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It's Time to Celebrate: DGT™ is empowering more families than ever!

After more than a dozen years empowering parents to raise caring kids, Doing Good Together is seeing more compassion than ever in the lives of the families we reach. All over the country, we're hearing from families excited by the impact our resources are having. This week we offer a few simple ways you can help us celebrate!

Big Hearted Families Book Club: The Great Kapok Tree

Transform  family night into a creative, fun, book-centered kindness practice! June 2013 book club - kapok tree The book for June 2013 is The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry.

This incredible book will help your family look deep into nature. The vivid illustrations and simple story show us the beauty, vitality and interdependence  of the Amazon rain forest, and help us understand why it is so fragile.

The more we know about the natural world, the more we are inspired to protect it. With this in mind, we invite you to spend time observing the wilderness in your own neighborhood. Get to know your natural neighbors and practice the art of observation. Then create a personal photo journal.

This month’s recipe celebrates biodiversity, too, with a zesty summer Black Bean Mango Quinoa salad from The Kids Cook Monday.

If you are a subscriber, you have already received your beautiful book, the following materials, plus a shopping list, book suggestions for older readers, and a fun BHF book mark right in the mail.

Thank you for supporting our nonprofit work!

If you would like to subscribe, head on over to our SHOP to get started.

If you already own the book or would rather use your library, we invite you to download these materials for your own big-hearted family night! When you’re done, join us back here and share your stories. Or join the discussion on our Facebook page!

great kapok tree


The Book Discussion: Conversation for The Great Kapok Tree





Black Bean Mango Quinoa Salad


The Recipe: Black Bean Mango Quinoa provided by our friends at The Kids Cook Monday and created by Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian and author of The Plant-Powered DietVisit  The Kids Cook Monday for more great recipes for your young chefs.



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The Kindness Activity:  Neighborhood Wildlife Photo Journal.  The more we notice and learn about the ecosystems around us, the more we will understand about the big idea of interdependence.

5 Big-Hearted Books about Hunger & Poverty in the USA

As America faces record poverty rates and increasing income disparities, it becomes more and more important that we take action in whatever ways we can. Big-Hearted Families has an impressive and diverse list of project ideas to Fight Poverty with your family. Nothing inspires action quite as much as a good story, which is why we've assembled this short list of our favorite books on the subect.

These 5 picture books about hunger and poverty will help you bring up this difficult subject in a thoughtful way. Plus, they are each excellent stories.

Here are some conversation starters to make the most of your experience:

  • How would you feel if you had to rely on a stranger to provide your lunch every day?
  • How does it feel when you are hungry and you have to wait to eat?
  • What are ways we could help those who are hungry?
  • What do you think would be the hardest part of not having a home?
  • If you did not have a place to live, what things would be most important to you? Where would you sleep? How would you stay clean?
  • What things are you grateful for? Are these things you need to live or things that are simply nice to have?

Older readers (8 to 12) may enjoy Along Came a Dog by Meindert DeJong, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, about the unlikely friendship between a little red hen and a homeless dog.

Here are some of my favorite picture books that will start a big-hearted conversation about hunger and poverty:


Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnn DiSalvo-Ryan (Morrow.

A young boy who is afraid of homeless people gains a new perspective when he helps his uncle work at the soup kitchen.



Dear Mr. Rosenwald, by Carole Boston Weatherford (Scholastic).

This book is based on actual events in the 1920s, when a philanthropist - the founder of Sears - offered money to African American communities to build schools—but only after they raised money themselves. For an impoverished community, this was a difficult task. This story of how they achieved it is very inspiring.



The Lady in the Boxby Ann McGovern (Turtle Books).

It is wintertime in the city and freezing cold, but not everyone is inside and warm. Ben and his sister Lizzie know that there is a lady who lives outside in a box over a warm air vent. The children worry about the kind-looking lady, and begin sneaking food and clothes out of their apartment for her. Gently told and powerfully illustrated in rich hues, The Lady in the Box deals candidly with the issue of homelessness.



Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting (Clarion Books).

This heart-wrenching yet hopeful book follows a boy and his father through their daily routines as they shelter in an airport, obviously before airline security become so strict. This is book especially fostered a lot of conversation in my house. It perfectly presents the heartbreak of being a homeless child in a non-threatening, non-frightening way.



One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice (Farrar).

For a more whimsical approach to the issues of hunger and sharing, this folktale while entertain and edify any audience. It's a variation on the theme of a magic pot, featuring a community pulling together. It's a new favorite.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF... Goes Bust

I have to fess up. My intention to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF with the kids this year was a failure. Actually that implies I tried it without success. In fact, the lovely UNICEF boxes remain in the folder near my kitchen radio under a pile of other half-finished kid crafts.

Why does this sort of thing happen?

I thought this sounded like a wonderful project. I signed up. I fully intended, even as of noon yesterday, to follow through. I talked to the kids about how we'd do it....

Then I didn't give it another thought. Between feeding and dressing three little monsters up in their costumes, then doing my best to keep up with them as they wandered the neighborhood, I didn't have 30 seconds of thought to give to anything else.


Maybe this just isn't the project for us. I always get a little queasy when preparing to ask others for money, even when the cause is admirable. The kids are pretty reluctant fundraisers too.

In contrast, everyone in my house is all excited about our new match in the Family-to-Family book program, so I'll use that enthusiasm to ensure success in that project!

Did anyone else have better luck or find an easier way to turn Halloween chaos into a force for good?

How will you support Doing Good Together?

Okay readers... It's pledge drive time... Please, don't click away! Hear me out. In case there is any confusion on this point, let me clarify:

  1. Big-Hearted Families is a project of Doing Good Together.
  2. Doing Good Together is a nonprofit organization.
  3. The resources, project ideas, and extensive tools shared both at Big-Hearted Families and at Doing Good Together are made possible by your generous donations.

Also, we are extraordinarily efficient. The vast majority of our funds are raised each October during our gala event!

And You Are Invited!

Take a moment to support us right now! Please!

  • Check out our ONLINE AUCTION HERE. (You'll have a chance to bid on some amazing items all to support family volunteering!)
  • Purchase tickets and plan to attend our event on October 11, 5:30 to 8:30 pm. (food, music, wine... and the opportunity to bid on some exclusive silent auction items!)
  • Make a donation here. (perfect if you don't need more stuff, can't attend the event, but want to show your support)

Investing in family service pays huge dividends: it helps solve immediate problems and creates hope by instilling the spirit of giving in a new generation.