Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Explaining Cancer to Kids: Tickles Tabitha's going to Summer Reading Camp!

Schools Out for Summer!

Just writing the words sends a nostalgic feeling of euphoria pulsing through me. I disliked school as a kid. However, I loved attending my school's summer reading program. It was everything I liked, which was art, reading, and snacks, without the things I didn't!

I had no idea that summer school was educational. It was too much fun! My real school experiences had taught me that anything educational is difficult. In my childish mind fun did not equate to learning. If it had I would have been a much better student. 

That is why I try hard to make even difficult topics, like cancer and nuclear power, fun to read about. 

This June, I’m excited to announce that Tickles Tabitha and I are going back to summer school!  We've been invited to Read to be Ready Camp at Midtown Elementary School in Roane County, Tennessee, where I now reside. 

Midtown Elementary was awarded one of Tennessee's Read to Be Ready grants, and we were invited to participate in their summer reading camp: Birds, Blooms, and Books! Made possible by the Tennessee Department of Education.

I’ll be introducing students to my book Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy, and sharing with them my experiences of being a writer, publisher, and cancer survivor.

It’s been several U-haul moves, and a new computer, since my last author school visit. However, you cannot retire from being a children’s book author…not when you have friends who are teachers.
My friend Nancy Laws teaches at Midtown Elementary. Today, I met up with her at the school to check out where I'd be camping. (Make sure all the technology works!)
Nancy and I became friends over twenty years ago, when our children were in play group together. She had just begun to take her teaching courses, and I had just found out I had breast cancer. It was in Tennessee, that I penned the first version of my cancer title.

It seemed only fitting that I would share my cancer awareness program with her campers.

I've been getting reacquainted with Tickles Tabitha, and Nutcracker Publishing's cancer awareness school program curriculum. All I'm missing are my campers, and a few props. 

I will never find!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Reading, Writing, Overcoming Taboos: Celebrating Children's Book Week!

Poster created by Jillian Tamaki
April 30-May 6, 2018 is Children's Book Week!

Much has changed since the October day in 2001, when Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-Tankerous Mommy debuted on the Rosie O'Donnell Show.  Many of the obstacles I faced back then no longer exist, and are the source of amazement, and amusement to the Millennial and under generations. 

The technology such as print on demand, our children take for granted was not possible then, and getting a book published could take months or even years.

Publishing houses often had their books printed in China, and for authors, the phrase slow boat from China was literal. 

However, what surprises my friends and colleagues most is that my children's book about cancer was greeted with about as much enthusiasm, by the publishing industry, as my children's book about nuclear power was, by anti-nuclear opponents, in the wake of Fukushima. 

In 1994, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was not the norm to talk to children about it. We barely spoke above a whisper about it when talking to our adult friends.

Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy was the first children's book to touch on issues like a mom's depression. Or picture a tired and moody mommy. Its honest portrayal was a taboo topic.

When Rosie O'Donnell advocated for cancer awareness on live TV, her mere mention of a children's book about cancer opened the door for social acceptability. 

There were very few resources available about living with cancer, even for adults. 

One that could be found at the oncologist's office was Coping with Cancer Magazine. Unlike other publications, handed to me during my diagnosis, it offered stories about people who were surviving cancer. 

How I survived publishing my first children's book, while coping with a cancer diagnosis is the subject of my own survivor story, featured last year in the printed version of Coping with Cancer

This year, I'm happy to help them announce that the new Coping with Cancer website is up and running, and includes a digital version of my story:  After Cancer: Discovering the Life I was meant to Live.

I feel like that old Virginia Slims cigarette slogan should be applied to non-smoking me: "You've come a long way, Baby." I sure have! So have children's picture books!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Where is a Tree Hugger when you need one?

On a recent hike with my son, Jordan.
Today I'm celebrating World Book & Copyright Day by taking a read day! 

I feel like I earned it as I spent all last week, and my weekend celebrating Earth Day. 

By that I mean I purchased a truck load of plants, and then agonized over which ones I'm least likely to kill, what color combinations look best, and most importantly, where they need to go to make it look good. 

One of several flower beds.

By the time my husband, Randy, arrived home Friday evening I had the hard part taken care of, and all he had to do was dig a few hundred holes! With my help...which is why today, after all the garden aerobics we did, I felt justified to skip the morning run. 

Instead I chose to listen to my audio book while sprinkling cayenne pepper on the flowering plant that it turns out is not resistant to rabbits!

Happy World Book Day & Copyright Day!

Crack Open a Book! from Nutcracker Publishing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Long Skinny Toes: Birthday Memories

Early in the morning on a Palm Sunday, twenty-eight years ago, I woke up when my water broke. My daughter, Tabitha, arrived later that day via a cesarean section as she was breech. Our nurse took one look at my daughter's longer than average toes and laughed that she was not surprised my water broke, "I'll bet those toes did it," she exclaimed.

The girl attached to those long skinny toes is now a 28 year old woman. So much has changed, but she will always be my baby doll. She still makes my heart swell with pride, those long toes still make me laugh, and they still provoke the exclamations of family, friends, and complete strangers!  

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Twenty-six on the 26: Happy Golden Birthday!

Only yesterday I was driving my daughter Tabitha to the mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on her Golden Birthday. She was eight years old, and I had let her play hooky from school to celebrate. I had never even heard of a Golden Birthday, but I guess it was a thing in Minnesota, because she knew all about it, and just assumed I knew too. She was so happy and excited about it. Not to mention we were going to do a few of her favorite things like shop for her upcoming party, shop for her, and eat out. On the way to St. Cloud we talked about how her brother Jordan, who was almost six year old, would be all grown up when he had his Golden Birthday. That seemed like such a long day off back then. I was in no hurry for my baby to grow up, but here he is all grown up. March 26,2018, Jordan turned twenty-six years old. The best little pikachu in the whole wide world has grown up to be a really good man. Happy Golden Birthday, Jordan Bartow Frahm! Let us know when you want to go mall shopping (not gonna happen) for your birthday!❤️

#26 #iblinkedandhegrewup #happygoldenbirthday #myson❤️ #frahmhaus

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