Author School Visits

Drawing upon my background as a children’s media specialist and educator, my author visit programs are cross-curricular, highly engaging, and easily customized to meet the needs of your school/community. In the past I’ve created interactive programming for Sesame Workshop, PBS, and the Learning Center for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, so customizing the right program for your school is somewhat second nature to me. The planning starts long before I walk through the doors as my goal is to partner with you so that my visit meets your needs.

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Early Editorial Reviews

I am happy to share some excerpts: 

This is a story about Tikkun Olam, the act of trying to make the world a better place. Though the illustrations convey the fact that Jenny attends a Hebrew day school, she lives in a diverse community, and children of all backgrounds will relate to her predicament and benefit from the universal lessons imparted. “Your every ounce was made to bounce!” says Jenny’s grandma when she notices how forlorn the little girl has become, trying to squelch her perpetual jumping. It’s true that her constant motion has been interfering with life at school and at home, but suppressing her nature is not a good solution. Fortunately, Jenny’s teacher believes in community service and organizes a fundraising project to assist a needy school in Uganda. Jenny commits to a jumpathon, collecting pledge money for each jump. She simultaneously reaches her goal of 1000 jumps and helps fund computers and books…. With its bright, child-friendly cartoonlike illustrations, the book succeeds in reminding children to recognize their own gifts and to remember to give to others.–Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT
School Library Journal
A little girl channels her exuberance and excessive pogo-stick jumping into a worthy fundraising venture.

…Bari’s story of one girl’s approach to the Jewish principle of “tikkun olam” (literally, “repair the world”) will resonate as readers watch Jenny achieve her exhausting, triumphant success. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)
Kirkus Reviews

This is a heartwarming story about Jumping Jenny who uses her “skills” to help out a good cause. Everyone has special skills, even if they aren’t appreciated by everyone as Jenny soon found out. Her passion for jumping did eventually enable her “to make a difference in the world.” The purpose of this book is to encourage children to do just that and Jenny’s attempt to raise money involved challenging herself to jump 1,000 times on her pogo stick. In the author’s note she briefly encourages children to participate in Tikkum Olam, which means “world repair,” to make a difference by helping those around us.
-Deb Fowler
Feathered Quill Book Reviews

Faced with the task of reviewing five new kids books, I sat down with a children’s literature expert: my 5-year-old daughter, Maya. …The last book was “Jumping Jenny” by Ellen Bari and illustrated by Raquel Garcia Macia, which is meant to encourage every reader to make a difference in the world.

Maya said, “It’s my favorite. I’m going to read it again at nighttime.”

When a book graduates from the overflowing shelves downstairs to the select few in her bedroom then you know it’s special.
-Steven Friedman Covering the SFJewish Bay Area

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Pogo Sticks… A Come Back?

So is the book Jumping Jenny intended to bring back the pogo stick? Not really, but I do think they’re really fun, and definitely great exercise, so why not? If every manner of hula hoops have made a comeback at outdoor rock concerts around the world, maybe there’s hope for the pogo stick. So I teamed up with a great partner, American Pogo Stick Company, who has graciously offered to do pogo stick and digital counter giveaways to celebrate Jumping Jenny!  I just scored a beautiful new Foam Master pogo stick and digital counter for myself- so I can get in shape for my author visits!!! Anyone who comes to an event in March can enter to win a new pogo stick and counter for themselves. Stay tuned for more contest and raffle details. Of course, helmets and other protective gear are strongly recommended. Continue reading

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About the Author – Questions Asked by Children

Did you always know you would be a writer?
When I was growing up, I never imagined that I would become a children’s book author. And I certainly never thought I would write about jumping 1.000 counts on my pogo stick.  For many years before becoming a writer, I created all kinds of fun stuff for children and their families- mostly things that you could play with on your computer at home, or in a museum or at school. I even had a chance to work at Sesame Workshop, where you never know when you might run into Big Bird in the elevator!  I have also produced lots of things for adults, for serious topics like history and science. But I have found that what I love most is writing for kids.

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Making a Difference: Family Bake Sale

Jenny’s class was focused on helping a school in Uganda that did not have what they needed. Jenny’s teacher mentions books and computers specifically. In reality, money that is sent to the school in Uganda also helps with essentials like fixing roofs so that they can harvest sorely needed rain water and lunch programs so children who are hungry can focus on their studies.  Your school or community may already be engaged in some fundraising activities, but there are always people in need, whether it’s an ongoing situation in your own community or a disaster that has affected people many miles away. Continue reading

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Making a Difference: Walk/Jog/Run/Wheel

Reader Kyra Z. shares:

This film inspired Kyra's fundraising efforts

I loved the book Jumping Jenny, not only because it is a wonderful reminder that everyone can make a difference in the world using their special talent, but also because it reminded me of myself. When I was 12 years old, I organized a walk/jog/run/wheel to raise money for the nonprofit group Free Wheelchair Mission. The organization collects money to build wheel chairs for disabled people in Africa who are often shunned by society. I wanted to help contribute to this cause, so I set up a fundraiser for my friends and family, where participants got sponsored for the number of miles they ran/wheeled around Prospect Park. To challenge myself, I pledged that I would jog around the entire park without stopping, something I had never done before. With the support of my friends, who biked along next to me, I ran the 3 ½ miles just like Jenny accomplished her 1,000 jumps. Both Jenny and my successes prove everyone can use what they love in a powerful way, hopefully inspiring more people to change the world.



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Art Project: African Magazine Beads

The book can inspire a host of art projects, from making African style masks to musical instruments to beads. The children in Jumping Jenny contributed to the fundraising fair in all different ways. One of the fun things that they did was make beaded jewelry. Uganda has a tradition of making beautiful beads out of magazines called Mzuri beads. These are fun to make and with some advanced planning, you can even control the color schemes by paying attention to the prominent colors of the magazine pages you use. It is also a great way to recycle old magazines! Continue reading

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Movement Activities: Patterns

Jumping Jenny celebrates the joy of movement, through one intrepid little girl who challenges herself to jumping 1,000 jumps on a pogo stick. The book has a triumphant win-win ending. I often find when I finish reading with a group of children, everyone wants to get up and jump.  So why not harness the joy of movement portrayed in the book, by following it with your own movement activity. It will probably also help keep your students energized and focused on their work.  Here are two simple activities you can use to follow the book: Continue reading

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Get Active: Backyard Obstacle Course

Jumping Jenny celebrates the joy of movement. Moving is not only fun, but it has all kinds of positive health benefits too, from your heart to your weight to your emotional wellbeing.  If you feel that as a family you’re not as active as you’d like to be, there are some simple things you can do to incorporate more physical activity into your everyday. Creating an obstacle course not only challenges your children physically, but also helps build attention and concentration. Continue reading

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Writing: Word Puzzles

There a few different word puzzles available on this website – one is about community service, another is about jumping, and the third uses words that relate to exercise, heart and health. Any of these can be used as a jumping off point for vocabulary and writng exercises on one of the topics. Print out enough copies of the word puzzle so your class can work in pairs. Choose whether you want to explore Jumpers! or if you want the puzzle to open a discussion about community service or health and exercise. Continue reading

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