  • Leadership and/or Entrepreneurship
  • Divergent (vs. Convergent) Thinking
  • Systems Thinking
  • Responsibility/Accountability/Moving Beyond Gen M Thinking
  • Taking Care of Yourself and Your Community/Planting the Seeds of Being a Locavore

What we don’t want are books with hidden messages to grownups. We want books that convey true messages to children and youth. It is also worth mentioning that we do not shy away from controversial subjects, and we are open-minded about the genres and literary vehicles employed to convey the messages.

First things first. As you consider submitting your manuscript, please learn a little more about Little Pickle Press and our new young adult imprint, Relish Media. Here’s a recent interview I did for our friends at Mom’s Choice Awards. We just launched our new submissions platform, powered by, which sets forth our submissions guidelines. Consider liking Little Pickle Press and Relish Media on Facebook. Please also consider following @LPP_Media and @Relish_Media on Twitter.

Our selection process. Once we receive your submission, our First Reader designated for the target age range of your work reads it within four months and sends the acquisition team his or her preliminary thoughts. If the First Reader has a favorable opinion of the manuscript, then we have another member of the acquisition team read it. If the second member of the acquisition team likes it, then we have a Junior Reader (a reader in the intended age group) read it. If the Junior Reader likes the manuscript, then it gets presented during the next acquisition meeting. If at any point during our process, a team member thinks that the work is not a good fit for us, then we let you know.

Thanks for your interest. I kindly thank you for your interest in Little Pickle Press and Relish Media, and for reading this post. If you elect to send us a submission, thank you also for considering us as your publisher. I know from experience all that you have gone through to get to this point, and I respect and honor you for it.


10 Books about Kindness—for Adults!

When we think about education, it’s usually kids that pop into our heads. We want them to learn about all of the ways to be good and smart and responsible. The lessons tend to stick, because let’s face it—our kids are awesome. That said, it never hurts to revisit some of those lessons from time to time, especially after a week of watching the news. Here are ten books for adults that discuss kindness, which is something that we all need.

  1. On KindnessAdam Phillips and Barbara Taylor: (from the website) Drawing on intellectual history, literature, psychoanalysis, and contemporary social theory, this brief and essential book will return to its readers what Marcus Aurelius declared was mankind’s “greatest delight”: the intense satisfactions of generosity and compassion.
  2. Small Acts of KindnessJames Vollbracht: (from the author) Before the movie “Pay it Forward”, was Small Acts ofKindness, which shows how one small act of kindness ripples through all of life and results in a surprising and moving great act of love.
  3. The Kindness DiariesLeon Logothetis: (from the author) Follow the inspirational journey of a former stockbroker who leaves his unfulfilling desk job in search of a meaningful life. He sets out from Los Angeles on a vintage motorbike, determined to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers.
  4. Kindness, Clarity, and Insight—H. H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama: (from the website) Broad in scope and revealing the depth of his knowledge, these teachings display the range of the Dalai Lama and his message, covering a plethora of topics, including the need for compassion, the common goals of the world’s religions, karma, the four noble truths, the luminous nature of the mind, meditative concentration, selflessness, the two truths, and the fundamental innate mind of clear light that all the various schools of Tibetan Buddhism aim at manifesting.
  5. The Power of KindnessPiero Ferrucci: (from Amazon) In eighteen interlocking chapters, Dr. Ferrucci reveals that the kindest people are the most likely to thrive, to enable others to thrive, and to slowly but steadily turn our world away from violence, self-centeredness, and narcissism- and toward love. Writing with a rare combination of sensitivity and intellectual depth, Dr. Ferrucci shows that, ultimately, kindness is not a luxury in our world but rather a necessity for us all.
  6. Sidewalk FlowersJonArno Lawson: Though intended as a child’s picture book, the images in this striking volume will speak to the hearts of busy adults everywhere, reminding them to stop and smell the roses (and dandelions) once in a while.
  7. Charlotte’s WebE. B. White: Who can honestly say that they have not been moved after reading this classic story? The love of a little girl, the selflessness of a spider, and the eventual quiet greatness of a humble pig will teach readers of any age the value of kindness.
  8. The Seeds We SowGary Beene: (from the author) This booktells the story of the intertwined lives of George Washington Carver, Vice President Henry Agard Wallace, and Nobel Laureate Norman E. Borlaug. It tells how their kindness and passion to feed the world was passed on and enhanced across generations.
  9. The Kindness of StrangersMike McIntyre: (from Barnes & Noble) Stuck in a job he no longer found fulfilling, journalist Mike McIntyre felt his life was quickly passing him by. So one day he hit the road to trek from one end of the country to the other with little more than the clothes on his back and without a single penny in his pocket. Through his travels, he found varying degrees of kindness in strangers from all walks of life—and discovered more about people and values and life on the road in America than he’d ever thought possible.
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone—J. K. Rowling: On his eleventh birthday, young Harry receives his first birthday cake, possibly the first act of kindness that he can remember. The rest of the story is a key to a remarkable saga in which courage, loyalty, and yes, kindness, shape an entire world.

Have you read about kindness lately? What titles stick in your mind, and what lessons have you learned? Share your thought in the comment section, and don’t forget to visit the Little Pickle Press store to pre-order a signed first edition copy of What Does It Mean To Be Kind?, the perfect book to start the children in your life on the path to kindness.

be kind

Have Courage and Be Kind:

Lessons from Cinderella

As we continue exploring the topic of kindness, Little Pickle Press would like to welcome Melissa Roy. In this delightful post, she shares her thoughts on raising good little people.

I finally made it to see Cinderella with my girls after a major mommy fail in which I  misread the start time and we showed up a half hour late and missed ALL of Frozen Fever which was pretty much the entire reason we went to see Cinderella in the first place. And while my girls were understandably disappointed to miss Frozen, I was still excited to see Cinderella.

The original Disney animated Cinderella is one of my all-time childhood favorites and Drew Barrymore’s Ever After was top 5 during my teen years. Needless to say, the latest version had a lot to live up to in my eyes. But I’ll admit I was not disappointed. I thought the nuances in the story that deviated from the animated version (which any and all versions of Cinderella must stack up against for all of time) were well thought out and created a relatable, lovable and cohesive storyline which my girls enjoyed as much as I did.

But the clear point of the movie was one thing: Have courage and be kind and the point was certainly not lost on this mommy! Perseverance, confidence, compassion and respect are things that I value highly and that I am working every second of every day to instill in my children and I love that this movie helped demonstrate exactly the kind of people I want my children to be.

I routinely encourage my children to be courageous and try new things. I expect them to stick with something once they’ve started and I support them in trying new things. I want them to believe in the importance of learning new things and trying their best. And I want them to have the conviction to assert themselves and go after what they want in life (even if it is just asking the lady behind the counter at the ice cream shop for an extra spoon).

But most importantly in life, I want them to be good people. I expect them to be kind towards others but more than that, I want them to respect all other people. I want them to have compassion for every person and try their best to understand the perspectives, situations and feelings of others. I never want them to think it is okay to put someone else down and I want them to feel bad if they accidentally hurt another person’s feelings.

These are certainly not easy things to teach a six, four and two year-old, I’d rather just drill them on their ABC’s and addition facts but I know that these important life lessons are far more important in the long run. I encourage them daily, both at home and away, to be helpful and respectful. I expect them to help each other and strangers who need it by holding doors, picking up dropped things and helping any other way they can. I have taught them to say please, thank you and you’re welcome and they are expected to use them every opportunity they have.

We live in a world where we are constantly put down and it is easy to feel like you can’t do anything right. We live in a world where all too often people are more concerned about themselves than the well-being of others and their community. We live in a world where people no longer have the time or desire to be kind and courteous.

I teach my children to be courageous and persistent because they will need thick skin in their lives and will need to be able to think and fend for themselves. And I teach them to be kind and respectful not because I want to make the world a better place but because I want to make my children better people. I want them to always have confidence in themselves and never doubt who they are and what they stand for.

What does teaching kindness mean to you? What are some of the lessons you hope to share with the young people in your life? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Little Pickle Press would like to thank the people at Mamalode for the use of this post and the accompanying graphic.

teaching kindness

Teaching Kindness, Not Obedience

In this thought-provoking post from Mamalode, Kristina Agar takes a look at what truly constitutes kindness. Is it doing the right thing simply because you’re told to, or is it something more? 

When my oldest was born, I don’t think my husband and I really discussed what our parenting style would be. Thankfully, we are very similar in our views about what’s important and things just evolved naturally. From the time he was really young, we have taught him that the people around him are the most important things in the world. Not just his family and friends, but everyone he comes across. When the twins were born, we knew that we would instill those same values in them as well.

“You don’t have to be the smartest, fastest, best looking or most popular. You only need to be the kindest and hardest working. Those are the two things that will bring you happiness and success in life.”

That’s my motto. That’s what I want my kids to strive for.

I do not want my kids to do what I ask because I ask them to do it, I want them to do it because it’s the right thing to do. I want my children to be able to ask questions and disagree, as long as they do it in a respectful manner.

I’d be naive to think that children do not need discipline. My 4 year-old twins are not likely to always do the right thing. But when disciplining them I try to show them how their actions make other people feel. Are you talking during swimming lessons? How do you think that makes your coach feel? You took a toy from your sister, how do you think that made her feel? The older they get, the more I think they understand it.

Sometimes I see glimpses of kindness that make my heart swell with pride. Other times I see how much they still need to learn. I’ll continue to teach them kindness through my actions and my words, and hopefully someday I can look back and see that it made a difference.

Teaching kindness versus obedience: which one is being taught most widely today? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Little Pickle Press would like to thank Mamalode for allowing us to share this post and the accompanying photo.


my son

A Letter to the Mom of the Boy Who is Bullying My Son

As we continue to explore the concept of kindness, the Little Pickle Press team would like to share this heartfelt piece by Sarah DeNome, originally posted on the Mamalode blog. Image courtesy of Mamalode.

Dear Fellow Mom,

I have watched our two boys play together at school since the beginning of the year. From day one our children have gravitated towards each other. I remember being so nervous about sending my son to pre-school for the first time. The fear and apprehension that comes with letting your child out of the safety of your presence and supervision for the first time. I remember feeling such joy and relief when I picked him up after that first day and listened as he excitedly told me about his new friend. I was eager to meet you and your child and allow my smile to show my gratefulness that my son has found a new friend to make this big transition less scary.

At morning drop-off , I watch my child’s face light up when your son walks in the classroom. At afternoon pick-up, my son walks towards me with shoulders slumped, head hung low, and eyes toward the ground. I ask how his day was and he tells me about his day with your son. He shares how his friend pushed him on the playground or how his friend wasn’t nice to him in class. I listen, validate his feelings, and encourage him to use his strong voice to tell his friend how he feels.

I start to pay more attention at drop off and linger in the observation room each morning. From behind the one way glass of the observation room, I have seen my son’s smile turn into a look of fear and powerlessness when he is physically overpowered by your son. I begin to arrive early in the afternoon to observe their time on the playground. I see our children’s interaction and feel my child’s pain. I also see you.

From behind the observation glass I see that same look of powerlessness on your face. The look that speaks I am doing the best I can but my child is not listening and I don’t know what else to do. I see you drop your son off each morning and with love you kiss him goodbye. I see his nervous energy or how he clings to your leg sometimes. I see the look of worry and exhaustion on your face. With one child on your hip and your son clinging to your leg. I see your apprehension as you leave the room.

I see it because I know the look well as I have looked that way too. The exhaustion from transitioning from one child to two. The worry about if your son will have a good day. The apprehension you feel walking away and leaving him without your help and supervision. I see you because I am you. We are the same. We love our boys and want to help them through whatever tough time they are having. Whether the tough time is causing our child to act out behaviorally or whether the tough time is teaching our child how to assert himself when he is being mistreated. Each child is struggling and we want to fix their hurt. We want to understand them, teach them, and hope they make the choices we have instilled in them.

You see, you and I are the same. We want the same things. You and I are on the same team. We both want our boys to have friendships that are joyful, safe, and fun. We want them to have positive and appropriate social interactions with their peers. You want that for your son and I want that for mine. We want them to have this between each other. I believe you want that for your son and I hope you can believe me when I say that I want that for your son as well. I truly believe that each of us (child or adult) is doing the best we can with who we are and the resources we have in any given moment. Sometimes we just need a little extra time, resources, or help. It is okay to need that and it is okay to ask for it.

My fellow momma, I know our kids are doing the best they can in this moment. I know we are doing the best we can in this moment. I also know that our boys need our help. They need more time, tools, and resources. Which means we need each other’s help. I need you and you need me. It’s okay for us to need each other in order to help our boys. We are the same remember and we are in this together.

Now, what do you need from me? How can I help?

What would you need? How would you help? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library

What’s so great about Brooklyn? Well, gee. It’s only the home of Coney Island, Prospect Park, and the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge, for starters. There’s also the Brooklyn Public Library, a must-visit for any traveling bibliophile.

Created as a separate system from the libraries of Queens and New York City, the Brooklyn Public Library serves more than 2.5 million residents and visitors, both online and in person. Sit down for a free browsing session at one of a thousand computers, or wander through the stacks to choose from millions of titles.

Want to start your own company? The Business and Career Library will set you on the right path. Thinking of learning a new language? The Language Division has everything you need.

Families are a major focus of the Brooklyn Public Library. There are resources for parents as well as kids of all ages, with unique programs for youngsters with special needs. The BPL website even has a special page for teachers.

Another thing that makes the Brooklyn Public Library so amazing is the list of community-inclusive programs. Resume assistance, the Veterans Oral History Project, immigration and passport services, prison libraries, cultural presentations—there’s really something for everyone, and with sixty locations and a strong online presence, that something is easy to find.

What’s so great about Brooklyn? Come to the Brooklyn Public Library and find out!


10 Tales of Kindness

Whatever your taste in reading material, there is something out there to enjoy. Mysteries, histories, fiction of all sorts; there are instruction manuals for everything from apple picking to zoology.

Everything that we read leaves an impression. It might be the shivery feeling we get while passing by a darkened alley, or it might be an urge to visit a particular town. Wouldn’t it be neat if something in our personal library filled us with the desire to fill the world with kindness?

To that end, here are ten children’s books that will help to foster the ideal of—and the desire to act with—kindness.

  1. Wonder by RJ Palacio: (from the publisher) August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
  2. Gifts from the Enemy by Trudy Ludwig: (from the author) In this true and moving story, Alter Wiener, a teen survivor of five Nazi prison camps during WW II, transports young readers back in time when an unexpected person demonstrated moral courage in repeated acts of kindness toward him.
  3. ONE by Kathryn Otoshi: (from the author) One is an anti-bullying, number/color book that introduces the concepts of acceptance, tolerance, and what it means to stand up, make a difference, and count!
  4. Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson: (from the publisher) Ordinary Mary—an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house—stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, she starts a chain reaction that multiplies around the world.
  5. Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents by Sarah Conover: (from the publisher) Sarah Conover’s collection of traditional Buddhist tales leads us to the kind of implicit understanding of ourselves and others that only stories can provide. Following the Buddha through his various transformations, these clarified and often humorous narrative journeys open the ancient master’s profound and gentle teachings to persons of all ages, religions, races, and ideological persuasions.
  6. The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper and Gabi Swiatowska: (from Barnes & Noble) Everyone knows a version of the Golden Rule. But what does it really mean? And how do you follow it? In this gorgeously illustrated book, a grandfather explains to his grandson that the Golden Rule means you “treat people the way you would like to be treated. It’s golden because it’s so valuable, and a way of living your life that’s so simple, it shines.”
  7. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson: (from the author) A new girl comes to school and tries to make friends. When Chloe, the narrator, is unkind, the girl keeps trying. And then the girl is gone and Chloe is left only with the memory of her unkindness.
  8. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe: (from Amazon) Mufaro has two beautiful daughters. Nyasha is kind and considerate, but Manyara is selfish and spoiled. When the king decides to choose a bride from among “The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land,” both Mufaro’s girls travel to the capital city. But only one can be chosen to marry the king.
  9. Good People Everywhere by Linea Gillen: (from the publisher) A soothing story to help children become mindful of the beautiful, caring people in their world. Each page delightfully unfolds with vibrant, engaging illustrations and endearing stories that warm hearts, evoke the imagination, and inspire young and old alike to create a world of compassion and beauty.

Of course, we couldn’t complete a list of kindness books for children without including the newest addition to the award-winning What Does It Mean To Be …? series from our own Rana DiOrio, What Does It Mean To Be Kind? To celebrate this soon-to-be-released title, we’re offering you a chance to pre-order a signed first edition! Click here for details!

Well, that’s ten. How many have you read? Which books would you recommend for teaching kindness? Tell us in the comment section!


Pubslush Pointers—and A Promo!

While Pubslush may sound like an adult beverage for a hot day, I can guarantee that it’s much cooler than any old alcoholic snow cone.

From the website: “Founded by mother and daughter entrepreneurs, Hellen and Amanda Barbara, Pubslush is a global pre-publication platform that offers crowdfunding and pre-order options for authors and publishers.”

A lot of you are probably familiar with the “slush pile,” the never-never land to which manuscripts deemed unworthy of publishing are consigned. The minds behind Pubslush decided that too many great stories were being tossed aside in this way, and created their wildly popular crowdfunding platform.

Here’s how it works: authors submit their work and create a campaign. The Pubslush team provides personalized service throughout the process, helping authors refine their work and get the word out. Readers can cruise the virtual stacks for whatever genre suits their fancy. Once they find something, readers can pre-order their chosen title, often receiving additional bonuses such as signed editions, photographs, and other goodies.

Folks of a philanthropic bent can choose to create or support fundraisers, both for the books themselves or for pet projects suggested by the author. The Pubslush Foundation is one such project, seeking to fight childhood illiteracy by providing books to children with little or no access to reading material.

Pretty awesome, right? Makes you wanna start looking for new books right now, doesn’t it? Well, we have a couple of excellent choices to whet your appetite. Behold!

What Does It Mean To Be Kind?

The 5th book in Rana DiOrio’s award-winning What Does It Mean To Be …? series shows that every act of kindness is also an act of courage, and how small gestures can make a big difference to other people, animals, the planet, and even oneself. Click here to see various packages, and to order a signed first edition for your child’s home library.

Breath to Breath

Uprooted from his home and sent to live with his estranged father, seventeen-year-old William’s world is feeling tenuous at best. When he’s unexpectedly dragged into a situation in which he has no choice but to help an abused four-year-old boy, William’s world is rocked to the core as he discovers the truth behind the mysterious young boy’s stories of extreme sexual abuse. He and this boy are connected in ways William can’t even imagine and as horrible memories begin flood his consciousness, William’s rage drives him to steal a neighbor’s guns, convinced he must kill those responsible for causing a boy so much pain and betrayal. How William finds the love and compassion he needs to make the right choices is the heart and pulse of this riveting verse novel. Inspired by a true story, BREATH TO BREATH explores what hurt and healing really mean: to survive you hold your breath, but to live you must exhale. Click here to read a PDF excerpt, and to pre-order your copy.


Featured B Corp of the Month: Elemental Herbs

I’m currently recovering from a cold and the only thing that has kept me going is my All Good lip balm from our friends at Elemental Herbs. I picked up a few tubes at our last B-Corp conference (we have the best conferences) and after digging them up out of my bag, I can safely say I am hooked on this organically grown, plant-based “goop.”

As a certified B-corporation, Elemental Herbs is driven by a beautiful mission: to harness the natural powers of the environment’s purest, most elemental ingredients and organic herbs in order to offer natural healing products that are good for people and good for the earth. They believe in the power of goodness: “feeling good, doing good, all things good!” in every aspect of production and life. Their organic products are the epitome of kindness: they are cruelty-free, developed in a facility run by solar-power, and printed, packaged, and shipped using recycled and recyclable materials. They sponsor activist athletes such as Alison Gannett and Forrest Shearer, and donate 1% of all sales to 1% for the Planet.


Elemental Herbs makes more than just life-saving lip balm. Their products include safe sunscreens, refreshing sore muscle recovery sprays, hydrating coconut oils, and gentle hand sanitizers. Arnica, Lavender, and Yarrow, oh my! These are just some of the carefully selected medicinal herbs that can be found in Elemental Herb’s product line.

The company began in Northern California and has since migrated down to Los Osos, but you can find their good stuff both online and in stores across the nation. The founder, Caroline Durell, a massage therapist and outdoor enthusiast, began making her signature goop for family and friends. Like the products, her business began organically. She eventually began evolving and selling her goods and we are glad she did!

Private labeling is also available for all of their products. How great would Little Pickle-flavored lip balm be?! I’ll take 100.

You can find them online here:

What Does It Mean To Be Kind

Review: What Does It Mean To Be Kind?

When my children were little, I found myself saying to them, time and again, the Golden Rule, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” But what do these words really mean to a four-year-old with limited life experience when it comes to dealing with others in considerate, compassionate ways? Saying this maxim is one thing; helping our little ones to truly understand what kindness actually looks and feels like, however, is quite another. That’s where What Does It Mean To Be Kind?, written by Rana DiOrio and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch,  comes in.

This delightful picture book shows young readers that being kind is about having the courage to use your words and actions to help make our world a better place. And, as DiOrio shares in her book, those acts—whether small or large—do make a difference. Like a small pebble tossed in water, our acts of kindness have a ripple effect, modeling for others how they, too, can reach out in supportive, helpful, and thoughtful ways.

DiOrio further relays the important message that kindness isn’t something you only give to others; it’s also an important gift to give yourself. “Being kind,” she writes, “means allowing yourself to make and learn from your mistakes.”

With simple, straightforward text and adorable illustrations, What Does It Mean To Be Kind? is a great go-to resource for parents and caregivers to help children ages 4 to 8 easily understand what acts of kindness are all about. I highly recommend it!

Trudy Ludwig is a nationally acclaimed speaker and award-winning author of nine children’s books, including The Invisible Boy. Her work focuses on helping kids cope with and thrive in their social world. Trudy lives in Portland, OR, with her two great kids and kind hubby. You can find out more about her at

Ready to learn more? Click here to pre-order your own signed first edition of What Does It Mean To Be Kind? today!


Kindness is in the Air

In April 2015, I enjoyed the pleasure of having breakfast with my friend, Elke Govertsen, Publisher of Mamalode. As mothers, daughters, entrepreneurs, and soul-sisters, we talked for just over an hour about stuff that really mattered to each of us. Among other conclusions to our discussion, Elke decided that Mamalode’s editorial theme for the month of June 2015 would be #Kindness.

Like clockwork, on June 1st, Mamalode announced Little Pickle Press as its theme partner and commenced running stories about kindness. Then, something almost magical happened, kindness seemed to be . . . in the air.

There was the release of the Harvard researchers’ Making Caring Common study that mapped the five child-rearing practices necessary for raising kind children.

Then, Penguin Random House partnered with Anti-Bullying Ambassadors and R.J. Palacio to launch the inaugural Kindness Day. To underscore the importance of and her commitment to kindness, Palacio wrote a compelling piece in The Guardian titled RJ Palacio: what is kindness? that is well worth your time to read in its entirety. “’We are made kind by being kind,’ wrote Eric Hoffer. ‘The more kindness we expend, the kinder we become. Practice, in the case of kindness, makes perfect.” She also highlights the evolutionary benefit to kindness as spelled out by Darwin.

That theory was reinforced in another article, Tapping Your Inner Wolf by Carl Safina, which appeared in The New York Times. In it, the Yellowstone National Park Service ranger who has studied wolves for 20 years, states, “If you watch wolves, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that perhaps no two species are more alike behaviorally than wolves and humans.” He goes on to note that the primary characteristic of alpha wolves is . . . kindness. “Strength impresses us. But kindness is what we remember best.” Indeed.

That leads me to the story of Konner Suave, the Valedictorian of East Valley High School in Yakima, WA who started an anonymous Instagram account and invested the time and energy to write a kind message to each and every one of his 657 classmates, revealing he’d done so at the closing of his Valedictorian address.

Finally, in a lengthy encyclical that is sure to have tremendous implications, Pope Francis implored the global community to address the threat posed by climate change. Why is the Pope weighing in on this issue? Because of its impact on the poorest populations, which is most of the people on earth. “A true ecological approach,” he writes, “always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” The Pope is asking us to be kind to earth and, by extension, to one another.

So, this month on the Little Pickle Press blog we are going to focus on, and continue the exploration of, kindness. Please engage with us and join the conversation.


ALA Wrap Up

The American Library Association held its annual conference in San Francisco this year. For Little Pickle Press that meant a short trip to the convention center. For out-of-towners, it was a ticket to the one of the most jubilant #SFpride weekends ever. From the opening reception Friday night, it was clear that #ALAac15 was going to be special. The exhibits were abuzz and #lovewins was in the air. From our home base in the North Hall, we handed out advance reading copies of Craig Lew’s Young Adult debut, Breath to Breath, and got to know librarians, authors, and our fellow Ingram Publisher Services booth-mates. See below for photos from the conference.

ALA by the Bay

ALA by the Bay

Our booth at IPS with our upcoming releases and award-winning A Bird On Water Street

Our booth at IPS with our upcoming releases and award-winning A Bird On Water Street

The Little Pickle Press and Relish Media Tower at IPS displaying all of our titles

The Little Pickle Press and Relish Media Tower at IPS displaying all of our titles

Welcome to IPS aka our fort!

Our fort

You could find us at Epic!, too

You could find us at Epic!, too

Rolling Terra-Skin posters becomes a group activity

Rolling Terra-Skin posters becomes a group activity

It was an awesome weekend in San Francisco

It was an awesome weekend in San Francisco

We're so proud to work with such an incredible organization

We’re so proud to work with such an incredible organization

Many oysters were consumed in the making of this weekend

Many oysters were consumed in the making of this weekend

There were many reasons to celebrate:

There were many reasons to celebrate…

Like to celebrate cover reveals with fellow Ingram publishers

Like cover reveals with Newbery winner Kwame Alexander and Nikki Giovanni

And enjoying beautiful speeches with great friends

Beautiful speeches with reviewer Sharon Levin

Love won

Love won

And getting books signed by your favorite authors, illustrators, and friends

And getting books signed by your favorite authors and illustrators

Did we mention the food?

Did we mention the food?

We hope you enjoyed ALA as much as we did! We can’t wait until next year! See you then.

Suggested Reading: The Printz Award

You have to love a literature prize called the Printz Award. Named for Topeka librarian Michael L. Printz, this award honors literary excellence in young adult literature. We’re pleased to share the 2015 winner and honor books, and hope that you’ll read and enjoy them for yourselves.

2015 Winner

Printz Award Winner

I’ll Give You the Sun

By Jandy Nelson

Published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, (USA) LLC, a Penguin Random House Company

Once inseparable, twins Noah and Jude are torn apart by a family tragedy that transforms their intense love for each other into intense anger. Timelines twist and turn around each other in beautifully orchestrated stories of love and longing.



2015 Honor Books

Printz Award And We Stay

And We Stay

By Jenny Hubbard

Published by Delacorte, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., a Penguin Random House Company.

Reeling from her boyfriend’s dramatic suicide, Emily hides her anguish at a new boarding school, where she finds healing through poetry. Hubbard’s gem-like prose beautifully balances Emily’s poetry.



Printz Award The Carnival at Bray

The Carnival at Bray

By Jessie Ann Foley

Published by Elephant Rock Books.

In 1993, Maggie is dismayed to leave Chicago and her beloved Uncle Kevin behind when she moves to a small Irish town. Yet it is within this evocative setting that Foley unwinds Maggie’s exceptional coming-of-age tale, where Maggie discovers music and forgiveness as antidotes for grief.



Printz Award Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle

By Andrew Smith

Published by Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

Historian Austin Szerba is in love with his best girl friend, Shann. He is also in love with his best boy friend, Robby. Mastermind Smith takes these tender facts and swirls them into a whirlwind tale of carnivorous praying mantises, the history of the world, the role of the individual, and the end of all we know.



Print Award This One Summer

This One Summer

By Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Published by First Second

Adolescence in its precarious first bloom is the subject of this sensitive graphic novel. The team of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki show and tell us of one special summer in Rose’s life, in a brilliant flow of pictures and text.