I am excited to welcome Laurie Ann Thompson to Kid Lit Frenzy. Thought BE A CHANGEMAKER is not a nonfiction picture book, it is a nonfiction book for tweens and teens. Enjoy reading Laurie's interview and also don't forget to enter the giveaway.
What made you decide to write BE A CHANGEMAKER?
I always wanted to do something that made a positive difference in the world, but never felt empowered to do so. I thought you needed to be one of those “other” people, with the looks, the connections, the degrees, what have you. I didn’t realize until I was in my thirties that it just takes knowledge, passion, and skills… and that anyone can do it. I didn’t want anyone else to have to wait that long!
When you were a teen did you have a cause that you volunteered for or helped make a difference by participating in a group or organization? Do you have one now and have you been a mentor to any teens through this work?
As a teen, I often saved my money and donated it to various animal welfare organizations. I was also a volunteer Girl Scout leader for a Brownie troop. I’ve always had a soft spot for animals and kids!
As an adult, I still support animal and child welfare organizations, among many others, philanthropically. I occasionally donate my time to our local humane society, our school library, Eastside Baby Corner, and to the Youth Venture/Ashoka organization in Seattle, which also helped to both inspire and inform Be a Changemaker. I also participate in many other volunteer opportunities whenever they arise. I hope to continue to mentor teens through my connections with Ashoka’s Youth Venture, and I’m in the process of developing a program with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s awards program. I’d love to hear from other youth programs about how I can help add to their programming, as well!
BE A CHANGEMAKER is a great guide for motivated teens in thinking about and putting into action a plan to make a difference. However, I know some teens need more support or direction in order to get started and stick with it in order to be successful. What tips do you have for a teacher or an adult mentor to help build steps towards greater success for these students?
First and foremost, give them as much choice as possible! Guide teens towards identifying a problem that they will truly care about solving, such as one that affects them or someone they love directly. Then help them come up with a way to tackle that problem using their own existing passions (things they love to do) and skills (things they’re already good at). The foundation is strongest when you have all three (problem, passion, skill) coming from the teens themselves right from the beginning. This can take some time for introspection and self-reflection, but it will pay off in enthusiasm. Once you have those three key pieces in place, show them that you honestly believe they can make a difference. When they believe they can fix something they care about by doing something they love using skills they’re already good at, it will be hard for them to not want to jump in and get started.
If you could meet any person who has made a significant change in the world, who would it be and what are some things that you would like to learn from him or her?
Oh, that’s such a tough one: there are so many! Since we’re talking about the book, though, I’ll say Bill Drayton, the founder of Ashoka and Youth Venture and author of the foreword for Be a Changemaker. I think he’s really an unsung hero who is changing our world in dramatic ways every day. Through his vision of an “everyone a changemaker” world, his organizations are empowering everyone from preschool on up to embark on a lifetime of doing good, innovative, world-changing endeavors. His efforts are creating countless ripples of change worldwide, and those will continue to spread indefinitely. I’d love to learn what he feels is most needed to continue his mission and the ways we can help achieve it.
After BE A CHANGEMAKER comes out, what upcoming book projects do you have that you can tell us about?
I have a picture book biography called Emmanuel’s Dream coming out in January about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, who changed Ghana's perception of people with disabilities. In June my first fiction picture book comes out: My Dog Is the Best is about the unconditional love that exists between a child and a family pet. And, I’m currently working on two ideas that have resulted from Be a Changemaker. Stay tuned!
About the author:
Laurie Ann Thompson comes from a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners. She has worked at IBM, Intel, and Microsoft, and she co-founded a successful internet startup. In addition, she has led a regional nonprofit professional organization and volunteered with Ashoka’s Youth Venture, which supports teens with big ideas. This is her first book. She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. Visit her at LaurieThompson.com.
Check out the other stops in the blog tour:
Mon, Sept 8
Sally's Bookshelf http://sallysbookshelf.blogspot.com/
Tues, Sept 9
Girl Scout Leader 101 http://girlscoutleader101.blogspot.com/
Wed, Sept 10
Unleashing Readers http://www.unleashingreaders.com/
Thurs, Sept 11
Teen Librarian Toolbox http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/
Fri, Sept 12
Sat, Sept 13
The Styling Librarian http://thestylinglibrarian.com/
Mon, Sept 15
NC Teacher Stuff http://ncteacherstuff.blogspot.com/
Tues, Sept 16
The Hiding Spot http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com
Wed, Sept 17
Kid Lit Frenzy http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/
Thurs, Sept 18
Fri, Sept 19
A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust http://www.foodiebibliophile.com/
Sat. Sept 20
Elizabeth O. Dulemba http://dulemba.blogspot.com/
Teen Librarian's Toolbox is creating a free downloadable workshop guide for libraries and classrooms for the book that will be available on Laurie Thompson's website in late October.
Enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of BE A CHANGEMAKER by Laurie Ann Thompson. Winner must be 13 years old or older and have a US mailing address.
Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews: