Not Mad. Motivated. to Share – Carrie, the Photographer

I was once very thin and it took a random shopping trip for me to figure that out. As a graduate student, I worked in a research laboratory within my department. Somehow, I ended up going shopping with a undergraduate student with whom I worked. She suggested a size 2 pair of jeans for me. I doubtfully tried them on and, surprisingly, I could “fit” them. After reading Carrie, the Photographer, the latest book from author Kira Parris-Moore, I remembered just how difficult it can be to see an honest, unbiased image of one’s self.

Book cover of Carrie, the Photographer

About Carrie, the Photographer

Carrie is a young woman who is forging a successful career as a photographer. Although Carrie takes beautiful pictures of others, she struggles with how she sees herself and develops an eating disorder. This book, for children age 9 and older, follows Carrie’s journey from self-doubt and self-harm to self-love.

Carrie, the Photographer is not just a story, it is a great way to start a conversation with children about body image. Please do not underestimate how important it is to help children develop a healthy image of themselves. A negative body image can lead to many self-destructive behaviors; conversations and modeling healthy behaviors can make a big difference.

After the Book: Let’s talk!

The lack of body confidence as a child or young adult can follow a person for a lifetime. Imagine the negative health impact caused by the mental angst over food and exercise. This is not only an “invitation” for the development of eating disorders, but can also

  • lead to other mental health disorders (including depression and anxiety)
  • affect one’s ability to be an integral part of the community leading to isolation and feeling unaccepted
  • become a building block for toxic relationships with harmful people.

There are direct and indirect messages telling children and young adults that they are not good enough. Play an active role to enforce that they are! Here are a few ways to help:

  • Let them know that every BODY is different and make being different normal – because it is!
  • Help them find beauty everywhere and they will learn to find beauty in themselves.
  • Compliment them often; not just about their looks but on their skills and intelligence, too.
  • Don’t insult anybody’s body – not even as a joke. Children can internalize your words even if your words are not aimed toward them.
  • Love your own body. Be the model that they need!
  • Listen to them. Make their voices matter and help build their self-worth.

Lessons From Carrie, the Photographer

There are many great lessons that you can take away from Carrie, the Photographer. This book is about a young adult named Carrie, but the story is actually told by a younger cousin. This help us remember the need to model healthy behaviors.

Carrie finds strength to get better with support. This lets us know that good support is the key to our success. No matter what your goal is, having support makes it easier to attain that goal. Children need to know that they are never expected to go through any difficulty alone.

We also learn to accept our differences and to focus on what makes us special. Let us make a point to show our children just how special they are to us and to the world.

The final lesson that I want to share is one that I did not expect from a children’s book. Remember: your benchmark for success will change as your self-worth and self-awareness improves! I love this. Too often, we gauge success on the money we make and the things we can buy. However, often, when we value ourselves more, the positive impact we have on others defines our success better than our bank accounts.

I’m Not Mad. I’m Motivated.

I was very active as a teen and a young adult. Running track and participating in marching band, along with many other activities, kept me moving throughout high school. I walked SO MUCH in college and graduated school because I did not start driving until I was 24. And with the diverse group of students I interacted with in graduate school, I also danced a great bit! I stayed active. My body weight was healthy. Yet I found myself worried about how I looked physically many times during those years.

Did my lack of confidence in my appearance leave me vulnerable to a toxic relationship as an adult? Probably likely. But I am Not Mad. I am Motivated. Motivated to share stories like Carrie, the Photographer in the hopes to remind you that you are Beautiful – so that you can remind the children in your life that they are too!

Go tell someone that they are beautiful! This card I made will go to my 16 year old niece.

Celebrate Often: The Heroes We Know Collection

This month’s Celebrate Often post is about Author Kira Parris-Moore and her The Heroes We Know Collection. In addition to her first book, Trey, the Chef, which was published in 2019, Kira Parris-Moore’s second book, Suzy, the Dressmaker, is available now!

Mental illness or developmental disabilities are nothing that ANYONE should be ashamed of and anyone who has these challenges and still manages to make it through their day to day should be celebrated!

Author Kira Parris-Moore

Inspiration Behind The Collection

So what is the inspiration behind the Heroes We Know Collection? The author has three very clear goals to fulfill with her collection:

  • present mental health and developmental awareness in a way children could understand
  • increase cultural diversity by having each character be a different race
  • provide inspiration by showing children that they can succeed and accomplish their goals no matter what developmental/mental health barriers they face

Meet The Heroes We Know

The main character of the first Heroes We Know book is inspired by Kira Parris-Moore’s oldest son. Trey is Autistic and in Trey, the Chef, he uses is passion for cooking to speak beyond words. Visit our previous post to read more about Trey, the Chef.

Anxiety is the focus in Suzy, the Dressmaker. Anxiety is a common issue faced by people of all ages. What is great about Suzy, the Dressmaker is that it introduces anxiety in simple way. A young child might not know the word anxiety, but the books allows them to relate to the “feeling” of anxiety. Therefore, giving children a better way to talk about what they are going through.

Similarly to Trey, the Chef, Suzy is full of passion and creativity! Although we see Suzy worry, we also see Suzy practice techniques to help her calm down. Above all, these techniques can help readers work through their worries, too!

In addition to the story, each Heroes We Know book includes an interactive activity that makes each book a touch more special!

To purchase either book or learn more about the author, visit books2inspire.com. Every person that purchases Trey, the Chef gets a 15% discount off the purchase of Avaz AAC, an augmented alternative communication app that allows nonverbal children/adults to communicate with the outside world through technology. Trey, the Chef will also be featured in the Just Like Me Box for Autism Awareness Month in April.

Support Not Mad. Motivated.

Do you know a hero that should be celebrated? I do! My seven year old Autistic son! He is non-verbal and has global developmental delays. I cannot imagine his daily frustrations of wanting to communicate his needs, wants, and discomforts. There are times when his behavior reflects that he is going through something unpleasant. However, you are more likely to find him happily laughing and smile. Even when I know he is uncomfortable, he finds many beautiful smiles to share with his family and community! Leave a comment about the heroes you know!

Sometimes, we go through difficulties! Some people decide to give up amidst struggles. Some believe that their success is limited by what other people say or expect. However, at Not Mad. Motivated., we believe that our biggest barriers and obstacles can fuel our success. My Autistic son’s global developmental delays inspires me to say “I’m Not Mad. I’m Motivated.”

Let life’s obstacles inspire you and help remind others to choose motivation and not anger by supporting Not Mad. Motivated. with the purchase of a shirt and/or a tote. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog!

Thanks for your support!

Trey, the Chef: A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Book Sharing

Trey, the Chef
Written by Kira Parris-Moore
Illustrations by Federica Fabbian
Newman Springs Publishing 2019

For over a year, I have been collecting children’s books about Autism. Some books have been added to our family library. Other books were donated to my son’s classroom. All of them have been wonderfully unique – similar to the Autistic children that each book represents. I am incredibly excited to share with you all one of the latest books added to our home collection. One of author Kira Parris-Moore’s inspiration for writing Trey, the Chef? Her son’s passion for cooking.

As the Creator of Books2Inspire, LLC., Kira Parris-Moore aims to “increase awareness of various developmental disabilities and mental health disorders” by showcasing children’s books “that recognize resiliency in children and their ability to overcome life’s challenges”. And indeed, Trey, the Chef, the first book featured on Books2Inspire.com, will help inspire many to widen their views about Autism.

Trey, the Chef is a fictional story that depicts the real possibilities for all children who have proper support and motivation. Kira Parris-Moore imagines her son as a renowned chef who uses his creativity and attention to details to communicate to the world. When the story introduces common tasks that are difficult for Trey, Kira Parris-Moore announces that Trey has AUTISM with a visual style that depicts a true celebration for EVERYTHING that he is! Although the story makes mention of them, Trey, the Chef is definitely not defined by his challenges. Kira Parris-Moore sends a clear message about allowing our children to pave their own beautiful path to success while utilizing their strengths versus dwelling on adversity.

Cooking Like Chef Trey

A bonus to owning this book are the included recipes. Both recipes, salmon croquettes and elephant ears, are easy to follow and delicious. We enjoyed the versatility of the salmon croquettes; each of us having them our our own way. I do not eat much fish but I was happy to have these, and look forward to my sons making them regularly! I think our croquettes (pictured below) turned out pretty good for our first try!

Our tasty salmon croquettes!

We had our elephant ears with cinnamon-sugar, and the first few moments of eating were composed of many satisfying mmms. Needless to say, I have some new food items to add to the “keep in-stock” list!

Our delicious elephant ears!

Trey, the Chef is a delightful book that has a place in all children’s lives. It can help inspire Autistic children to express themselves in what ever language works for them. It can also teach other children that being different should be celebrated, and that everyone has special gifts. The benefits of this book goes beyond its cover by connecting people through better understanding and good food.

You can buy your copy of Trey, the Chef on Amazon.com or at Books2Inspire.com.

Support “Not Mad. Motivated.”

Thank you for visiting Not Mad. Motivated. We appreciate your support! If you believe that difficulties are best utilized as opportunities of motivation, consider purchasing a Not Mad. Motivated. shirt or tote from our online shop. And, subscribe to our Blog and/or Newsletter to have content delivered directly to you email.

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