Indie Bookstores

The Four Cs:

Why Indie Bookstores Matter to Publishing

I’ve seen the world of publishing from both sides now. Ten years working in children’s editorial and marketing departments at Chronicle Books and Tricycle Press. Seven years selling those books to readers. In the eighteen years since I entered the publishing industry we’ve seen a few disruptions—the biggest being big-box chain stores, on-line retailers, and e-books. But gratefully, writing and reading remain essentially human enterprises, and the humans at indie bookstores remain a vital link between those readers and writers.

For your local bookseller, it’s not just about commerce, it’s about community, culture, and choice.

Anyone can find and read a bestseller. There’s no challenge in selling Mockingjay or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. What drives me is introducing kids to books they’ve never heard of, pulling gems from the haystack to let them shine. I feel it’s particularly important to hand a book to a kid that he wouldn’t pick up on his own, maybe one with a girl protagonist. Or a fantasy novel for the sports fanatic. Or a verse novel for the girl with dyslexia. Or a graphic novel for the struggling reader. It’s important to remember that books are not just mirrors but also windows. They should show us the larger world, even—and especially—if it doesn’t look like ours. In a world of algorithms that will tell you what “customers who bought this item also bought,” indie booksellers strive to give you what you don’t know you want, small books from small publishers with big ideas that fit you perfectly.

Twice now I have sat on the American Bookseller Association’s “Indies Introduce New Voices” committee as one of 13 independent booksellers around the country tasked with discovering the top debut works in the middle grade and young adult genres. In 2011 we introduced Divergent to the world but also Ashfall by Mike Mullin from little-known publisher Tanglewood Press. Indies evangelized that book into a successful trilogy not because the publisher paid for placement but because we adored it. Come in, we’ll geek out with you on that book that no one else has read.

Booksellers are not only funnels but also sponges. We soak up conversations and requests from customers to pass along to authors and editors. We remember what you sent your grandkids last Christmas. We connect authors with their readers in person at signings, school fundraisers, and book clubs. We comment on early stage manuscripts. We consign local authors’ books. And we’re all different, all human, readers—the ultimate disruptors.

What better day to come in and introduce yourself than Small Business Saturday. I challenge you to challenge us.

Summer Dawn Laurie is a children’s specialist at independent bookstore Books Inc. in San Francisco where she runs the Wild Girls Mother-Daughter Book Club and a monthly critique group for children’s book writers. She is also an independent editor, chairs the Children’s Alliance of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, and sits on the executive board of the Litquake Literary Festival.


Shopping Small in St. Louis

Today’s guest post is from Angela who writes the blog Fluid Pudding. She’s encouraging all of us to Shop Small this holiday season so we asked specifically about her community in St. Louis. 

Shopping Small

St. Louis is an amazing town with an incredibly diverse population, and I could sing songs for hours about the places to go, things to see, and cultural events to experience while you’re visiting. However, now that December is around the corner, let’s focus on holiday shopping. Sure, St. Louis has malls, and I sometimes use them as a fallback. BUT, I would much rather put my money back into the community by supporting the locally-owned shops which carry the often quirky items that are perfect for family members who already seem to have everything.

Here are my three favorite areas and the must-see shops held within. (Please know that all of these shops provide online ordering, so even if you don’t live here, you can still send some love to St. Louis by ordering something special!)

1. Maplewood is a small area in mid-St. Louis county that is filled with amazing places. The soy candles from Maven are the most creative candles I’ve seen. With scents like Don Draper and Sweet Orange & Chili Pepper, it’s impossible to leave Maven without finding something for just about everyone on your list. Less than a block away is Kakao Chocolate. Their bacon brittle has been called the perfect food!

2. The Delmar Loop is a six block shopping district in St. Louis. You could spend the entire day exploring the stores on the Loop, but my very favorite place to visit is Phoenix Rising. Do you need a unicorn horn for your aunt’s cat? Sock monkey hand warmers for your niece? A mandarin lavender soy candle poured into a recycled wine bottle? Phoenix Rising has all of these things and so much more.

3. The Central West End was recently named one of America’s Top Ten Great Neighborhoods and it’s known for architecture and artsy shops. Left Bank Books is the oldest independently-owned bookstore in St. Louis and they pride themselves on their collection of relevant and culturally diverse books. Be on the lookout for Spike (the resident cat) when you visit, and be sure to bring a LARGE shopping bag!

Finally, every year during the holiday season, local crafters unite for the Rock and Roll Craft Show. Last year I purchased teas from The ReTrailer, and this year I’ll be scoping out pillows that look like tree stumps. Many of the participating artists also sell their creations online. Feel free to follow the links to explore the vendor websites, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Angela Downing is a freelance editor and mother of two who writes for fun at Fluid Pudding. She is a resident of St. Louis and hopes that as you #ShopSmall this holiday season, you consider helping out her community. You can learn more about her here. 
Mr. Prato

The Loving Mr. Prato

When you’re in elementary school, specifically the 2nd grade, and the first day, you wonder what teacher you’ll have, right? You go to the office, get your teacher’s name, and find your room number. As I was walking to find my room, I read my paper. Mr. Prato? I have never had a boy teacher! I was very nervous. Will he be mean? Or grumpy? Or not smell just right? As I approached his room, a man stepped out. “Hello!” he said, “You must be Ryan! I’m Mr. Prato. Nice to meet you!” We shook hands. My mom happened to be with me. As usual she struck up a conversation about how I had never had a male teacher and blah, blah, blah. Before my mom left, I handed my new teacher an apple. It was a tradition for me that I had done since kindergarten.

“Bye, Mommy! See you tonight!” I said. She hugged me and replied, “Have a strong day sweetheart; I love you.” Then she walked away.

Entering the classroom, I saw my desk. I peeked inside. Aaaah, my favorite I thought as I admired my new pencils, touched the points of my new crayons, and smelled my fresh erasers. “Good morning, class!,” Mr. Prato said with a warm smile. He wrote Mr. Prato very big and clear on the board. Then, he passed out papers for us to work on. Throughout the day, we colored, ate, talked, and played. Before I knew it, the day was over. “Goodbye, Mr. Prato.” I said with much enthusiasm. “See you tomorrow!” I came back that next day, and the next, and the next. But, then, we started math. And I have never particularly liked math.

“I don’t understand, Mr. Prato.”

“It’s okay, Ryan.” He said. “You’ll get it. I’ll help you.”

“Oh, thank you, Mr. Prato. You’re the best!” I said. And from that day forth, he spent a little extra time helping me understand.

One day, I did something terribly wrong. I stole a stuffed animal from a classmate. I cried as I walked up to him. “Mr. Prato,” I said. “I’m very, very, sorry but . . .” Then I told him everything. As I looked into his calm eyes, I wondered if he was mad at all. And guess what? He wasn’t mad. He let me write my classmate an apology. He was glad that I confessed. I was very guilty.

Throughout the year little problems occurred, but Mr. Prato fixed all of them. Then, before I realized it, the year had gone by. Mr. Prato played graduation music as we said our goodbyes. I told him that I would miss him. It turns out that I will miss him a lot more because he passed away in his sleep on July 20, 2014 from a heart attack. I will remember all of the fun times we had in class. I will remember how he explained the project over, and over again just for me. I will remember his big booming voice ringing through our classroom. I will remember how he would always want us to leave class with a smile, not a frown. All I’d like to say is a big thank you to him. He understood me like no other, and I will carry these precious memories in my heart for all eternity. Thank you, Mr. Prato, and goodbye.

Ryan Francesca is a 5th grade student at Adda Clevenger Junior Preparatory School in San Francisco, CA. She also happens to be the daughter of Little Pickle Press’ Chief Executive Pickle.

Small business artisans.

5 Small Business Resources

So, you’ve decided that bigger isn’t always better, especially when your budget doesn’t fit either description. You want to support small businesses, but you’re not sure where to start. Well, you’re in luck! Little Pickle Press has compiled a handy resource list to help you find small, local, and otherwise interesting independent businesses that will feed your creative spirit during the holiday season and beyond.

  1. American Express. Believe it or not, this big name deals in small business. Once you register, you can log into their Shop Small Now page to view recommendations.
  2. Cool Mom Picks. Just the thing for cool parents of any gender, this site has gift guides and suggestions for food, gear, and style. There’s even a DIY tab for you hands-on types.
  3. Etsy. Who hasn’t heard of Etsy? Okay, all three of you head over to check out the place for independent artists in every medium imaginable; the rest of us will be right behind you. Stained glass, edibles, Doctor Who scarves—if it can be made, you’ll probably find it on Etsy.
  4. Indie Gift Box. Think outside the Jelly of the Month Club; Indie Gift Box takes special deliveries to a whole new level. Each monthly shipment brings one-of-a-kind, handmade artisanal pieces, and every purchase supports independent artists.
  5. Springwise. Not ready to shop right now? Springwise features up-and-coming entrepreneurial ideas that are sure to fire your future gift-giving spirit. Explore their extensive database to discover the next big thing from a small business. Who knows? You might get inspired to create something yourself.

And there you are! Five quick stops for easy ideas. Tell us about your favorite small business; it’s worth 30% off in the Little Pickle Press shop. Visit our homepage to learn more.

Calgary Public Library

Featured library of the Month:

Calgary Public Library

Calgary Public Library in Alberta, Canada, sounds like a wonderful place to stop in and warm up this winter.  With eighteen  branches to choose from, there’s no excuse for not visiting this community-focused and dynamic library system.

Besides offering a wide array of books for readers of all ages, Calgary Public Library also offers some unique services. Newcomers to the area can find resources to help them settle into their new homes, including information on learning English and French. Their Diversity Services department provides culturally-sensitive, barrier-free collections, programs, services, and facilities to support the development of Calgarians of all ages, abilities, and origins. Perhaps neatest of all is the Living Library service, which works like your local library; however, the books you borrow are “Living Books”—volunteers who share stories about their personal experiences!

A wide range of programs makes the library an even more valuable and exciting community resource. From Baby Storytimes to 50+ Coffee Times, they have programs for everything that you’re into. Improve your computer skills, practice your English, or just have some fun. Adult offerings include career planning and a highlight on local produce in Cowtown. Or, you can some experience historical spine-tingling entertainment as they explore Murder, Mischief, and Mayhem in Alberta, or learn about all of the best local hiking trails to keep you fit in the fall. There are storytimes for children of all ages, as well as visits by local authors.

When the Autumn winds chase you inside, make sure that you spend some of that time at Calgary Public Library!

Shop Small

Top 10 Shop Small Pinterest Boards

Throughout the month of November, Little Pickle Press hopes to show you that shopping small isn’t just for one Saturday each year—it can be an “every trip” experience. To that end, we’ve done some digging on Pinterest and found lots of recipes and cute animal pictures great inspiration for small-business shopping and support.

  1. Shop Small Businesses Shop HandmadeCollaboration: Loaded with clothes, accessories, and assorted cool stuff, this group-run board is a showcase for small-business artists.
  2. Shop Small Creative BusinessesCollaboration: Also a group effort, this board has lots of beautiful jewelry and other bits and pieces. My favorite? The sea glass pendants.
  3. Shop Small Shops – ArtworkOma’s Fabric and Gifts: This board features some amazing miniature paintings, the perfect reminder that small businesses can offer big surprises.
  4. Small Business ShoppingCollaboration: Here we have a cooperative board that focuses on online shops run by women helping to support their families. Fair Trade, upcycled, and Etsy offerings can be found on this board.
  5. Shop SmallTara D’Arcy: Featuring bits of wisdom such as “Put your money where your house is,” this board is full of easy-to-share reminders of why shopping small is a big deal.
  6. Quotes – Shop local, Shop smallBarb (Country Lane Crafts): This board offers inspiration to small shoppers and business owners alike, encouraging local spending in order to foster local growth.
  7. Small Business Advice / advice for your handmade shopaftcra – handmade American products: Got a small business? This board is for you! It’s got lots of helpful tips to help you get started, get noticed, and grow your customer base.
  8. Small Business StyleCollaboration: Your small business can sport big-time style, as evidenced by this board. From bicycle-based mobile shops to treehouse-inspired storefronts, these pins prove that business can be beautiful.
  9. Small Business SenseKaren Kovolski: Built around the belief that making a customer is more important than making a sale, this board is all about creating a strong customer base.
  10. Shop Small Y’all StatesJacqueline Wolven: Near or far, shopping small starts wherever you are! Spread the word in your home state and beyond with these fun little reminder graphics.

And there you have it; a handy reference list for shopping small during the holidays and into the new year. Read, share, and enjoy, and don’t forget to tell us about your favorite small shopping experience!

StarFish necklace on Liz

To the Market: A Survivor’s Story

As we explore the topics of shopping small during November and conscious capitalism in December, we are pleased to introduce you to the work Jane is doing with To The Market. Tomorrow they are launching their e-commerce marketplace that exclusively features products to purchase that are made by survivors of abuse, conflict, and disease. 

Jane Mosbacher Morris is taking the world by storm. Even as I write that sentence about her I realize how little credit it gives to this entrepreneur who has successfully launched To The Market, an endeavor she has undertaken to impact the lives of survivors. While that’s a noble goal, she has a laser-like focus on making it work. When you make it your life mission to help people take control back in their lives, then you’re a force to be reckoned with and Jane embodies all of that.

Jane previously served as the Director of Humanitarian Action for the McCain Institute for International Leadership where she managed the Institute’s human trafficking efforts. Before that she worked in the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Counterterrorism and in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. Jane has seen a lot of the world in those previous jobs, but to understand where she wants to really go all you have to do is take a look at her current project: To The Market.

Jane at Freeset Courtesy of Neil Ruskin

This is Jane photographed at Freeset, a Calcutta-based organization that employs human trafficking survivors. TO THE MARKET partners with Freeset for custom orders, like custom t-shirts and bags.

So, what exactly is To The Market? It’s a business that sells survivor-made goods combined with the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations. To The Market has an understanding of business and the market with years of experience serving survivor populations on the ground. TTM’s employs a unique, three-pronged social enterprise model that includes:

1) Promoting survivor-made goods via multiple distribution channels, pop-up shops, custom sourcing, retail partnerships, and a soon-to-be-launched, curated online shop (Coming Winter 2014!).

2) Offering a platform for survivors and their champions to share their stories with a new, larger audience.

3) Providing business services such as sales analysis and trend forecasting to local partners to improve sales and generate highly covetable inventory.

Sari_Bari Sewing Courtesy of Neil Ruskin

This is an image of a human trafficking survivor sewing a blanket sold at To The Market.

To The Market showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease.

How is this actively helping those artisans?

By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” we are taking an active role in equipping the survivors they employ with the ultimate security of economic independence, while raising awareness about the challenges that they face.

To The Market

A woman and son who are served by the Aashiana Shelter for HIV/AIDS infected and affected women and children.  The woman in the picture makes jewelry at the shelter, which TO THE MARKET sells.

It’s not just the goods and products that drive Jane to sell their wares. It’s her strong desire to aid victims. “Remember the last time you felt like you wanted to re-gain control of your life?” Jane asked me on a phone interview. “Imagine feeling that but living in an area of conflict or being a victim of abuse. Getting control back is tenfold.”

To the Market works with organizations that employ survivors as their model for empowering them has a variety of survivor-made jewelry, home-goods (including holiday items!), bags, apparel, and shoes available.  “Existing efforts to support survivors of abuse or conflict or disease is not sufficiently focusing on long term economic independence,” Jane says. “I felt like the social service component for helping survivors needed to be on a larger scale.” Jane’s goal is to give these women strength, power, and independence.

I asked Jane what To The Market is doing to put survivors back on a track to be independent. She outlined it simply for me because even though all of us desire that kind of independency, there aren’t always clear ways to cultivate it.

When your goal in life is as clear cut as Jane’s idea for To The Market, there’s really no way to fail. Everyone wins in this system when survivors are given a voice and have agency over their lives. Everyone wins when their stories are highlighted and the narrative is powerfully in the hands of the survivors themselves. Everyone wins when goods are provided to a global marketplace that connects the world in ways that make life better.

Everyone wins. Survivors win. Jane Mosbacher Morris will make sure of it.


Be sure to check out To The Market on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Jane’s blog on the Huffington Post.

All photograph credits go to Neil Ruskin


Featured Customer of the Month:


Kidsbooks is a full-service bookstore, staffed with knowledgeable and enthusiastic book lovers who help in select books and other materials for children of all ages.  No appointment is necessary, but if you prefer to phone in advance, they will even assign a staff member to work with you to choose just the materials you want and need. They send their staff to schools and community events so that people have the opportunity to experience firsthand the fantastic array of books for kids of all ages and preferences.  The staff loves to give customers ideas and expand their knowledge of children’s books, but first and foremost they want to listen to their customers’ concerns and requirements so they can make the best possible suggestions to each one.

Kidsbooks can customize orders as well, which is a great tool for teachers and homeschoolers.  If you are looking for books to enrich a theme, they will help you choose novels, picture books, and informational books to please every child. They frequently put together packages of selected books and ship them to destinations in Canada and the United States.  They believe that it is important to make sure that our customers have access to the books they need in a timely fashion.

They also offer reloadable gift cards so that children can come in and choose books for themselves. They say, “One of our greatest pleasures is watching a child carefully select a book after being presented with a wide array of choices!”

Among its many recognitions, Kidsbooks has received the Specialty Bookseller of the Year Award from the Canadian Booksellers Association three times. Phyllis Simon, the store’s founder, received a BC Community Achievement Award in 2007. And, they can proudly boast that they were the first store in Canada to sell the Harry Potter series way back in 1998!

From the original location on Fourth Avenue, Kidsbooks has expanded to include three locations: West Broadway, Edgemont Village in North Vancouver and South Surrey. With three store locations and an easy to navigate internet store, Kidsbooks can meet all of your book buying needs!

Little Nino's Pizzeria

First Friday Book Review:

Little Nino's Pizzeria

We’ve all talked about “devouring” a favorite book; savoring pages and chewing over certain passages. Little Nino’s Pizzeria is one such story, the kind that leaves your heart as full as your head.

Tony’s dad makes the best pizza in the world. With Tony as his number one helper, the two create an oasis of hospitality that brings in customers from miles away. Prepping dough and cheese, cleaning up, sharing extra pizzas with the homeless; it’s all in a cheerful day’s work at Little Nino’s.

When a stranger arrives with big ideas, what will happen to Little Nino’s?

Alive with vibrant illustrations, Karen Barbour’s Little Nino’s Pizzeria is a feast for the eyes. Each page doubles as an “I Spy,” with simple but evocative images that feed the imagination; the bold text at the bottom keeps the story moving without jarring the senses.

Little Nino’s Pizzeria is fun, fresh, and beautiful, as befits a Reading Rainbow book. It’s also layered with meaning. Set in a small business, the story of Little Nino’s shows that bigger isn’t always better, and that a shop full of love means more than a bucketful of cash.

Little Pickle Press is putting the spotlight on small businesses this month, and the shop in Little Nino’s Pizzeria is a perfect example. Which small businesses have earned your loyalty, and why? Tell us in the comment section; we love to hear from you!

Shop Local

Why ‘Shop Local’ Matters

One of the questions I get asked a lot is what accounts for the renaissance of independent bookstores. Business is up, new stores are opening—what gives?

There are several factors that have led to this growth, but one of the major contributors is increasing consumer awareness of the value of supporting their local community. The Shop Local First movement has exploded in recent years, as more and more people come to understand that spending their dollars in their local neighborhood or community adds greatly to their quality of life. And I’m not talking just about the convenience of a local retail “Main Street”; there is a significant economic value in shopping locally.

Several retail studies have been done across the country, in big cities and small towns, and all have come up with similar numbers. When a consumer spends $100 in locally owned retail businesses, $45 is recirculated in the local economy. When that same $100 is spent in chain stores, the local reinvestment drops to $23. Spend that same $100 at an out-of-state online retailer, the local cut is almost zero.

Why? Because an independent business buys supplies from other local businesses, hires local accountants and web designers, and attracts customers who shop at neighboring establishments. A chain has centralized buying, its own accountants and lawyers, and sends its daily revenues directly to its own bank. And an out-of-state online entity doesn’t even employ local people, so their contribution is negligible.

That message, as well as ones about the sense of community that is created and sustained by neighborhood shopping areas, is being delivered by independent bookstores and other locally owned retailers, being picked up by the media, and being noticed by politicians. The growth of farmer’s markets is an obvious indicator that folks are getting the message, but the fact that booksellers have been at the forefront of the movement has also made an impression with their customers.

The consumers have the power—they can choose where to shop and why. But more and more are recognizing that shopping for price alone carries with it other costs. If they don’t support their local businesses, they may not have them around to enjoy. If that doesn’t matter, fine. But if a vibrant community fueled by a strong local retail presence is important, then they need to support it. And they are, in increasing numbers.

In many of these neighborhoods, independent bookstores are front and center, often serving as community gathering spots with their events and store activities. And as consumers are supporting their local economy, many are also rediscovering the unparalleled experience of visiting a real bookstore, touching real books, and having real conversations with their friends and neighbors. And guess what? If they buy a book or two, that experience will always be there.

Hut Landon is the executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association and a guiding hand behind Book Sense, a regional branding effort for independent bookstores that eventually became a national marketing campaign. He also serves as executive director of SFLOMA, the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchant Alliance, which was created in 2006 by local merchants. 

Raven + Lily

Featured B Corp of the Month:

Raven + Lily

E=mc2 is one of the best-known equations in the world of science, but it can also be applied to retail. Empowerment equals merchandise times conscious consumerism.

When you purchase from small businesses, especially Certified B Corps, you’re putting your money where your principles are, and giving a much-needed boost to hardworking entrepreneurs. In some cases, your purchase goes even further.

Raven + Lily is more than a supplier of artisanal merchandise; it’s a partnership that seeks to empower its artisans. From eco-friendly products to Fair Trade practices, Raven + Lily sets a social business model standard that aims to teach the women involved everything they need to know in order to one day launch their own businesses.

After realizing that women make up a majority of the world’s poor, it’s not a far step to understand that those same women, if given the opportunities and resources, can have a huge impact on the quality of life for their families and communities. To that end, the minds behind Raven + Lily partnered with professionals and native artists in various countries to create jewelry, apparel, and other gift items that can be sold around the world.

While the money from the sale of these items is vital to the women that it supports, there is nothing more precious than the self-esteem that comes with being able to provide. Women who once had no other option than to beg in the streets are now sending their children to school, gaining business savvy, and balancing growing bank accounts.

You can be a part of the big picture when you think small. The newly-opened B Corp online store has links to many empowering, enterprising, and just plain interesting small businesses that will help you “B” the change we all seek, one purchase at a time.


The Bully Project: Working Towards a Solution

As far as social action campaigns go, The Bully Project is putting a dent in bullying with a national movement to name the problem and offer solutions. Based on the documentary, Bully, this movement starts with looking at what schools can do, but it’s really much larger than that. Schools are a place where it happens, but the effects of bullying are a social problem that extends to social media, sports, and activities in which kids are involved. With new apps come new dangers of children acting out and being mean in spaces that parents never considered.

This month, Little Pickle Press has supported October’s Anti-Bullying efforts . In these words from The Bully Project, here is what they aim to do:

The BULLY Project is the social action campaign inspired by the award-winning film BULLY. We’ve sparked a national movement to stop bullying that is transforming kids’ lives and changing a culture of bullying into one of empathy and action.  The power of our work lies in the participation of individuals like you and the remarkable list of partners we’ve gathered who collectively work to create safe, caring, and respectful schools and communities. Our goal is to reach 10 million kids or more, causing a tipping point that ends bullying in America.


The answers, according to The Bully Project, are empathy and education. First, we have to name a problem and actually admit that we have a huge issue that is hurting our children. We have to take things out of our conversations such as “kids will be kids,” because too much of the meanness that happens is avoidable and unnecessary. Next, we have to educate people who work with children on a regular basis about the things that work to tear down structures that both encourage and support bullying.


The Bully Project asks that we take pledges to ensure action. It’s not as if we don’t realize this is a problem, but, like many things, we see it as something that can’t be fixed. There are some clear signs, for example, that we can identify when kids are being bullied.

Signs your Kid is Bullied

  • unexplained physical markings and bruises
  • unexplained loss of money, electronics, toys, clothes
  • refuses to attend school or a fear of riding the school bus
  • a fear of being left alone and unexplained neediness
  • moody, sad, anxious, or depressed feelings
  • difficulty sleeping
  • physical complaints: headaches, stomachaches, frequent visits to school nurse
  • unexplained crying
  • a change in eating habits

These are just a few of the signs parents and caregivers can look for that point towards bullying as a problem and The Bully Project offers screenings, pledges, and ways to spread the word about joining the movement.

Bullying is a problem we can address and the lives of our children depend on it.

For more information, watch this short video and be sure to encourage your school personnel to access the Educator’s DVD Action Toolkit.


Bullying & What You Can Do

Carrots are good for you, especially when you’re talking about the wisdom-infused thoughts from Carrots Are Orange. Please welcome Marnie Craycroft, who has kindly given us permission to share this post.

One amazing take away from Montessori training was the child development learning. A prerequisite is a fundamental child development class, which is huge and powerful in itself, but we also had sessions on learning differences and had child development woven all throughout the training a la Dr. Montessori’s ‘sensitive periods’.

A recent child development article in Huffington Post poses an interesting question: What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

Bullying is a hot topic. Even Stephen Colbert has been involved in the spotlight on bullying, the awareness, and its prevention.

So what can we parents and educators do?

  • Being able to see the signs of bullying is huge on both sides of the act.
  • Being able to empathize with both sides of the act. Ask yourself: “what is the bully’s reason?”
  • We can work hard at raising kind and compassionate human beings by educating ourselves.
  • Do the research required to understand this critical issue.

Myths of Bullying

  • Bullying doesn’t just happen between boys.
  • Bullying isn’t just about throwing punches or stealing lunch money.
  • Bullying isn’t always the cool v. the uncool. Bullying can happen amongst friends across all types of groups.
  • Check out this article on Common Myths of Bullying

The abuse goes much deeper than those rather superficial acts of aggression. I would argue that verbal aggression, often the form of bullying that manifests itself in girls, may be the most toxic type of bullying (not that any of it isn’t poison). Words cut deep. Once internalized it is tough to move on, to get past the words. They seem ingrained in you as though you can never forget. I suppose you don’t ever really forget. Just remember that much. This situation impacts a child FOR LIFE.

So now what?

Get some inspiration from this unbelievable, powerful Ted Talk by Shane Koyczan: for the bullied and the beautiful, and click through to the links above for more information on the topic of bullying.

If you would like additional facts and information, we encourage you to check out these links: and

Thank you! Marnie

Participant Media, TakePart’s parent company, produces socially relevant films with the idea that “a good story well-told can change the world.” Films such as An Inconvenient Truth, The Help, Lincoln, and Waiting for Superman have helped inspire action in a wide range of issues. TakePart aims to further those messages with quality content. In our education and social justice coverage, we’re committed to exploring important topics that impact our children.

Bullying in Schools

Bullying in Schools:

Seven Solutions for Parents from Kidpower

This article originally appeared in Bullying – What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, a Kidpower book created to protect and empower kids. It is reprinted here with Kidpower’s permission.

Is your child is being bullied? You are not alone! Kidpower hears countless stories from upset parents whose children from toddlers to teenagers have been victimized by harassment and bullying at school. School is a big part of our kids’ lives but it’s usually parents who make the decisions about how and where their children get an education. This means that most young people have no choice about where they go to school.

As parents, we expect schools to provide an environment that is emotionally and physically safe for our children. It’s normal to feel terrified and enraged about any kind of threat to our children’s well-being, especially in a place where they have to be.

Schools are often doing a valiant job of trying to meet an overwhelming array of conflicting demands. But when your own child is being bullied, it is normal for protective parents to want to fix the problem immediately—and maybe to punish the people who caused your child to be hurt, embarrassed or scared.

When possible, try to find out about problems when they are still small. Tell children clearly, cheerfully, and often, “You have the right to feel safe and respected at school and the responsibility to act safely and respectfully towards others. If someone is bothering you at school, if you see someone picking on another kid, or if you are having trouble acting safely yourself, your job is to tell me so that we can figure out what to do to make things better.”

Pay attention to changes in your child’s behavior. Help children to develop the habit of telling you about what happens at school each day by being interested, by staying calm, and by not lecturing. Ask specific questions in a cheerful way such as “What was the best thing that happened today? What was the worst thing?”  Remember that, if adults act anxious, children are less likely to share upsetting information. Volunteer even a couple of hours a week in the classroom or school yard so that you can both help out and stay aware of potential problems at school.

If your child has a bullying problem at school, here are seven practical People Safety solutions that can help parents to be effective in taking charge.

  1. Stop Yourself from Knee-Jerk Reactions

If your child tells you about being bullied at school, this is an important opportunity for you to model for your child how to be powerful and respectful in solving problems. As hard as it is likely to be, your first job is to calm down. Take a big breath and say, in a quiet and matter-of-fact voice, “I’m so glad you’re telling me this. I’m sorry this happened to you—please tell me more about exactly what happened so we can figure out what to do. You deserve to feel safe and comfortable at school.”

If your child didn’t tell you but you found out some other way, say calmly, “I saw this happen/heard about this happening. It looked/sounded like it might be unpleasant for you. Can you tell me more about it?”

If you act upset your child is likely to get upset too. She might want to protect you and herself from your reaction by not telling you about problems in the future or by denying that anything is wrong. The older your child is, the more important it is that she’s able to feel some control about any follow-up actions you might take with the school.

In addition, if you act upset when you’re approaching teachers, school officials or the parents of children who are bothering your child, they’re likely to become defensive. Nowadays, teachers and school administrators are often fearful of lawsuits, both from the parents of the child who was victimized and from the parents of the child who was accused of causing the problem. This is a real fear because a lawsuit can seriously drain a school’s already limited resources.

At the same time, most teachers and school administrators are deeply dedicated to the wellbeing of their students and want to them to feel safe and happy at school. They’re far more likely to respond positively to parents who are approaching them in a calm and respectful way. However, no matter how good a job you do, some people will react badly when they’re first told about a problem. Don’t let that stop you—stay calm and be persistent about explaining what the issue is and what you want to see happen.

  1. Get Your Facts Right

Instead of jumping to conclusions or making assumptions, take time to get the whole story. Ask questions of your child in a calm, reassuring way and listen to the answers.

Ask questions of other people who might be involved, making it clear that your goal is to understand and figure out how to address the problem rather than to get even with anybody.

Once you understand the situation, it works best to look for solutions, not for blame. Try to assume that overwhelmed teachers and school administrators deserve support and acknowledgment for what they’re doing right as well as to be told what’s wrong. Try to assume that children behave in hurtful ways do so because they don’t have a better way of meeting their needs or because they have problems in their own lives.

Be your child’s advocate, but accept the possibility that your child might have partially provoked or escalated the bullying. You might say, “It’s not your fault when someone hurts or makes fun of you, but I am wondering if you can think of another way you might have handled this problem?”

  1. Pinpoint the Cause

Is the problem caused because the school needs more resources in order to supervise children properly during recess and lunch, or before and after school? Does your child need to learn skills for self-protection and boundary-setting by making and practicing a plan with you or by taking a class such as Kidpower? Does the school need help formulating a clear policy that makes behavior that threatens, hurts, scares, or embarrasses others against the rules with appropriate, balanced, and consistent consequences? Do the children who harmed your child need to learn about empathy and to develop skills for using their power in positive ways instead of negative ones? Does a child involved in bullying have emotional problems?

  1. Protect Your Child

Your highest priority is, of course, to protect your child as best you can. Try to step back for perspective and keep the big picture in mind as well as the immediate problem. What protecting your child means will vary depending on the ability of the school to resolve the problem, the nature of the problem, and on the specific needs of your child.

Through a programs such as Kidpower, make sure your child has the chance to practice skills in order to walk away from people who being rude or threatening, to protect himself or herself emotionally and physically, and to ask for help sooner rather than later.

In some cases, protecting your child might mean that her teacher and school principal, the parents of the other child, and you all work on a plan together to stop the problem. In other cases, the best solution for your child might be to change schools.

In extreme cases, you might want to explore legal action. Different countries and states have different laws about children’s rights. If need be, explore the resources available in your community.

  1. Prevent Future Problems

You also want to prevent future problems. All children deserve to be in an environment that is emotionally and physically safe. Dealing with ongoing harassment is like living with pollution—eventually, coping with the constant assault can undermine your child’s health.

Concerned parents can help schools find and implement age-appropriate programs that create a culture of respect, caring, and safety between young people rather than of competition, harassment, and disregard.

  1. Get Help for Your Child

Finally, you want to get help for your child and for yourself to deal with the feelings that result from having had an upsetting experience. Sometimes bullying can remind you about bad experiences in your own past. Parents often have to deal with guilt for not preventing the problem, and sometimes struggle with rage.

Getting help might mean talking issues over with other supportive adults who can listen to you and your child with perspective and compassion. Getting help might mean going to a therapist or talking with counselors provided by the school or by other agencies.

  1. Make this into a Learning Experience

As parents, it’s normal to want to protect our children from all harm. If we monitor their lives so closely that they never fall, never fail, and never get hurt or sad, then we’d be depriving our children of having the room to grow.

Upsetting experiences don’t have to lead to long-term damage if children are listened to respectfully, if the problem is resolved, and if their feelings are supported. Young people can learn how to take charge of their safety by developing skills for preventing and stopping harassment themselves, by setting boundaries, avoiding people whose behavior is problematic, and getting help when they need it.

Additional resources include:  Face Bullying With Confidence: 8 Skills Kids Can Use Right Away and Kidpower’s Bullying Prevention Resource page.

About the Author

Kidpower Founder Irene van der Zande has been featured as a child safety expert by USA Today, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young PeopleBullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safeand the Kidpower Safety Comics series. Kidpower is a non-profit organization established in 1989 that has protected over 3 million people of all ages and abilities from bullying, abuse, kidnapping, and other violence locally and around the world. Services include in-person workshops in California and other locations, an extensive free on-line Library, affordable publications, and consulting. Please contact for more information.

Stop Bullying Before It Starts.

Can We Stop Bullying Before It Begins?

Bullying is a hot topic with everyone from the playgroup moms to the middle school campus supervisors. The negative effects of a bully’s behavior affects not only the victim, but the bystanders and the bully as well.


What if there was a way to stop bullying before it even begins?

Harvard researcher and TED speaker Shawn Achor and his sister Amy Blankson (named a Point of Light by Presidents Bush and Clinton) wondered if they could apply Achor’s research on happiness and positivity and use it to teach young children about bullying behavior. They came up with the idea to write a children’s book called Ripple’s Effect that uses the scientific research and targets it toward younger children to see if they can use the power of positivity to battle bullying.

Positive thinking really works

In his research at Harvard, Achor has been able to see first-hand that while genetics may play a role, happiness really can be a choice. “By researching positive outliers—people who are above average for a positive dimension like optimism or intelligence—we learn that happiness is a choice, but it’s also something that we have to work at,” says Achor. Teaching young children to use the power of positive thinking shows them that they have more control over their environment than they realize.

Why target such young children?

Ripple’s Effect is targeted toward children between the ages of 4 and 8 years old. Some may feel that children this age are too young to learn about bullying behavior, but Blankson disagrees. “As a mother of three young children, I have seen the issue of bullying emerge in a variety of settings—at school, on the playground, even at church,” she says. “As much as I want to protect my children, I have learned that ultimately they have to learn to use their ‘strong words’ to stand up for themselves and for others who may not have words yet.” The earlier children are taught that they can control their environment in a positive manner, the better chance we have of helping the next generation to be confident and bully-resistant.

What makes this book different?

Ripple’s Effect is not the first children’s book to address the subject of bullying. So what is different about this particular book? “Ripple’s Effect is a unique character education book because it is actually based on science,” says Achor. “My work and research in the field of positive psychology has revealed how changes in our own brain due to mindset and behavior can have a ripple effect to a team and an entire organization. We applied the same idea to a fictional world of sharks and dolphins so that children can understand that these same principles are active in the world around them.”

Pairing scientific research with fun characters like Snark the Shark and Ripple the Dolphin helps readers relate to the story and the concept of positive thinking. The message throughout the book is that staying positive can transform situations and change lives.

Bullying is a problem that we all need to address. By targeting a young audience and teaching them about positive thinking, these authors are taking a big step toward tackling the problem before it begins.

This post was used with permission from Sherri Kuhn of Little Pickle Press is grateful for such dynamic and inspiring partnership in the stand against bullying. During the month of October, we are offering a free copy of Snutt the Ift when you buy two copies of Ripple’s Effect. It’s a fun and easy way to share the message!

Pamela Price

Ripple’s Effect Review by Pamela Price

The following review of Shawn Achor’s book, Ripple’s Effect, is by Pamela Price.

The cover to this children’s book, newly released by our friends at Little Pickle Press, caught my attention with it’s rockin’ title and adorable dolphin.

Ripple's Effect

It has to be among the cleverest titles ever. Seriously.

As someone who has spent the last year giving a lot of thought to the issues of bullying and relational aggression, however, it was the book’s pages that most thrilled me. Ripple, you see, is a dolphin in a new tank–a fish in new waters, if you will–who runs into a nasty dude named Snark.

(Yes, Snark the Shark.)

Naturally, we grownups have all run into Snark (and Ms. Snark, too) in our lives. (This election year, some of us have run into them almost daily onFacebook.) Over time, we’ve learned to either tune them out or “kill ‘em with kindness” depending upon the type of snarkiness they leave in their wakes. It takes time to learn these skills, and some kids are especially sensitive to the hostility thrown out by the Snarks of the world. So they need the guidance of a parent to help them manage the nastiness.

What is simply marvelous about Ripple’s Effect is that it shows children how the concept of “mirroring” works for us land mammals. Essentially, in the words of the authors, Shawn Achor and Amy Blankson, “When you smile, my mirror neurons light up, tell me I am the one smiling… We can make a ripple effect of positivity if we begin to choose happiness ourselves.”

Much as Ripple lights up Snark’s life–and helps him leave (hopefully) his life of bullying behind, sharing this book with your youngster gives you a chance to emphasize positive solutions to big, ugly behavior. The trick to making the lessons stick is for us parents to continue the discussion about relational aggression throughout our every day experiences. (The publisher has graciously created FREE lesson plans.)

Curiously, I’ve found that the more we discuss these painful topics with our children, the more that we see evidence of negative, hostile and cruel behaviorsin our own “mature” lives.

Yes, adult relational aggression is very real.

Perhaps if we parents teach our children well at home–using books like Ripple’s Effect, we can build good habits in our own “tanks.” And if enough of us do this and in turn form happiness ripples in the wider culture, then we might eliminate a lot of real-life snark.


You can follow Pamela on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and now onSulia, where she micro-blogs on the Parenting Channel.

Disclosure: Pamlea was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher as part of a “blog book tour” celebrating the publication’s release. The opinions are hers. 

This article is a re-post from our friend Pamela Price at Red, White and Grew

Oak Knoll

Featured Customer of the Month:

Oak Knoll Elementary School

When you visit the campus of Oak Knoll Elementary School in Menlo Park, California, you can feel the hum of the energy being generated by both staff and students. Learning at Oak Knoll is not limited to the classrooms; instead, each and every part of the school encourages dynamic interaction, exploration, and both directed and self-led learning experiences.

Oak Knoll is a big school—over 700 students—that feels small, personal, and focused on its mission: every child can be an exemplary scholar, a valued friend, and a courageous citizen. In order to do this, they focus on the whole child, celebrating each child’s individuality while helping them overcome any challenges they may face. Their philosophy is rooted in Dr. Carol Dweck’s Mindset work, and they teach both students and parents that intelligence is not an asset determined at birth, and that the brain is pliable and capable of amazing accomplishments with practice and perseverance. One of the ways they do this is by utilizing Dr. Joann Deak’s Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It to demonstrate how the brain works, and how each person can make their brain stronger and more flexible with hard work and practice.

Oak Knoll encourages a close, nurturing relationship between faculty and students. They have implemented specific strategies for building long-term student/teacher relationships. Teachers tutor every student in the classroom who has not yet reached proficiency. Tutoring is designed around academic goals and is also used as a critical time to deepen relationships. Learning is hands-on as well, with students running a broadcast studio, performing science experiments, or learning violin.

School hours are full of the fun of learning, but Oak Knoll does not stop there. Their afterschool program is filled with educational and entertaining activities such as chess, creative writing, public speaking, LEGO, yoga, tennis, flag football, math, science, cooking, and art. Their sports programs stress having fun, cooperation, learning the rules of the games, and building teamwork, friendships, and community.

If you are looking for a great school for your children, or would like to see just how amazing the educational experience can be when done properly, take some time and visit Oak Knoll!

Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying Prevention Month:

Defining—and Defeating—the Problem

While October is designated as National Bullying Prevention Month, it’s important to ensure that our children feel safe year-round in order to learn and thrive in their school communities. So how do schools go about this? Well, for starters, it’s important for educators, parents, and students to understand what bullying is and isn’t.

Not all hurtful behavior is bullying.

Bullying has now become such a hot buzz word in our society that it can be overused—and misused—by kids and adults alike. Experts often define bullying as having three key components: an intent to harm, an imbalance of power, and repeated acts or threats of aggressive behavior. Because power imbalance is a particularly hard concept for young kids to grasp, I love how one of the schools that I visited in Wisconsin helped their school community understand the difference between bullying and other hurtful forms of behavior:

•  When someone unintentionally says something or does something hurtful, and they just do it once, that’s RUDE;

•  When someone intentionally says something or does something hurtful, and they just do it once, that’s MEAN;

•  When someone intentionally says something or does something hurtful, and they keep on doing it—even if they see you’re upset or you’ve asked them to stop—that’s BULLYING.

If bullying is a conscious choice to be cruel, then empathy is its antidote. Empathy is more than just understanding what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. It’s also having compassion for another’s pain and suffering. The more empathy we can instill in our children’s hearts, the less room there is for contempt and disregard for others. How do we as adults teach empathy? We can start by being good role models in how we treat others. We can also remind kids that, as numerous Internet safety advocates and bullying prevention experts report, most youth aren’t bullying their peers. (That’s not to say that bullying isn’t a significant issue, as the minority of bullying children can cause great harm to both the targets of bullying and the many bystanders who witness it.)

Researchers report that most youth are decent and caring when it comes to how they treat others. Let your children know that you expect no less from them. If they do witness bullying, encourage them to comfort the child who is getting hurt and to report the incident to a grown-up they trust or, if online, to the service provider or through the social network’s reporting system.

While we may not be able to get rid of all the hurt in our children’s world, we need to do our best to educate ourselves and them on nonviolent strategies to effectively help them get through the hurt.

Trudy Ludwig is a children’s advocate and bestselling author of numerous books on bullying including My Secret Bully, Confessions of a Former Bully, and The Invisible Boy. For more information about her work, visit


An Anti-Bullying Book List!

As we continue to promote anti-bullying this month, we’ve decided to curate a brief list of some books that may be helpful to parents. Some of them will be quite obvious choices while others may give readers pause to consider the larger problems surrounding bullying and what it looks like on a national and global scale.

Please share, in the comments, other titles that could be added to the list!


Pre-School and Elementary Age Resources


The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby

When the new boy in his 2nd grade class tries to get the other students to play a game that involves saying the meanest thing possible to one another, Little Bill finds himself in a predicament. Kids’ games aren’t always innocent and this highlights that for young readers as they partake in them. Little Bill begins to adopt his father’s expression of “So?” which turns it around for those doing the teasing. A simple response to a complex problem. 


Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna

Yes, that Madonna. This was her second book and it takes place in Happville, USA where Mr. Peabody is the beloved school teacher and baseball coach. One day, due to a simple error and assumption, Mr. Peabody finds himself on the bad end of a rumor that spreads quickly through town. A book that puts a simple spin on what “gossip” is and what it can do, our protagonist Mr. Peabody silences the nasty rumor with an unforgettable and poignant lesson. His humble actions are commendable and easy for young readers to understand.

Ripple's Effect

Ripple’s Effect by Shawn Achor, illustrated by Amy Blankson

Happiness has a ripple effect and sometimes our bullies are thwarted when we return kindness for meanness. Shawn Achor published this book through us at Little Pickle Press, but he is also the author author of the bestseller The Happiness Advantage and spends his time researching happiness and teaching positive psychology at Harvard University. This children’s book shows children that they can face their fears by making friends of their bullies and that attitude is everything in our outlook on life.


How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson

Amazon lists this book as a Pre-K or grade 1 book that uses “reverse etiquette” to “advise readers to never smile or share; to be a bully and whine; to tattle and be a poor sport. Each “rule” offers specific examples and is illustrated with brightly colored pictures.”

Examples for children are simple for young, emerging readers and it gives parents the opportunity to have deeper, complex conversations later to discuss things such as tattling which, at older ages, can be a difficult issue. 


Middle School


Blubber by Judy Blume

I couldn’t possibly leave one of my favorite middle school reads from my own youth off this list and Judy Blume fits the bill with Blubber. Not only does she take on the cruel teasing that happens in childhood, she also takes on the issue of race as an African-American family moves into a neighborhood, thus juxtaposing bullying on multiple levels. 

Jill, the protagonist, joins in the teasing of the overweight Linda because she wants to fit in with the rest of the students. Vicious cycles are repeated and yet we don’t see the bully earn her due which is, sadly, representative of real life.


Better Than You by Trudy Ludwig

Better Than You shows children how adopting a “better than you” attitude can ruin friendships rather than build them and takes on the issue of bragging. Jake’s incessant bragging gets on Tyler’s nerves by always “one-upping” him and working hard to prove he knows better and can do everything better. Great conversation starters with kids to discuss “puffing yourself up”.


Illustrations from Adam Gustavson


Wonder by R.J. Palacio

August Pullman, nicknamed Auggie, is a 10-year-old boy who loves Star Wars and Xbox and is completely normal in that sense. However, he has facial anomalies which has kept him homeschooled until he goes to school in 5th grade. A lovely book fully of August’s internal dialogue delight readers as well as Auggie’s incredible courage in facing that which could have been avoided if he remained at home for school. Middle school children adore this book.


Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Jeffrey “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan and put him on the run. After living an unhappy existence with his quarreling aunt and uncle for 8 years,  he decides to run. Except, he doesn’t just run away. He runs, a metaphor that weaves throughout the entire novel. His adventures help create the myth of legendary feats surrounding him with memorable characters in a racially divided small town.

Middle School-YA


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen, a high school student, finds a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch one day and discovers multiple cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker. Hannah is the girl Clay has had a crush on but has recently committed suicide. Listening to Hannah’s haunting and recorded voice, Jay learns that  there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life and, even more shocking, that Clay is one of them. As he hears her tell her story in her own voice it gives power to the events and unfolds as a mystery that he may not want to solve. Clay is not only a witness but is party to the bullying she experienced and he’s forced to face truths that are painful to accept. 


Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Cris Crutcher

This mature subject matter novel is about two high school social outcasts, Eric and Sarah, who help one another to stand up against the cruelty they witness among their peers and a few bullying adults. Eric and Sarah both have terrible, but different “scars” made them standouts as outcasts. As Eric’s fat “scar” is diminished by the highly physical activity of swimming, he remains close to Sarah as she ends up in the hospital. He learns more about her scars and the secrets she has been hiding in a highly delicate novel that mirrors life too well.



The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This book is about much more than just the Holocaust and WWII and gives voice to the larger issues of bullying that make humans turn on one another. Set in 1939 Nazi Germany with Death as the narrator, Liesel Meminger is our powerful protagonist. Liesel is a foster girl living outside of Munich who, upon learning to read, steals the books that Nazis want to burn. She shares her learning with a Jewish man hiding in the basement and we see bullying through her eyes in multiple forms.  

We are CERTAIN to have left off your favorites to read with children or recommend to older readers. What titles would you suggest for anti-bullying?

JLM Photography. via photopin cc

Finger Lakes Library System

Featured Library of the Month:

the Finger Lakes Library System

I first heard of Ithaca, New York, because it was home of Molly Katzen and the Moosewood Restaurant. I don’t know if Molly still lives there, but I know that the restaurant is still thriving. In researching October’s library of the month, I found another great place to visit the next time I am in that region of New York State: the Finger Lakes Library System.

Connecting libraries in Cayuga, Cortland, Seneca, Tioga, and Tompkins counties, the system is a crucial part of this beautiful area of the state. In addition to providing magazines, books, audio and visual material, internet and computer access, and the usual library fare, the libraries in the system also offer a variety of services and events crucial to a vibrant community throughout the year. There are story times for different age groups, workshops on writing, crafts, training, and more, and events related to important dates and occasions as they occur.

Each year the Finger Lakes Library System pays tribute to individuals in their member libraries and communities who have delivered outstanding service to libraries. Besides such awards as director or trustee of the year, they have recently instituted the Jan Aguirre Customer Service Award to be given to a member library employee, volunteer, or trustee who possesses the enthusiasm, grace, friendliness, and patience that Jan, who was the FLLS Technology Training Coordinator for twenty-six years until her passing in July 2013, had for training and helping others.

Live in the area but are unable to get out to the library? No problem. The Finger Lakes Library System has an extensive online collection of audiobooks, e-books, and music for you to choose from.

What’s not to love? Next time you find yourself polishing off a meal at the Moosewood and you have some extra time on your hands, pop into one of the Finger Lakes Library System member libraries and get lost among the stacks. Just make sure to wash the chocolate off your hands first!

Bullying Prevention

Bullying Prevention: Resources and Recourses

We go to the doctor for regular checkups; we take our cars to the garage for maintenance. Taking care of potential hazards before they get out of hand is second nature to many people.

So why has bullying become such a problem?

Sometimes, we don’t recognize the issue, or we feel powerless to stop what’s happening. Maybe we’re afraid of getting involved in someone else’s business, or we’re looking for the right way to deal with it.

Bullying behavior hurts more than the victim; it affects everyone connected to the situation. Little Pickle Press has gathered a list of resources to help you identify, report, and (hopefully) prevent bullying.

Bullying Prevention

1. Kidpower. Little Pickle’s partner in prevention, Kidpower offers lots of easy-to-implement ideas and kid-friendly information. You’ll find tools for parents and teachers, and safety solutions for all ages.

Bullying Prevention

2. The name says it all. A collection of facts, videos, and games will not only teach kids to recognize the signs of bullying behavior, but to understand why that behavior is never acceptable.

Bullying Prevention

3. Author of the recently-reviewed My Secret Bully, Trudy Ludwig has put together an impressive resource list for parents and teachers. Lesson plans from her award-winning books are available, and caregivers will benefit from a list of organizations and websites that provide “next step” advice, whether their child is a victim or a witness—or a bully.

Bullying Prevention

4. The National Education Association has created a resource list especially for the campus setting. Built around the “Bully Free: It Starts with Me” pledge, the campaign offers practical advice for educators on how to identify and intervene when bullying is suspected, as well as how to advocate for students who have been bullied.

Naturally, these are just a few of the resources available. If you have a story to tell, or you’d like to share the name of a site or organization that was helpful to you, please let us know in the comments. October is Bullying Prevention Month, but every day is a chance to step up and speak out.