You Can Be a Friend!
Sunday, January 16, 2011

By Tashmica Torok

Every once in a while, I will stand in the children's section of a book store and browse the selections.  I will pick up unknown books with beautiful illustrations and catchy titles to flip through the new pages.  Sometimes my hands are drawn to the classics of my own childhood.  I love when a story gives me chills.  Those are usually the stories I end up carrying home to read to my children.

Reading to my children is not a priority of simple literacy.  It is an education in life.  It is a way for us all to have a broader experience of the world around us.  We can't all be pilots, runway models, politicians or human rights activists but we can read their experiences.  We can attempt to apply their lessons to our lives.

On January 17th, New York Times Best Selling authors of You Can Do It! Lauren & Tony Dungy will release their latest children's book, You Can Be a Friend!.  Tony Dungy, retired NFL player and Super Bowl winning head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, and most recently a part of NBC's Sunday “Football Night in America” pregame team has partnered with his wife, Lauren to share a lesson inspired by their family. Tony and Lauren have always impressed upon their children that a strong faith in God and big dreams are key to a successful life.

In their newest tale, the Dungys welcome a new family into the neighborhood with a plate of cookies.  Their daughter Jade is surprised when the little girl who has just moved in wheels into the room in a wheel chair.  You Can Be A Friend! will help open up a dialogue in your home related to accepting those with disabilities.  I was also delighted to find that the Dungys included in the story Jade's conversations with trusted family members as she made some pretty intense decisions that were bound to improve her own character.  The choices Jade made at the culmination of the story brought proud tears to my eyes and hopefulness for the lessons it held for my own children.

As a parent it is often difficult to impart lessons before your child is pointing and asking questions about a disabled child on a playground.  Children are curious and they notice differences to the mortification of informed, loving parents like me.  The Dungys are inspiring parents to become proactive in their approach to teaching their children that, “God made everyone, and we are all special in His eyes. Sometimes we might have to look a little harder to see that.”  You Can Be a Friend! will help you get ahead of the parenting curve through a solid family story and colorful illustrations by Ron Mazellan.  This hard cover issue is reasonably priced at $16.99 on Amazon and appropriate for children between the ages of 4-7. 

The New Citizen's Press will be launching their Read to Succeed, Write to Ignite initiative this year at the 10 Year Anniversary Celebration.  We are collecting gently used thesauruses and dictionaries to give away to children in the Mid-Michigan area.  Our goal is to empower youth to embrace literacy as a vehicle for a successful future.  In collaboration with Little Simon Inspirations and in support of the Read to succeed and Write to Ignite initiative sponsored by The New Citizens Press, The Mother Flippin' Blog is bringing you an exciting giveaway of Lauren & Tony Dungy's newly released children's book, You Can Be A Friend.

Visit  for more information about how you can enter to win one of three copies of You Can Be a Friend.

Tashmica Torok is a local entrepreneur, blogger and community activist.  Her blog, The Mother Flippin': One Funny Mother, is about encouraging women to improve the world through thoughtful, honest parenting, responsible business practices and advocacy for those less fortunate.

And laughter...loads of laughter!



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