THE BOOK OF KID: the origin story


BookOfKidCoverI didn’t write THE BOOK OF KID. My daughter’s third-grade class did. I just published it. Their teacher, Ms Diamond, asked her students to give their parents some child-rearing advice. And it turns out they have a lot to tell you (spoiler alert: they want you to get off Facebook and play with them.)

It started as the classroom project for the school auction. I thought I’d get involved. After all, I like books. And I had a printer. Match made in Heaven.

The kids made a list of stuff they wanted their parents to know. For example, my daughter wanted me to know that “Just because we are little versions of you, doesn’t mean we act like you.” Which is interesting, because we look nothing alike.

From their list, each child picked one snippet of advice as the caption to a picture they drew. The picture was then traced onto foam, which became the cut for a color print. Then each 8.5″ x 11″ page was bound accordion-fashion into a book. The winning bid for the book was $800.

Since the class made two copies of their print, I had a complete set which was then scanned and put into a book-book with the rest of the students’ advice. I have to say, it’s really heartbreaking, and if I had a little more editorial control, I might have sat them down and said, “So let’s start with all the stuff your parents do that you really like.” Because it’s not so pleasant to realize how much your kids notice. Like, how often we’re on our phones or how often we complain about someone else.

Because the impetus for the book was a fundraiser, it only seemed right that the royalties from the sale of the book would be donated. We discussed it, and the students were given three options: 1) the money would go to their school; 2) the money would be donated to the middle school that many of them will attend in sixth grade; or 3) the children would donate the money to another elementary school in Oakland Unified School District.

To make the decision, Ms. Diamond didn’t just ask for a show of hands; she made them write opinion pieces. What were the pros and cons of donating money to the neighborhood middle school? The kids had to address tough questions that accompany any gift. What would the school spend it on? What if the kids wanted the money to be spent on computers but it went to something more boring, like school supplies?

After a month of discussion, each child wrote an essay and read it to the class. A blind vote was taken. The winner? Another elementary school in Oakland. Stay tuned to figure out which school will receive the royalties generated by the book sales.

The book is available on Amazon and Create Space as well as Diesel Books and Pegasus Books.

OH, and here’s what some superstar grownups had to say about THE BOOK OF KID:

“A great reminder for parents of kids of all ages: Kids are taking notes every time we swear, check our phones compulsively, or say something negative about someone else. This book is an inspiration to be the best role models that we can be. Moreover, this advice from children to parents mirrors what research shows is best for them; sometimes kids really do know best!”
Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents 

“The Book of Kid is evidence that kids hear and see and know more than we sometimes give them credit for. This book is chocked full of sound advice from kids to parents, advice that will help us be our best selves and also the parents our kids need. Read this book and then go play, listen, hug and challenge your kids. They’re begging for it!”
Kate Hopper, founder of Motherhood & Words & author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers

“This little book has the potential to transform lives – if parents follow the sage advice in these pages, relationships can improve, children will thrive, and the benefits will radiate out into the world with positive repercussions for generations to come. I highly recommend this book for parents of young children everywhere.”
–Nina Lesowitz, co-author of the bestselling titles Living Life as a Thank YouWhat Would You Do if You Knew You Could Not Fail?; and The Grateful Life.

“If you don’t want to wait until your child grows up to find out how you could have been a better parent, read this book of heartfelt and surprising third grade wisdom. These children know better than many adults what is really important. Their beautifully illustrated jewel of a book has a prominent place in the waiting room of my child psychology practice.”
–Lucinda Cummings, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

“Listen to your children, Put down your phone, swear less, don’t bad mouth family–easily the best parenting advice I’ve ever read, and straight out of the mouths of funny, honest, wise kids.”
Ann Imig, founder of the national live storytelling series, video-sharing company, and acclaimed book LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER



ladyinanonsen-300pxYou’re overworked and you have finally decided to take some PTO. Your stress levels are through the roof and if you do anything work-related for the next two weeks you just might collapse. The trouble is, people keep forgetting that you really need this vacation. And knowing your crowd, they might actually expect you to work when your doctor has prescribed rest and recreation. Let those numbnuts know with this not-so-subtle guilt trip vacation responder.



I am out of office on a long-awaited family vacation, canceled three times due to work obligations and will not have access to my email from October 21 through October 31.

Thank you for your email, which I will respond to upon my return to the office on November 2.



Vacation Responder: After the fact, millennial version



emojiMaybe you’re a millennial and didn’t realize that you needed to set up a vacation responder because you’ve never known a world in which email inboxes lay dormant for more than thirty seconds at a time. Maybe you didn’t even know that a vacation responder was a normal professional courtesy that you could have taken advantage of and now you’re back from vacation. Don’t worry! A close cousin to The Back-From-Vacation Email responder, the millennial version of this timeless classic comes with initialisms and emojis that you can personalize or exaggerate according to your level of professionalism.



Hey there! So, yeah, I took a va-cay-cay last week and DOH! I forgot to set up my vacation responder. So if you emailed me and didn’t hear anything, that’s why. And if you’re emailing now and getting this after-vacation responder, just know that OMG I am super-busy and might not get back to you for a while.

So sorry!




Vacation Responder: Cold and Impersonal


Emoticon_Smile_FaceIt’s 2015! Office pleasantries are sooooo 2012. Show your clients that you are hip and up-to-date with this cold and impersonal vacation responder bordering on rude and inappropriate. Guaranteed to make you look fifteen years younger.

Hello. I am out of the office. Your email will be answered in the order received when I return.



Don’t-Call-It-A-Vacation Email Responder


Layout 1Work so busy that you can’t answer your personal email? Try this handy “I’m too busy to pay attention” email response with bonus points for shameless self-promotion. 

Hello and thank you for your email!

If this message is Litquake-related, please contact me at my Litquake email address. If it’s not, please know that my response will be delayed until after October 18th, after the festival.

Until then your best chance of catching up with me is at the festival itself!

Check out our schedule!

I’ll be dancing here (but come for the charismatic poet) and reading here.




Want to let people know that you don’t want to read their email and make them jealous at the same time? Try this subtle gloat with optional shit-rolls-downhill escape clause.

Hello. I will be away from the office from Oct 3 to Oct 31 and will be able to give my full attention to your email upon my return as wifi is spotty in our beachfront villa in Belize.

Thank you for your understanding.

If this matter cannot wait, please email my colleague [NAME OF PERSON UPON WHOM YOU WANT TO DUMP YOUR WORKLOAD] and she will be more than happy to help.

Aarait! (I think I just said “thank you” in Belizean Kriol!)


Vacation Responder: Unspecified Illness


Too sick to answer email? Try this handy but generic all-purpose illness vacation responder! 

Thank you for your email. I’m sorry to report that I am out of the office on sick leave and will not be doing work of any kind until I have made a complete recovery.

If this matter requires immediate attention, please contact my colleague [INSERT NAME] and she will get back to you as soon as possible.



Vacation Responder: Classic

31Days Kovac


We’ve all been there. You’re about to go on vacation and pretend that you don’t have access to email. But you can’t just ignore it for for 15 days. You have to let people know that you’re going to ignore them.

What will you say?

Don’t panic, just write a vacation responder! And it seems you’ve come to the right place. Every day for the month of October as part of the blogging challenge, I’ll be writing 31 vacation responders ranging from professional to zany. Impress your boss! Amuse your friends! Pass work onto your co-workers! 

Today’s Vacation Responder:

Thank you for your email.

I will be traveling and out of the office from Thursday October 1 through Saturday October 31; my response may be delayed during this time. If you need to reach me regarding an emergency, please call my mobile: [YOUR NUMBER. I will return to the office on Monday November 2 after the holiday.

Thank you,