Category Archives: Books

Simple Giving Is The Best Gift Book This Season

Simple Giving Is The Best Gift Book This Season

FullSizeRender-6I believe that is is human nature to want to help others when we can. Two of the biggest hurdles in giving to others are knowing who or what needs help, and then what we, within each of our personal constraints as individuals can do. We also each have our own personal causes and issues we care about. That is one of the reasons that I love sharing stories on my blog of people who make a difference in some way large or small, and hopefully inspire others to do the same. There are so many ways to give, and the book Simple Giving is a perfect guide to how we each can contribute in a positive way to this world.

The book was born from Jennifer’s blog and her Philanthropy Friday series. She began to see certain patterns in the types of philanthropy that she featured, and for the book  she breaks them down into six different giving models.

  1. Everyday acts of kindness that can be done everyday for little or no money. An example of this could be as simple as paying someone a compliment.
  2. A new approach to philanthropy which is setting a mindset of giving, even if that amount is small, as a way to make the world a better place.
  3. Shopping with a conscience which has become almost mainstream, consumers want to buy products that give back, are made in an environmentally friendly way, help others to earn a sustainable income, or all three.
  4.  Finding your passion and doing something about it. Start your own non-profit, advocate, be the change you want to see!
  5. Giving as business model, or social enterprise.
  6. Giving it forward means modeling good giving behavior and showing others the way forward.

In Simple Giving Jennifer details case studies for each giving model,  and then lays out a “how to” at the end of each chapter.

I found this book incredibly inspiring, and came away feeling like Simple Giving had given me tools to channel my own philanthropy in new ways. I also now have the desire to give this book to everyone I know as holiday gifts! I think a book like this makes a wonderful present, and just think that when the recipient is in turn inspired by the book it turns into a gift that keeps giving forward. It has been scientifically proven that when we give or help others we feel happier, and  Simple Giving offers each of us a place to start or place to grow our philanthropy in practical ways.

We are in luck that Simple Giving is out in time for holiday giving, and giving back! Get your copy here.

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Author Jennifer Iacovelli

Jennifer Iacovelli is a writer, speaker and consultant. As Chief engagement officer of the Another Jennifer Writing Lab, Jennifer helps entrepreneurs , bloggers, and nonprofits tell their story. She is also the author of  the Another Jennifer blog, and creator of the Simple Giving Lab. She writes for Mom Bloggers For Social Good as part of the Global Team of 200 and is a regular contributor to World Moms Blog and HuffPost Divorce. Jennifer is also contributing author of the book The Mother Of All Meltdowns. Her work has been featured on GOOD, BlogHer, USAID Impact, Feed The Future and the PSI Impact Blog. She is based in Brunswick, Maine.



How To Tell The Future

How To Tell The Future


At times wouldn’t we all love to know how to tell the future? No one knows exactly what the future may hold for them, but I am sure that I’m not the only one who wonders about it often. We learn that although we can’t predict what may happen, that what we do today will impact our tomorrows, we also learn that even then sometimes life has a way of changing the best laid plans! One thing we know for sure about planning the future is that when it comes to our kids, when we #InvestinChildhood, it pays off. According to Save the Children, kids  who are enrolled in Early Childhood Development programs are more likely to enroll in school, plan their families, become productive adults, and educate their own children than those who don’t.

Fortune favors the prepared mind.-Louis Pasteur

Infographic_31It has now been proven that early education is essential to help kids get on the right path in life. Not all children are born into the same opportunities, but if given the right tools, the playing field is leveled.  September is Bright Futures Month for Save the Children to champion the investment in childhood and provide children with the early learning essentials for a bright future. Given the right tools all kids can learn and thrive to their full potential.

It all begins at home. I am personally glad to know that the research now backs up those seemingly endless evenings when I tucked in each of my four children by reading them a book!

By the age of three children growing up in poverty without books will have heard an average of 30 million fewer words than their peers. As you can imagine they are starting off at a great disadvantage so that by the time they get into school they are about a year and half behind the kids who were read to. And they may never catch up.

The first five years of a child’s life are critical for building the foundations of success. By the time children reach five years old their brains are already 90 percent developed. If within those rapid years of growth children do not receive adequate care including being played with, spoken to, and read to, their social and emotional skills will likely be underdeveloped. Preschool is a lifesaver for the children who do not get those necessities at home, and it is Save the Children’s mission to help children in need get the early education  they need to succeed.Infographic_41

Save the Children’s Early Learning Platform, “Invest in Childhood” seeks to raise awareness among U.S. consumers of the early learning deficit that children living in poverty experience. By mobilizing our celebrity ambassadors, corporate partners and supporters, we shine a spotlight on this critically important issue to create a brighter future for children.-Save the Children

Last year during my interview with Save the Children Artist Ambassador Jennifer Garner  she talked about her visits with Save the Children to homes enrolled in the early education programs they support.

“When Save The Children rolls up and goes once a week to see them, they bring them books, they bring light, they bring life. And the main thing that I love to see is they bring encouragement for these moms.”-Jennifer Garner

We may not be able to project what the future will hold for us or our children, but it is within our power to prepare and lay down the foundations for them that we know can help lead to success.  We can also help to shape the futures of children in need by joining Save the Children to #InvestInChildhood by getting them the early learning essentials for a bright future. Together, we can help ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.


A strong start is a child’s best chance for a successful future. Let’s invest in childhood today – giving children the best chance for a better tomorrow. Learn more here.

Tell your own future by downloading, printing and creating your own future teller for you or your kids!

Nantucket Book Festival #ACKBookFestival

Nantucket Book Festival #ACKBookFestival

desert adventure

My sixteen year old went to a three day concert festival earlier this month, and I imagine our girl’s weekend at the Nantucket Book Festival was to the six of us book lovers, what being in proximity to the rock stars were to my teen daughter. If it were socially acceptable I’m sure we too would have stood up and screamed as some of our idols took the stage, but in the subdued Nantucket Athaneum we surely would have been sternly escorted out out by a gentleman in a navy blazer.

That’s not to say that we didn’t have our wild moments of dancing to random bands in a dive bar…. or……ok, so maybe that was the one wild moment of the weekend….. but it was a thrilling weekend full of books and authors, great food, and friends, wild in the stories we got to explore .   The point is, if you are a book lover, a reader or a writer, or a lover of stories and those who tell them, then you should have been there too. The amazing storytellers who spoke had us in awe, throughout the weekend we were on the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the close study of human nature as told through narrative.

It all started with our gracious host, an island homeowner who had attended every Nantucket Book Festival since it’s inception four years ago and been raving to us about it ever since. Her wonderful blog CreativeWhimzy highlights the type of creative, thoughtful and energetic person our gracious host Jo is. We arrived to welcome gifts, mugs she had designed for all of us, each with a handmade tag, to enjoy our morning coffee in!IMG_8946

We were up bright and early on Friday morning for breakfast with Anita Diamant, best selling author of The Red Tent, who gave a talk about her recently released novel The Boston Girl, and her craft. I have found that writers are often great speakers, as natural storytellers they often know how to keep their audience humored and enthralled.


Anita Diamant


Following Anita Diamant, author of A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah spoke to us about his journey from child soldier in Sierra Leone to best selling author in New York City. He introduced his new novel The Radiance of Tomorrow and discussed his transition from memoir to fiction and his role in providing “the lost boys” of the war in  Sierra Leone a human face and insight to the rest of the world .


posing with Ishmael Beah


Leaving the athenaeum with our emotions piqued by the amazing authors we had just heard, we discovered the Typewriter Rodeo in the courtyard outside. We each got a poem typed out for us by the rodeo based on a word we gave. By then we were all practically in tears of overwhelmed emotions and the festival had only just begun!



Authors L to R: LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Bret Anthony Johnston, Belinda McKeon, Scott Turow, Azar Nafisi


What we have discovered is that authors are great story tellers, and each author captivated us with the behind the scenes of the stories they told. Breakfast with Jodi Picoult and Alice Hoffman was up close and personal, it was such a treat to get a glimpse of each of them outside of their writing, and the view from the Dreamland theatre event space could not be beat.


up close and personal with Jodi Picoult and Alice Hoffman



Our final morning of the Nantucket Book festival was magic despite the deluge. The White Elephant is impeccable, the event space, the brunch, and the service was amazing. Ishmael Beah was amazing as well. How he can infuse such heartbreak yet inspiration in one delivery is the true magic. His wisdom and insight into human nature are treasures, mined only as someone who has seen humanity at its worst and best could do.


The weekend at The Nantucket Book Festival felt like a dream. One where fairy tales and nightmares haunt your consciousness and leaves you on the other side of something intangible. It felt like gift that can be held and turned over in my mind for a long time to come.


Happy #MothersDay

Happy #MothersDay


I read this line in Ismael Beah‘s novel The Radiance of Tomorrow two days before Mother’s Day. It resonated with me as I was missing my mother, and feeling so grateful for being a mother at the same time. I thought, yes, my story began with my birth, but really before that. With my mother’s story and her mother’s story beyond. I thought that although my mom is no longer alive to guide me, I do still hear her voice in me. When I wonder what she would do, or say in a certain situation, or advice she would give, the answer is usually there.


Now it is up to me to continue to write my story, and to watch and guide as those of my own children unfold.

image Happy Mother’s Day! We are each the Heroes of own own stories, so be sure to write a good one!

Tools For Empowering Global Women; Book Review of 100 Under $100

Tools For Empowering Global Women; Book Review of 100 Under $100



“Women make up half our entire population. When they’re held back, half the world’s potential goes unrealized. But when women and girls are empowered, we’re not just better by half. The world is twice as good.”

-Melinda Gates #BetterByHalf campaign

As we reach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals and world leaders set forth a new set of global goals leading up to 2030, it has become increasingly clear that women and girls need to be at the center of development initiatives. Why women and girls? As Betsy Teutsch points out in her new book 100 under $100 One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women It has to do with what is referred to as The Girl Effect.  This refers to the fact that when you educate girls they tend to marry later, in turn give birth later, and are able to better contribute to the economy. Research has also shown that when women have economic power, more of those resources are invested back into her family than when men do. Women are also more likely to educate their own daughters. This means the next generation will also contribute more effectively to the nation’s economy. Read the rest of this entry