Archive for August, 2012

Half The Sky: The Series — To Air on PBS October 1 & 2, 2012

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Today’s gift:  Half The Sky by Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn (book and movement and television series).

As a graduate of the University of Connecticut, I was thrilled to learn that the university’s first UConn Reads program featured the New York Times writer and his bestselling book as the inaugural book selection for the program this past spring.    Nicholas Kristof visited the Storrs campus in April.  Reading this book is both eye-opening and inspiring.

The best news:  Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women World Wide is not only a book but also a movement and a PBS series.

I’m a huge PBS fan and supporter and so it’s an honor to announce today that I am part of The Mission List blogger campaign supporting the series.    Along with a terrific and inspiring group of bloggers, we’ll  be hosting viewing parties and sharing news throughout September, leading up to the October broadcasts.  This landmark transmedia also includes a Facebook-hosted social action game, mobile games, two websites, educational video modules with companion text, a social media campaign supporting over 30 partner NGOs, and an impact assessment plan all inspired by Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the widely acclaimed book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

The PBS Series Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women is a four-hour television series shot in 10 countries: Cambodia, Kenya, India, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia and the U.S.  Traveling with intrepid reporter Nicholas Kristof and A-list celebrity advocates America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde, the series introduces women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable — and fighting bravely to change them. Their intimate, dramatic and immediate stories of struggle reflect viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offer an actionable blueprint for transformation. The series will premiere in the United States Oct. 1 and 2, 2012, with international broadcast to follow.

Here’s a sneak peek at the trailer:  Half The Sky Trailer

I hope you will save the date and join me here for news and more information this fall including celebrity involvement, a music campaign, and social media events/giveaways.

Harry Potter Is the New Narnia

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Today’s gift: summer reading.

To me, nothing means summer more than books.

Growing up, my June-August schedule was Sleep, Eat, Read, Repeat.

And nothing conjures summer more for me than my childhood memory of reading C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobefor the first time. TIME magazine lists this book — the second of the author’s Chronicles of Narnia series — as one of the top 100 English language novels written in the twentieth century. Reading the book at age 9 was like walking through the wardrobe myself. I never forgot its magic and the story influenced every part of that summer.

To my delight, my daughter is nine this summer.

Since their birthday in January, I harbored the secret hope that I would relive my Narnia summer this year through my twins J and M. I’ve wanted nothing more than to see the book through their eyes. I’m happy to report that the Narnia series withstood the test of time (my twins both loved the books), but with new generations comes new magic. And so, even though she remarked that “Narnia doesn’t have real magic” I’ve embraced my 9-year-old daughter’s version of Narnia — the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. (Note: She will read books 6 and 7 when she is older) and just as it did to my 9-year-old world, a magical story is transforming her summer.

Nine is a special number — in fact the number nine is strongly associated with the Chinese dragon, a symbol of magic and power. This is the age when sophisticated childhood imagination meets high level creativity and the result is like a 4th of July fireworks extravaganza.

I filled my 9-year-old summer days with hours of imaginative sibling play re-enacting my favorite book. My sister and I wrote elaborate scripts, sewed costumes, and best of all wrote all new chapters and adventures for Lucy, Peter and the gang. We believed that C. S. Lewis would have loved our changes and additions.

All month, J has been leading the Harry Potter charge — she is the vocal coach and has mastered all the accents for the cast of characters. She is the wardrobe mistress, the set designer, the acting coach and of course the director.

For hours and hours, sister and brother hunch over the book planning and plotting, then the two disappear into the proverbial wardrobe exactly like I did almost four decades ago. Now, that’s real magic.