Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln!!!!!
Los Angeles-based author and visionary Elaina Redmond recently released her new children’s book The Power of the Penny which teaches children the values of civic duty, philanthropy and financial literacy. In addition to promoting the book, Ms. Redmond sees it as a tool for starting a whole movement and program with the mission of rebuilding America, both economically and spiritually.
Inspired by her personal hero Abraham Lincoln, Ms. Redmond believes in teaching children from a very young age how to save and also give back to their communities. As quoted in her book, "The penny teaches us that no matter how big the world around us is or how small we might feel, each of us can make a difference everyday."
Abraham Lincoln is the crux of the book’s message and whom Redmond portrays in her book as “the role model for kids becoming heroes in their own lives.” By teaching children the values of savings and service that Lincoln himself displayed as a human being and leader, Redmond states "we can make big change!"
More about the Power of Penny Movement and Program
Redmond’s vision is to generate a Power of the Penny movement, for both kids and adults, a domino effect of creating awareness for the penny's symbolic worth and the strength of the individual in helping Rebuild America, economically and spiritually. The book is filled with fun activities and exercises that exemplify the capacity for small denominations to cause big change. “Penny Parties”, one activity outlined in the program, focuses on philanthropic gatherings of small groups with large charitable goals. Two free videos, a free 35 page Penny Toolkit and other information are featured on the website at www.thepowerofthepenny.com
Redmond has also established the Penny Program, where banks and schools make it easy for children to learn about money and civics and start savings accounts. To facilitate the Penny program and book donations to local schools and clubs, Redmond has established The Power Of The Penny Foundation, am emerging nonprofit that is fiscally sponsored by the Pan American Bank Scholarship Foundation in Los Angeles. Donations to the foundation are 100% tax-deductible. The Penny Program is in the process of being formatted with The National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia as an ongoing exhibition. Schools, libraries and other organizations, including Popular Community Bank, Little Gym in Torrance and San Diego Library are already using the Penny book and program to spread the crucial message of fiscal understanding, civic duty, and hope among today’s youth.
If I could give The Power of the Penny 100 stars I would. Not only do I absolutely love Abe Lincoln, I now adore pennies. This book not only focuses on history in a fun and creative way (which sparked tons of dialogue with my two boys) but also teaches some of the greatest virtues one can have; honesty, determination, character, kindness, understanding, imagination, happiness and so much more! What a treat this book is. As a teacher, I am going to develop a lesson plan around this book! It is just too great now to share with many others!
Here is my favorite passage from the book (p. 30)
"No matter the outcome, heads or tails, win or lose,
remember your attitude and actions are what you choose"
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. Writing allows me to pay attention to the details in life, which deepens my appreciation for everyday things.
The Power of the Penny book was specifically inspired by the penny poem. A poem I wrote in 2000 when I had been thinking about how profoundly Abraham Lincoln influenced my life as a child and how the penny pops up in the right moment as an adult to keep me inspired.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A. I love the creation process of having ideas and seeing them come to life in a book. It’s very exciting.
I also love the passion kids have for the penny. I remember we were shooting a video- How to have a Penny Party, and there was this little boy, 3 years old, young for the book, but that didn’t stop him. He was participating in the Penny Circle game, where kids go around the circle and yell out The Power Of The Penny and make a crazy move. I was struck by how he had so much intensity, putting his heart and soul into yelling out about the penny and making a move, it made me realize how kids may be young, but they are so full in spirit and ready to contribute good things to the world. You can watch the Penny Party video at: www.thepowerofthepenny.com website.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. Being an author of a children’s book was a calling from the great beyond, an inspiration. What this means, in practical terms, is that not having been a teacher or parent, I didn’t know the kids world and hadn’t been in an elementary school since I left many moons ago. I had to quickly get up to speed on working with children and different ages, so for example I learned how to use thumbs up in a classroom, I didn’t know about this before.
Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A. Be a film director. Or maybe do what I just started studying- Stand Up Comedy- so look out and get ready to laugh.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Be BOLD, Take RISK, Even When Your Legs Shake!
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. The Giving Tree book by Shel Silverstein. As a child from age 6 years old and onward, I read this book every year. It was always an emotional moment to reconnect to this book and its message of giving and kindness.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. I’m like Kermit the Frog, I want everyone to live their dreams and be happy! Wait, is he in a book?
Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?
A. The little blond curly girl character in The Power Of The Penny book is modeled after me and illustrated by an incredible artist Scott Stewart, who also has drawn Spiderman and Superman. If you look at the end of the book, going to the second to last illustrated page, this little girl character is sitting in the White House as President. I hope she inspires other little girls and boys too, that a girl can grow up to become President of the United States of America.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Love summer! Love being able to go out without a jacket and sit outside in cafes, walk on grass, talk to trees and enjoy the sense of freedom that summer brings.
Q. What inspired your book cover?
A. I meditated on The Power Of The Penny book cover and the image of a round glowing penny with kids peeking out from the sides came into my minds eyes.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. I think it’s pretty fun and funny I get to go around, wearing an Abe Lincoln hat when I do book readings or make appearances in stores or on the news. People seem surprised to see me in this Stove Pipe hat, and I just know kids are wondering where my beard is!
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I am! A book for grown up folks called Everyday Spirituality, a book to inspire people to walk on the side of love, transcend fear and dedicate one’s life to being a positive force on the planet. I also have a dream one day to turn The Power Of The Penny book into an animated feature film.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. Look at a penny today, and appreciate its incredible symbolic worth. Take action and use your pennies to do good no matter what age you are. Buy a stranger a coffee or juice with your extra pennies. If you have a moment, come read the Penny Poem or donate a book to a child at www.thepowerofthepenny.com