On Monday, April 22nd, illustrator Eddie Martinez and I visited two Austin, TX elementary schools to read and share about Addy Wants to Fit In. It was a full day of reading, sharing, answering questions and students giving hugs and high fives to Addy!
At one point, while I was reading to a group of over 200 students, I realized how quiet the auditorium was. Absolute silence while they listened intently to the story. I was amazed.
After reading, Eddie showed a slideshow similar to this blog post about the evolution of his illustrations. All the students were interested in how the shape of Addy’s head changed over time, how she got her pink bow, and the progression of the beloved ladybug sidekick.
To finish the presentation, we asked the students if they had any questions. Hands shot up, asking how long the process took (and were amazed that it took 2 whole years!), if we were nervous to publish it, how we named Addy, why she wouldn’t eat a blueberry for $10, and how they can get their own copy. We had fun fielding questions and wove in a very strong message about not giving up and setting challenging goals. We have a feeling they left even just a little bit inspired.
We’re grateful to have communities that support us so much. Read what Harmony School of Innovation wrote about our visit:
It was such a wonderful opportunity for our students at HSI to meet first-time author Jacky Lamenzo and first-time illustrator Eduardo Martinez! Ms. Lamenzo and Mr. Martinez came to our campus to read-aloud their new book, Addy Wants to Fit In for our PreK-5th grade students. Each grade level learned about Addy, the friendly ant who struggles to fit in with her ant colony because of her picky eating habits, and the journey she takes to discover a new food that she likes. Students were also treated to a Behind-the-Scenes look at the illustration process by Mr. Martinez, who, apart from being an illustrator, is also our amazing Art teacher here on campus!
HSI-Austin so so #HarmonyProud to be a stop on your book tour, Ms. Lamenzo and Mr. Martinez! Thank you for visiting us and for teaching our students the importance of setting a goal and sticking to it. Our students loved it!
I have been really enjoying hearing stories of kids feeling braver and more inclined to explore new food after reading Addy's story. I wanted to create something to continue the pressure-free curiosity. 💭
Excited to share that there is officially an activity book and food journal for kids to go along with Addy Wants to Fit In!
It includes lists for Foods I Like, Foods I Have Tried, and Foods I Haven’t Tried. Other various activities include drawing their favorite food, circling foods they’ve tried, and 10 pages of Tasting Notes to try new food in a fun and exploratory way. Grab your copy here!
A few months back I discovered my new favorite YouTube sensation: Roman’s Cooking Show.
Each month, his mama Ayla films him making something — from pizza to “spooky popcorn” for Halloween, to gingerbread cookies for the holidays, and most recently, a green smoothie for St. Paddy’s Day.
As I watch this adorable blonde chef make his creations, a few things stand out to me. Is is extremely clear that he has a positive relationship with food. As he is cooking, he is licking, smelling and tasting all the different ingredients; whether it’s marshmallows or pineapple. There isn’t a feeling of, “this is healthy and this isn’t healthy,” which can often come in the way of kids exploring new food.
Because he is hands-on in making each recipe, by the end he is proud of his work, leading him to be excited to try it. In the most recent recipe, the first step was to put the spinach and water and blend it, and then he proceeds to take a sip of the spinach-water, letting the audience know it was “so yummy!”
From what I can tell from the videos, there is no pressure to eat or not eat anything he is making, but because he can own it (after all, it is his own cooking show!) he is happy to try everything.
I loved when he put the whipped cream on top of his smoothie, and mom even sprayed some in his mouth. All of this playfulness leads to his excitement to try the different things he makes. He encourages Mom to try the green smoothie at the end, which shows his pride and that it doesn’t always have to be the adult encouraging the child to try something new.
I sent Roman a copy of my book Addy Wants to Fit In and his mom said he loves it and is doing his best to read it back to her from memory! #hearteyes
Bravo, Ayla and Roman, for sharing your cuteness with the world and helping us remember that cooking can be fun! I look forward to seeing your videos to come!