Choose Acceptance: children, reading, and play

In May, with spring in swing, we are looking at stages of growth.

Oh, how we loved playing Kickball in Akron, Pennsylvania, across the street from MCC’s (Mennonite Central Committee) headquarters!  The alleys and streets rang with our kids’ cries of Go, go!, Kick it! and the inevitable, Not fair! 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

We would wade through school days of cursive writing exercises and subtraction problems, run home, eat a snack of apple slices with peanut butter on crackers—prepared by our circle-skirted, Peter Pan-collared moms—and fly out the back door, past our big reading tree, through hidden patches of poisoned ivy to The Game. Man oh man, we got poisoned ivy, which Mom treated by scratching the medicine into our sores with a wooden popsicle stick. Ouch and Ah at the same time.

Our play produced joys, sorrows, bad kicks and genius plays, and of course all the arguments that Nobody settled by running home to Mommy. It was the 1950s, long before helicopter parenting became vogue. In good Anabaptist fashion, we stayed in the game, fought (verbally!) for our points, and took the consequences. We learned how to lose (without pouting) and we learned how to win (without gloating.) Well, learned is the operative word, preceded by gradually.


Choose Acceptance is a lively, new YouTube station for parents, teachers, and kids. It is created and hosted by Anny Rusk and Christina Hoover Moorehead. With a relaxed, friendly approach, they review books, demonstrate activities for children, and interview writers and librarians about one of today’s most important topics: choosing to accept ourselves and others.

Here for your viewing pleasure, complete with racing bunny toys and Anny’s signature purple lipstick, is their interview with Elisa Gall of the Deerfield Public Library, north of Chicago. The interviewers and librarian discuss the relationship between play and the ability to accept our differences. This is play as serious business! Elisa describes her own avenues of play and challenges adults to think of play as developing the humility to take risks, which helps kids build relationships and understand the world. Recognizing and allowing others to be their true selves (yes, vulnerable) even if we do not agree, creates attitudes of acceptance. Play is a good thing, and parents are wise to discuss play with their children: what a child needs in the game, how  a child can listen and discern, and which behaviors help, rather than hurt, the experience.


Here, Anny and Christina explain their interest in developing this new channel.


Choose Acceptance

What led  us to create “Choose Acceptance”?
Good question!
At the heart of “Choose Acceptance” is a deep commitment  to making our shared world a more peaceful, nurturing place for all. Our channel is focused on creating a community of educators, parents, booksellers, creators and all like-minded humans who share our curiosity and our goal to choose acceptance more often in our daily lives. We explore acceptance through the lenses of literature, play and playfulness. 
Acceptance also is a theme that runs through many of the books that we both write for children and young adults, as we share a passion to explore and model acceptance with and for young people through the power of words and story.
In the 3 weeks since we have launched our Choose Acceptance experiment on Youtube, we’ve already learned so much about how different people interpret acceptance, and about the many ways they explore, model, nurture and teach acceptance in their lives.  
We have also been happily surprised to discover that  by opening up the topic of choosing acceptance using humor, silliness and play, we have been able to access serious and compelling thoughts and ideas in our interviewees. If we can motivate a few people to free their minds and approach different people, situations or beliefs with acceptance and curiosity rather than with fear, we have reached our goal.

Anny and Christina  

Elisa Gall is a member of Reading While White: Working for Racial Diversity & Inclusion in Books for Children and Teens. This librarians’ organization is beginning to interest me greatlyThe mission statement reads: ‘We are White librarians organizing to confront racism in the field of children’s and young adult literature.’ The resources page alone makes a visit to the blog worth your while.


The second Choose Acceptance video is Anny and Christina’s book review of In Plain Sight written by Richard Jackson and illustrated by Jerold Pinkney.


Thank you, Anny and Christina for your energy and work for our children!

The URL for Choose Acceptance is:


Christina Hoover Moorehead is a primary teacher with over 27 years experience teaching in the United States and Japan.  She served as the Lead Curator for TEDxKyoto, is a living kidney donor and is a pre-published writer of children’s and young adult books exploring issues of acceptance and diverse perspectives.

Anny Rusk is a children’s author who is shopping a science-based fictional graphic novel on early female puberty (Estrogen is a superhero inside of Smanatha’s changing body), and finishing a middle grade epic fantasy novel. She’s moderated and participated on panels for C2E2 in Chicago, (Chicago’s Comic Conference), had an essay published in a DePaul University Anthology, released 3 music Cds in her former life, is a co-rep for a Chicago network of SCBWI, and is a helicopter mom to her Jack Russell rescue dog. You can find her newsletters “Behind The Vids,” which provide some background on the Choose Acceptance channel videos for that week on her blog: In addition, you can find us @Choose2Accept on Twitter.

I welcome your comments: Please enjoy a few short stories on the Home page, as well.

{Thank you to my niece, Addie Liechty, for taking the picture above that is this blog’s featured image. Her blog is:}

Best wishes and have a good week.


Greta Holt


  1. Diane Gottlieb on May 10, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Greta, I loved this post. It really brought me back to a time when kids were given a lot of credit: they were expected to “figure it out.” I truly believe that there is a lot of wisdom there that new parents bombarded with how-to materials and helicopter manuals could learn from. It’s not only about acceptance but about trust–trusting that our kids may have some of their own wisdom and trust that learning through making mistakes is the best way to learn. I love the idea of the Choose Acceptance channel and, as an educator myself, have already signed up for Reading While White and passed it along to several of my colleagues and like-minded friends. Thanks for this one!

    • Greta Holt on May 10, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      I’m so happy that your educator’s sensibilities were fed by this post! Thank you for your comment.

Leave a Comment

Sign up to hear about upcoming stories and posts.