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A “Not Perfect” Moment for Kids

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in News | 0 comments


Jena Not Perfect Video1A

Click to Watch Ms. Jenaia Read Chapter 1 of The Not Perfect Hat Club on TouchCast

 Join Ms. Jenaia and her buddy Newton as they read the first chapter of CritterKin’s new book, The Not Perfect Hat Club aloud for kids.

The Not Perfect Hat Club is CritterKin’s latest project designed to help kids understand that no one is perfect and celebrate the ways that being Not Perfect makes them uniquely and perfectly themselves.  The story centers around and elderly dog named Newton and  two kids – one a skateboarding slam poet, the other a gifted violinist – who are having a hard time accepting their imperfections. Together they discover that being “Not Perfect” means they are free to be themselves and set out to share their discovery with other kids.

Please watch, share and become a fan of the project by visiting our Pubslush page:

There you can become a fan (NO money involved) and help us make the Not Perfect Hat Club a reality in schools all around the world.







Ho, Ho, Ho from Iowa!

Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 in News | 0 comments


Tammy - Leads with Heart - Holiday1

 Click to hear an interview with CritterKin author Jena Ball about the project

Every year from the middle of November to the end of December we’re bombarded with the images and sounds of the holidays. It’s enough to give even the jolliest among us an “Ebenezer-Moment.”

This is not to say that the sentiment behind our holiday traditions is not a good one. After all, CritterKin is all about helping kids experience and practice kindness, compassion and empathy. So it is with great pride and a sincere “Ho, Ho, Ho” that I introduce you to Tammy Massman and her 17 third graders at Northeast Hamilton School in Blairsburg, Iowa.

Tammy’s class has been reading, discussing and creating a “Kindness Quilt” based on CritterKin’s third book Lead With Your Heart. The story of a misunderstood, pit bull named Lance, whose breed and color are alarming to some folks in town, Lead With Your Heart is a lesson kindness and self-empowerment. Through a combination of empathy, respect and determined community outreach, the kids in the story teach the town that pit bulls are good dogs and help a fearful city councilwoman overcome her emotional flu.

Quilting for Kindness Invitation - Tammy

You’re Cordially Invited!

The pièce de résistance of the project will be a one-act play based on the final chapter of the book, and you’re invited! The kids have been hard at work practicing their lines with the help of Jonathan Keltz, an accomplished actor best known for his work on Entourage and Reign.

The play will be performed live on Wednesday, December 17 at 2:00 pm CST (3:00 EST) in the school’s gym.  The Kindness Quilt, which features the collaborative artwork, poetry and individual stories of each of the students will also be on display.  For those who cannot attend in-person, the program will be broadcast via a Google Hangout On Air:

 Meet the Cast!

Our young actors and actresses are pictured below.  Their first names (on the left) are followed by the name of the character they portray  (on the right).

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Questions? Contact Karin Lippert: (647) 478 – 5618




Perfectly Not Perfect Stories – Part 1

Posted by on Dec 10, 2014 in News | 0 comments


The first in a series of stories from students in “The Not Perfect Hat Club.” We will be featuring a story a day. If you’d like to learn more about The Not Perfect Hat Club, and how you can be part of bringing the book and accompanying PBL activities to life, visit:


Won Ton Collage - Bryce 600x220

“Ruff! Hi I am Won Ton. I am a dog. I am a very special dog. I am in a wheelchair. I will remind you that I am a dog. The reason I am in a wheelchair is because my muscles  don’t work properly. The wheelchair is comfortable. I get frustrated by not being able to keep up with other dogs, but I don’t mind it that much. I was taken in to a shelter when I was really young. It was warm and cozy. They let you out to play and wrap you in nice warm blankets. You can sleep as much as you want. They also give you very yummy food.  One day while I was sleeping a very nice lady came in. Her name was Willma. She came over to me and said, “I’ll take this little cutie home.” I didn’t know it then, but I was going to a great home. Even though I had a wheelchair I loved fetch. Any time I could play I would. Chasing that ball was endless fun.I caught it before it hit the ground 5 times. Now I know it doesn’t sound like much, but for a dog in a wheelchair it is a lot.

Even though I cannot walk very well, I now know that I am a special dog. It was all because I was loved.”

- Bryce (4th grader)


What’s a Pubslush?

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in News | 0 comments


Pubslush Logo with Not Perfect

Become a Fan150x44

CritterKin followers are seeing and hearing a lot about out latest project The Not Perfect Hat Club, including requests for you to “Become a Fan.”

The Not Perfect Hat Club is our way of helping students and teachers reimagine their approach to learning. Instead of holding up a daunting list of performance standards, we’re suggesting we focus on the process of learning – on discovering and empowering each child to find his/her unique capabilities. This can only be accomplished when we acknowledge that perfection is not an option, everyone is perfectly not perfect,  and that failure has a much to teach us as success.

What’s a Pubslush?

Pubslush is a pre-publication platform that offers crowdfunding and pre-order options for authors and publishers.  We have launched a campaign on this platform to do four things:

  • Build a robust community of educators committed to the belief that we are all perfectly not perfect;
  • Acquire the funding required to finish writing and illustrating the book and produce creative materials for use by teachers and kids;
  • Market and promote The Not Perfect Hat Club book and project; and
  • Make The Not Perfect Hat Club support materials readily available for digital download.

Becoming a Fan

Becoming a fan does NOT require you to give money. In fact, as several of our supporters have already discovered, you can’t give us money yet!  By hitting the “Become a Fan” button you are simply saying you believe in what we are trying to accomplish. The more fans we have the easier it will be for us to ask for financial support when the crowdfunding part of the campaign begins in January.

So…please consider letting us know that The Not Perfect Hat Club concept resonates for you by becoming a fan:

On that page you will be able to read the first chapter of the book and take a look at some of the terrific rewards we’ll be offering folks when the campaign launches. There are more coming (such as signed prints of the original art being produced for the book), but we’d love to hear what  kind of rewards you’d like to see.

Thank you for helping us make The Not Perfect Hat Club a reality!

Perfectly Not Perfect

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Not Perfect Daisy Collage1

 Click HERE to Become a Fan of The Not Perfect Hat Club

Yesterday was Day #2 of my “Not Perfect Hat Club” meeting with the fourth graders in Warren, Texas. As expected, the kids arrived wearing stellar “Not Perfect” hats (see above) with unexpected insights and stories to share.

We began with a “Not Perfect” hat show. I asked the kids to come up and show me their hats, then tell me one thing about themselves that was “Perfectly Not Perfect.” That means even though you aren’t perfect, it’s something you really like about yourself.

Most of the kids had something fun to share. For example, one fellow wearing a big smile, told me that he was “Not Perfect” at math but he loved it anyway! Another said that he wore his baseball cap inside out and sideways because he liked to be different.

Interestingly, however, there were a few kids who were tongue-tied when asked to say something about themselves. “Let’s ask your classmates,” I suggested. “What is ‘Perfectly Not Perfect’ about him or her?”

The answers were surprisingly insightful and kind. “He’s hyper but really fun,” was the way one boy was described.

Another was described as ” A pretty good artist for a boy.” That made everyone laugh, and of course I wanted to know why being a boy made a difference. “Because boys like to draw boy stuff,” his female classmate said with a shrug.

Next, we read Chapter One from the new “Not Perfect Hat Club” book, which will be coming out in the new year. It’s the story of three unlikely friends: Jabber, a skateboard obsessed slam poet; Rylee, a promising violinist determined to master Mozart; and Newton, an elderly golden retriever bred for perfection. The story is told through Newton’s eyes and follows their struggles to accept that change is inevitable and perfection is not an option. You can read the first chapter yourself here:

After discussing what made each of the kids in the story “Not Perfect,” I did a quick review of our previous visit. “What did we decide it means to be ‘Not Perfect?’” I asked.  Many hands were raised, but their answers surprised me.

“It means weird, different, abnormal, strange…” The judgments filled the room with a vengeance. Only one student dared to say, “It means you don’t have to do everything perfect the first time.”

“Do all of you always do things perfectly?” I asked, wanting to be sure they understood the connection between their words and what they were implying about themselves.

“No!” they shouted.

“So does that make you weird, different, strange or abnormal?”

No, they agreed, it did not. Clearly they understood the idea but were not convinced on some level that being “Not Perfect” was okay. I had an idea.

“Remember we talked about famous people who are ‘Not Perfect’ last time?” I asked.

Yes, they remembered.

“I want to share a quote from one of those people. His name is Wayne Gretzky and he’s a famous hockey player in Canada. Here’s what he said:

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

“What do you think that means?” I asked.

 The kids got it of course. If you don’t do something because you’re afraid of failing, there’s no chance you can succeed, and they loved the idea of taking a shot and making it!

Our final activity was to choose and draw a “Not Perfect” dog. I gave them four options. Each of the dogs had something not quite perfect about it. One was partially blind, another had a paralyzed back leg and a third was old. However, the kids chose to draw the most challenged, “Not Perfect” dog of all – Won Ton. A two-year-old Shitzu mix, Won Ton has cerebral palsy. We talked about how Won Ton doesn’t let his physical limitations stop him from getting around, begging for treats and trying to crawl into people’s laps. The kids loved it, and did a great job with their drawings (see sample below).

Won Ton Real and Drawn1A


The kids promised to write and post Won Ton’s story and their drawings to their blogs in a few days, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I’m sending each and every one of them a “Not Perfect Hat Club Member” badge as a way to remind them that they are each “Perfectly Not Perfect.” Thanks to you and your kids Daisy for helping us test and explore our latest CritterKin project!