Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Retirement expert shares advice in short easy to read book

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 17, 2017

How To Retire with Enough Money

How To Retire with Enough Money

Photo: Workman Publishing

Are decisions about retirement on your mind? How much should you save? Where should you keep your money? Should you rely on an investment specialist? In How To Retire With Enough Money and How To Know What Enough Is (Workman Publishing, $12.95) retirement expert Teresa Ghilarducci (see Listen to podcast with Teresa Ghilarducci, author, How To Retire With Enough Money about her book) outlines what she considers the essential facts to prepare readers financially for the final years of their life.

“I wrote How To Retire With Enough Money because I found too many people were racked by guilt and shame because they didn't have enough savings to retire,” the economist said by email. “But it's not their fault entirely, the system is stacked against most people's retirement savings. I wanted to empower people to overcome the forces barring them from having enough money in retirement.”

The 128-page easy to read hardcover book was published in 2015 and is divided into six chapters: Facing the Facts; Bringing Your Picture into Focus; Working; Saving, Spending and Debt; Investing and Allocation; and Voting and Civic Involvement. Described on the back cover as a having "just financial common sense that's guaranteed to work," the book offers a positive and succinct approach to retirement. The author favors downsizing before retirement and offers strategies to cut back on spending. She strongly advises against relying on a financial advisor and urges readers to relocate their assets to low-cost index funds.

When asked how she would measure the success of her book she replied: “I will know I succeeded if people reading this How To Retire With Enough Money lowered their investment fees, fired their "guy" (the conflicted advisor), saved at least ten percent of their income by reducing debt and increasing their savings, and kept a monthly budget. Keeping a monthly budget is the key, the trailhead, to the path to financial empowerment.” When asked if the book was sponsored in any way she replied, “I received no money or benefit from any firm mentioned in the book. (I praise Vanguard from genuine regard and respect.).”

Teresa Ghilarducci, author, How To Retire with Enough Money

Teresa Ghilarducci, author, How To Retire with Enough Money

The book required three years of work. She wrote it for workers of all ages. The author emphasized that saving at younger ages is a lot less painful than waiting to catch up; and that a person reaches the same financial goal by saving a much smaller share of their income if they start in their 20s rather than their 40s.

Regarding retirement issues, the author said, “The greatest obstacle to retirement saving is that most employers don't offer a way for people to save at the workplace and when they do the law allows people to withdraw their money before retirement. Also federal government subsidies, in the form of tax breaks, favor the wealthy.”

About the challenges she faced when she set out to write the book she said, “One small challenge was convincing my publisher that I didn't want to make people rich, I wanted people to have enough. (It wasn't that hard, the publisher was fantastic and taught me a lot.) The main challenge was to write the book so I didn't scold the reader like other financial books tend to do. The last thing anyone needs is yet another book that simply says, save more, and if you don't it's your fault.”

“I am developing an interactive space on our Retirement Equity Lab (ReLab) website where I answer questions from anyone. And my follow-on book is coming out in January, coauthored by Tony James, about what the government can do to save retirement (Columbia University Press),” she said.

Ghilarducci is an expert on retirement, pensions, and personal savings, and the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Analysis at The New School for Social Research. She has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley and taught previously at the University of Notre Dame.

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Functional medicine physician, writer share ideas on wellness

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 20, 2017

The New Health Rules

The New Health Rules


Photos: Artisan, Timothy White, Brad Hamilton

As our country's population ages and the average age nears 80 many in their golden years are concerned about quality of life. Young and old are taking account of their health habits, seeking to live not just longer, but healthier lives. At the same time, there is so much conflicting health and nutrition information floating around it is challenging to know what to believe. Toward that end an integrative medicine doctor and a writer teamed up to share their ideas about wellness in a book that strives to provide short and easy to read health rules.

For people who want a minimum of reading they provide short descriptions, many single paragraphs, without ambiguity paired with full page color photos. Each one stands alone in The New Health Rules Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness (Artisan, $14.95), a 224-page softcover book by Frank Lipman, M.D. and Danielle Claro published in 2014.

The book, a New York Times bestseller, is divided into six sections: Introduction, Eating, Moving, Boosting, Healing and Living. The authors were unavailable to reply to questions submitted by email more than two weeks in advance to the book's publishing company.

Frank Lipman, M.D., co-author, The New Health Rules

Frank Lipman, M.D., co-author, The New Health Rules

In the book, the authors discuss a wide range of wellness topics. For example, in the Living section they recommend readers make sure to drink clean water (they explain that the substances added to tap water such as chlorine and fluoride are bad for the hormonal system). Other recommendations include meditation; walking outside instead of on a treadmill whenever possible; eating grass fed beef, if you eat beef; eating real food (plant foods that require refrigeration); and eating gluten free (most people are mildly sensitive and some highly sensitive, the authors say) non packaged foods.

Danielle Claroco-author, The New Health Rules

Danielle Claro, co-author, The New Health Rules

Lipman, according to his biography, is physician to many celebrities such as Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Donna Karan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal among others. He is also an international speaker on health and wellness. Claro, deputy editor, Real Simple, is a writer, former professional dancer and yogi. She has written two New York Times bestsellers and launched an indie lifestyle magazine, according to her biography.

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Analytics specialists discuss profit oriented data strategies

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 29, 2017

Monetizing Your Data

Monetizing Your Data

Photos: Andrew Roman Wells, Kathy Williams Chiang

The more advanced our technology becomes the more data managers can gather and store. But once they have it what can they do with it? What should they do to gain an advantage for their business and how should they do it? Managers wondering what to do with all the data their company gathers on customers and prospective customers may be interested in a new book that addresses many data use related questions, Monetizing Your Data: A Guide to Turning Data into Profit-Driving Strategies and Solutions (Wiley, $49.95) by analytics specialists Andrew Roman Wells and Kathy Williams Chiang.

Kathy Chiang, author, Monetizing Your Data

Kathy Chiang, author, Monetizing Your Data

“The target audience for the book primarily includes entry-level to mid-level managers in medium to large sized businesses working in the areas of business analysis, marketing analytics, data science, business intelligence, strategy and business planning,” the authors replied by email via their publishing company when asked about potential readers.

The 344-page hardcover book published March of this year was written in an academic style with tables and charts. It is divided into six main sections titled as follows: Introduction, Decision Analysis, Monetization Strategy, Agile Analysis, Enablement, and Case Study. The authors promise a step-by-step process, Decision Architecture Methodology, to monetize data assets. The authors begin with an explanation of the analytical cycle, striving to guide readers through the process of developing practical strategies. They offer templates, checklists, and examples in a companion website,

The biggest challenge to writing and publishing their book, which required 18 months from idea to publication, was that, “Because we are both active practitioners in the field, finding quality time to write and collaborate was a big challenge.” They declined to answer a question about the legal and ethical issues related to monetizing data. 

Andrew Wells, author, Monetizing Your Data

Andrew Wells, author, Monetizing Your Data

“Data is the transactional record of the activity of the business,” the authors replied when asked for a definition of data as it relates to their book. “It captures both internal business activity, such as production of products and services, and external activity such as customer orders, reviews, complaints. It can come in many different forms such as a number, a date, a word, a paragraph, a recorded message, or even an entire document.”

When asked if the data they refer to in the book is different from Big Data, they said, “Big Data at this time does not have a consensus definition but the term is generally used to refer to unstructured data such as social media posts and/or highly granular transactional data of the business characterized by large volume, high velocity and broad variety. The data we speak of in the book covers all types of business data from large to small, such as traditional business reporting metrics such as may be found in financial reporting, customer survey data found in market research, and the large volumes of transactional data that can be thought of as Big Data.”

According to his biography, Wells, chief executive officer, Aspirent, a management-consulting firm focused on analytics, has extensive experience building Analytical Solutions. He also has experience as a hands-on consultant. In Silicon Valley, he worked on customer analytics and the use of predictive methods to drive performance for two start-ups. Wells has also held executive roles as director of Business Intelligence at Capital One and consulted for Coca-Cola, IHG, The Home Depot, Capital One, Wells Fargo, HP, Time Warner, Merrill Lynch, and Applied Materials.

Chiang has expertise in guided analytics, analytic data mart development and business planning. Prior to her current position as vice president, Business Insights, Wunderman Data Management, she consulted with Aspirent on numerous analytic projects for several multinational clients including IHG and Coca-Cola. She has worked for Telecommunications Systems of Trinidad and Tobago, Acuity Brands Lighting, BellSouth International and Portman Overseas.

Monetizing Your Data

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Authors, Whole Foods Market co-founder collaborate in healthy eating book

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 18, 2017

The Whole Foods Diet

The Whole Foods Diet

Photos: Whole Foods Market, Grand Central Life & Style

John Mackey, co-founder and chief executive officer, Whole Foods Market joined forces with Alona Pulde, M.D. and Matthew Lederman, M.D., the latter two known for their Forks Over Knives film and books, to publish The Whole Foods Diet The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity (Grand Central Life & Style, $28). The 336-page hardcover book, published this year, features the Whole Foods Market logo on the cover next to Mackey's name.

Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD, co-authors, The Whole Foods Diet

Alona Pulde, MD and Matthew Lederman, MD, co-authors, The Whole Foods Diet

The book is divided into three parts and 15 chapters. Following an introduction by Mackey the authors speak mostly (a final chapter also is in Mackey's voice) with a single voice, starting with an introductory section on diet and health. A second section outlines their ideas about food and their food group preferences. The remaining two chapters are dedicated to a 28-day meal plan. According to a representative from their publisher, the authors were too busy to respond to questions by email.

Although all three are vegan, they believe a diet consisting of 90 percent vegetables is healthy. Their approach to health begins with eight main food groups: Whole grains and starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, berries, other fruit, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, nonstarchy vegetables, and nuts and seeds. The authors dedicate an entire chapter to the groups and their beliefs about each. They dedicate another entire chapter to the ethics of being vegan.

John Mackey, co-author, The Whole Foods Diet

Mackey is co-author of Conscious Capitalism. Pulde is a board-certified practitioner of acupuncture and Oriental and family medicine. Lederman is a board-certified internal medicine physician. Pulde and Lederman were featured in Forks Over Knives and co-authored the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan.

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Author examines issues of privacy and safety

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 11, 2017

American Surveillance

American Surveillance

Photo: The University of Wisconsin Press

In American Surveillance Intelligence, Privacy, and the Fourth Amendment (University of Wisconsin Press, $44.95) Anthony Gregory explores the competitive interests of the United States government's desire for unfettered access to information about its citizens and their right to privacy from undue intrusion. He begins by examining the country's history in that regard all the way to our Founding Fathers. In this era of increasingly effective technological tools and broadening laws that facilitate a growing number of personal data breaches he concludes that the book asks more questions than it answers.

When asked what inspired him to write the book the author replied by email, “For over a decade I researched civil liberties issues for the Independent Institute, and so this book fit into that larger project. I’d been intrigued by surveillance issues since the war on terror began. Even before that I considered foreign relations and such domestic policies as the drug war to have an affinity in consequences invited more exploration.”

The hardcover 263-page book was published in 2016 in collaboration with the Independent Institute. It is written in an academic style divided into an Introduction, a Conclusion, an Epilogue and nine chapters: Reconnoitering the Frontier, 1775-1899; Foreign Influences, 1900-1945; Espionage and Subversion, 1946-1978; Calm Before the Storm, 1979-2000; The Total Information Idea, 2001-2015; Unreasonable Searches; Fourth Amendment Mirage; Enforcement Problems; and The Privacy Question. It also includes copious end notes and references.

“The main goal was to look at the intersecting issues of security intelligence and privacy rights with fresh eyes,” he said. “These are big questions with correspondingly huge literatures, and I wanted to deliver a contribution that made sense of it all, both providing a balanced analytical approach to multiple complex topics and revealing the more radical implications of what many self-described moderates on both sides of policy controversies advocate.

“I hoped it would reach both scholarly specialists and generalists as well as lay audiences concerned about policy,” he said when asked who was the target audience for the book. “It serves to curate a lot of different literatures and so can be a starting point for many different types of readers. Those in policy seeking simple answers might not find them here, but they will find some material that I hope will enhance their understanding." In response to questions about the greatest challenge the book posed, he said: "I suppose the biggest challenge was maintaining analytical balance, and satisfying peer reviewers with different perspectives while maintaining an editorially sufficient thesis. I was surprised by many little factual discoveries on the way. I was most pleasantly surprised that some of the scholars on privacy and intelligence I had most admired found the work worthwhile!"

When asked if he found that the violation of privacy rights of Americans was justified by the safety concerns, he replied: “I try to keep some distance between my academic writing and my ideological commitments, but it’s not always possible. I think privacy advocates understate how strong the consequentialist case can be against their cause. But my view on the rightness or wrongness government surveillance is not primarily rooted in consequentialism. That’s why I think it’s more of a cultural question—not even a matter of legal rights—when we talk about privacy and surveillance. And once you know where you stand on that, you have to see what kinds of other government powers correspond to the degree of privacy you want. That often kicks the question to foreign policy or law enforcement, where sometimes measures taken do not even achieve the stated goals on their own terms. So this is a rather big question.”

Gregory is the author of The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror, winner of the PROSE Book Award for legal studies. He is a fellow of the Independent Institute in Oakland, California.

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Business professor shares theories about effective leadership

Posted by Elena del Valle on April 27, 2017

Precise Leaders Get Results

Precise Leaders Get Results

Photos: Paul B. Thornton

In Precise Leaders Get Results! (Motivational Press, $19.95) Paul B. Thornton, professor of business administration at Springfield Technical Community College, discusses his leadership ideas. His new book was written for “parents, teachers, coaches, team leaders, project managers, managers, and leaders at all levels in every type of organization.”

He begins by distinguishing between managers and leaders. Managers, he says, see themselves as preservers of the status quo. They work to achieve organizational goals whereas leaders, who by definition seek growth and improvement, promote changes to improve the status quo at all levels. There are many kinds of change and varying approaches to leadership, but what all leaders share is the desire to make a difference. Why do these issues matter? Because in the past managing employees was enough, he says, but today's companies require managers to also be leaders.

When asked how the book came about Thornton replied by email via his publicist, “One of the courses I teach at Springfield Technical Community College is principles of leadership. For the past three years, I have used a workbook that contained many of the concepts in my published book, Precise Leaders Get Results. After each semester, I would add new material, reorganize parts, and teak the content in my workbook. I like to think that after each set of changes, the material became more focused and better organized. Overtime this workbook became my manuscript. So the short answer is it took me about three years to go from idea to publication.”

The 190-page softcover book was published in 2016 and is divided into 22 brief and easy to read chapters. Each chapter concludes with a short summary and discussion points.

“'Get results' means that as a leader you successfully influence people to make positive changes,” the author said when asked about the book title. “Results—the right changes actually happen. The changes improve the situation.”

Paul B. Thornton, author, Precise Leaders Get Results

Paul B. Thornton, author, Precise Leaders Get Results

In response to a question about why he decided to write a book about leadership he replied, “Countless change efforts are underway at this very moment all over the world. Despite good intentions, many of these efforts will fail. Various reports and studies have found that 60 to 70 percent of the change initiatives don’t produce the desired results? Why? I find some leaders never get precise in answering three basic questions: Who needs to change (target and secondary groups)? What specific changes are required? Are people able and motived to make the required changes? What resources are needed?
Who will lead the implementation? I’m inspired to help leaders get precise in answering these questions so they will achieve the results they desire.”
Thornton, who has authored 15 books on management and leadership, is also a trainer and speaker. He has conducted management and leadership programs for Palmer Foundry, UMass Medical School, Mercy Health Systems, Kuwait Oil Corp., Human Services Forum, Sunshine Village and United Technologies Corp. According to his biography, through his coaching, seminars and courses, he has helped more than 10,000 people become more effective managers and leaders.

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Public speaker authors book about overcoming fear in business

Posted by Elena del Valle on April 20, 2017

The Power of Breaking FearThe Power of Breaking Fear

Photos: StarGroup International

Hoping to share his ideas with young professionals, entrepreneurs, and “anyone who is willing to take action to better their life” Tim S. Marshall, a public speaker and entrepreneur, authored The Power of Breaking Fear, his first book (StarGroup International, $29.95). The 212-page softcover revised edition of the book was published this year.

“I wanted to share my belief that anything is possible if you start with awareness and approach fear as a motivation, not an obstacle,” Marshall said by email via his publishing company when asked why he wrote his first book.

Tim S. Marshall, author The Power of Breaking Fear

Tim S. Marshall, author The Power of Breaking Fear

The book is written in first person, easy-to-read personal style with thoughts extracted and printed on the page margins in italics. The author emphasizes his experiences and draws conclusions and recommendations from them. For example, he believes that awareness and having an open mind are essential to overcoming fear, and lead to internal and external wealth. He also says that most people are intimidated from pursuing our goals for fear that we are not good enough to succeed.

"There are varying degrees of fear based on individual circumstances and past trauma, so the obstacles may be more significant for some," he said, when asked if everyone can overcome fear and to what degree. "However, I believe that virtually everyone has the potential to act and overcome. It’s not about disengaging the fear that prevents you from doing things that would harm you. It’s about embracing the fear that holds you back from positive things that you desire and deserve. It’s about becoming aware of those fears that stand between you and your potential and then pushing through the self-doubt and discomfort with intention.

When asked how long it took to publish the book he replied, “I took notes for 25 years. After my divorce, I wrote incessantly for a year and isolated myself in order to express these 25 years of notes, thoughts, and ideas that I gained from interacting and coaching thousands of customers and individuals.”

The author plans 20 Marshall Principles titles in total, including three before this summer. They are Entrepreneurship – Cracking the Code,  Young Professionals – Frustration to Freedom, and Sales – Selling Yourself to Sell Anything. Marshall is the founder and former owner of Copysource. He has taught Fortune 500 executives at Citrix, Konica Minolta, and Toshiba.

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Journalist, physician share financial and physical health aging tips

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 16, 2017



Photo: Jean Chatzky courtesy of Ari Michaelson

In the last three decades, people are living longer in the United States. And the number of Americans 100 or older has increased 2,200 percent since 1950. At the same time, 84 percent of all healthcare spending is related to chronic diseases. But only 10 percent of people think about financial longevity. So say Jean Chatzky, Michael F. Roizen, MD with Ted Spiker, authors of AgeProof Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip (Grand Central Life & Style, $28) published last month. In the book, they share their opinions about physical and financial health and promise readers that “...if you take the steps we outline here, you'll reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions, save more of those out-of-pocket and horrendous hospitalization costs, and live longer with fewer disabilities.”

Jean Chatzky,co-author, Age-Proof

Jean Chatzky,co-author, AgeProof

Chatzky and Roizen advocate regular physical and fiscal check-ups. For physicals they recommend self-tests and healthcare tests, including bone mineral density, prostate, mammogram, colonoscopy, mental health, rectal, eye, dental and other exams. On the fiscal side, they suggest reader assessments of income level, expenses, net worth, emergency savings, retirement, credit score, personal circumstances and changes. They point to economist Daniel Kahneman's research as indicative that the benchmark income should be derived from the line between happiness and unhappiness, $75,000. The estimates outlined in the fiscal physical chapter are for people earning between $50,000 and $300,000.

In the Introduction, the authors offer to teach readers how to “make your money and good health last decades longer.” They were too busy to respond to questions by email, according to a spokesperson for their publishing company. A press release about the book, points to the authors' belief in a crucial connection between health and wealth, and that the same principles that apply to a better body apply to an improved investment portfolio.


Michael F. Roizen, M.D.,co-author, Age-Proof

Michael F. Roizen, M.D.,co-author, Age-Proof

The 328-page hardcover book is divided into eight parts: System Checks, Breaking Bad Behavior, Pressure Situations, Team Works, Survival Instinct, Go Time, Making a Living, and Domestic Engineering, and 16 chapters. The chapters are written in an easy to read style with sidebar quotes from the authors.

Chatzky, a financial journalist, author and motivational speaker, is a financial expert on the Today Show. Roizen, a board-certified anesthesiologist and internist, served as chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. He received the Paul. G. Rogers Best Medical Communicator award from the National Library of Medicine. Spiker, professor and chair, Department of Journalism at the University of Florida, is co-author of 20 books.


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Silicon Valley marketers share advice for start-ups

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 9, 2017

The Ultimate Start-Up Guide

The Ultimate Start-Up Guide


Photos: Ty Nowicki, Robin Bulanti

Silicon Valley marketers Tom Hogan and Carol Broadbent, founders, Crowded Ocean, recently released The Ultimate Start-Up Guide: Marketing Lessons, War Stories, And Hard-Won Advice From Leading Venture Capitalists And Angel Investors (Career Press, $16.99), a how-to book to help start-up companies succeed published this year. What do they know about start-ups and failure? During their initial year they made zero money. Ninety percent of new companies, they point out, fail within two years.

They explained by email that they wrote the book, their first, for “Anyone who is thinking of starting their own company—tech or otherwise; anyone thinking of getting involved in a startup; or anyone who wants to better understand how startups (and Silicon Valley) work.”

From concept to final galleys it took them one year to complete the book project. The 223-page softcover book, written in an easy to read candid style, is divided into 24 chapters. In the chapters, there are graphs to illustrate information or outline data and easy to see quotes from business people in gray boxes. At the end of each chapter there is a suggested reading list

The authors set out to incorporate lessons from dozens clients as well as venture capitalists and angel investors, to help entrepreneurs avoid the pitfalls that cause most start-ups to fold. They address strategies for hiring and building a team, culture, and values; how to pitch the company, secure funding, and distribute equity; best practices in launching a business and sustaining market momentum; and how they believe venture capitalist investors think, evaluate new companies, and advise entrepreneurs. Although in the first chapter they outline their firm belief in the importance of a sales driven marketing strategy, they also value public relations, Broadbent explained by email. 

"As we tell our startup clients, PR is probably the highest ROI marketing investment you can make and a great source of lead generation," she said. "That’s because editorial coverage of your company, product or service is perceived by would-be buyers as objective validation. In other words, favorable coverage of your startup in the places where your prospects go (trade press, social media, blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, you name it) will go a long way to shaping the perception of your brand, motivate buyers to find you and hopefully to become your customer. That’s why for 100 percent of our startup clients, we have made PR an ingredient in their marketing program mix."

Carol Broadbent and Tom Hogan, authors, The Ultimate Start-Up Guide

“A startup can be an idea seeking traction (from early funders), an early-stage company (friends and founders money) or a company that has received its first round of funding,” they said. “Another way to define it is: any company that has yet to find its rhythm in the market (no matter its age).”

When asked about the greatest challenge the book presented they replied, “The challenge, as you’d guess, given our workload (3 clients at a time and it’s just the two of us) and the pace of Silicon Valley, was finding the time to write the book. And to get the participation of past clients and VCs who are as busy as us.  The reward has been in the early reviews, not just from strangers who have read the book and commented on it but from clients (and possible new clients) who contact us and tell us how much they learned in reading the book. (Note: it’s not that we’ve discovered something new or unique—it’s that we package and present it in practical ways that they can use in their daily operations.”

Prior to founding Crowded Ocean, Broadbent was vice president of corporate marketing at Bay Networks, senior vice president of corporate marketing at Aspect Communications, and director of marketing at Sun Microsystems. In addition, she led marketing at two Kleiner Perkins-funded startups: vice president of marketing at Asera, and director of market development at Go Corporation.

Hogan has more than 25 years of marketing experience, including roles as vice president of marketing at Oracle, Borland, Lucent, and VitalSigns Software. As Oracle’s original creative director, he managed the global advertising, direct marketing, seminar and trade show, and creative departments.

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New children’s book illustrates personal story of Indigenous girl in 1920s Canada

Posted by Elena del Valle on February 2, 2017

I Am Not a Number

I Am Not a Number

Photos: Second Story Press

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ed.D.'s interest in her family’s past and her commitment to teaching about Indigenous issues through literature drew her to co-write her first children’s book. It took her and Kathy Kacer three years to write I Am Not a Number (Second Story Press, $18.95), the true and personal story of Irene Couchie Dupuis, her grandmother, who was taken from her Nipissing First Nation’s family and community at a young age to live in a residential school in the late 1920s in Canada. They wrote the easy to read lovingly illustrated book for school-age children (ages seven and up) to learn about the legacy of the Indian Residential School System (known as boarding schools in the United States). According to the author, it has also appealed to “educators (Grades 2-12), librarians, families, and community organizations interested in reading stories about true history, and supporting children and youth to develop critical literacy skills to engage in important, meaningful discussions about the injustices that have and are currently occurring to Indigenous peoples.” In it, they share her grandmother's story, including the hardships and verbal and corporal punishment she and other children endured at the hands of the nuns and within the system.

“When I was growing up, we didn’t talk much about the history and injustices in school programming,” Dupuis said by email when asked about the Nipissing First Nation. “I learned about my culture and community values, like having respect for myself and others, while working a part-time job (as a youth) at a local restaurant called the Teepee Café owned by Dot Beaucage-Kennedy. It was a place where everyone gathered, including storytellers, Elders/knowledge keepers, grandmothers/grandfathers, artists (traditional/contemporary), language speakers, and families. Times have changed. We are now seeing these opportunities expand into the school systems. I’m really proud of the opportunities that are emerging, especially for children and youth, that place an emphasis on historical/contemporary realities, culture, traditions, and values, including efforts to revitalize the Ojibwe language and culture.”

The 32-page hardcover book was published in 2016. Color illustrated by Gillian Newland the book also includes several black and white family photos. The people who were involved in the abuse were never punished, nor did they apologize for the wrongdoings in her granny’s case, Dupuis explained.  

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ph.D., I Am Not a Number

Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ed.D., co-author, I Am Not a Number

When asked why she wrote the book Dupuis replied, “Listening to the stories of my family and community history led me to write I Am Not a Number. My granny shared with me her story at a time when I felt that she wanted to share her truth. I held onto her story for years, waiting for the right time to share it. While I was working in the field of Indigenous education, I found there weren’t any children’s picture books that focused on the Residential School System through the lens of an Indigenous family. So I wanted to reach out to young people through storytelling and literature to ensure they hear true stories about the legacy of forced assimilation; where Indigenous children were taken from their families/home communities and sent to residential schools.

In addition, I also wanted to use literature as a means to encourage educators, families, and community groups to begin to facilitate deep conversations, with young people and each other, about the legislation and policies that have impacted (and still impact) Indigenous peoples. I’m really pleased at the response. So far, educators, community groups, and families have been in contact via social media sharing how they have used the book since its release. For instance, Luke Bramer, a performing arts teacher used the book to inspire his junior level/ freshman high school students to learn about the residential school system and create a puppet theatre performance, using breathing puppets to retell my granny’s story. Other teachers have been using activities like ‘role on the wall’ to introduce the topic of residential schools and begin to discuss topics like genocide, the impacts of colonialism, oppression, assimilation, etc. Families have read the book with their young children, going through a 'picture walk' to stimulate interest. Additionally, community organizations, like in Hamilton ON (Canada), are in the midst of hosting (grassroots-led) book launches and readings that also feature youth artwork and other learning inspired by the book I Am Not a Number.”  

Kathy Kacer, co-author, Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ph.D., I Am Not a Number

Kathy Kacer, co-author, I Am Not a Number

The Nipissing First Nation lives on the shores of Lake Nipissing in Northern Ontario, Canada. There is a registered band membership of approximately 2,500 persons with about 1,000  residing on reserve. Dupuis is of Anishinaabe and Ojibway ancestry and a member of Nipissing First Nation. The Toronto resident is an educator, researcher, artist, and speaker who works full-time supporting the advancement of Indigenous education.

Kacer is known for her children’s books about the Holocaust, including The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser and The Magician of Auschwitz. A former psychologist, she now travels the globe speaking to children and adults about her books. Newland works in watercolor, ink, and pencils. She finds most of her inspiration to draw outside of her studio, and can sometimes be found sketching fellow customers at a coffee shop. She is the illustrator of The Magician of Auschwitz among other books. All three women live in Toronto.

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