When a local author, Beth Bauer, climbed onto the school bus at the age nine, she vividly remembers some older kids yelling out “Bow wow!!” from the back seat. Initially, she thought it meant, “wow,” as in cool. But later another kid told her that they were referencing a dog, meaning she was as ugly as a dog. Beth often wore her brother’s hand-me-down clothes, and a friend of the family gave her bad haircuts. Ashamed of her appearance and feeling heart broke, she started sobbing and hid in her room for hours, wanting to never return to school.
This sort of story is entirely too common in schools and playgrounds throughout the U.S., and probably all over the world. What child doesn’t struggle with trying to fit in? In a digital world, where likes on Facebook are as good as currency, being popular is big business, just ask the thousands of business that market to children and try to sell them products they don’t need so they can conform and fit-in.
Beth has spent decades building her self-esteem and eventually learned that being authentic is the most important aspect of feeling confident. Her message to kids is that everyone is different, and that is precisely what makes us all so unique. Differences are cool, whether they be in children or adults.
In her new children’s picture book, “Am I Cool?” Aman Anand is wondering who is cool, and he wants to know if he’s cool. He doesn’t wear colorful hats like Kooky Kali Kaufman, and he’s not good at math like Smart Sally Simpson. He doesn’t tell silly jokes like Funny Franky Finklestein or wear fancy clothes like Popular Polly Princeton. Mean Martin Miller and Weird Willy Wilson make fun of everyone, and they say that they’re cool. But Aman has his doubts. Making fun of people sure doesn’t seem cool to him.
You and children around the world can follow along as Aman works through his confusion to figure out what makes someone cool. “Am I Cool?” is a thought-provoking, but entertaining story, that appeals to children ages four to eight years old, that enjoy lively characters and a plot they can relate to. Beth has just released her e-book on Amazon, and it will also be available in print sometime soon.
Beth Bauer is a “Big Sister” with the non-profit Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is donating 20% of her profits from “Am I Cool?” to the organization. “Big Brothers Big Sisters helps children realize their potential and build their futures.” Its mission is to “Provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.” They want to see more children experience success in life. Beth helps out by spending time with her “Little” and being a good influence in a time where bad influences are all around us.
Beth doesn’t plan to stop with this debut children’s book. She already has her next picture book in mind and knows just what nonprofits she wants to work with. Her books will focus on important children’s issues such as bullying and the environment. What better way to discuss these issues with kids then to entertain them with colorful characters from different cultures?
Beth has traveled the world, visiting over 30 countries in the last few years, and has brought her enthusiasm for diversity and cultural awareness to the Washington State Long Beach Peninsula where her yoga classes have become an essential part of the community. Once a software executive in Delhi India, she is now a travel blogger (www.thejourneyofbethb.com), public speaker, yoga teacher, and freelance writer, originally from Vancouver, Washington. When she’s not traveling, she lives in Ocean Park with her dog, Ozzie. She has also volunteered with The American Red Cross, Rock Solid Teen Center, Dress for Success, Let’s Imagine, and she just became a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
The Oregon and Washington coast is full of great writers, and creatives like Beth Bauer easily find their inspiration in the gorgeous landscape of the Pacific Northwest. From the rolling ways of the Pacific Ocean to the picturesque San Juan Islands, nature in this region seems to bring out the best in people, and their art.