Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Visit With Todd Parr


Life is good and it just keeps getting better.

For many, many years I have had a intense love for the creations of children's book author and illustrator Todd Parr. His artwork is bright, colorful, happy, childlike and totally engaging. His words convey a message of peace, acceptance, honesty, fun and love.

The work seems to be the creation of someone who has a passion for what he does and follows his bliss.

I first discovered Todd Parr through the book It's Okay To Be Different and after that first reading I was hopelessly hooked. At the time it seemed to me as though Todd Parr was my little secret, not well known but deserving of attention on a grand scale. It became my mission to get the word out.

And I did in small ways. All the children in my life got Todd Parr books as gifts, I encouraged friends to follow suit and purchase his books for the little ones in their families, I read his books to my elementary students who subsequently fell in love with the adventures of Otto and Underwear Do's and Don'ts and our school librarian ordered his entire catalog for the children's library AND my classroom library.

Through the years his popularity has certainly taken off. He has a successful children's television program entitled Todd's World and merchandising ranging from children's clothing to toys for your pet.

But since the beginning I thought that it would be AMAZING if I could have an opportunity to meet him and share with him the impact of his work. Here is a children's book author/illustrator who I greatly admire that I could actually meet (unlike the creators of a certain little monkey).

And on Thursday, March 24, 2010 after a book reading at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue I finally did!

Todd signed a few books for this (hopefully) outwardly composed individual (inside I was screaming "I AM TALKING TO TODD PARR!!) and by the end of our short conversation he expressed an interest in visiting my school. Everything after that was a blur but I know that I floated out of the library feeling elated and hopeful.

It is not often that we meet public figures we greatly admire. It is even less often that they admire your work as well and offer to visit. A date in early June was mentioned as a possibility so I remain hopeful that the details will all get worked out and this happens.

In the meanwhile I FINALLY MET TODD PARR!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Have you ever noticed that bakers and chefs are often depicted with mustaches?

I don't think I ever really gave it much thought until my kindergarten students began investigating the topic.

From their immersion in both fiction and nonfiction texts they concluded that a mustache is part of the uniform.

Chef hat, apron, mustache...

Then I began to realize that they were right. The chefs in Disney movies (The Little Mermaid, Lady and the Tramp) have mustaches, Chef Boyardee has a mustache, bakers in children's books have mustaches, even our own Kindergarten Cafe chef sports a rather large mustache.

When they came to this realization they were already deep into their play in our classroom bakery (renamed "The Cakery" by popular vote) and without the mustaches it seemed as though something was missing.

We wondered how to find those little plastic clip-on mustaches or should we simply let the kids draw them on somehow? The dilemma was solved at the $1 store quite by accident.

There I was standing in line with my hands full of gift wrap and tissue paper when to my left I spotted a gumball machine brimming with mustaches in a variety of styles and colors! Each with a self adhesive backing good for hours of enjoyment.

I drove home, collected a bunch of quarters and headed back to the store so excited I could burst. I couldn't wait to share them with the kids and when they saw them the next day their reaction was fantastic.

Some even got creative.
We are having a bake sale on Friday and I am looking forward to seeing mustached bakers busily helping customers and serving up tasty delights.

Be our guest!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


When I created "Follow Your Bliss" my purpose was to share my passion for teaching and chronicle my journey as an educator. I hoped that it would be a place for my students' parents to gain deeper insight into what happens in our classroom, a forum for feedback from other teachers and an online journal that my family could read to keep up with those smaller moments in my life that are not always touched upon in a phone conversation.

These things have happened.

The other day a parent interested in sending her daughter to my kindergarten class next year sent me an email about the blog. I have built a relationship with several passionate educators who share their ideas and comments and my mom (an avid reader) inspired some of my favorite posts entitled "Tips From My Mom".

These were my expectations.

But there are also things that were unexpected.


Meeting Kimy from Mouse Medicine and having her accompany my first grade class on a trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2008. She took many fantastic photographs that day and was generous enough to provide me with copies.

It just so happens that I recently became involved with redesigning and organizing the new look of our school web site and when I was selecting photographs for the main banner I immediately thought of Kimy's photograph 'hands'. With her kind permission it is now front and center representing our school. Thank you Kimy!

Other Blog kin have also visited with us. Gregg (aka Junk Thief) came to talk with my students about children in other parts of the world who must forfeit an education because their families rely on them to fetch water from miles away or are put to work in the fields. This powerful conversation was followed with the gift of a collection of stories written by children.

Lettuce and Melody have both introduced me to British children's authors and have given me many books to read to my students. Mel just sent me another package this past week. Amazingly big-hearted and totally unexpected. Thank you both.

That brilliantly childlike and slightly askew artist Sebastien of Chronically Sick sent me three original pieces of art (including the one pictured here) and a t-shirt. It would be an understatement to say that I love his work. He is pure genius.

I have met folks who I consider friends and learned so much from others.

I even got to write a blurb for the back of a children's book because of this little blog.


And amazing.

You have all made me smile.


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