Enemy Pie Anti-Bullying Party-O-Rama

Over the past year, there has been a massive surge in bullying and hate talk in our schools. The National Education Association has attributed this spike in bullying to one thing- the divisive words of the recent presidential campaign. From the looks of it, this problem isn’t going away anytime soon, and we need to take action and address this issue before it becomes the norm.

For the past 16 years I have worked as a children’s author and speaker. I’m excited to announce my first ever fundraiser on crowdrise.com. The purpose of this campaign is to raise money for a strategic book tour, visiting low income schools around the country that don’t have the resources to host such an event.

There is a huge correlation between bullying and education level. In addition, the quality of a student’s education is correlated directly with the amount of money in their school’s budget. Combined, this means that the schools needing the most help addressing bullying are the schools that can afford it the least.

Throughout my career, low income schools have been the hardest for me to reach. Even when I waive any honorarium fees, these schools don’t have the resources to even pay the travel expenses to get me there. But if, together, we can reach this fundraising goal, I will be able to do assemblies at 25 low income schools. Funding this project means reaching around 8000 kids, face to face, at their schools. It means 8000 high fives and fist bumps! The money raised will be used to pay travel expenses, event planning, food, presentation supplies, books for the schools (yes- I have to pay for my own books!), and if there is anything left, a small, fair speaking honorarium. Please click on the image and donate to the cause! And if  you know anyone who might be interested in contributing, please pass this information along.

Cheers!

Derek Munson

(enemy pie guy)

 

Enemy Pie Anti-Bullying Book Tour on Crowdrise

An Election Eve note from the author

 
When I wrote Enemy Pie, one of my aims was to write a non-preachy kids’ story based on kindness and mutual respect. I wanted to tell a story that highlighted the existing possibilities in our personal relationships, once we get past our negative judgements and assumptions about one another. I’ve talked to countless kids and parents who have tested out this recipe on their “enemies,” and it’s always inspiring to hear these stories. One thing I’ve noticed over the years: kids get it. But the adults? Less and less so. Grown ups (myself included) need the message of Enemy Pie much more often than our kids do.
 
Enemy Pie has been in print for over 16 years. This past year, sales increased by over 50%. That has never happened before. And this would be great news, except for one thing- there has simultaneously been a massive surge in bullying and hate talk in our schools, the likes of which most teachers also have never seen before. This spike in bullying has been attributed to one thing- the incendiary rhetoric of Donald Trump. (http://www.nea.org/home/68560.htm).
 
A big part of my job is speaking at elementary schools. I’m always aware of the role I play as a visiting author. I’ve been given a position of respect, and I take great care to make sure that I return that respect to each student. It’s a given to everyone involved that schools aren’t bringing me in for my own glory. I’m there to serve the kids. There is a definite power and responsibility that comes with such a role of leadership. And ultimately, like it or not, we all play that role, just by being adults. But how much more so, with the president of the United States? With such authority comes great respect. And with such respect comes tremendous, massive responsibility.
 
I am not writing here to endorse any specific candidate. But I am passionate in my opposition to one. Donald Trump is a truly frightening role model for our kids and our nation. I can’t understate my belief here. Our young people- whose mental habits are still developing, whose foundation of empathy is still being built, and whose sense of possibility is still being defined- these kids desperately need a role model who inspires them to envision a future built on courageous hope instead of ruthless fear. In Donald Trump, we have a divisive, hateful person whose disastrous impact would literally be felt for generations.
 
The result of this election couldn’t be more important. Our future leaders are watching.
 
 
 

Updated Lesson Plans!

Enemy-Pie-Updated-Lesson-PlansGreat news! We’ve updated our list of Enemy Pie lesson plans with new ideas for incorporating this story into your classroom writing, friendship studies, and art.

Click on the “resources for teachers” tab above to check out the list. And if you have any lesson plans of your own to share, please let me know!

Thanks Levar!

A huge thanks to Levar Burton for choosing Enemy Pie as his favorite picture book for boys!

levar-burton-reading-rainbow

Enemy Pie Book Giveaway on Laura Candler’s Blog!

author/teacher/literacy wiz Laura Candler

I had the privilege of teaming up with teacher and author Laura Candler for a fun book giveaway contest. We’ll be giving books away to the people with the best answer to the question “what’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?”

You can enter the contest at http://www.corkboardconnections.com. While you’re there, check out her amazing collection of teacher resources, as well as her great power reading workshops


Story history

THE STORY IDEA

My dad never made me an enemy pie. I don’t remember him ever making me a pie at all. But I do remember him taking me to Gasworks Park in Seattle Washington when I was a kid, the place where I came up with the idea for the story. It used to be a plant for making gas, complete with contaminated soil and groundwater. Nowadays it’s a park, and you can find some amazing blackberries around its perimeter. On a warm August day I kayaked to the park for the sole reason of picking those blackberries and making blackberry jam.

It took me awhile before I started thinking about it. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to be picking these blackberries. But even if they were contaminated, they still tasted delicious. So I kept on picking, and as I did, I started to wonder if I should still be making blackberry jam with these things. It would be okay if I got sick from my own imprudence, but it would suck if others had to suffer because of it. And if I wasn’t going to share this jam with my friends and family, what was I going to do with all of it?

That’s when the idea came to me. It evolved amazingly fast. It was like a thunderstorm was passing through my imagination and pouring everything it had into me. By the time I made it home the story was fully cooked. I went straight to the computer and typed it up and edited it. In four hours it was done. Without question it was an inspired gift that chose to express itself through me.

GETTING PUBLISHED

I had never been published before, and I didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to do. The next day I went down to the local Barnes and Noble and found a book in the writer’s section called the Writer’s Market. It’s a great resource that lists all the publishers and what they are looking for. I sent out the stories to about 30 publishers and after all the rejection letters came back, only one publisher was interested. Chronicle Books called me one afternoon and said they wanted to buy the story. Woohoo! So they sent me a contract, and a copy of the story all marked up with the changes they wanted. We went back and forth 6 or so times before it was finally ready. At the same time I was working on the edits, Chronicle asked Tara Calahan King if she would be interested in doing the illustrations. She said yes, about 8 months later the whole thing was ready, and the book was sent off to Hong Kong for its first printing.

The first time I was the book was when I was in a Border’s bookstore in Redmond, Washington. It was pretty surreal to see my name on a book being displayed in a bookstore, and even more so when I started to get requests to speak at schools and events. Without exception, the whole experience has been absolutely amazing. I feel very fortunate for all the friends, life lessons, and opportunities born from that one spark of imagination.

 

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