Teachers say a 5-year-old Portland boy who engages in book discussions with kids globally via Skype in the classroom inspires their students to read and write.
But the students have also inspired the Portland boy, Michael Cohn, and his mom, Lisa Cohn, who are the authors of the award-winning kids' dog book, “Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence.” In a Kickstarter project launched April 8, the mom-son team aims to raise $4,000 to self-publish their next kids’ dog book and hopefully instill in kids a love of dogs and books.
In Portland, kids from the Opal School and the Emerson School have helped generate dog book ideas. Lisa and Michael will be discussing their Kickstarter project at the Northwest Pet Fair April 12 and 13, at the Portland Expo Center.
“In our Kickstarter project, we want to thank these enthusiastic young writers and dog lovers and give them a voice,” said Lisa Cohn. “We also hope that the project will inspire young readers and writers.”
In the Kickstarter, “These Students Deserve This Kids’ Dog Book,” the Cohns will include in the book’s acknowledgements the names of all the children they’ve worked with. They will also ensure the classes receive copies of the new book. The students are located in the US, Ireland, Australia, India and elsewhere.
During their presentation, Lisa and Michael tell students that grief over the loss of their dog, Lucy, spawned “Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence.” To keep Lucy alive in their hearts, their book features a wise but mischievous Golden Retriever, Lucy, who instills confidence in a group of young soccer players.
Lisa Cohn encourages the kids to embrace writing and other art forms to express grief.
The press is invited to take part in one of Lisa and Michael’s Skype in the classroom presentations in April in Portland, New York City, St. Louis, and the Washington, D.C. area. The press can take part in person or via Skype. (See dates below).
The authors’ first book, “Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence,” received a Mom’s Choice Silver Award and a 2013 USA Best Books Award.
Watch the Kickstarter video and see the project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/66808378/1035007432?token=35e86b4d
During their Skype presentations, Lisa and Michael share with classes, via Skype, their experiences writing and publishing their book. In addition, the authors ask kids for ideas for their next book—an activity that students say they love, especially when energetic Michael is present to brainstorm with them.
“Michael, I like how you are so energetic. And how you are so funny,” wrote one student in a package of letters snail-mailed to the authors by the teacher.
“Our tiny 6-student school will never be the same! Today reluctant boy writers who I could barely get to pick up a pencil wrote a little book. I was thrilled,” wrote Jasmine Shannon, teaching principal, Tipperary Station School in Australia. after a Skype lesson with Lisa and Michael. “Michael was great to come and visit…he did a superstar job!”
Watch a clip from a class here during which Michael brainstorms with 5th Graders:
“We never expected the death of our dear Lucy to take us on such an adventure, leading us to speak via Skype with kids from all over the world,” said Lisa Cohn. “ In our Kickstarter project, we want to thank the students for all their wonderful ideas, letters, emails, blog posts and enthusiasm.”
Lisa added, “None of this could happen without Skype in the classroom, which has connected us with kids globally.”
People who back the Kickstarter project have the opportunity to take part in the authors’ s book project. For example, for a pledge of $850, the authors and illustrator will include a character in the book who looks like the backer—or his or her child.
Teachers can sign up for Skype in the classroom presentation here: bit.ly/1dTS1td
Join These Skype in the classroom Lessons (via Skype or in person). We’re in Portland, Oregon, where you’re welcome to join us, and the students will be in these locations. Email us at BashAndLucy@gmail.com for more dates and locations:
11 am Pacific April 10, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, 1901 East Jefferson St. Rockville, MD
11:30 am Pacific, April 11, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
9:30 am Pacific, April 14, Reed Elementary School, 9060 Ladue Rd., St. Louis, MO.
11:30 am Pacific April 16, Reed Elementary School, 9060 Ladue Rd., St. Louis, MO.
10 am Pacific April 21, North Brunswick Public Schools, North Brunswick, NJ