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CHUNKY AND FRIENDS: CHUNKY AND THE O-BEAST
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Miami has come … and gone. We had a wonderful time at the Miami Book Fair International. I met some amazing kids who love to read and were excited to crack the gateway to their imagination. I am proud to say that many of these children took home copies of Chunky and the O-Beast and the Defeat The O-Beast Activity and Coloring Book. My friend and graphic designer, Lewis, finally had a chance to witness the look of excitement that children have when they first see Chunky and Friends. He also had the opportunity to hear the gratitude that parents shared because of our passion to positively impact families to live healthier.
This project means the world to me and it makes me proud to share it with the world.
I want to thank the organizers and the volunteers at the Miami Book Fair International. I have to say thank you to two specific volunteers, Anna and Gabby, who handed out all of “scream signs” and remained eager to help the cause. I also want to thank Lewis for driving down from Orlando to lend a helping hand. Lastly, I want to thank my family for their hospitality and love.
See you all next year!
– Joseph Vivens
I assure you I haven’t been missing in action. My team and I have been hard at work fulfilling the dreams that we envisioned since creating CHUNKY AND FRIENDS. In the coming weeks and months you will be seeing some exciting announcements and images from various events. Keep an eye for them on ChunkyAndFriends.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google Plus.
In the meantime, please check out these images from the Highmark’s Fun, Fit and Fabulous Woman’s Health Conference in Hershey, PA. My wife and I had a wonderful time introducing Chunky and Friends to the fabulous women at the event. and selling out of books! The reception was warm and loving. I want to thank Highmark for allowing us the participate in such a meaningful event.
I had an awesome time conducting a live interactive reading at the Baltimore County Public Library’s Rosedale Branch. I’d like to thank Sara Jane and the rest of the staff at the Rosedale Branch for inviting me to entertain the children during their Fit and Fun Day. Here are some images from the event:
Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending a forum at the Washington Post called, Health Beyond Health Care. This was right in the Chunky and Friends’ wheelhouse because our goal is preventative health care by promoting healthy habits in children. I had the opportunity to introduce Chunky and Friends to many in attendance including acting US Surgeon General Rear Adm. Boris Lushniak. Dr. Lushniak was very excited about Chunky and Friends and saw it as a great idea, I believe he saw the impact that it could have on children. I am grateful he took the time to speak to me and hear my vision for Chunky and Friends.
All of the speakers were extremely insightful and it’s always wonderful to hear the success people are having in instilling healthy habits in their communities.
Here is a link with clips from the forum:
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to conduct a reading at Jamon Montessori School in Silver Spring, Maryland. I had toyed with the idea of creating a writing workshop in which I would sit with a group of children and walk them through the process of writing a story. After sharing my thoughts with the school’s Director, Lisa Miller, it became clear she wanted to take this idea a step further and have the children write and publish a book that they could take home with them for the summer.
Working with the four children (three second graders and a first grader) who were eager about writing, was a blast! . I kept the process simple by teaching the kids a basic three act structure that included the Set-up, Climax and Conclusion. In addition, there were three criteria for the young writers on this project, 1.They had to work together 2. The story had to be health and/or fitness based and 3. They had to use characters from the Chunky and Friends book series. Much to the Director and my satisfaction, the children delivered a book titled, “Attack of the Bad Health Elf,” written and colored by MMAC (Maya, Melvin, Alex and Canady) and illustrated by their resident artist, Mr. Monte.
Check out the images below.
Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend a forum sponsored by the Clinton Foundation, RWJF and GHI. It was an awesome event that included a lively discussion on what is needed to curb the rise in childhood obesity rates. I had the opportunity to meet some remarkable people who are doing very exciting things to ensure that the future of the world is brighter and healthier.
Amongst the many people in attendance I had the pleasure of meeting the Today Show’s Joy Bauer, who complimented me on my smile. Thanks for that, Joy! Sadly, I didn’t think to snap a celfie’ (yes, that is selfie) with her. Visit her site for nutrition tips and great recipes: www.joybauer.com
I met actor and entrepreneur Wendell Pierce of The Wire and Treme fame (my wife would throw in Waiting to Exhale as well). You should definitely support Sterling Farms if you are in the New Orleans area; they are placing healthy options in the heart of the food deserts in the 9th Ward. Visit their site for more info: sterlingfreshfoods.com
I also had the privilege to eat lunch with former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the American Heart Association, Dr. Eduardo Sanchez. If you ever catch them together ask them about two things: 1) Hurricane Katrina and 2) What is the significance of Ice Cream? Believe me you won’t regret it.
Here are some organizations that caught my attention and I think deserve your support:
Go Noodle is an organization that provide an online program that allow kids classroom breaks to do short exercises as a “reset” from their day to day lessons. I had an awesome conversation with the founder Scott about ways to inspire and encourage children to fulfill healthy goals. Visit their site: GoNoodle.com
Girl Trek is a non-profit organization that uses walking as a way to encourages physical activity amongst African American women. One of the co-founders, Morgan, was a panelist who was very inspiring with her wealth of knowledge and experience. Visit their site: GirlTrek.org
Finally, Snider Hockey is a non-profit by the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. I was fortunate to meet Jan who spoke passionately about the program and how they introduce urban youth in Philadelphia to hockey. Visit their site: esyhf.org
Overall, it was an awesome even and I encourage you to check out the videos below and joint the conversation. Hop on twitter and keep the hashtag #KidsHealthMatters alive.
Hey Everyone, thank you for all the love and support of Chunky and Friends. We truly appreciate you!
Over the last 6 months, the Vivens Media Group has been very busy. We have been conducting live interactive readings and writing workshops at various schools in Maryland and DC. It’s been AWESOME! In addition, we have been working on our next book, which takes Chunky and friends on crazy adventures which are completely different from anything we’ve done with the characters thus far. I know that kids and adults will love it, so stay tuned. Finally, we’ve been preparing the release of our activity book which we are proud to present to you today:
The Defeat The O-Beast Coloring & Activity Book is full of adventures where kids help Chunky and friends solve puzzles to defeat the villainous O-Beast. The puzzles are all about physical play and healthy eating choices. Pick it up for the crossword puzzles, word finds, connect the dots, coloring pages and more…
Also, the book has a Food and Active play journal where kids can keep tabs on their day to day habits.
An awesome resource for educators and physicians for only $5.99.
I do hope you enjoy the book and thank you again for all the support!
(Click image to expand)
I’m proud to present, Chunkamania.
This idea was formed from the mind of the artist Jose and further expanded into a comic strip by me (of course Lewis did the lettering).
A while back Jose sent me some artwork that looked like a title card for an epic fight and the caption read, CHUNKY VS. THE O-BEAST. It’s currently on our Facebook page and I thought it was awesome and we had to do something with it.
I’ve stated before that The Short Chunks series is a day in the life of Chunky and his battle to overcome obesity. Jose and I spoke about this fictional wrestling character called, El Muchos Fistos. So much so we made a joke about Chunky taking the idea of using your fist to measure portion sizes to a whole new level (click hear to see El Muchos Fistos T-shirt).
I know this strip would be the reaction of any child who is a wrestling fan who finds out that he’s going to be meeting their hero for the first time. On top of that, in Chunky’s case, his idol will be giving him health tips to defeat obesity!
I have an image in my head for what El Muchos Fistos would look like and I’m sure Jose does too. Based on the response to this strip we’d have to consider having Chunky come face to face with his hero and the lessons that he learns during the training session. In the meanwhile, enjoy the Short Chunk and make sure you share it with your friends and family and on all your favorite social networking sites.
Now, watch as I co-opt a famous phrase from a mysterious man and make it my own…
Stay healthy my friends…
1. Why did you call the book series, Chunky and Friends?
I wanted to create a character that would be a catalyst; Someone kids could look up to and feel inspired. My thought was that kids could be motivated by Chunky’s passion and resilience. As far as the name Chunky, I wanted something that would catch people’s attention and peak interest. Story wise we explain the origin of his name. While the main goal of our book series is to focus on healthy living, in the series we also highlight misconceptions about being overweight. Many children who we may perceive as being healthy by their physical appearance, grow up to be unhealthy because of the eating habits they developed as children. So by calling the book Chunky and Friends, we grab all audiences and welcome them into a world where looking good does not always mean you are living a healthy life. Kind of like the real world.
2. Is this specifically for kids in danger of becoming obese?
No, Chunky and Friends is for all kids. No matter where they’re from or how they may appear, whether they live in a food oasis or a food desert, we all face the possibility of being unhealthy. Chunky and Friends is a means to allow kids to start the conversation with their parents about eating healthier and being physically active.
3. Why did you create Chunky and Friends?
I use to be a big fan of Popeye the Sailor and can remember the influence the cartoon had on me as a kid and my love of spinach. Seeing the power that spinach gave Popeye prompted me to eat spinach and so many other vegetables and fruits. I was also inspired by my pediatrician wife. She shared with me her experiences with parents of overweight children, who found it difficult to discuss the necessary changes for the entire family to live a healthier life. Collectively, these experiences, motivated me to create a book series that could assist in jump starting the conversation about eating healthy, the importance of self-confidence and active play. From there, Chunky and Friends was born.
4. Why is it a comic book?
To be able to tell the story and have it relate to children, I knew I needed more than a typical children’s book. With a comic book, children as old as 10 and as young as 4 can easily be reached.
5. Why don’t you touch on other subjects?
Thankfully, Chunky and the O-Beast is only the first of many books. We wanted Chunky’s introduction to the audience to be about one topic. Which is about him learning he needs to make dramatic changes to his life. Being able to tell that story while addressing every other concern in a 10 year olds life would be very difficult in one book. With the first book I wanted to convey a clear message but subsequent books will touch on other social issues. Rome wasn’t built in a day and Chunky and the O-Beast is our first brick.
6. Does your book focus on weight?
NoOoOooooOOOOO, it focuses on overall health. With a focus on health, I want to change the culture and conversation regarding health to be less about appearance and more about wellness. I have met many people who constantly wish they could lose weight. They make comments like ”If only I could lose 10 lbs” or “This diet promises me to lose 2 lbs per week.” I believe that if you focus on health, practicing portion control, minding what you put into your body and how much energy you put out you will feel better and reach a healthier weight in the process. But as far as Chunky and Friends goes, we do not want to focus on weight as kids may become obsessed with being too big and introduce a whole slew of other issues in the name of looking thin.
7. Did you try sending a book to Michelle Obama?
Yes, click here.
8. What is your background? What makes you think you should be the one to do this?
I’ve been told that this book series is very creative. My creativity stems from writing short stories, poetry and music and I draw inspiration from being silly. I have had a strong passion for starting my own business and it felt right to start a company with a project that could help millions. Although I am not a nutritionist, dietitian or physician, if my book can inspire a child to ask a question about their overall health or diet, so that they can ensure a long and healthy life, then I have done my job.