Blowing off homework, being harassed by the school bully, and barely surviving a biking accident, 12-year-old Alex while working on a homework assignment discovers the secrets of motivation. A cricket farm, bug bars, a science project involving his entire class and a business contratct with Power Foods Exclusive finds Alex, friends and family poised to cure hunger and feed every human on this planet.
The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World will grab the attention of any upper grade or middle school student. Whether interested in science projects, bugs, getting along with others, or motivation, readers are caught up in the story from the first page to the last. Teachers, parents, and counselors will find the book useful to stimulate conversation about difficult topics like bullying, doing well in school, and family illness. Students will love the practical approach to friendship and family. Would make for a great classroom book group discussion!
Dr. Catherine Von Hatten, Educational Consultant, Retired Public School Assistant Superintendent, Teacher, and Principal
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Interview with Trevor Laurence Jockims of the Children's Book Review
What do you think is the most important message of the book?
The message I wanted to convey was that all kids are motivated. The task of a parent or teacher or counselor is tapping into what interests a seemingly unmotivated kid has, in order to get him moving in perhaps a more productive endeavor. The second message: You don’t have to be a great student to accomplish great things in life.
Of the numerous adversities Alex faces, which do you think is the most trying?
I think Alex’s long recovery at home after the accident, as well as how his appearance had changed (he now had a dimple on his cheek), were the most trying.
Why crickets? Has the question of food shortage interested you for a while?
Years ago, I had read that you could eat crickets. So when I was working on the book, I started exploring what bugs people eat in other parts of the world. I got so interested that I visited a cricket farm in Florida. And what an education I got! I incorporated that experience and had Alex and his family and Mr. D visiting a cricket farm and then, of course, Alex’s entire class raising crickets as part of their class science project. Regarding food shortage: Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been conscious of what a terrible thing it is not having enough food to eat. When my mother was growing up, she didn’t have enough food, and I think her talking about going to bed hungry stuck with me.
Are there plans to publish another book that continues Alex’s adventures?
Yes, I have the story line and this time not only Alex, but also several of his classmates will take center stage.
How important was your own counseling practice to the development of the very convincing character in the book, particularly Alex and Mr. D?
I’ve been a counselor for many years so I think the counseling process that took place between Mr. D and Alex was similar to what actually goes on when I see a kid in counseling. So I would say it was essential.
How is the style of the illustrations connected to the story?
I’ve known John Dyess, the illustrator, for many years and have admired his work. So I was delighted when he agreed to illustrate the book. When I look at John’s work, I feel a connection: whether an illustration of a beautiful trout about to take a hook for Field & Stream or a bunch of guys playing basketball. That’s what I wanted the kids to feel when looking at the various bugs – a connection. When I first saw the illustrations for the book, I was blown-away.
How much is Alex’s physical condition (and recovery) a metaphor for his emotional one?
When Alex was young, his father died, but he had little recollection of the event. But talking with his mom about his father’s death during his recovery was twofold: To help Alex come to terms with not having a father and to come to terms with his own pain from the accident. Years ago I asked a seventh grade class to write some of the losses they had experienced, trying to get a sense of loss at their age. I was astonished and saddened that almost everyone in the class had experienced a loss, and often a major one: the death of a sibling, parent, grandparent, relative, or divorce within the family and all the losses that entails.
Was any of the story based on real life events?
Yes. As a graduate student, I was a counselor at a boy’s home, so it was a natural for Mr. D to have been raised for part of his life in one. The part where his father, whom he never knew, came into the store where he worked and never identified himself, that happened to a close friend of mine. Sadly, the incident with the dogs was also based on a real-life event. The planting of a bottle garden, I did that many years ago with my husband, and I also like to roam around in junk stores like Alex’s family.
Have you tried eating crickets?
Actually I have. I’ve also eaten worms. How could I talk to kids about a book that has the potential of feeding the world and not have tasted some crawly cuisine myself? You can buy edible crickets and worms on the Internet. Dare I say, you too should take the plunge and try a handful of crickets or some crunchy worms. Believe me, you’ll catch the attention and admiration of a lot of kids.
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Bullying, diversity, how to motivate a seemingly unmotivated kid, family values and school values, sadness and loss, self-image and self-esteem, a philosophy of kindness and what a child might want to be when he or she grows up are all topics addressed in, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” What I had hoped to get across was, “Hey, kid, you’re not alone in the way you think and feel.” Most middle graders have similar questions and are dealing with almost identical issues as they move through grade school.
Excerpts from the middle grade book, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” are included as a springboard to start the conversation. As these discussions unfold I believe you’ll discover quite a lot about how your middle grader thinks and feels. If these discussions take place in a classroom, it will quickly become evident that many of their classmates have similar questions, struggles and concerns.
My philosophy: Throw a kid the ball, step back, listen and be reassured they will not only catch the ball but run with it. Never have I been disappointed in how honest, perceptive, candid and bright middle graders can be given the right prompts in a safe environment.
Doris Helmering’s multi-layered book addresses core issues middle students face with warmth, depth and humor. She avoids the lectures and critiques that cause children to roll their eyes and dismiss adult advice by weaving sophisticated information on motivation, bullying, loss, family, and self image in a “fun and crazy” story about an unmotivated and bullied student and his growing interest in bugs and “feeding the world.”
Ms. Helmering begins with the rock bottom belief that all children are naturally motivated to learn and it’s an adult’s job to discover and use their natural curiosity to help them develop the resilience and work habits to succeed in school and life. She says her philosophy is “Throw a kid the ball, step back and listen, listen, listen, and be reassured they will not only catch the ball but run with it. “ The Parent/Teachers Discussion Guide gives parents and teachers the tools to bring this philosophy to life by engaging children in the kind of lively, affirming conversations the protagonist Alex has with Mr. D (his counselor). The combination of The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World and the Parent/Teachers Discussion Guide provides parents and teachers a plethora of creative ideas for engaging middle school students in the kind of conversations that eliminate eye rolling and have the power to change their lives.
Barbara Kohm, principal, consultant and author of "The Power of Conversation: Transforming Principals into Great Leaders"
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Ready for a change in your weight, and your ability to lose weight? If so, “Thin Becomes You” will not only show you the way, but will get you there.
How does the mere reading of the quotes in this book actually help you control your eating with enthusiasm and ultimately move you to weight loss?
Constructed with a unique psychological approach called neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), these quotes will “trick your mind,” so to speak, to help you change the habitual ways you think and behave.
For example, the quote, “Ignoring the fact that you carry too much weight doesn’t change the ‘fat,’” may confuse you when you read it initially.
You expected the quote to finish with the word “fact.” When it ended with “fat,” your mind did a double take. That unexpected word makes you stop and think.
Words with opposite meanings appear in many of the quotes. For example,“Every half-pound you lose becomes a gain” pulls a switch on the brain because you generally don’t expect to jump from the word “lose” to “gain.” The quote, “Each time you pile it on, you dig yourself a deeper hole,” also tricks the brain because you didn’t expect a switch in the same sentence. You must think harder about what you have read because the sentence doesn’t follow a familiar pattern, which allows the quote to have a greater impact on you.
In more than thirty years as a health writer, I’ve watched fad diets come and go. The reason is that they target the belly rather than the brain. To change the way you eat, you have to change the way you think and feel about food. And that’s what Thin Becomes You does.
Doris Helmering’s pithy and provocative quotes, based on rigorously tested psychological techniques, nurture new neural pathways to create healthier new eating patterns—and a thinner you. Read and re-read these weight loss thoughts to reach your goal of weighing less.
Dianne Hales Best-selling author of 26 editions of "Invitation to Health "
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The number one reason you get angry is that you think negative thoughts. When an event happens, instead of putting a neutral or positive interpretation on it, you put a negative interpretation on it. By thinking negative thoughts, you can actually create your own anger. You can give meaning to an event in less than a second. Within a few seconds you can have a number of negative thoughts. Learn how to avoid negative thoughts, name calling, exaggerating, and using a should-and-ought belief system.
Available Now on Amazon
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Excerpt 1: LOVE IS REMEMBERING
If you know how to love, you remember.
If your friend has a job interview or a major presentation, you find out how it went. You remember. Your remembering says, "What is going on in your life is important to me.''
You make a point to remember the courses your child is taking, her teachers, and the names of her friends. If your memory isn't good, you write the information down and review it periodically.
You remember a friend's favorite color, favorite flower, what she likes to eat, the type of books she enjoys reading. If she E-mails you a note, you E-mail back. If a favorite book of hers is made into a movie, you bring it up as a subject of conversation. If she completes a project, is awarded a contract, makes a big sale, you offer congratulations.
Available Now on Amazon