Thursday, June 21, 2012

 Helping Children Feel Smart!

"My daughter Kieran said reading your book made her feel smart!" The child within me wanted to simultaneously jump for joy and break into tears. 
However, since the adult me was sitting at a coffee shop in Victoria, Texas, meeting Kathleen Grones, a reporter for the Victoria Advocate, I squelched that notion and went on pretending to be the grown-up author she was supposed to be interviewing.

Kieran's comment resonated in me in a way that only an adult who was made to feel "not smart” as a child would understand. As a five year old first grade student I was made to feel dumb by a teacher.  Her opinion labeled me in my own mind, and in the minds of other children and teachers, and shaded my entire school experience. 

It was not until college that I realized I was not a dunce. My first clue came in the mail. It was an acceptance letter to the University of Florida, from which I graduated with a PR degree. Not bad for a girl whose first grade teacher assigned her a "D" in citizenship, and who was placed in the slow reading group.

  Suzy Hobbs Baker,Executive Director of
        PopAtomic Studios, 
the parent organization
for the Nuclear Literacy Project. 
Recently, I received an e-mail from Suzanne Hobbs Baker, Executive Director at PopAtomic Studios, informing me that Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant ReallyWorks! had been listed as recommended reading on the premier posting of the Nuclear Literacy Project's website. Needless to say, it felt good.

There was the so-called "dumb" girl's book right alongside books written by some really smart authors and nuclear experts, including Gwyneth Cravens' The Power to Save the World, and Terrestrial Energy by William Tucker.  

Although being victimized by education bullies did not make my life easy, it has made life interesting and infused a passion within me that might not otherwise exist.

This is why I have a deep appreciation for professionals and educators who provide information in a format that even us "dummies" will understand.

That is what the folks at the Nuclear Literacy Project are doing. This past year, the nuclear industry took the heat for the devastation and destruction caused by horrible natural events that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. 

After the incident, anything nuclear - including my children's book - became an easy target for anti-nuclear bullies predicting doom and assigning blame.

My Facebook page was bombarded with photos and comments intended to make me appear irresponsible for writing a children's book on nuclear power. Once again, I felt like that first grade child who had received a "D" in citizenship, until members of the Nuclear Literacy Project came to my rescue.

The organization is composed of a diverse group of thinkers from a variety of backgrounds who recognize the gaps in nuclear education and are striving to bridge them.

They shared accurate and factual information on my Facebook pages that helped distinguish fact from fiction and they did it in a way that my non-technical audience could understand. That is the genius of the Nuclear Literacy Project. It strives to provide education without humiliation or condemnation.  It is with much admiration and appreciation for the Nuclear Literacy Project that I say thank you for what you are doing and congratulations on your website:

May you continue to make children of all ages feel smart!

The Nutcracker Publishing Company is pleased to be associated with The Nuclear Literacy Project and would like to thank them for supporting our efforts to educate young children about nuclear power plants. To learn more about The Nuclear Literacy Project and their history of successful outreach please go to Nutcracker Publishing Company/The Nuclear Literacy Project.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nuclear Literacy for Dumb People

With Neill Holmes at the Crabtree Valley Marriott in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I was guest speaker for the Crabtree Rotary.

My presentation was titled: Nuclear Literacy for Dumb People. I talked about nuclear literacy and gave them a preview of my elementary school program.

There were NO dumb people in my audience, instead I was surrounded by one of the friendliest and most intelligent groups I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Taking Nuclear Power on the Road to South Alabama

My parent's backyard. 
Below are highlights of my author road trip to South Alabama.  I visited schools in Baldwin County and Escambia County, Alabama.  I grew up across the state line in Escambia County, Florida, on a farm in the Walnut Hill community.  So when I was not visiting schools, I got to visit family and childhood friends I have not seen in years. The thing I love about Walnut Hill is the people who always welcome me back, like it was only yesterday, and not 30 years ago since I moved away.  

My first school was Daphne East Elementary, not to be confused with Daphne Elementary.  Daphne, Alabama is a beautiful town near the Gulf Coast, which meant I skipped the school cafeteria food and opted for Gulf Coast seafood.
 Daphne East Elementary students and media specialist Rhonda Campbell, who set up my visit and made sure it went without a hitch. I spoke to approximately 700 students and their teachers.

The winner of our Chubby door prize was Miss Jennifer Nelson's 4th grade class.  Miss Nelson was out that day and I'm pictured with Ms Linda McCann.

The next day I visited Daphne Elementary.  I'm pictured with their librarian, Mrs. Elizabeth Davis.

I think the entire school turned out. I'll always remember this visit as the reason I finally purchased my own set of speakers for my laptop! I had difficulty using their equipment and could not get the audio to broadcast for my video. Daphne Elementary thought me receiving a science and technology award was hilarious.

More about my visits to Baldwin County Schools can be found here: Daphne Kids Power Up: Author teaches about nuclear power, fear of the unknown. Thank you Jessica Jones for including my story.

I completed my first week of author presentations visiting Escambia Academy in Canoe, Alabama. It is a small private school that still goes K-12th grade.  It is also where my brother John Solomon graduated high school.

The kids were excited to have an author visit and each class asked to have their photo taken with me.  I shared both of my books including Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy.  Sadly, it's a topic the children were familiar with.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Tri City Ledger reporter Janet Little Cooper. Despite the hectic schedule of a news reporter, she attended my presentation at Escambia Academy.  You can find her article on my FB page here: EA students learn about nuclear power.
Not all my time was spent doing author school visits, and for the first time in at least 25 years I got to enjoy spending Mother's Day with my mother.

Amelia Solomon Frahm and her mother, Amelia Patricia Solomon.

 The last school I visited was W.J. Carroll Intermediate where I spoke back-to-back to three classes of 150 students.  These were older kids who were looking forward to the end of the year in about six days, yet they were attentive and interested in nuclear power and writing.

Children today learn very little about nuclear power in school which perhaps explains why none of the sixth graders thought my book was too juvenile.

One young man told me he was already working on his own book!

I am back home, alone with my laptop.  It's a beautiful day in North Carolina, but I am missing you Alabama people!