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Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 | 0 comments

Faige Meller: A Tweet, A Book, A Review



This is for the shy ones,

The introverts, ready to observe.

This for the gregarious ones,

The extroverts, eager to be heard.

This is for quiet ones,

The ones waiting for their turn.

This is for the noisy ones,

Too squirmy to be still.

This is for all of these who seek perfection,

When none is to be had.

And here is the door wide open,

Welcome one and all!

By pure happenstance I came across a conversation on Twitter about The Not Perfect Hat Club and sat mesmerized, reading the tweets. But, being me, I quickly joined in with questions and comments. I loved the idea of silly hats and posted pictures of me and my get-ups.

Faige Ballet and Hockey

Then I read blog posts from the #NOTPERFECTHATCLUB that @JenaiaMorane and @martysnowpaw founders of @CrittenKin . Adults shared heartfelt stories about feelings of being bullied, rejected, misunderstood and looking for perfection. My heart went out to them and to the stories that were shared about their students. Unfortunately, this was all too familiar to me from my own personal childhood stories,  as a well as those of  a parent and teacher. I was so excited to hear that a book was in the offing addressing these concerns, not for adults per se, but written for children! A book that children could identify with, in the characters of dogs and children facing their struggles. Then I felt I had to do more than just tweet and post pictures. I decided to support Jena and Marty in any way I could. I dedicated one of my Posts to them and joined their “club.”


I was so honored when Jena asked that I preview her book and I did:

NPHC Review - Faige Meller

Here is my review and her delightful graphic

I write this post to share with all of you a book that be a wonderful addition in every school and classroom library.  Hope you get a chance to read it and explore it with your students.

Get Your Copy of The Not Perfect Hat Club Here:


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Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Sillyicious – Do the Wiggle Waggle

Wiggle Waggle

Watch the Wiggle Waggle

We all need the occasional reminder to be good to ourselves. This is particularly true if you are in a profession like teaching, where you give constantly to others, or are intensely focused on sharing a dream like CritterKin. The work is engaging, demanding and fun, but as the saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack or (insert name) a dull boy.”

Last week I was well on my way to becoming a dull girl. I was busily engaged in blogging, Tweeting, reading to classes, posting updates to Facebook and cropping images for the new CritterKin Flipbooks and slideshows. Then two things happened. First, a series of charming photos of socks began appearing in my Twitter, Facebook and email feeds (see below). You have to admit that there’s something delightful about a bunch of feet wearing mismatched socks; or as my niece used to say when she was three, “socks are sillyicious!”

The photos turned out to be part of the “Lots of Socks Campaign” being held to raise awareness about Down Syndrome. This reminded me of my little friend Maggie whose fondness for bright pink tutus and cowboy boots and spontaneous giggles never fails to brighten my day. Maggie is proof that difference is a good thing and should be celebrated. Besides, aren’t we all a little different in one way or another?


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My second dose of sillyicious came at the end of a reading to third graders at Bellevue Elementary  in Nebraska. I’d been playing around with the idea of a CritterKin dance for a couple of weeks, but felt a little self conscious. But there was something about those kids – their open smiles and willingness to bark, squeak, whine and howl like the dogs as the story unfolded – that told me they were all in. If I wanted to be silly, they were right there with me.

“How would you guys like to help me figure out my new dance called the CritterKin Wiggle Waggle?” I asked

“YES!” they responded with glee.

The kids and I danced our way through two hilarious rounds of the song, stopping and starting  when I forgot the words or they got tangled in one another’s feet and tumbled to the floor. It was deliciously silly and kept me smiling for the rest of the week. See us Wiggle Waggle:

So just a reminder to dance, smile, sing  and get a little silly. And if you and your students are interested in doing a little Wiggle Waggling, just drop us a line at or give me a call: (919) 615-2923.


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Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 | 0 comments

Start with the Heart


Start with the Heart - page from PPT1Click link to see visual summary of Start with the Heart:

Something delightful is happening at CritterKin. Our goofy pack of mixed breed mutts, led by their intrepid if slightly offbeat person Ms. Jenaia, is inspiring teachers, students, parents and community organizations to work collaboratively to create projects centered around kindness. The initial catalyst for these projects is the CritterKin series of books, but the kids and their supporters are cheerfully taking the creative baton and running with it.

The result is learning that is at once engaging, entertaining and relevant – giving children the opportunity to learn and practice core intellectual skills (reading, writing, math, etc.) while acquiring the emotional intelligence needed to become respectful compassionate and responsible adults.

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To Find Out How You and Your Students Can Get Involved Contact:

Jena Ball: (919) 454-9917 or

Find Me on Twitter

CritterKin: @CritterKin
Jena Ball: @jenaiamorane

Find Me on Facebook

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