What I Tell Myself About Talent is a fun children’s book that places exploration and self actualization center stage. What are you good at? What’s your talent? How can you ever know until you try. This book helps kids make the connection between their current talents and their future jobs, whether it’s an innate talent or something they have to work at. Rather than telling children to be one thing or another, What I Tell Myself About Talent let’s readers know that it’s okay to not know, and exploring the possibilities is part of the fun.
Michael Brown has once again created a book on a topic that I have rarely, if ever, read about in a children’s book. Talent, and how to find it in everyday places with a little exploration, is accomplished in this book with simple rhymes and vibrant illustrations of diverse children doing different activities. This picture book will encourage readers to get out into the world and try things out. It will open their eyes to the idea that they can continue to do the things they like even into adulthood. From doctors to construction workers Michael Brown makes it clear that going out and finding what your good at is part of the fun. The ending of the book has Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which is a great opportunity for further discussion beyond the book. What I Tell Myself About Talent is a great way to start a conversation about finding talent in everyday activities.
Pages: 30 | ASIN: B08CBQR6XJ
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What I Tell Myself About Self-Protection is an educational resource for children, adults and educators. It teaches the reader through simple rhymes that danger lurks in the world and one must be prepared for it. It shows how different people, young and old, can get into scary situations that may be harmful to them. It then empowers them with the knowledge that they can protect themselves by fighting back, but also that it is okay to run away or call the police. It gives readers the tools necessary to take their safety into their own hands.
This is the most pragmatic picture book that I’ve read this year. It teaches children and adults valuable skills that might literally save their lives. It presents readers with various situations where the characters are in danger, and then shows them different ways they could protect themselves. Either by being aware of their surroundings, or dialing 911, running away, or by simply saying No and Stop. The art that accompanied each scene was clean, bright, and emotive. It reminded me of the D.A.R.E comic books that used to be distributed through schools. This is a great book for parents or educators to begin a conversation with kids about self-defense and when it’s acceptable to defend yourself. I appreciated how varied the talking points were. At end of the book readers are given a list where they can write down the contact information for different self-protection resources, which is a good resource to keep handy, or at the very least it’s a great opportunity to begin a discussion about each resource. Simply knowing that those people and services exist should help children understand that there are people in the world that will help them when needed. The book also provides a summary of a self-protection law case that helps give the books topic a real world reference, but may be more suitable for older readers. What I Tell Myself About Self-Protection provides practical advice that is easy to understand and simple to implement.
Pages: 30 | ASIN: B08BCNV9RB
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What I Tell Myself FIRST provides readers with an excellent source of support as questions and self-doubt arise throughout early childhood. Why was this an important book for you to write?
A: I am not an author by trade. I became one by trauma. I am the product of child abuse. The reasons? I still couldn’t tell you what I had done to earn physical chastisement. Usually, children remember some of the things they did to earn punishment. I don’t. I then began to hate my mother. I never understood, as most children don’t, why a mother who is supposed to be your guardian would physically chastise me like she did. I then began to run away into the arms of my grandmother.
Growing up, I would move between my mother’s and grandmother’s homes from time to time. In both homes, my brother, sister, uncle, and I went to various churches. As time passed, my mother inherited property as a result of my great-grandmother’s death. My mother appeared to have been fascinated with the church, as is the tradition among African Americans to have either been born into Christianity and attend church or seek Christianity, its assistance, and fellowship in a time of need. A building plan was finalized and donations were being solicited from the church members to erect it.
My mother, believing bigger giving equaled bigger and faster lottery-like blessings, refinanced her inherited property, being our residence. She then donated over 85% (approximately $30,000) of the finances from the loan to the church. The building would never be built. Her donation and neglect of the duties for which the funds were acquired resulted in foreclosure of the property and us being in a homeless state, with mother never to question the disposition of the donation or demand its return. Why did a mother with children do such a thing? The need for assistance and association in time of need, I would later learn, is the doorway by which some self-proclaimed pastors capitalize on those in said state to acquire, among other things, monetary donations while delivering spiritual stimulation as the payback. Mother gave all selflessly for the promise of earthly riches that would never come. She passed in 2018.
Fast-forwarding to late 2019, I was helping an anger management client with issues related to her anger. In doing so, I learned that a great percentage of anger happens when childhood voids, created by broken parents, are imparted in children thereby continuing to reside in now-anatomically/statutorily mature adults. These voids are the motivations for the often ill-prepared or toxic choices we make as adults. This would be the revelation I would learn in the wake of mother’s passing: those who seek to use you will spot your voids and capitalize on them for their own gain. I then could not continue to hate my mother for the pain she caused, for I now knew the motivation which influenced her choices. She was broken. As a result, I became broken. I then loved her again. I understood her. I then set out to find solutions to change what parents don’t do and what children don’t know: how to address the real world and prepare for the inevitable to achieve self-actualization. I always heard of affirmations. Plenty of books have them, usually filled with “I am” this and that. But they leave out the real-world attacks that parents know are coming. They hide the truth from our children.
I loved the art in this book. What was the art collaboration like with Zoe Ranucci to create the look for this book?
Zoe was amazing. Her artwork and customer service was unmatched. It was like a friend. She provided me some guidance when I needed it. And when she didn’t like some things (not with the work per se, but the publishing company I was going to go through, she voiced her professional opinion which was the impetus to get me to look over the contract again. That was an excellent move. She was and is amazing.
I thought that this book is a great way to have conversations about self esteem with children. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope they take away from this book a greater understanding of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and positively self-actualize into our best self. If the needs in Maslow are not met, we become fixed at that need until the need is met. Parents, don’t lie to your child. Parents who do this are concerned with how they look in the eyes of their child. The lying parent sees the child as their friend, not their child. You can’t protect your child from a void you haven’t protected yourself from. Your experience is the master class. You are the master teacher. Expose your past to save them from a past and yourself from a future occurrence. Ask any doctor. There must be some infliction of pain in medical operations to cause healing. Not every pain can be numbed. Even numbed, when you wake up in recovery, you will feel it. Pain precedes most healings and recoveries. What you reveal may hurt your children. But the lessons you will have taught them from the revelation, likened to the rung bell that can be un-rang, will be etched in their mind when you are no longer around and that lesson appears at their feet. They can’t dodge the bullet you neither told them was coming, nor bulletproofed their mind towards repellency and rebounding.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
What I Tell Myself is a series. FIRST is the foundation upon which the other books will be written. I will keep expounding on Maslow, for educators know all too well, “In teaching, you can’t do the Bloom (Bloom’s Taxonomy) stuff until they do the Maslow stuff.” – Alan E. Beck. Individual characters have names and adventures that will be Maslow-focused. I have already penned two books currently in editing and illustration. The titles are What I Tell Myself: About Self-Protection, What I Tell Myself: About Talent and What I Tell myself: About NO!
What I Tell Myself: About Self-Protection gives children various options for protecting themselves. It is powerful. I read it and feel empowered! I raise my children not to be victims. I want my readers, both parent and child(ren), to avoid victimization. I like active books that give solutions. I want my books to be roadmaps for action. In life, actions get things going. Let’s cry silently along the way. But, get off the “X”. I guess that is the military/police officer in me.
What I Tell Myself: About Talent explores the inquisitive mind of a child who wants to be everything and anything at the same time. Keeping with the page in What I Tell Myself FIRST, “I am great at some things…” a child told me he didn’t know what he liked to do. Lightbulb. Stay tuned.
What I Tell Myself: About NO! helps children understand the importance of hearing the word NO and its importance in our lives. Children who can’t take No become adults who can’t take rejection. And if what it is true about failure being a part of success if we learn from the failure, understanding rejection is tantamount to that lesson.
Written by a US military veteran, this children’s book, based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, will instill in children the answer to bullying, body-shaming, hate, and attacks on the self through daily affirmations. Author Mike Brown has learned many life lessons and hopes to convey some of those lessons acquired from public and private service in the Army, as a police officer, an anger management specialist, nonviolent crisis intervention instructor, educator, as well as the real-world wisdom accumulated so far, to everyone that reads this book. Teaching a sense of self-love as well as self-acceptance and giving a framework for both parents and children to help build their lives into sturdy and happy homes is his goal. What I Tell Myself FIRST: Children’s Real-World Affirmations of Self Esteem is to readers what the AED is to a heart: it instills the defibrillator of self-esteem so powerful for when times are tough and your mind is under attack. Mike hones in on his military past and the methodology behind why servicemembers say creeds in various forms and military occupational specialties. This book will serve its purpose not for when times are good. But for when times are bad, when one is on that dark road and it feels like no one is there. It will serve as the proverbial jump pack to the battery of the mind. Like the hug that you needed but did not get. Like the words you needed to hear but did not hear. This book of reality-based daily affirmations are the “I wish I had this” of books. We MUST instill in our children the answer to bullying, body-shaming, hate, and attacks on the self through daily affirmations.
What I Tell Myself First: Children’s Real-World Affirmations of Self Esteem by Michael A. Brown features a complete list of both positive and realistic comments for children related to everyday situations. From beginning to end, Brown gives young readers brief but focused affirmations they can use when faced with most any feeling. Included in Brown’s book are blanks for children to personalize comments.
Michael A. Brown’s children’s book provides readers with an excellent source of support as questions and self-doubt may arise throughout early childhood and into early adolescence. The author has thoroughly analyzed all possible situations and handed readers fantastic phrases to recite in preparation to meet their challenges head-on. From friendships to the stresses of school, from work ethics to bullying, Brown includes phrases that are easy to commit to memory and inspiring in every way.
As a third grade teacher, I can see Brown’s book as a fabulous addition to a guidance curriculum. In addition, What I Tell Myself First would serve as a great conversation starter during individual counseling sessions with students who find it difficult to express themselves. Zoe Ranucci’s illustrations are wonderful representations for a wide variety of readers. I am eager to see more books of this caliber from Michael A. Brown–elementary and middle school educators are in dire need of books like this one.
Pages: 30 | ASIN: B07ZF2QD8B