Reach and Teach Kids in Fun, Fresh Ways: Ten Under $10

ittakesachildDec. 20, 2009 In my last post I went for ‘free media finds that are priceless year-round,’ today I’ll nudge it up a notch to prove you can gift meaning and mindfulness without spending a fortune (not even a Hamilton!)

I attended the Peace and Social Justice crafts fair and barely made it past the Reach and Teach table and Free the Children’s Me to We booth finding tidbits to use in my own media literacy and counter-marketing work that ranged from the leather look Self Esteem Passport ($6.95) and Diary of a Would Be Princess ($8) to cartoon novels like “Dude, That’s Rude” ($8.95) and “Who Would Want Those Apples Anyway” about organic fare and kids’ perception of flawed fruit. ($4.95)

Like other favorite finds such as the Truce Toy Action Guide (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment) Reach and Teach is big on nonviolence, healthy living, anti-commercialism, and human rights, so it’s quite a good fit of cool, curated finds in a catalog of goodies…Kinda like one stop shopping at an arts fair with juried entries of someone with similar tastes!

peace pendantI already wrote about their Ghandi graphic novel offerings, and the Girls Are Not Chicks coloring book, so today I’m adding two of their signature exclusives that I absolutely love…

The peace pendant (handcrafted using a blue marble; perfect global double entendre for $8.50) and origami butterflies which fold into sayings when completed that say “If nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies.” Important holiday message for when we get stuck in our ways and dig heels in with stubborn tenacity sans flexibility…

For other whimsical items to inspire and empower kids productively, check out the tween roundup of 35 true stories in “The Doggy Dung Disaster” —Don’t let the name fool you, it’s all about kids doing extraordinary things, no doubt with the hope of toggling the reader’s own introspective switch to ponder “What kind of hero lives inside of me?”

Their site gives a glimpse,

“Eleven-year-old Tilly saved lives in Thailand by warning people that a tsunami was coming. Fifteen-year-old Malika fought against segregation in her Alabama town. Ten-year-old Jean-Dominic won a battle against pesticides—and the cancer the pesticides caused in his body. Six-year-old Ryan raised $800,000 to drill water wells in Africa. And twelve-year-old Haruka invented a new way to scoop dog poop. With the right role models, any child can be a hero.”

Haruka no doubt scored the cover to appeal to the 9-13 ‘ewww’ factor using innovation for education. (reminds me of the hit ‘grossology tour’ traveling exhibit which was brilliant; catch it if it ever comes your way!)

Happy to report via Boing Boing that there’s a new media literacy comic book (graphic guide adventure) making its debut (hope Reach and Teach adds it to their catalog!) called Media Meltdown authored by edu-tech pro Liam O’Donnell who’s been using media skillfully for years with his artsy endeavors to impart bigger stories in ‘comic’ mode.

media meltdown

I ‘virtually met’ Liam O’Donnell via, the virtual worlds hub for educators using media to engage and connect with kids in ‘their worlds.’ Media Meltdown merits an entire post in itself, as it’s spot on for our media deconstruction discussions…but I’m thrilled to see it fits into our “ten under ten” top positive picks, so am including it here as a prelude to more!

Other positive picks under $10?

“It Takes A Child” colorfully (using comic/cartoon style illustration with photo insets to ground it in realism) tells the origins of the fabulous Free the Children global organization through the eyes of a child journeying through South Asia, learning about global poverty, child labor in the carpet factories and ultimately, taking action. (yes, it’s a true story!) ($10)

True to the boom in ‘graphic novels’ (see “Children’s Comics Poised for Growth” in Publisher’s Weekly) their org is using the style that resonates to ‘reach and teach’ without being heavy-handed.

In fact, I bought out their whole Me to We series to use in my own work with tweens and teens on worldchanging action steps…(and, as an aside, found the softest bamboo tees I’ve ever felt next to my skin; check out their whole ‘shop’ here)

More tomorrow! Off to ‘reach and teach’ face to face with my own elfin crew…



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