Purple Day Celebration Report

On Thursday night we picked out my daughter’s outfit for Friday and changed her earrings to purple ones so she would be already for the big day. Yesterday was a teacher work day at school for me, which means no students, but I work with some awesome teachers. They wore purple ribbons made by my niece to show support for my daughter and at least a half-dozen other staff members who have family members with epilepsy.

I also made arrangements with my daughter’s wonderful kindergarten teacher and school administration to come in and do some activities for Purple Day. Then feeling in the Purple Spirit, I also contacted the mayor’s office over a week ago about declaring Purple Day for our city. Long story short Mayor JoAnn Seghini called me back personally, apparently her son had childhood epilepsy that he outgrew. The best is that she came to my daughter’s class yesterday and read a book about epilepsy called Taking Seizures to School by Kim Gosselin and illustrated by Moss Friedman. I love promoting literacy and epilepsy awareness at the same time. Mayor Seghini is a former educator who loves reading and she did an awesome job! If I could send her to other classes to read out loud with kids, not just for the epilepsy awareness, I would. She’s that good. Hopefully we make it into our local monthly newspaper, but the city will do a proclamation next month for sure.

A cute story from the reading of Taking Epilepsy to School.  While the mayor was reading the book a little boy said, “You said a bad word!” She said, “Did I? We’ll talk about it when we get done with the book.” So she finishes the book and asked the boy what was the bad word he heard and he replied, “stupid.” She agreed with him that it is a bad word because it is a mean word she continued by saying I think the author of this book used that word so you would know not to use it with people who have epilepsy or with anyone else. It is a mean word and it’s a good thing you know not to say it to other people.

In addition, we invited parents to come to the class so they could learn more about epilepsy. Another story made short is that one of the adults who came was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and was not aware of Purple Day. Because I had been in contact with the Epilepsy Association of Utah, the vice-president Margo Thurman attended and we were able to give the young lady some information about support groups and other resources. This young lady also mentioned that she has some other children’s books about epilepsy and she could bring them to the teacher if I was interested in looking at them. Being the book lover I am, I said yes!!!

Our family had a great Purple Day. I’d like to say thank you to the staff at my school, my daughter’s school, my niece who made lots of purple ribbons, the school nurse who loaned us the book, Mayor Seghini, The Epilepsy Association of Utah and for Megan Cassidy the founder of Purple Day who all helped make my daughter’s experience with Purple Day wonderful.

Soon, hopefully tomorrow I will post links to the bloggers, authors and others who are participating I have been very impressed with the level of support we have gotten for Purple Day especially with such short notice. If you are still interested in participating there is still time the Mini-challenge for Purple Day ends on March 31st.


Becky the Brave: A Story About Epilepsy by Laurie Lears, Illustrated by Gail Piazza

Becky the Brave: A Story About Epilepsy by Laurie Lears and illustrated by Gail Piazza is the only book I could find at either public library system in my area. I of course had to get my hands on it and within a week of my daughter’s diagnosis we were able to check it out. Gratefully, Lears does an excellent job in this book and my daughter really liked it. I tend to turn to books in times of crisis. Actually that’s probably an understatement, I look to books all the time to deal with life events. When my husband and I would ask her if she had any questions she would say ‘no’. However, after reading Becky the Brave she asked question after, after question, after question. I believe what Becky the Brave did for her was give the vocabulary and a story back drop in which to place her own experience with epilepsy. My daughter does not remember her seizures, which we are grateful for, but it does make it difficult to understand why all the fuss. I am so glad that our library system had a copy of this book.

The basic story is about two sisters, Becky the older one who has epilepsy and who is brave. They have recently moved and are attending a new school, which Sarah is not excited about. It is told from the point-of-view of her little sister Sarah who obviously adores her big sister. Becky is brave and not shy and even stands down a vicious dog when they are walking to school. Sarah also describes how brave Becky is in dealing with epilepsy and describes what happens then Becky has a seizure. One day Becky has a seizure at school and doesn’t want to return because she is afraid people will make fun of her. Sarah however turns out to be just as brave as her sister when she goes to get Becky’s homework and then talks to Becky’s classmates about epilepsy and how it just one part of her sister. Becky’s classmates, like a lot of people did not understand what was happening and needed some explanation of what epilepsy is and how to deal with it.

I would highly recommend this book for use with children with epilepsy or in a classroom to help other children (and adults) understand what epilepsy is about. I read this book to her class at school as well our church’s children’s group to help other children understand and be prepared in the event of a seizure. Lears does an excellent job with the research and I feel her portrayal of epilepsy is accurate. Gail Piazza’s illustrations definitely added to the text and helped add to the understanding of the whole story line. My daughter spent a lot of time studying the pictures and I think she does a good job of portraying a seizure without making it seem scary.

Visit Gail Piazza’s Website.

What other books to people recommend for children that deal with epilepsy or other issues?

This post is part of Bookscoops efforts to raise epilepsy awareness and is included in our Purple Day Challenge.

A Mini Challenge for Purple Day: Supporting Epilepsy Awareness Around the World on March 26

Please note we are doing another challenge for Purple Day including two book giveaways of When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead and The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton. Click on the link or the button to read our current challenge. Spread the word and use our button.


Bookscoops is thrilled to announce that our blue theme is going purple this week!!!! My sister, Holly, and I are excited to host a Purple Day challenge. I recently learned about Purple Day, an international day to promote epilepsy awareness held on March 26th. Purple Day was started by a 9 year old girl in Canada named Cassidy Megan. Cassidy wanted to let other people with epilepsy, especially children, know that they are not alone. My daughter was very excited to learn that other children have epilepsy and our whole family plans to wear purple that day. We even went out and picked out a purple shirt for Dad. Holly and I decided to host a Purple Day challenge on our blog to join in Cassidy’s efforts to increase epilepsy awareness world wide.

Why is Bookscoops going Purple for Epilepsy?

My oldest daughter was diagnosed almost 5 months ago with epilepsy. She has Generalized Seizure Disorder and experiences Tonic-Clonic Seizures, formerly known as Grand Mal. This has been a painful journey as I have watched my daughter struggle with this disorder. She is very bright and full of potential. Epilepsy is only part of her as a human being as she loves to read, spend time with friends, swim and play violin. One of my biggest frustrations is the lack of information and misconceptions surrounding this disorder and particularly the lack of funding it receives. I feel that one of the best ways to help her deal with this is to raise awareness. Her life with epilepsy can be made easier and safer as more people know about this common disorder and learn how to respond with appropriate first aid.

Cari's Daughter in Purple - Photo by Jessie Lynne Photography click on photo for current giveaway

In addition, we wanted to raise awareness about epilepsy because it is the second most common reason people see a neurologist behind migraine. Epilepsy affects 50 million people world wide and about 3 million people living in the United States have epilepsy. More people have this condition than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease combined. Unfortunately, a lot of myths and false ideas are still being perpetuated about epilepsy (such as it is a mental condition or that epilepsy is contagious). Some of these misconceptions have caused many people to become isolated and live in fear and shame that someone will find out about their condition and many people have faced discrimination based on their medical diagnosis.


Who Can Participate and How to Participate?

There are number of ways to participate in our first annual Purple Day Challenge and because we love to promote literacy we are combining both reading and Purple Day starting on March 21st and ending on March 31st. While our blog focuses on children and adolescent literature we are inviting anyone to go purple!!!! So that means any person, book blogger or blogger who wants to promote Purple Day may participate. To make this easy on you (and us) choose any or all of the following.


  1. Post the Purple Day Button on your blog starting on Sunday March 21st through Saturday March 27th and write a post promoting Purple Day. Please note we have received permission to use the Purple Day logo as part of this challenge. If you choose this option you must read and agree to the copyright notice on the Purple Day website by using the logo you are stating that you have read and agree to their terms of use. Two sizes of buttons are at the bottom of this post.
  2. Read a book about epilepsy and post a review. For a list of books for children go to Epilepsy.Com.
  3. Read a book by or about a famous person with epilepsy and post a review. Cari’s daughter’s favorite so far is The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story Behind Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, which also is a Cybils winner for 2009. Some names you might know are Harriet Tubman, Alfred Nobel and Charles Dickens and more recently actor Danny Glover, football player Alan Faneca and track star, Florence Griffin Joyner known as Flo Jo. For a more complete list visit The Epilepsy Foundation or if you’re a fan of Wikipedia see the List of Famous people with Epilepsy, which to be honest seems to be the best documented list we’ve found so far.
  4. Read a book that promotes self-confidence and acceptance in children and post a review. Suggested books so far with a very appropriate title, Purplicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann and Little Skink’s Tail by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein.
  5. If you or a family has dealt with epilepsy write a post sharing your experience.
  6. Wear purple on March 26th and tell people why you are wearing purple.
  7. Click on the link to watch the 60 Minute Special on Epilepsy and write about what the things that you learned you in a blog post, or if you don’t have a blog put it in the comments for this post.
  8. Have an idea not listed above submit it and we’ll give you another entry. Cari’s niece is making 600+ purple ribbons for her school. So if you think of something put a comment in the comments below.

For every entry we receive, Cari will donate 25¢ per entry for a total of fifty dollars to a non-profit organization that works towards epilepsy awareness and/or research and Holly will match Cari’s donation. Multiple entries are possible. One entry equals doing one of the seven items listed above.

Our Goals for this Challenge

Our goal is three-fold 1) to promote Purple Day and raise epilepsy awareness, 2) to dispel myths surrounding epilepsy and 3) to compile a more comprehensive list of books that portray epilepsy and/or people with epilepsy accurately, especially for children. Finally we do hope to raise some money for epilepsy awareness.

How to Enter and When Does it End?

Sign-up in the comments below telling us who you are and what you are planning on doing to participate. Make sure you leave a link to your blog. If you post about this challenge please leave us a link in the comments to your post and we will put together a list of everyone who participated with links to their blog posts as the week progresses. The Purple Day mini-challenge begins on March 21st and ends March 31st, midnight MST.

Rewards for this Challenge:

We would love to offer prizes, but at this point we don’t have anything to offer except the good feeling that you are helping other people become aware of a disorder that affects millions of people world wide. We might consider it for future years. However, remember Cari is willing to donate .25¢  up to a total of fifty dollars and Holly will match her donation to a non-profit organization that works towards epilepsy awareness and/or research for each person who commits to participate by doing any of the 8 options above. See above for details of how to enter and participate.

Non-profit Groups that promote Epilepsy Awareness, Education and Fund Research

Consider donating to one of the groups below:

Purple Day – Founded by nine-year old Cassidy Megan to promote global epilepsy awareness.

CURE Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy – raises money for epilepsy research.

Epilepsy Foundation an organization dedicated to advocacy, education and research.

Epilepsy Association of Utah – The group in Cari’s state dedicated to educating the public and supporting persons and their families with epilepsy.

Anita Kaufman Foundation – Dedicated to educating the public to not fear epilepsy.

Purple Day Button

We have provided two sizes for the button. If you would like to use the Purple Day Button you must read and agree to the copyright notice on the Purple Day website by using the logo you are stating that you have read and agree to their terms of use.

Baby on the Way by William Sears, Martha Sears and Christie Watts Kelley, illustrated by Renee Andriani

I thought in honor of my sister Holly’s recent bundle of joy and to announce the upcoming arrival of baby #3 for my family I thought I would review Baby on the Way by William Sears, Martha Sears and Christie Watts Kelley. I used this book with my oldest when we were expecting baby #2 and I really liked it. It’s my favorite so far in explaining to children what happens when you get a new sibling. Rather then focus on sibling jealousy, which is often an issue with a new baby, this book focuses on the child being an older brother or sister and what they can do to be part of this experience. From the first page.

When a new baby grows inside your mommy, her isn’t the only thing that is changing and growing. You are growing up – becoming an older brother or sister.

I love telling my children that they are becoming an older brother or sister, my 6 year old just beams. We really like the side boxes entitled What You Can Do and Answers for the Very Curious. The first gives suggestions as to what the new older brother or sister can do such as looking at pictures of when they were a baby, drawing pictures of what the baby might look like and going with mom on some her doctor or midwife visits so they can listen to the heartbeat. The second gives some brief explanations for those children who want more details and it explains things in an age appropriate way.  In addition I think it helps prepare children for the time mom spends away when the baby comes by explaining that it’s hard work so she will need to go to the hospital and you get to go somewhere else or someone will come stay with you.

One of things I appreciate most about this book really helped my first daughter adjust to baby number 2. Of course we did deal with the jealousy issue, but it help to give her an explanation and she felt more involved in the process. I believe it would be a much harder transition for her without this book.

What books have you found helpful to prepare older siblings for a new baby?

This post is part of nonfiction Monday hosted by In Need of Chocolate.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendac

Where the Wild Things Are has long been one of my favorite children’s books. My family and I own copies in both Spanish and English (although I must admit, I prefer the original English version). In fact, I love this book so much, that a few years ago, my friends and I entered a sidewalk chalk art contest and re-created one of our favorite scenes. We had a great time hearing all the comments as people walked by. . . Almost without fail recognizing and reminiscing about reading this book at school, at home, or at the library. Kids were universally excited to relate to a famous piece of art and literature outside of a typical literary setting.

Holly (in the purple shirt) and friends with Max

Needless to say, I was super excited when I heard about the movie, which was shown in theatres during the fall of 2009, and is now being released on DVD. I had heard great reviews, and convinced my sweetie that we should go on a date to watch the movie so I could include it in my review of the book. As you can tell, I obviously didn’t post a review right away. Part of that was due to moving at the same time, and part of that was due to the fact that I really didn’t like the movie.

We’ve had this discussion before in the kidlit world with Chronicles of Narnia. I continue to hold to my opinion that it is very difficult to produce a movie of a book that truly satisfies the literature loving world. So, my reasons for not liking the movie? Well, let’s start with what I did like: the costumes/animation and the creation of the Wild Thing’s world were all phenomenal. The ‘Wild Things’ were true to form and very accurately portrayed physically. What really caused me discomfort was the level of dysfunction and anger in Max and his family. Maybe I’ve lived too sheltered of a life, but the book, in my opinion, wasn’t about a dysfunctional, hurting boy. The book was meant for a much larger audience- one that understands that little boys are sometimes wild and do crazy things that get them sent to time out. And, having spent a fair number of hours in time out as a child, I also know that time out is often a place where your imagination takes over to entertain you. Even for minor infractions of the ‘law’, timeout can inspire wild imaginings of running away to a place where everyone thinks you are wonderful and you can do no wrong.

Apparently, when Maurice Sendak first published this book, he was criticized for creating too dark of a children’s book. Some people think that the movie will eventually enjoy the same degree of fame and appreciation. I disagree. I do, however, believe that English teachers will use it in the classroom and come up with assignments to get kids thinking about what deep things Max is really struggling with. I hope that kids will learn to love and appreciate the book long before they ever see the movie, because I think the movie will be likely to change their perception of the book. I also don’t recommend the movie for young children- the target audience of the book. It’s simply inappropriate for young children, but of course, that is also a matter of opinion.

What do you think?