A few weeks ago my school had the privilege of having Jonathan Friesen visit our school and speak to our students. To put it simply – he was amazing! When I had an 8th grade boy tell me “He was awesome. He was really good. He made me want to read his books. I won’t but he made me want to.” Now you have to understand that the student who said that is one of my biggest non-readers!
If you don’t know Jonathan Friesen has Tourette Syndrome. He spoke about his life with tourettes from the time he was young, through a really dark time for him through now. The way he spoke pulled the kids and held them there. I’ve never seen them so quiet and listen so intently. He emphasized over and over that people want the answer to two questions and it’s those two questions he explores in his books. They are:
Do you see me?
Do you like what you see?
How people hear the answer to these questions affects every part of their lives. He encouraged them all to see the people around them and help them hear a strong yes to those two questions. A girl in his school answered yes to both of those questions for him and it changed his life – by just “seeing” him and saying who he was was good. Every day now I hear those two sentences and I try to make sure that the people around me hear a yes to both. It was something that I, as a teacher, needed to remember.
After his talk I was able to chat with him a bit and get some books signed. I’m so glad our wonderful Media Specialist brought him in. He truly affected the way I see the people around me.
Here are Jonathan’s books (stay tuned below for a giveaway)
This Schneider Family Book Award winner changed the face of Tourette’s Syndrome for modern teens. Wrought with tension, romance, and hope, Jerk, California tells the story of Sam, who sets out on a cross-country quest to learn the truth about his family and his inherited Tourette’s Syndrome, along the way finding both love and acceptance.
Jake King is a full-fledged adrenaline junkie. He’ll jump off of a waterfall, ride his bike down the side of a mountain, rock climb without harnesses…anything to feel the rush. Besides his best friend and secret love of his life, the beautiful Salome Lee, getting his adrenaline pumping is the only thing that clears his head. So when he’s offered a spot on a hotshot crew of firefighters who rappel into wildfires, it’s the perfect opportunity. Never mind that the crew members call themselves the Immortals, and that they have a habit of dying young. Salome knows there’s more to the crew’s mortality rate than bad luck, and to save Jake, she puts their friendship—and their unspoken romance—on the line. But to Jake, firefighting is like breathing pure adrenaline. And if he doesn’t stop soon, they could all get burned. . . .
The Last Martin
There’s always a Martin. One Martin. Martin Boyle already has plenty to worry about. His germaphobic mother keeps him home from school if she hears so much as a sneeze, and his father is always off somewhere reenacting old war battles. Julia, the most beautiful girl in school, won’t even speak to Martin, and the gym teacher is officially out to get him. Which is why Martin really doesn’t need this curse hanging over his head. On a trip to the family cemetery, Martin wanders among the tombstones of his ancestors and discovers a disturbing pattern: when one Martin is born, the previous Martin dies. And—just his luck—Martin’s aunt is about to give birth to a baby boy, who will, according to tradition, be named Martin. Martin must find a way to break the curse, but every clue seems to lead to a dead end. And time is running out.
I’ve got one SIGNED copy of Jerk California
Must be 13
Must be US resident
Ends March 25