I’m reading Caste: The Origins of our Discontents and I’m haunted.
As an Indian American (who’s studied and worked with the poorest of the poor in India); as a kid in South Jersey who was pulled into and confronted Nazi culture directly and have continued to study it since; and as…an American acutely aware that were still inside or one lifetime removed from Black people having civil rights …
I love physical books. I love turning pages. I love the feel. I love dog ears and bookmarks and cracking spines and the smell of paper.
But you know what I like more?
And kindles help you read more.
The data is there in aggregate. So much friction is removed by having all that you read on one device. Discovering new books. Getting that book in your hands immediately when finished the last one (think about what Netflix does for tv consumption by starting new shows before the credits roll out on the last one — a kindle can do that but in a good way for your reading).
If the goa is to read more, learn more, explore more, discover more, the kindle (and kindle app on your phone) is incomparable.
A couple of weeks ago I introduced Anaiya and Jaanu to the idea of flipbooks. We did a basketball bouncing from one end of the page to the other. Then we added clouds. The birds flying across the top and into the distance.
It was garbage.
But it was still fun to watch their eyes light up with the motion that basic 1st grade level animation created.
Storytelling is powerful. If a word is the basic unit of thought, and a picture is 1,000 of those units, well, pictures in motion are some exponential function.
But the narrative that binds them is what makes them meaningful. Those units get worth and value from the context, order, narrative.
#iamgrateful and #iamthankful I saw this flip book. It hooks you. It makes you stop. It gives an analogue (matches as dominoes for a spreading virus).
And then the match gets a butt and you’re like “wait wha?”
During COVID, Anaiya’s teacher has asked that parents record themselves reading a book aloud as a mystery reader to the class. I attempted to do this a few times by holding a book up to a camera while reading and keeping all the right things in view — and I just didn’t like the experience.
So at around 11pm last night I had an idea. To take a parable I love, and one I often tell the kids before they go to bed; and fuse that with my business presentation style and format.
This is the result. The story is an adaptation and twist on a very popular parable called “The Flight of the Hummingbird”. I made some twists to incorporate animals our kids like, extend the arc a little bit, and incorporate more repetition to help with reinforcement.
#iamgrateful and #iamthankful that I did this and that I didn’t think twice about it. The story changes every time I tell it; and as I hear it told back to me there are some points I want to incorporate as I tell this going forward (the idea of “we”, the idea that trying can outweigh and outrank being large or loud or prominent). But for now, it works.
If you have kids, would love your feedback. If you know kids, please share. But given our current times and how handcuffed and how powerless we may feel in so many different environments — there’s power in this hummingbird. I’m finding power in this hummingbird every single day.
I’m also happy to leave this for Anaiya and Jaanu as my Father’s Day gift to them. It would have been easy for me to say I didn’t have the time and making this happen was something I couldn’t do.
But I thought of the hummingbird, and I simply tried my best.
We wrote a kids book about the importance of shoes, and one way to talk to kids about how every “thing” has value beyond “just” what you perceive. The team at Soles4Souls liked it enough to want to work with us. So, starting on 11/19, 100% of the proceeds from every version of Just Shoes we sell goes directly to S4S projects.
It’s a good book. Buy it if you want to spark your kids to into a discussion about the environment, about giving back, about … big topics and ideas you knew they could handle but couldn’t always find the way to start a conversation with them about.
Thank you … so much. I have much to be grateful and thankful for. Where we’ve brought Dream Village; and where we’re poised to take it, is one of those things. Special thanks to Soles4Souls and Children’s Cancer Research Fund who have taken an interest in two of our books and whose work we are incredibly excited to support with more vigor and intent going forward.
Have a great Thanksgiving to those in the US; and as I shared with our amazing (diverse, global) team at Crazy Egg … “In the US we hit Thanksgiving (Canada technically celebrated about a month ago). There’s a storied and controversial history to the holiday but the present spirit is still worth celebrating — be thankful, be grateful.
You don’t have to live in North America to celebrate its spirit; and you don’t have to wait, hold, or target solely today to celebrate it either. It’s been a wonderful year in many ways; it’s also had its fair share of challenges. The kind we only get through when we realize how lucky we are, how many people we have to be thankful and grateful for. I count each of you as a bulwark against the downs, and as wind carrying me through all of those highs (which materially outnumber the former).