Teaching positive self-esteem through "If I Had Eleven Toes," the first book in The Extra Part Series—a poetic, whimsical, playful, laugh out loud children’s series about what life would be like with an extra body part.
Journey alongside writer and author Jill D. Clark as she partners with award-winning author/illustrator Lynda Farrington Wilson on "If I Had Eleven Toes," Jill’s very first children’s book as part of a series called The Extra Part Series, targeted at preschool and Kindergarten-aged children. Together, they’re building positive body image and self-esteem through playful banter and visual delight.
“It took me back to when I was young and my uncle would read us all Shel Silverstein. I loved it!” —Bridget, Kindergarten Teacher
“The poems had me laughing out loud, and I loved how they built on each other, but could also stand alone. The teacher in me sees a great expansion activity where kids could write their own ideas. I know my boys would love the silly poems, and the illustrations will really take it over the top.” —Laura, Parent and Teacher
“I read them to my daughter, and she was giggling! She thought the concept was just so silly. It was a perfect giggle for her.” —Joy, Parent
“The Extra Part Series is fun, interesting, playful, intriguing and different all at the same time. So very cool!” —Elizabeth, Former Teacher
About The Extra Part Series
At some point in our lives, we’ve all wanted to be something (or maybe someone) different. Whether it’s having different color eyes, a different complexion, a different shaped nose or something else—it seems that, from the moment we’re born, we imagine what our lives would be like “if only…”
The truth is, there aren’t many children’s books that address this part of our daily insecurities—at least not well, or in a way that captures the imagination and wonderment of a child. Instead, most are written from an adult’s point of view and lack the whimsy, enchantment and visual fantasy required to get at the heart of children.
That’s why award-winning writer and author Jill D. Clark created The Extra Part Series—a poetic, whimsical, playful, laugh out loud children’s series that gives you a glimpse into the imagination of a child who—for a moment—thinks about what life would be like with an extra body part. From eleven toes to an extra ear, eye or nose, The Extra Part Series plays into our most fragile human ponderings. Travel alongside the characters in this series as they consider the “what ifs.”
What if I had eleven toes? Would I jump higher than a kangaroo? Or outrun all the kids at school? Would that little piggy go to the market (or eat roast beef)? Would my socks still fit?
What if I had an extra ear? Would I be able to hear my parents from an entire bedroom away? Would I be able to tuck all my hair behind that third ear? What about all that extra ear wax?
What if I had an extra nose? Would I be able to smell more flowers, a fresh springtime rain, pine needles—or most importantly—lasagna?! Or, would I just need more tissues for when I’m sick? And what about all that extra nose hair?!
I guess having an extra body part isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So, I’m glad I am who I am. After all, I’ve been this way for years! This sentiment is perhaps best captured in the last two verses of Jill’s first book “If I Had Eleven Toes.”
I guess having an extra toe
is not the greatest way to go.
I’m glad I have just ten, you see.
I’m happy I’m exactly me.
My body is the way it is
from knees to eyes and hairs that frizz.
But one more thing I’ve asked for years.
What if I had…
three big round ears?
In the end, the The Extra Part Series reminds us that we’re all created the way we were meant to be—and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Now it’s time to celebrate it!
Use The Extra Part Series in the Classroom or Sunday or Hebrew School
The Extra Part Series is a perfect way to illustrate that, as human beings, we are all alike in some ways, and we are also all unique, different and come with our own special set of gifts and traits. This lesson is perfect for pre-school and young elementary students who want to dive deeper into these themes—or, come up with some imaginative pros and cons of their own about what life would be like with an extra body part. Older children could even write their own poems!
In addition, the series is perfect for churches and other religious organizations who want to teach these same lessons through a religious lens. The message here is, God made each of us in God’s own image. We are the result of divine thinking, and we should celebrate who we are—beautiful children of God. There are many scriptural verses that help illustrate this. The books also fit with Christian themes about being part of the body of Christ (Christ is the most important body part that binds us all together as a community of faithful believers—so, no need for that extra toe).
Jill has written both non-sectarian and religious lesson plans that fit with the reading of her book. Teachers, librarians and religious leaders will be able to download them for free on Jill’s author website (downloads coming soon). Of course, you are also more than welcome to book Jill for a speaking engagement, read a-loud or children’s message. She has a master’s degree in theology and a Ph.D. in religion with an emphasis in media studies with an education background. A perfect fit for any of your needs! Oh yeah, she’s also a parent of two small, silly children.
Partnership with Lutheran Family Children Services (LFCS)
Jill is beyond thrilled that she has officially partnered with Lutheran Family and Children's Services (LFCS) of Missouri for this book series.
Now celebrating its 150th anniversary, LFCS helps families, children and individuals experience greater hope and wholeness of life through services such as foster care, child care, adoption services, counseling, youth mentoring services and more. By choosing one of the pledge options to donate a book through LFCS, you are giving a child an unforgettable experience to meet a published author and receive a signed copy—of a book that promotes self-esteem, the perfect fit for children who receive services through LFCS. With the donated copies, Jill will visit LFCS’ Hilltop Child Development Center, read the book to the children and hand-deliver signed copies to each child. Should there be a large amount of donations, Jill plans to give additional copies with LFCS school counselors, child and family therapists, as well as mentoring staff to share with their clients. What an amazing gift!
Pledging Now Pre-Orders Your Book(s)
By pledging now, you’ll give Jill a good idea of how many books she should print on the first run. Think of it like a pre-sale. On the right-hand side of this Kickstarter campaign, you’ll see what you’ll receive with each pledge level.
Thanks to everyone who has helped contribute to this book series so far. From the pre-readers who expressed “love at first read” to Lynda’s vision and character development and my family who inspires me every day, this has been a collaborative effort from start to finish. I am truly grateful.
About Jill D. Clark
Jill is a God-fearing, outdoor-loving, Netflix-binging, friend and family-obsessed parent of twins, Noah and Eleanor. She is married to her fabulous husband, Brent, and together they live in St. Louis, Missouri, with said goofball twins.
Jill has been writing professionally for nearly 10 years. She has a Ph.D. in religion and social change with an emphasis in media studies, and she originally started her career as a college professor. But, the game of life (and marriage) quickly took her into the world of marketing and communications and speechwriting in both the higher education and the JK-12 sectors. Currently, she serves as the Chief Storyteller at MICDS, an independent JK-12 school in St. Louis, Missouri. People think her job sounds really cool. And guess what—it is! She has been doing—and loving—it ever since.
Jill’s writing has appeared in chapter books, edited volumes, journals, magazines and blogs. In addition, she has written hundreds of speeches for presidents, heads and administrators of educational institutions. She has received a few awards for her work, including a GOLD InspirED Brilliance award for best private school digital magazine. All of her writing relates in some way to education.
As a parent of two little ones, she also sees the need for really good children’s writing that elevates self-esteem for each and every child. As a child and young adult—and even now—Jill herself has struggled with self-esteem and body image issues. From constantly comparing herself to others growing up to previous relationships that have left her questioning her self-worth and her struggle with infertility, Jill’s passion for promoting self-esteem stems from her own life experiences. Therefore, the Extra Part Series has captured her heart and soul, and she looks forward to this new venture.
Risks and challenges
At this point, the risks for me are mostly financial, which is why I'm launching this Kickstarter! However, I have already invested a bulk of the finances required to launch this book. I have hired an illustrator who is just now finishing all of the sketches, and I have secured a printer who is ready to hit "submit" as soon as the campaign ends. My future challenges will be to ensure printing goes smoothly and the books come in a timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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