Yesterday I cleared my day to research The New England Book Awards. The deadline to apply is in November 2013 so right away I felt lucky that I had not missed the deadline. I submitted an entry for Some Parts are NOT for Sharing and Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT. Below is my application page for Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT. I entered it in the How-to category with the hopes of being different. I know I will be surrounded by books such as; “How to design a successful start up company. “How to Tweet your way onto The New York Times Best Seller List.” and such. No one is talking about how to prevent domestic violence. I am! And I can not think of a better way to spend my time. Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT is a How-to book on, “How to prevent domestic violence.” It is for readers ages 0-7 years. The book talks about anger control for young children which everyone needs more information on. Replacement behaviors are offered rather than just instructing children to “Stop it!” or “Cut it out now or else!” Woven into the text is a subtle message for children living in homes where domestic violence is present. The book instructs children that it is not okay to hurt others, and what to do if someone is hurting you. Readers are encouraged to “Tell a trusted adult.” The judicial system is punitive at best for women who report domestic violence. There are a multitude of reasons not to report if you are a woman without large financial resources to pay for a qualified lawyer. Somehow the innocence of children and the pure truth coming through in their report without the baggage that an adult report carries brings justice. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence 8,800,000 children every year under the age of 18 witness acts of domestic violence. This static is for North America alone sadly. My goal in writing the book is to change this. If children live with violence at a young age they begin to think it is normal. Thus continuing the cycle of violence. With the information in Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT children have the knowledge from an unbiased source that violence is wrong. They are also instructed about how to get help. My dream would be for every law enforcement squad car to have a copy of this book in their trunk. When officers went on a domestic violence call they would leave the book if there were children in the home. I believe officers know sometimes there is violence going on in the home, but they do not file a report biased on lack of evidence. Teachers and school personnel are mandatory reporters when they have information that a child is being harmed. That is why I had the fish approach his teacher with the news of the violence. Winning the New England Book Festival would be a thrill! But the greater pleasure I would gain from this award is knowing that more children would now have access to my prevention message. This is a message of hope that so many children need. Thank you for your consideration of Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT for an entry in the How-to category for The New England Book Awards. Sincerely, Julie Federico
I gave my first speech concerning the creation of school violence books: The Bad Guys and Students Can Help Keep Schools Safe on May 11th. This is the information I shared at the Mom’s Demand Action Mother’s Day Rally in Denver May 11, 2013. It was the first time I had ever spoken on the steps of the State Capital building. The view was amazing.
I see many children in the group today, thank you all for coming. I want all of the parents to relax, my talk if G rated. I also want to thank Laura from Mom’s Demand Action for inviting me to speak today. I didn’t know this group existed until Thursday night when I began researching school violence and violence prevention on Facebook. Laura made a fast connection with me and I am thrilled to be here today. I am a children’s author who writes children’s servies books on personal safety for young children. My first book Some Parts are NOT for Sharing is a child abuse prevention book for children ages 0-7. It helps young children define; what is abuse. Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT helps children deal with anger and has a hidden domestic violence message. So, it was not a stretch for me to write about school violence. Since Christmas I have written two school safety books that I am dedicating to the Sandy Hook Community in Newton, CT. I did not watch any of the news coverage of the shootings. I have two elementary age daughters. I was afraid if I watched the coverage I would immediately move to a remote fishing village in Alaska. About a week after the shootings I went to lunch with a dear friend who watches a lot of news. I said to her, “I don’t want this to monopolize our conversation but I have two questions about Sandy Hook: 1. How did the shooter get into the school? 2. What was his connection to the school? She answered my questions, then we talked about Sandy Hook for 2 hours. This conversation changed me as a person, it changed my DNA. I felt utterly helpless and hopeless. A week later was Christmas Eve. I was alone, my daughter’s were with their father. I was lonely, missing my family, feeling depressed. Then I thought “Hey, wait, my kids come home on the 26th, in two days.” I immediately then thought of the parents and families who had lost loves ones at Sandy Hook. These children, mother’s, spouses would NEVER be coming home. NOT this Christmas, not next Christmas. I sat there with my mouth open for a few minutes staring at the wall. I’ve got to make more festive plans for this Christmas. Then I grabbed a pen and wrote the gun violence prevention book, Students Can Help Keep Schools Safe. The words flowed onto the page easily. I felt better, I felt like I was helping solve a problem that appeared unsolvable. On Christmas day I reread my text and knew I had to write a second book. The language was for older readers and would not be appropriate for Kindergartners. Then I wrote my second gun violence prevention book, The Bad Guys which is for younger students preschool to 3rd grade. Both books are set for a summer release date with West Bow Press. I am hoping in some small way that these books will keep our schools safer. In both books I am encouraging students to contact the main office if they see a strange person in the school. More importantly, I am instructing students to report threatening peer behavior. The gunman in most school shootings is a student. There are journal pages in the back of the book that students can log threats. Schools can easily discount one threat but multiple threats by multiple students will not be ignored, but investigated. I have also written a teacher’s guide that will help educators discuss this very difficult topic with students. My goal is to get these books into every elementary/middle school. My objective with this overwhelming project is to help prevent future gun violence. I want to say a word of gratitude to my oldest daughter. She was and still is my biggest supporter. She never said to me, “This is too large of a problem to write about, you can’t solve this, you are already too busy marketing your other books, where are you going to find time to do this?” She remained positive and has been my go to person. Sometimes it is best to have a child help you take the led on your project rather than a board of directors. This project was fully funded by Visa. I will hopefully start to repay these bills soon. I felt this topic was too important not to act upon. To do nothing would have been neglect on my part. I am accepting donations and any form of technical support is welcome. Together we are stronger than alone. Thank you for coming today. I believe as a group we can begin to make our schools safer classroom by classroom. Mom’s Demand Action Rally May 11, 2013 [email protected]