Coming Soon from *kids in the hive*!

Coming soon: a great new video series about hibernating animals from my dear friend and collaborator *kids in the hive* (The Boy Who Was Fire)! Ranger Robin is delightful, sharing fun facts and animal noises, along with mindfulness and prosocial behavior building activities, all from the breathtakingly gorgeous Arcata Community Forest. ❤️

Be sure to Subscribe to their YouTube channel so you don’t miss any fun!

The Boy Who Was Fire

🔥 Video Premiere!🔥

In commemoration of International Earth Day, I am pleased to premiere a new video in collaboration with Pockets of…Publishing & Kids in the Hive.

The Boy Who Was Fire is a children’s book written by Marcus Kahle McCann & illustrated by Zita Varga. It begins with a small fire born to a tree and a bolt of lightning. This is a lyrical story of growth, redemption, and new beginnings. Appropriate for ages 5 years and older.

I am moved by this creative vision of what might happen if we put our fears of the unknown aside and lean into each other with compassion, recognizing the beauty and humanity of the person in front of us.

If you enjoy the book, you can purchase a signed hardcopy from Pockets of…Publishing.

I am grateful for MaryAnn Clark (MAC, All Play Productions/*kids in the hive*) reaching out early on in pandemic to ask if I wanted to collaborate on a video for The Boy Who Was Fire. She is a joy and I look forward to many more cooperative playground outings!

I’m this many!

Yellow text against a turquoise background with dotted confetti reads “Lightbulb Heart is three!” An inset photo of Amber, a smiling white woman with curly hair wearing a yellow cardigan, who leans her head on her hand and elbows on a stack of children’s books. She sits on park steps and  is crowded by turquoise and coral cartoon balloons.
Photo credit: Suzuran Photography

Happy 3rd birthday to my story baby, Lightbulb Heart!

Birthday #2 was rightfully sidelined by pandemic. I consoled myself that I had at least gotten to eat cupcakes and read aloud with kiddos at the Paper Bag Princess events at Epic Books.

This last year has been hard for us all, and I’m taking a moment to mark some of the hurdles, disappointments, and joys I’ve encountered with my little biz child. I started a YouTube channel and more intentionally locally lending my library, wrote (and rewrote) a ton, made some noise for local equity and access orgs, and began a couple of local and cross-border collaborations that have been incredibly rewarding – one of which you’ll get to see the fruits of on March 20, so stay tuned!

I’m so grateful for all of the caregivers and teachers who entrusted their kiddos to me over Zoom, FaceTime, MarcoPolo, Messenger, and YouTube. You have been a real source of solace and purpose for me this last year and I cannot thank you enough!

I also could not have gotten through all of these months of isolation without the beautiful people of A Shared Table’s Storylab who kept me inspired, making, and going. 🥰

I’m taking a breath, blowing out some candles, and on to year 4!

Attention Campers:

CAMP AGH
Kelly Wolf, ladies and germs. She’s the best.

If you have never played Human Rock Paper Scissors, you are missing out. Trust me.

When I agreed to meet Kelly Wolf for “crafts” before a dusk viewing of Moonrise Kingdom on Wednesday, I had very little idea of what to expect. Well, EMERGE Camp AGH was a treasure trove of easybakeheart goodness and I was game for all of it.  There were craft tables for making felt merit badges, animal hats, and masks; camp games (I died a glorious slo-mo death on the wet lawn); very high-end s’mores courtesy of the always delightful Sweet and Simple Co.; a tour of the gorgeous Vivian Maier photography exhibit; and campfire singing.

I knew three people. Three. I consider myself an introvert and large groups can be intimidating. But, it was marvelous to be in rooms with a bunch of like-minded weirdos I’d never met and to feel right at home.

img_1065Of course the merit badges I made were random – a dead goldfish in honor of the fish funeral scene from Draft 1 of There’s an Easy-Bake Oven Where My Heart Should Be, and Oscar the Grouch for soooo many reasons. Merit badges are going straight into the easybakeheart workshop idea vault. I found during the Memphis workshop that semi-silently crafting kid things is one of the quickest ways to unlock larger conversations about why we stop playing and what we need in order to start again.

The morning of EMERGE Camp began with an unprompted conversation about how to create spaces for adults to just play – silent or impromptu dance parties, craft stations, reading circles, etc. I went to a Laughter Yoga session later that afternoon that feels like it belongs in the same realm. I’m thinking more and more this is just something our world needs. The Living Arts Collective in Durham, NC hosts The After Wave (adult dance and art party) every Friday night and AGH will have another EMERGE event on December 7.  Go Out and Play!

How are you playing these days? Would it help to have a common space where the materials were already laid out for you? If you’re an introvert, what would make something like this feel less threatening?