On June 29th, 2019, The “I Am Brave and Unafraid” Book Project launched with a goal to raise $100,000 and print 10,000 books! The first sponsor, The Outta Space in Berwyn, hosted the event. Many other sponsors stepped forward to ensure the success which included Capri Ristorante Due, Connie’s Family Restaurant, Khaotha Café, Heartgarden, Musikgarten of Oak Park, Isagenix w/Sara Goggin Young, Czech American Community Center, Radka Kutalkova, David Oromaner, Meg Lauterbach and Personalization House.
101 people attended the launch, 47 of them being children. Several activities were set up to help increase the children’s awareness of being brave and unafraid. Children wrote their story about a time when they were brave and unafraid on the back of postcards of the books most important illustration page when The Boy says, “I am brave and unafraid” 3 times before he makes his courageous step outside his tent to face his fear. In another activity the kids painted their brave and unafraid story or painted how they felt when they were brave and unafraid. Radka Kutalkova brought special homemade playdoh infused with essential oils that calm and reduce anxiety. Amy Pappageorge of Musikgarten ran a music jam session as well as an interactive storytelling session of The Lion and The Mouse, a story which highlights how being brave is rewarded. Lastly, outdoor play and music was set up for the kids to dance and enjoy!
During the event the books author, Arielle Turover Cohen, sang her motivational song, Believer by Imagine Dragons, which speaks about being the master of your own sea and making greatness happen. Her son followed her on stage with his performance of, “Sacred Of The Dark”, or rather, “I’m not scared, not at all…”. Oromaner’s daughter sang “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie and Cohen’s daughter completed the show with Waka Waka by Shakira. Cohen chose this entertainment because her daughter had expressed fears about performing publicly when the book was made into a play last year at Piper School in Berwyn. Cohen said to herself, how can I help my kids overcome their fears? Her answer – have them face their fears straight on. Oromaner, a drummer, pianist and vocalist worked with her kids and his daughter for about 4 months to prepare them for the stage and a public performance. They hope to team up again with more children performing their special songs, creating a whole performance based on the ideas surrounding becoming brave and facing fear straight on to overcome it.
At the end of the performance Cohen invited her readers to all come on stage and read the story to their parents, again using the microphone and increasing their bravery of public performance, the number 1 fear in the world, public speaking. Cohen then spoke about how the story came about. When her children were faced with repetitive nightmares, and after getting rid of all the lions in the room, she told her daughter how she is the master of her own dreams and how she can use her power of thought to change her dreams and make them whatever she wants them to be. She then laid down with her son and told him a story, then named, The Boy and the Bear. He asked for it 7 times within 24 hours and after 7 times retelling the story Cohen thought, “Hey this is pretty good, I better write it down. One year later it was published as, “I Am Brave and Unafraid.”
Cohen began the books release on Kickstarter with a pay it forward concept in mind. People were not only able to buy a book for themselves but were also able to buy a book for a child in need of some bravery tips. These NPO’s included Lurie Children’s Hospital, Hephzibah, New Mom’s and Princess Zev. It was only natural then when Cohen’s good friend, Megan Wessels, of her company Powerful Partners introduced her to Larry Kaufman, a board member at Holiday Heroes, that they easily found a way to help each other grow. Holiday Heroes was attracted to the book because of its powerful message and being a hospitalized child or a parent of a hospitalized child is one very scary event. Cohen was attracted to Holiday Heroes because she had imagined before the books release that every child in a hospital would receive her book upon admission, so their two worlds aligned and through a lot of brainstorming they found a way to give the book away, rather than sell it, so that every child who wished to have this book could have it!
The “I Am Brave and Unafraid” Book Project is a way to create a new generation of brave and confident children while simultaneously increasing literacy to children of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and help non-profit organizations push their missions forward. “I Am Brave and Unafraid” has partnered with NPO Holiday Heroes to reach a mutual long-term goal of giving away 1.5M books to the hospitalized children Holiday Heroes serves as well as to children nationwide.
The world is full of fears. Being a child in a hospital is a very scary thing. Being a parent of a child in a hospital is sometimes even scarier. Since the book was published in March 2018 many children have already been helped to confront, cope with and overcome fears and it is our deep hope that the book , “I Am Brave and Unafraid” will help both the parents and the children that Holiday Heroes serves to confront, cope with, and perhaps even overcome the fears that accompany the hospitalization. A sponsor of The “I Am Brave and Unafraid” Book Project is creating smiles, literacy, brave children across the nation, and helping to fund Holiday Heroes growth from 16 hospitals to over 100 hospitals nationwide!