Launch Party!

Our Launch Party was one for the books! (See what we did there?)

Greetings & Readings in Hunt Valley, MD was our venue for a day filled with face painting, balloon animals, an author meet and greet, and of course a reading of our brand new book "Be Thankful For What You Have"! We hope that everyone had a wonderful time and we appreciate all of the continued support!

Here are some of our favorite pictures from the launch! Enjoy!

We Rescue Love

A little less than three years ago, an organization called We Rescue Love rescued a mama dog with her whole litter of newborn puppies. They named them the “Cookie Litter” and they were all fostered together by one of We Rescue Love’s amazing foster families. Mama “Cookie” had seven sweet little pups- “Snickerdoodle”, “Gingerbread” and “Butterscotch” just to name a few! But one of these pups did not look like the others. They named the little black and white pup “Oreo” and much like the classic Nabisco cookie, he was simply hard to resist.

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From the moment we saw his puppy picture online, we knew that we had to meet this little guy! What we didn’t know was that Oreo, or “Weaver” as we named him, would forever change our lives. When we brought Weaver home, he was such a happy, outgoing pup! His tail never ceased to stop wagging and he proved that every person or dog that we passed on our walks was an opportunity for him to make a new friend. It was on our walks together through our city of South Baltimore that I got the inspiration for the PAWS and THINK! books!

Some facts about Weaver:

·        Weaver is named after Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles.

·        Weaver is 37.5% Beagle, 12.5% Australian Cattle Dog, 12.5% Miniature Poodle, 12.5% Labrador Retriever, 12.5% Rottweiler, 12.5% “Mixed breed" groups consisting of Herding, Terrier, Guard and Hound, and 100% Handsome!

·        Weaver’s next door neighbors and friends in Baltimore City were two sweet Pit Bulls and his new next door neighbors and friends in Hagerstown are two sweet Pit Bulls too!

Some facts about We Rescue Love:

·        They are a non-profit, foster-based, no-kill rescue committed to saving homeless dogs who would otherwise face certain euthanasia.

·        Rescue partnerships are a very important part of We Rescue Love's efforts and commitment to save the lives of dogs and puppies in their care.

·        They offer a unique program under the Oz Fund to provide rescue to pregnant mother dogs. Since the development of this unique fund in 2014, We Rescue Love has provided lifesaving treatment for over 50 pregnant mother dogs, 9 complex orthopedic surgical cases, 6 heart worm positive dogs, 36 dogs with severe skin conditions, and have bottle raised over 40 puppies who were left with no mother to care for them.

As our new Charity of the Quarter, a portion of the proceeds from every book sold July 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018 will be donated to We Rescue Love. For more information about this incredible organization, please visit www.werescuelove.org

Kids Say The Darnest Things!

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The top 10 funniest student questions from the 2017-2018 school year:

  1. “Does your hand ever hurt from writing?”
  2. “Is Weaver allowed to sleep in your bed?”
  3. “Can I give you a hug?”
  4. “How did you read your books to us without looking at the words?”
  5. “Can you please bring Weaver when you come back to our school?”
  6. “Do authors get to go on vacation?”
  7. “You’re pretty!”
  8. “How long did it take you to get your black belt?”
  9. “Will you be my friend?”
  10. “Is Weaver’s little brother a dog or a human?”

Let's Promote Literacy!

PAWS and THINK! has been fortunate to team up with some incredible charities and non-profit organizations since our launch in August 2017. Our first three organizations have been the Baltimore Humane Society, Maryland SPCA, and Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS). Through our Charity of the Quarter program, we have been able to make contributions from our book proceeds to these wonderful organizations. We have had the pleasure of meeting many people that are so passionate about their work. Their mission to help animals in their communities is truly inspiring.

This quarter, we have decided to team up with an organization that is different from our previous selections. Although we have loved working with animal rescues, we are excited to work with our first organization that promotes children’s literacy. Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is the “leading champion for children’s literacy, empowering millions of children to read, learn and grow.” Here are some remarkable facts about RIF:

·        RIF is the nation's largest children's literacy nonprofit organization

·        RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8

·        RIF provides 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources each year

·        RIF has distributed over 412 million books and impacted the lives of more than 40 million children nationwide

·        RIF addresses the alarming literacy crisis in America today through strong leadership, quality content, and an active and engaged community

It is amazing to hear how RIF has helped children in our country. We love to see children enthusiastic about reading and we are excited to contribute to RIF’s initiatives. A portion of the proceeds from every PAWS and THINK! book sold this quarter (April 1st, 2018 through June 30th, 2018) will be donated to Reading Is Fundamental.

For more information about Reading Is Fundamental, please visit www.RIF.org

ReLove Animals

ReLove Animals, Inc. is an outstanding organization that believes “Education for Responsibility is the key to eradicating the problem of gross over population in the shelters, abuse and neglect.” Founded in 2012 by Julianne Zimmer, ReLove Animals was inspired by a puppy named Jerhico who was rescued from an abusive life on the streets of Baltimore.

ReLove Animals launched a program in 2014 to teach students about helping animals in need while fostering a greater compassion for animals in their community. The program is called ReLove Education for Responsibility Program, and it has been introduced to almost 150 classrooms from 27 schools. The program is now in public, private and homeschool settings throughout Maryland, as well as in California and Idaho.

Here are some important facts about this educational program:

·        Presented and taught by teachers who lead engaging conversations with slides/pictures

·        Includes project partners giving the ability to have guest speakers from local rescues and shelters

·        Students participate in projects like donation drives and getting involved in their own communities

·        Videos, games and crafts are included to make the program interactive and add on to the base lessons

·        Includes eight lessons taught once a month throughout the school year

·        An advisory board was assembled and includes: school teachers, shelters directors and other local known advocates as well as ReLove Animals, Inc. project managers and directors.

PAWS and THINK! is honored to team up with ReLove Animals! Author Miranda Mittleman will be a guest speaker at Patterson Park Public Charter School this March. Students will listen as she reads her books and talks about how she rescued her dog, Weaver, from a local animal rescue. They will also learn how Weaver became her inspiration for the PAWS and THINK! series. Students will get to meet Weaver, as he will be joining the program for this exciting day!  

For more information about ReLove Animals, Inc. and how you or your school can get involved, please visit their website http://www.reloveanimals.org/

A PAWSitive Author Note

When I began my new journey as an author, I never imagined it would be quite like this. I knew it would be a lot of work but did not expect it to be so incredibly rewarding. 

In just a few short months, I've had the opportunity to meet thousands of children and share my stories. And although I enjoy all of my events (book signings, festivals, etc.), school visits are definitely my favorite part. You see, I visit schools to inspire young children but they are the ones who inspire me.

My school visits usually start with some sweet, curious whispers as I enter the room: "Is that her? Is she the author?" They smile as they anxiously wait for me to begin my presentation. This part always catches me off guard. Is it really me they are so excited to see?

I do an introduction, then jump into discussing Inspiration. We talk about what it means to be inspired and they learn what inspired me to write my books. I even tell them a funny story about where I got the idea for my book covers (it really is a funny story!) I read my two books, I Am Important and We Are All Different, followed by short discussions on the lessons learned by the main character, Weaver. I've noticed that students find it quite easy to relate to Weaver, the playful, curious pup. 

My presentation always ends with a Q&A session. This is by far my favorite part. I encourage students to ask me anything about my books, my dog (and main character) Weaver, being an author, etc. I get some serious questions, some interesting questions, and some very hilarious ones! I even tend to get stories from students who are eager to share things about their own lives. It brings me so much joy to see students excited to learn and talk to me. 

As I continue to visit schools and meet so many wonderful children, I have to PAWS and THINK!: THIS is what makes it all worthwhile!

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Learning Beyond the Classroom is a mobile classroom that travels to 10 locations throughout Garrett County, Maryland to increase school readiness. This program began in 2016 when Garrett County Public Schools teamed up with numerous partners, including the Garrett County Judy Center, Garrett County Board of Education, Maryland Food Bank, Garrett County Health Department, WGW Foundation, and more!

Learning Beyond the Classroom will strive to meet three goals:

  1. Increase school readiness with families that have children in the 0-5 year old population in 10 geographical areas throughout Garrett County.

  2. Provide fine arts programs and experiences for the 0-5 year old programs.

  3. Provide feeding programs [Food Pantry, Nutritional Education, and distribute toiletries items to families] for children throughout Garrett County to reduce childhood hunger

So what exactly does this “mobile classroom” entail? A community school bus was hollowed out and turned it into a classroom on wheels! The mobile classroom travels throughout the county on the third week of every month and visits two locations each day. The program incorporates multiple fun and educational activities at each location: Story time, crafts, STEM lessons, music, dance, art, physical activity, free play, community building, and more!

PAWS and THINK! is thrilled to team up with Learning Beyond the Classroom for the month of October! Author Miranda Mittleman will be traveling with the mobile classroom across Garrett County to read her books and teach young children valuable lessons. She will also be incorporating a fun craft in addition to her story time. Special guest, Weaver the dog, will also be joining! Children will get to interact with Weaver as they “Learn Life Lessons through the Mindful Mouth of a Mutt”!

For more information on Learning Beyond the Classroom, visit the “Learning Beyond the Classroom” Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Learning-Beyond-the-Classroom-1719310518316983/

Pet Pals Reading Program

The Maryland SPCA has combined our favorite things: children, pets, and reading! Their “Pet Pals” Reading Program was created to benefit children as well as their pets waiting to be adopted.

Every Tuesday throughout the summer, the Maryland SPCA invites children to come bring books and read to the pets. While they are strengthening their reading skills, they are also learning the importance of treating pets with love and respect. The pets enjoy the companionship while they are waiting to be adopted.

MD SPCA volunteer, Claire Hoffman, reached out to us to tell us about this special program. She has helped out with the reading program many times and told us how adorable it is to watch the children turn their books around to show the pets the pictures! Claire was kind enough to purchase a couple of our PAWS and THINK! books to donate to the MD SPCA. She thought it would be the perfect addition to their unique program and we couldn’t agree more!

For more information on the Pet Pals Reading Program, or to find out how you can get involved with this wonderful organization, please visit http://www.mdspca.org/programs/reading-program-at-md-spca/.

PAWS and THINK! Gives Back!

PAWS and THINK! is dedicated to giving back to the community. A portion of the proceeds from every book sold will go to a different charity or non-profit organization every quarter. We are thrilled to announce that the Baltimore Humane Society has been selected as our first charity!

The Baltimore Humane Society is an independent, non-profit organization in the State of Maryland. They were founded to protect the region’s pets and to address their suffering. They have numerous important missions, such as providing temporary homes and care for unwanted or homeless animals, placing animals in loving, permanent homes, and increasing the awareness of animal issues through public education. The Baltimore Humane Society relies entirely on donations from generous individuals.

PAWS and THINK! is excited to give back to such a worthy and admirable organization in our region. For more information about the Baltimore Humane Society and to find out how you can help this wonderful organization, please visit their website at www.bmorehumane.org.

If you have a great charity or organization that you would like to be our next charity of the quarter, please reach out to us under our contact tab!