I am excited to announce my work on creating my very first children's book called Dneirf. I have been working on this book off and on for the past couple of years and am eager to get it to the publishing process and into the hands of kids, parents, teachers, and counselors by next school year. I am currently working with a publishing company in Virginia called Mascot Books to start the editing and publishing process. I have already received an eager approval to have my book published by this company and am seeking support to achieve such as it can be a costly process to go about alone. I am working with Steve Kernen, a former school parent of mine and illustrator to bring Dneirf alive.
Background of Idea: After my first year as an elementary school counselor, I took time to reflect on how things went and lessons learned. One thing stood out immediately to me, the amount of time spent educating and sorting through incidents reported as “Bullying.” The Buzz of Bullying in the media and community although great for bringing awareness to a problem, caused another problem in itself in creating a word that is almost as much of a problem as the act itself. What I learned was that kids did not know how to handle conflict on their own and not every social issue was an act of bullying. However, parents and even kids used this word almost as an escape solution to fix problems or rather have them fixed by others (adults) at the fear of not handling a “bullying situation.” What this did do was cause an even greater gap of kids being unable to think and act for themselves, which ultimately leads to them turning into adults who can’t do the same in their futures. Much of my time was spent being a mediator between kids and helping them with self-awareness of their own actions. You did “A” so “C” happened…what else could you have done so that “B” could have happened? Dneirf grew out of the idea of escaping the labeling of “bullying” and focusing rather on behavior and behavioral change that is normal in social relationships. Dneirf is not meant to be another “label” or “buzzword” but rather a means to bring light to another possible reason for social conflict that is more conducive with cause/effect of friendships problems for young children.
Forward: This story can be a support source for those reading it not only to those who have acted as a “Dneirf” but those who may have experienced the backwards behaviors of others. When someone turns into a “Dneirf” it is like they are wearing their shoes backwards and trying to walk and have a normal day…it just is not going to work. Doctors prescribe/recommend exercise and healthy eating as preventative measures or precursors to good physical health. School counselors and teachers can recommend this book and its ideas in the same way for good social and mental health development and maintenance. By doing such, the prevention of bullying can occur with a primary focus and goal of creating caring and kind social relationship that are dictated by self-recognition of one’s own behaviors towards others.
What is a “Dneirf”? A Dneirf is simply “friend” spelled backwards or an example of a Semordnilap (a word that spells a different word either way). In reality we can be a Dneirf from the words we choose to the actions we take towards others. Dneirf’s tend to do things in the wrong direction at times. Dneirfs however are not what we would define as a bully but rather are just kids and even sometimes adults that because of other circumstances going on in their lives, don’t always stop and think, causing them to act the opposite to how a true friend would typically act. The key difference is after a short amount of time and some self-reflecting, they recognize their actions and turn themselves around, showing empathy and remorse towards others. Once children learn how to turn their behaviors around, they quickly begin to see what a forward friend looks like.
After having a difficult morning, a boy named Otto struggles with having positive interactions with his friends at school. He learns that his friendship struggles are due to him doing things “backwards” that a true friend would do or being a “Dneirf.” With the help of his peers and school counselor, Otto is able to turn himself around and move in the right direction towards becoming a true or forward friend to himself and others.
Risks and challenges
This is the first time I have ever attempted to publish a book so it is a learning process for me. I hope to have the book ready to go by this summer however financing such a project is a risk all in itself. Setbacks are always possible during the publishing process but I will do everything I can to keep things on track.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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