Category Archives: Publications

Books and Balloons at Guilford River Festival

And there might be dancing!
And there might be dancing!

“Are you old enough to dance?” is just one of the many questions “Mr. Boomsma” has been asked by the children he works with as a volunteer and substitute elementary school teacher. In his book, Small People—Big Brains, he points out that his original knee jerk reaction was the child had asked it wrong and really meant “Are you too old to dance?” But whether this is just an example of the literal thinking of a child or one of the many insightfully innocent statements kids make, it becomes another one of the stories about simplicity, exploration and wonder contained in the book.

Boomsma explains that the book formed when he realized after years of telling stories about his experiences with kids—sometimes hysterically funny stories, sometimes extremely insightful stories, and sometimes tragic—he’d already “written” most of it—all that was left to do was compile and publish it. Completed just over one year ago, he’s already hinting there may be a volume two as the stories keep coming and the kids still seem to have a lot more to teach him. He especially likes it when the kids ask “Mr. Boomsma, what would happen if…?” and wishes more adults would recapture some of that exploration and wonder because “thinking with kids about that question can lead to some amazing discoveries.”

Jack Falvey,  a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s says of the book, “This is a light and fast read until it isn’t, and then you stop and read a sentence or a thought a couple of times… If you have ever been in a classroom, on either side of the teacher’s desk, you will enjoy these classic and classy observations on the art and science of learning.”

Boomsma’s work with Valley Grange and children will be featured in a soon to be released issue of Maine Seniors Magazine where he will be identified as a one of the magazine’s “Prime Movers – seniors and organizations who have truly become icons in their communities.” “I have figured out a lot of things about working with kids,” he jokes, “but I don’t have a clue how to be a community icon. I wonder if it involves dancing.”

“Mr. Boomsma” will be at the Guilford River Festival on Saturday, July 26 with some of his Valley Grange friends and the Bookworms who volunteer to listen to the kids read at Piscataquis Community Elementary School. There will be balloons for kids and funny stories about kids for adults. Signed copies of Small People – Big Brains will be available for purchase. And maybe even some dancing!

(Adapted from a press release…)

Phew! Quick notes…

low batteryHere’s a few quick notes… the past few days have been a blur of “let’s get stuff done!” I’ve continued to work on setting up Abbot Village Press… including an online store! Part of this is in anticipation of final release of the “Maine Real Estate Law and Rules Handbook.” We’re still in the “final proofing” stage thanks to a minor oops on my part, but I fully expect to have it completed and released by the end of next week.

In addition to taking some time out for a re-charge, it seemed important to give a quick update and share a few thoughts. As things evolve, there may be some minor confusion with things looking a little strange, but the plan is to make this site even more about education and personal growth. To that end, I’ll be moving some of the resources regarding books and publishing to the Abbot Village Press website. Of course there will be plenty of links that should make things easy to find.

With the development of Abbot Village Press it will now be possible to order any of my books directly from the publisher through the Square Market (our online store). Of course you can still order from Amazon and Kindle as well as a number of other resources such as Barnes and Noble. You did hear me say the word for this year is “evolve,” right? Well, we’re evolving!

By the way, the PVAEC catalog is out–I’m not sure exactly when I received mine because I haven’t dared venture down the driveway for a while! I haven’t felt trapped, I’ve been too busy!

Anyway, check it out and discover lots of opportunities to evolve! We have two substitute teacher courses coming up soon, plus the popular two night class on how to start your own blog/website using WordPress. Real Estate licensing courses also begin in February so things are starting to get busy! It’ll be spring before you know it!

 

It’s that time of year!

The holidays are a great time to say “thank you!” I’ve enjoyed your confidence and friendship this past year and it is satisfying to know that a lot of people have achieved success as a result of our work together. As we near the start of a new year, this is also a great time to look back and ahead with an annual update.

You’ll recall last year I announced my intention to increase the emphasis on the training and education aspects of my work. I also announced that I would be substitute teaching kindergarten through grade six at Piscataquis Community Elementary School.

A few weeks ago a fourth grader came to “my” classroom to visit after a day of subbing. In the course of chatting he informed me that “pre-k and kindergarten” were the best years of his life. When I asked why he replied “Because there wasn’t really that much I had to do…” I managed not to chuckle.

I suppose it could be considered cool that at nine or ten years old (going on forty) he’s figured out what’s important to him, but I really want to tell him “the best is yet to come.” At least that’s been true for me—while my life has been good, I can’t recall a period of time that was more fun and more satisfying than these years I am now living.

A big achievement this past year was the release of my book, Small People—Big Brains: stories about simplicity, exploration and wonder. In the obligatory about the author section, I noted, “I’ve effectively started a new career as a substitute elementary school teacher. The kids haven’t run out of things to teach me. They may be small people, but they really do have big brains.”

In support of the book and my future direction, this year I created “Abbot Village Press,” with the idea that we’ll be “Maine’s number one publisher in Maine’s number one town” by publishing books and blogs with purpose. Several publishing projects come to mind and I suspect there will be a volume two of Small People—Big Brains. Perhaps I should issue a warning: “I’m a writer. Anything you do or say may be used in a future article or book.”

I have, of course, continued to offer real estate courses in association with the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate. Class enrollments continue to climb. This may well reflect a growing confidence in the future of real estate. While it’s not a focus, I also continue my affiliation with Mallett Real Estate and work with select clients on a somewhat limited basis. Do not hesitate to contact me if you are going to be involved in a real estate transaction as a buyer or seller.

This past fall, the Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative invited me to develop and teach one day classes for others who want to substitute teach! The class was offered in Milo and Guilford and we will be repeating it in January in Dover Foxcroft and Dexter. RSU 19 Adult Education (Nokomis) has asked me to offer several courses. I’m also having a lot of fun helping out with the Piscataquis Secondary School Pirate Specials Program designed to connect middle and high school kids with community resources and individuals who will help them explore career options.

One of the stories that didn’t make it into the book happened a few years ago when a second grader became exasperated with me and said, “Mr. Boomsma, you need to focus.” It helps if you picture her with hands on the sides of her face mimicking the blinders horses wear. At the time, I thought I was very busy. She rightly recognized I wasn’t busy. I just wasn’t doing such a good job of handling multiple priorities. (You can read the entire story on this site.)

Unfortunately, I’ve lost a cartoon I had that showed a fish climbing out of a lake and saying to an animal standing on the shore, “Outta my way, pal. I’m evolving.” I’d like to think that while these are some very good years, the best is yet to come. I’m evolving!

Thanks for your confidence and support. Have a meaningful holiday and a new year filled with health, happiness, and prosperity — make these the best years of your life! Evolve!

Merry Christmas,
Signature

(aka “Mr. Boomsma”)

The Book Is Out!

Book LogoI’m not sure if it has seemed as long to you as it has to me… Friday was an exciting day here! The final proof copy of “Small People – Big Brains” arrived here! And now, it’s available and on the market.

A few folks have had a preview both for review and proofreading. Jack Falvey, frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, had this to say:

“This is a light fast read until it isn’t, and then you stop and read a sentence or a thought a couple of times… you will enjoy these classic and classy observations on the art and science of learning…”

In the pages of this “collection of stories about simplicity, exploration and wonder,” you’ll meet a second grader who becomes quite certain Mr. Boomsma is ignorant of the basic facts of life. How the young student handles this delicate situation is a lesson it tact that many adults should learn. You’ll also encounter a nine-year old who thinks he’s “an excellent reader and extremely smart ” until he’s forced to consider that being smart is about knowing what he doesn’t know.

The title of the book comes from an encounter with a young fellow who was firmly convinced that his difficulties at school were the result of his brain being too small. The stories, however, prove that these small people really do have big brains. They just haven’t always discovered and fully learned how to use them yet.

For more information and to order from Amazon. Also available on Kindle!

For more information and to order from Barnes & Noble. Not confirmed, but also should be available on Nook!