Three Books and a Conference

Stacey kaye Kelly Curtis Ada Jo Mann

Part of the mission of the Strengths Movement website is to bring together like-minded people in an effort to make these ideas ever more abundant in the world. I am so pleased to share the great work of three friends I have picked up along the journey, as well as to let you know about a conference I think is worth attending.

I met Stacey Kaye while out on my book tour and was blown away by her enthusiasm and sincerity about working with parents and children using positive dialogue. Stacey has written the first two books in a new series out called ParentSmart KidHappy. This is a series of kid-friendly picture books that use stories about families dealing with common parent-child struggles–such as going to bed and getting ready in the morning–to model positive parenting techniques

ParentSmart KidHappy books are the only parenting books I know of designed for parents and kids to share. Tender stories, relatable scenarios and color-coded text make learning the language of positive parenting easy. Stacey has already won several awards for these books. Visit Stacey’s website at

The second book is Empowering Youth by Kelly Curtis. Kelly is a passionate advocate for children. In her new books she answers the questions: How do you encourage young people to do their best? Create an environment ripe for their leadership? Ensure that they can safely experiment and succeed in developing stronger skills and confidence?

Empowering Youth answers those questions and more. It’s a hands-on guide to developing what is best in young people: their vision, creative power, and drive to make the world an inclusive, sustainable place for themselves and future generations. You’ll find many suggestions for advising and supporting kids of all ages as they spread their wings, including the following:

  • Nineteen youth and adult activities that provide community initiatives and organizations with ways to get started in youth empowerment.
  • First hand accounts from youth and adults around the world who offer insight, advice, and best practices.
  • Five thought-provoking checklists designed to get groups thinking about how they support youth empowerment.
  • Motivating tips and anecdotes showing adults how they can empower youth every day.
  • Research that demonstrates the value of taking this approach.

You can order this book by calling 1-877-240-7251. Or visit Kelly’s website at

Ada Jo Mann is an incredibly intelligent woman who has written a book with Dawn Cooperrider Dole and Jen Hetzel Silbert called Positive Family Dynamics: Appreciative Inquiry Questions to Bring Out the Best in Families. Positive Family Dynamics is a wonderful resource for parents and family members who want to bring out the best in their families! It is formatted as an Encyclopedia of Positive Questions. The questions, stories and activities in this book will help you create relationships within your family which will nurture respect, love, and care. The book’s imaginative questions, exercises, and positive spirit create a simple yet powerful method for helping families discover hidden reserves of strength and inspired opportunities for better living. They also provide powerful tools for helping all families become increasingly more appreciative, collaborative and effective in creating and shaping the futures they desire for themselves and their communities. This book contains 56 appreciative questions designed to increase learning, listening and positive dynamics within your family. I recommend Positive Family Dynamics for all family members — grandparents, parents, children, and beyond.
Visit the Taos Institute website for a more detailed description and to order this publication:

Finally, today I heard about a very exciting conference for educators and parents: What Works & Why: Unmasking Student Strengths Through Innovative Learning Experiences. It is a two day conference for all teachers, administrators, psychologists, artists, scientists, parents & others with an interest in reaching ALL students through innovative learning experiences. It is sponsored by the Individual Differences in Learning Association (IDL), an educational non-profit organization in Howard County, MD. The conference will be held in nearby Clarksville, Maryland on November 21st and 22nd. This conference is bringing in local as well as nationally known speakers to address educational issues relevant not only for twice exceptional learners, but for all learners (and their teachers) who are constrained by the current NCLB climate.

Bright students with learning differences have not received a lot of attention recently, in part because these students tend to pass state and county tests (at least in the early grades), are difficult to pigeonhole, and are the easiest to ignore and leave to “sink or swim” in the general education classroom. This is particularly true in the current funding climate when special needs services, including those for gifted children, who also have ‘special needs’, seem to be the first to be cut.

For more information on this important conference, please go to their webpage,

To register for the event, go here:

The world is moving toward strengths based approaches everywhere…it is a movement…..

  1. Katharina Boser Reply

    Thank you so much Jenifer for mentioning our November Conference entitled “What Works and Why: Unmasking student strengths through innovative learning environments”. I am excited to see others engaging in the ‘positive’ strength- based discussion for helping our students succeed. Many of the speakers will be doing the same. I wanted to give you an overview of our presenters and their topics.
    George Lynn, author of “Genius: Nurturing the Spirit of the Wild and Oppositional Child” from Bellevue, WA, will discuss the importance of nurturing self concept in students who are ‘attention different’ . Sarah Irvine Belson- Dean of Education at American University, will focus on integration of both arts and technology and helping teachers realize their own motivation and energy matters. Rich Weinfeld, author of “Smart Kids with Learning Difficulties” will focus on positive learning environments for twice exceptional students. Janice Webber of Arts Education in Maryland State (AEMS) will discuss arts integration programs and their importance for engaging all kinds of learners . Thomas G. West, author of “In the Mind’s Eye” has argued that students with dyslexia, often strong visual thinkers, can become engines of innovation and discovery with the right ‘positive’ environment.
    Carolyn Staudt, Director of Universal Design Learning at the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit educational research and development organization will present the ways the group fosters the goal of digital equity in educational settings, and Gail Humphries Madirosian author of “Imagination Quest (IQ): A Theater and Arts Based Model of arts integration” will present the fundamental principals of her book.
    please go to
    for Registration information.

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