Morgan Getting, a 4th grader at Beryl Heights Elementary, is a bright, outgoing, articulate kid with a lot of ideas. She loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian someday. She also loves fashion design, and is thinking about ways she can combine the two. Her younger brother Jackson is "annoying," but she loves him, and since she doesn’t have a pet, she grudgingly admits he’ll do when she wants someone to hang out with. In short, she’s like most other 4th graders—except for one thing: She and her mother, Roseanney Liu, wrote a book together, and are launching it on April 6.
"How To Survive Elementary School" is a “survival guide” of sorts, as Morgan explains it. “It was my mom’s idea. It’s sort of a guide about how to avoid bullying, how to speak with confidence to your teachers. It’s for kids and parents.”
Her mother came up with the idea after listening to her kids at the dinner table. “We always ask them, ‘give us the good, the bad and the interesting highlights.'” Roseanney remembers. It’s interesting and fascinating what can happen in one school day.”
A writer and educator herself—she teaches English as a second language for adults—Roseanney talked to other parents and found they were having similar conversations with their kids about school: about homework, extracurricular activities, social integration and relationship skills. She observed that there seems to be a lot more pressure for kids to pack their days with an ever-increasingly active schedule; study, sports, music, karate, Girl or Boy Scouts—and not much time to breathe.
“It’s a pressure cooker. Kids don’t get a break and end up doing homework late, or in the morning, and they’re in a hurry. It becomes a job that almost surpasses their primary job—which is being a kid,” she said. “So, we thought: Why don’t we put this in a group format and share it?”
The book contains experiences and solutions for both parents and kids for working through common issues: grades, schoolwork—as well interpersonal relationships, communicating with authority figures. “Relating to people is just as important as everything else,” Roseanney stresses.
Bullying is covered, of course—a problem adults have to confront as well as kids. Morgan is more perplexed by difficult people than she is intimidated.
“I think bullies are scared of themselves, because I don’t think they have enough confidence, so they want to make other people look weak.” Morgan said she deals with it by either walking away, or, if someone else is on the receiving end, “Stand up for them. If that doesn’t work, go to your teachers or parents.”
Both she and her mother have a natural interest and curiosity about people of other cultures and backgrounds. Roseanney’s innate sense of adventure is something she passes on to her kids. Her memoir, "You Did WHAT Now?" is a chronicle of her life experiences, some of which were life-threatening, some funny, and how she has applied those lessons. “It’s about how my bravado gets me into hot water sometimes,” she laughs. “My curiosity takes me places.”
She encourages her children to be confident, to try new things and ask questions. The new book was a natural extension of mother/dauther’s shared experiences.
“Life is about absorbing everything we can in the short span that we have,” said Roseanney. “So, do what makes you happy.”
The book launch for "How To Survive Elementary School" will be April 6, at 6 p.m. at the Redondo Beach Hotel.