The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Coretta Scott King

CorettascottkingThis week, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we celebrate some well-spoken quotes from Coretta Scott King (1927 -2006. The wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Mrs. King was an activist in her own right, and continued to work for social justice long after her husband’s death. In 1969 her name was given to one of the most prestigious children’s book awards, The Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Her accomplishments are too many to mention here, but you can read more about them HERE.

Coretta Scott King Quotes:

  • Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.
  • If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.
  • I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, … a heart of grace and a soul generated by love.
  • Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.

We were honored to interview one writer whose book, Ellen’s Broom, was a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration here on NCR. Click here to see the interview with Kelly Starling Lyons.

What Makes Nerdy Chicks Happy?

Thank you to everyone who entered the Happy Happy Happy Giveaway and shared their happy thoughts with us. As I read through the comments, I started to see a pattern. So I had a BOY PROJECT moment and had to make a chart.

happy chart 3

Seventeen of you responded, some of you giving more than one response. Twenty five happy thoughts in all. And hey, I made the cut! That makes me happy. Now, let’s see about the drawing for the happy prize of one pound of delicious chocolate from The Chocolate Tree. For this low-tech drawing, I just printed out your comments and cut them apart, then put them in the blue hairy hat. Here we go…

… and there we went. I tried to video tape the drawing, but it didn’t work. The good news is, my daughter did draw a name from the hat! Thanks again everyone. 🙂 Donna, send me your email again please, so we can coordinate getting your chocolate to you.


The Winner is Donna Maria, also known as Writers are Up!

The Winner is Donna Maria, also known as Writersideup!

Women’s Equality Day

The object in this image is within the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The object in this image is within the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Today is Women’s Equality Day, a day where we commemorate the anniversary of the certification of the nineteenth Amendment. Ninety three years ago women were given the right to vote!

I didn’t realize this until I saw the Facebook post of Nerdy Chick Christy Agner.  Christy is an advocate for women in government. We interviewed her about a year ago, and you can check out that interview HERE. At the time of her interview, we asked her to share a favorite achievement. She discussed helping NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall win her first statewide election. Christy gave us such a great and thorough answer, that we decided to share it as it’s own separate post at another time. Now is that time.

NCR: What is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being a nerdy chick?

Christy Agner: My first ‘paid’ campaign job was for Elaine Marshall who was the first women to be nominated by a North Carolina Political Party as a statewide candidate and who went on to be the first female elected statewide in NC (1996.)  She and her husband ran the statewide campaign with 3-4 of us by her side.  Elaine was just a regular woman who worked hard and had a desire to better her community.  None of the political insiders thought she could win that race.  The team had little money, our opponent was WELL known and funded (Richard Petty, the former NASCAR driver), and folks really didn’t know what a ‘Secretary of State’ did.

On a shoestring, we traveled, connected with local newspapers, raised money $25 at a time and spent hours on the phone. To raise funds I had to look at lots of lists, target folks from professional, community and political circles who might be interested in making a donation.  I had to find phone numbers and addresses in the days when very little was ‘out there on the Internet.’  I remember our first big fundraiser, which was a hometown event and the local ladies really wanted to add the ‘special touch’ of hand-addresses all the invitations versus just running labels.  Problem was an approaching hurricane surprised us all and the invitations were spread across the city at these ladies’ homes.  I spent the last hours of that approaching hurricane gathering as many invitations as possible and packed up my car to drive 45 minutes home before Hurricane Fran hit (and yes that was a really dumb move as the trees were swaying all over the dern road.)  The next day, since we had no power, my roommate and I finished addressing and stamping nearly 500 invitations  and got them to the central post office which was still open.  Our friends were grilling out and having hurricane parties.  I was getting political fundraising invitations in the mail.  Now that’s nerdy!

Polls weren’t as prevalent in those days.  Literally on election night the only thing I knew was that the opponent’s campaign had outraised my efforts 5 to 1.  Boy was I disappointed in myself that I didn’t put my candidate in the best possible opportunity to succeed.  I watched campaign returns for hours trying to understand where the votes were going to go.  At the end of election night, Elaine Marshall made history and did it with a wide margin.  Her presence changed everything once she got ‘to the table.’ I was honored to raise funds and grassroots support for her because I believed she would make a difference in my life and those women who came behind me.  She has made that difference.

What a great story to share on Women’s Equality Day! 

In thinking about Women’s Equality Day, and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we’ll be featuring some of Coretta Scott King’s quotes later this week. But I can’t resist sharing one of those with you now.

If American women would increase their voting turnout

by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the

budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.

I agree. One organization that is working to increase women’s voter turnout is Lillian’s List, NC. They are currently running a special membership deal. You can read more about Lillian’s list in Christy’s original interview, or visit their website HERE.

By the way, there are still a few hours left to enter to win FREE CHOCOLATE. Think Happy!

Happy, Happy, Happy Giveaway

Here’s a thought that will make most of you happy, and maybe some of you a little disgusted….

All You Can Eat Chocolate

That’s right, I said:

All You Can Eat Chocolate!

All you can eat chocolate is not just something I made up, it’s a real phenomenon here in Beaufort SC. Once a year, the local candy store, The Chocolate Tree, has an all you can eat night. It is a happy event, let me tell you, and an experience like no other. Fifteen dollars gets you all of chocolate you can eat. Prefer Jelly Bellys? You can have your fill of those too. Or saltwater taffy. Or peanut brittle, or all of the above. There are too “seatings” for all you can eat chocolate night, and you’ll find a long line of people waiting for the doors to open before each one.  Since it’s a BYOB event, some of those folks have bottles of milk, water, and even champagne with them to help wash down the chocolate. 

The event started on a summer’s night 29 years ago when the Chocolate Tree’s owner was still struggling to get the store off of the ground. She got a cut off notice from the power company and didn’t have the money to pay the bill. Since all of her chocolate would melt in the blistering Beaufort heat if she lost power, she called everyone she knew and asked them to come down and eat all of the chocolate they wanted for ten dollars. Not only did she raise enough money to pay the bill, her friends had such a good time that they begged her to make it an annual event. 

This chocolate is really delicious too! I’m in the habit of giving Chocolate Tree chocolate for gifts, so you’re likely to get a box of it from me if I’m ever one of your house guests, or if you ever teach one of my children. If that’s not likely to happen, you can get a box from me anyway with this happy, happy, happy giveaway! Consider it your own personal all you can eat night. (Because really, you can’t eat all that much chocolate in one sitting anyway! I usually attend just for the happy atmosphere, but after about three or four pieces, I am usually done!)

Now, I know the BEST gift for writers and other busy people out there is what Debbi Ridpath Ohi captures below in her aptly named comic, Will Write for Chocolate. (Writers especially will be relate to these comics and can follow them on FB by clicking HERE.)

chocolate comic

But since I can’t really give you time from here (and besides, I don’t have any to spare!), I hope this will make you happy: We’re giving away a one pound box of chocolate from The Chocolate Tree in honor of all you can eat night, (which is happening tonight…) The winner can select from one of two or three varieties of one pound boxes, or you can special order. Maybe I will even take you on a virtual shopping trip to pick out your own… assuming the technology will work for us. The point is… you get free chocolate!

And we’re making things super easy for this GIVEAWAY, since the whole point is to make you happy.

Giveaway Details:

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment citing something that makes you happy!

Contest ends on midnight, Monday, August 26. 

One name will be randomly drawn from an interesting hat on Tuesday, August 27. 

We will ship the chocolate anywhere in the continental US. 

We highly recommend that the winner opt to have it shipped a little later in the year, when the risk of melting isn’t so great. 

While I would love for you to like my Facebook page and Sudipta’s, and we’d love for you to follow this blog and follow us on Twitter (You can easily do all of that right here in the right hand sidebar), all you have to do to enter this giveaway is to leave a comment about something that makes you happy! We highly recommend that the winner opt to have it shipped a little later in the year, when the risk of melting isn’t so great. 

We look forward to reading your happy comments! 🙂 


Parenting for College: Three Things I’d do Differently

IMG_20130801_133049_051If you saw last week’s post, you already know we’ve just returned from an exhausting round of college tours with our son, who is a rising senior. In that post, I shared what we learned from the tours. This week, I’m focusing on what I’ll do differently between now and four years from now when we start this process again with our daughter.

Here’s where I’m coming from: My husband and I have been active in the education of our children from the time they started kindergarten. Between the two of us, we’ve held the office of PTA president, coached Odyssey of the Mind teams, built sets for school plays, started programs where we saw the need, written successful grants, volunteered behind the scenes, and, among many many many other things, once we even won the volunteer of the year award together.

But when we returned from the college tours I spent about three days asking myself this: How could I have spent literally thousands upon thousands of hours insuring that my child got the best education available to him, without spending more time thinking about, and preparing him for, the all-important crossroads he would reach when he finished secondary school?  How?

Well, the good news is that I think my son will probably get into a good school despite the fact that we could have done some things differently to give him more of an edge. But you always want your child to have the edge, right? That edge is important for scholarship applications. That edge might make the difference between getting into your top choice school and your second choice.

Since our son goes to boarding school, it is going to be hard for me to change anything about his application process, but here are some things we’ll do differently next time around:

1. Take your child on college tours during his junior year in high school, or even better, the summer before. You can always visit campuses again later, closer to the application deadline.

Here’s why: Our son really didn’t know much about any colleges. He knew he was on track to go to college, he knew what one or two campuses were like from summer camps and going to football games with grandparents. But he never got to see a college campus through the eyes of a college kid. You get this when you take campus tours. Before we went on the tours, college was a somewhat abstract idea. Now he has much more concrete ideas about what the college experience will be like. He is more excited about the opportunity than before. The bottom line: If we’d been able to get him more excited earlier, he’d have made more progress on the dreaded college applications by now!

2. Enable your child to pursue one of his or her passions.

Here’s why: It seems that schools are looking for students who take action. They want students who DO. A few years ago our son brought up starting a community garden on a large piece of property our church had just acquired. Instead of enabling him to move forward with this, we said something like, “The deer will probably eat the crops.” (I know… we get an F for that response! I mean, there are these things called fences…) Looking at the applications he’s trying to complete, something like “Starting a community garden” would have been a great thing to add. Even better, imagine the feeling of accomplishment he’d have had if he’d been successful in his attempts, or what he’d have learned if he failed. When our daughter comes up with a similar idea, we’ll help her figure out HOW to do it, instead of HOW NOT to.

3. Enroll your child in an SAT prep course.

Here’s why: We never bothered with this because our son’s math and critical reading scores were already strong. And who cares about the writing scores anyway? Oh, I’ll tell you who cares: the people who set up the guidelines for National Merit Scholarships. Last year, our son ended up being something like four points away from being named a National Merit Semifinalist. If you are a National Merit Semifinalist, you can list that on every college application, even if you don’t make it any further than that. And, it turns out, some colleges really DO care about those writing scores too…Anyway, if we could do it again, we’d enroll him in an SAT prep course, despite his strong scores. Top tier schools and scholarships at all schools are very competitive. Who knows? An extra hundred points can make a big difference. Sometimes, an extra four points can.IMG_20130808_152955_988

Okay, okay. A list of three things to do differently isn’t too bad, is it? And our soon-to-be-college-bound son is amazing! He’ll get in the school that is right for him! Still, what’s the good of making mistakes if you can’t learn from them? And once you learn something, you might as well share your knowledge.

We’ll be doing at least one more installment on this college admissions theme. Until then, for all of you other parents watching your children struggle with the college decision… good luck!

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: College Quotes

Because we had a lot of interest in the last college-related post, I thought it’d be fun to feature college-related quotes this week. Man, what a task! I found tons of quotes about college. But most of them were very…. jaded… to say the least. Sure there are things I’d change about my own college experience, but do I wish I hadn’t gone to college: No! Did my education help me get a job: Yes! (Okay, truthfully, I did have to get a MA to get a real job, but I couldn’t have done that without college first.)  The point is, there is a dearth of inspirational college quotes, so if any of you have something witty and uplifting about your college experiences, there is room for your wisdom in the bank of quotes out there. Of course some quotes are collected just because they are funny. Like the last one here. True, but funny.

Quotes About College

A liberal-arts education is supposed to provide you with a value system, a standard, a set of ideas, not a job.
Caroline Bird

For college seniors there should be a week of being allowed to cry. Just break down and cry because you are scared and don’t know what’s next. Bill Cosby

My parents are both college professors, and it made me want to question authority, standards and traditions. Maya Lin

I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. Steve Jobs

I went to college because I didn’t have anywhere else to go and it was a fabulous hang. And while I was there I was exposed to this world that I didn’t know was possible. Tom Hanks

A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.  W.H. Auden

We’d love comments about your college experiences! 😉

College: The Final Frontier.

IMG_20130810_151658_582A few months ago we started an Education of the Nerdy Chick Category because most Nerdy Chicks we know are interested in education, either their own, or that of their children. I’ve always been involved in my children’s educational journeys, and have just completed one of the final legs of my oldest child’s flight to independence: college tours.

So… I thought it might be valuable for some of you to learn from my experience.

During my son’s three week summer break (this is all he had because of a required internship), we planned to take one week to visit colleges in the southeast, where we live. And another week to fly to some colleges farther away. He, like most college-bound students, received a mind-boggling amount of recruitment mail last year. So we sat down with the giant stack of fliers and told him to pick out a few interesting schools from other parts of the country, and we’d talk about the logistics of getting him to those campuses.

That ended up being a very short conversation.  It pretty much started and ended with this declaration: “I want to be able to get in the car and drive home in under six hours.” On this point, he was completely unyielding. So, Ooooookaaaaaayyyyyyyy.  The college search just got a whole lot narrower. With location in mind, we started looking for schools in the southeast with good reputations for academics and undergraduate research. Together, we targeted five schools, went to five campuses, took five campus tours, heard five info sessions, and met with four biology professors and one biology department office manager.

HERE IS WHAT WE LEARNED:  IMG_20130801_133004_807

1.  Colleges/ Universities who stress academics are all looking for students with these traits:

  • Students who have taken the most strenuous courses their high schools have to offer
  • Students who are active in extracurricular activities
  • Students who are passionate about something and act on that passion (amorous passions not included)
  • Application Essays (Several mentioned that you should communicate what you can contribute to campus if you’re selected.)
  • Leadership positions

2. Test scores are important to many schools, but not all. Two of the schools we visited allowed students to opt out of sharing their scores. These schools said they did not want to rule out otherwise good candidates because of a few hours of testing. All schools said they’d chose students who were involved in extracurricular activities in high school with imperfect SAT scores over students with perfect SAT scores, but little else to recommend them. This was interesting to discover, but keep in mind that there are still many schools out there where SAT and/or ACT scores are a crucial admission element!

3. Call the school ahead of time and see if you can meet with a professor in the department of your child is most interested in. We did this at the first school we visited, and it was so helpful, that we called all of the rest of the schools and made the same request. More than anything, I think talking with professors got my son excited about the college experience.

4. Some campuses just don’t feel right. We were on one campus for all of ten minutes when my son insisted it was not for him. We made him stay for the tour anyway, but it didn’t change his mind. And actually, I accept that different places feel differently. I want him to pick a school where he feels comfortable.

5. Applying for Early Decision greatly increases your chances of getting in to the most selective of the schools we visited, but it is a binding commitment.

My son has decided to apply to four of the colleges we visited. His next step is to decide whether or not he feels strongly enough about one over the others to apply for early decision.

Now that I’ve been through this process once, what will I do differently when my younger child starts to look at colleges? Well, a lot! And you can learn from my mistakes. But since I can write a whole separate post about that, I’ll save it for next week!

The Top Ten Picture Books Written by Nerdy Chicks Who I’ve Laughed With

Good books aren’t always written by good people. For example, Roald Dahl was rumored to be a terrible racist, and Charles Dickens threw his wife of 22 years out of their house, even though her youngest children were 9 and 6. But in the case of these Ten Nerdy Chicks, we’ve got great books coming from greater people. Here’s a Picture Book 10 for 10 that combines some of my favorite books with some of my favorite people.

boybotAme1. Ame Dyckman, Boy + Bot: One day, a boy and a robot meet in the woods. They play. They have fun. But when Bot gets switched off, Boy thinks he’s sick. The usual remedies—applesauce, reading a story—don’t help, so Boy tucks the sick Bot in, then falls asleep. Bot is worried when he powers on and finds his friend powered off. He takes Boy home with him and tries all his remedies: oil, reading an instruction manual. Nothing revives the malfunctioning Boy! Can the Inventor help fix him?

BandVaudrey2. Audrey Vernick, Bogart and Vinnie:  When Vinnie, a crazy-happy dog, gets lost while visiting a nature preserve with his family, he finds comfort in the company of Bogart, a big, lazy rhinoceros. Vinnie loves his new friend, but Bogart would rather just take a nap. A friendship soon blossoms-even if Vinnie’s definition of “friendship” is very different from Bogart’s-and when word of their unique situation spreads, Bogart and Vinnie are a worldwide sensation! But as soon as their fifteen seconds of fame ends, what’s left is a bond even Bogart can’t ignore.

monstoreSAMSUNG CSC3. Tara Lazar, The Monstore: The Monstore is the place to go for all of your monsterly needs. Which is perfect, since Zack definitely has a monsterly need. The problem? His pesky little sister, Gracie, who never pays attention to that “Keep Out” sign on Zack’s door—the one he has made especially for her.

beesaaf4. Alison Ashley Formento, These Bees Count: How do bees count? The bees at the Busy Bee Farm buzz through the sky as one big swarm, fly over two waving dandelions, find three wild strawberries bursting with sweetness . . . As the children in Mr. Tate’s class listen, they learn how bees work to produce honey and make food and flowers grow. Bees count–they’re important to us all.

cpmmaya5. Courtney Pippin-Mathur, Maya Was Grumpy: Maya wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, tangled in her blanket, and in a crispy, cranky, grumpy, grouchy mood. She doesn’t want to color or wear her favorite shorts or go outside to play. What’s worse, she’s determined to share her grumpiness with everyone as she glumps, clumps, and thumps around the house. But when Maya growls at her grandmother, she graciously takes Maya’s mood in stride, and even has a solution: Gramma suggests a series of unusual activities that Maya will probably not want to do since she’s feeling grumpy—and then dismisses her own silly suggestions before Maya can reject them.

joyce cupcake6. Joyce Wan, You are My Cupcake:  A scrumptious board book, filled with sweet terms of endearment. This bite-sized board book is an ode to all the names we call our children: cutie pie, sweet pea, peanut, pumpkin. With a candy-colored palette and irresistible art with glitter and embossing, this is the perfect baby shower gift!

Magic-Brush-Yeh-Kat-9780802721792 297310_10150320631406460_1375238351_n7. Kat Yeh, The Magic Brush: Combining a heartwarming family story, a magical adventure, and a multilingual primer on Chinese language, The Magic Brush tells the story of Jasmine, a young girl who learns Chinese calligraphy from her Agong, or grandfather. As Jasmine learns how to paint the characters for dragon, fish, horse, friend, and more, she and Agong are magically transported to the wondrous world they are creating. But when Agong passes away, Jasmine must find a way for their special paintings to live on. Could her baby brother Tai-Tai be the key?

anne mariesleepover8. Anne Marie Pace, Vamipirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover: Before Vampirina can host her very first sleepover there are a few things she must keep in mind: be polite and offer her guests food (like blood pudding); plan some games like scavenger hunt (but keep the clues simple so no one gets lost); and don’t forget to dance! Vampirina may be a little nervous at first, but by following a few simple rules she will host the Best Sleepover Ever.

onster tiff9. Tiffany Mayro Strelitz, The Monster Who Lost His Mean: Everyone knows that the M in “monster” stands for MEAN. But what happens when a monster can’t be mean any more? Is he still a monster at all? One young monster’s attempts to live up to his name go hilariously awry as he discovers—with a little help from new friends—that it’s not what you’re called but who you are that counts.

dog gone leeza10. Leeza Hernandez,Dog Gone: When a playful pooch goes a little overboard with a stuffed animal and gets in trouble, he decides it’s time to run away. But being a “dog gone” isn’t as easy (or fun!) as it looks, and soon the pup misses his owner and home. Luckily, even though he’s made a mistake, his human best friend is always waiting with open arms.

The Quotable Nerdy Art Advocate

This week, I am guest blogging at MissionRead, a grassroots literacy campaign designed to stress the importance of reading at all levels, regardless of age, gender or socioeconomic status.  I hope you’ll go check out my thoughts about Why Picture Books Are Important over at their place.

In the process of writing that piece, part of my research was to look up some inspiring quotes advocating for the arts in general. None of which I ended up using in that particular blog. 😦 BUT…as a Nerdy Chick, I think about lots of different angles, and I decided that this week’s Quotable Nerdy Chick feature is going to be devoted to people who had brilliant things to say about why the arts are so important to support. My favorite thing about these quotes — they don’t all come from expected sources.

Drumroll, please…

“The creative arts are the measure and reflection of our civilization. They offer many children an opportunity to see life with a larger perspective…The moral values we treasure are reflected in the beauty and truth that is emotionally transmitted through the arts. The arts say something about us to future generations.”

–Ann P. Kahn, Former President of The National PTA

“To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage.”

–Georgia O’Keeffe, Painter

“We need people who think with the creative side of their brains—people who have played in a band, who have painted…it enhances symbiotic thinking capabilities, not always thinking in the same paradigm, learning how to kick-start a new idea, or how to get a job done better, less expensively.”

–Annette Byrd, RN, MPH, US Manager of Work/Life Solutions, GlaxoSmithKline

“Art is fundamental, unique to each of us…Even in difficult economic times – especially in difficult economic times – the arts are essential.”

–Maria Shriver, Award-Winning Journalist and Author

“The arts are not just a nice thing to have; they define who we are as a people.”

–First Lady Michelle Obama

“Art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind.”
–Louise Nevelson, American Sculptor

We have a WINNER!

WRAD 3Another Giveaway has come to an end, and it is time to announce the winner:

Congratulations to Margaret from Laurene Edmondson Elementary School!

For all of you who entered and who listened to the podcast, thank you so much. Are you feeling blue because you didn’t win? DON’T FRET! We will have more giveaways soon! (Perhaps to kick off the new school year?) In fact, leave us a comment about what you’d like to win — we’ll see if the Nerdy Chicks can make your dreams come true!