About: EE

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If Someone Only Knew … Challenge

On March 25th, 2015, Never Counted Out officially launched If Someone Only Knew. This creative challenge is important to us because we need to start a new dialogue around the struggle of young people today. Right now. We can quote you the startling statistics of bullying in America. The number of kids who self-harm, become addicted to drugs and alcohol and even go so far as to commit suicide. All because they don’t — fit.

But numbers can feel very black and white.

Here’s full color.


Ash Haffner, Transgender Teen


Blake Brockington, Transgender Teen Activist


Rebecca Sedwick, Cyber Bullied Teen

What do these three young people have in common? They are all dead. Each of these lives was lost too soon. Each of them, outsiders trying to find a way to belong — to fit — to be heard. And each of them victims of bullying.

They were young people who had a story. A story for this world that we will tragically never know.

We don’t want to ever have to post pictures like this on NCO. No more pictures of kids lost before their story has been fully written.

So we stand behind our challenge for teens across America. Be heard. Write loud! Write soft and loud! This is your moment to have your story seen on this site and possibly in a future publication. For those who don’t feel they can craft a creative essay, send us your photos, your drawings, your graphic mini-novel — your SLAM poetry … send us your truth. Because we want to know your truth.

We wanna share it with the world.

Welcome To The Creative Revolution!


Free MP3 Download of Malcolm X’s Teen Years

An Extraordinary Literacy Opportunity for
Reluctant Readers and At-Risk Youth!

Who was Malcolm X before he was X?  His daughter Ilyasah Shabazz and author Kekla Magoon tell the riveting tale of Malcolm’s teenage years in X: A Novel.

“Shabazz and Magoon expertly guide the reader by presenting loaded scene after loaded scene, often making us watch young Malcolm choose the wrong path or opt for the buzz of the street over the pull of family and principle…X is a powerful, honest look at the early years of one of our country’s most important civil rights leaders. Most exciting of all is the prospect that his story will awaken a new generation of young activists, inspiring them to step into what remains a vital fight.”
—Matt de la Peña for The New York Times Book Review

The book, performed as a spoken word audiobook by narrator Dion Graham, will be free during the days surrounding Malcolm X’s 90th birthday.

When you text the word xnovel to 25827, you will receive a text reminder to grab the MP3 (and the app to listen to it on) starting 5/21/15.  While the file will only be available until 5/27/15, once the MP3 is downloaded, it does not expire.

Share this news “to awaken new generation of young activists, inspiring them to step into what remains a vital fight” with Malcolm X’s story.

More Info for Educators & Community Leaders.




Never Be Silenced

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I have had cause to learn that the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom is sheik-geek cool.

They are the the Watchers, the Slayers, the Knights, the Rebels, the Rule Followers, the bada*s women and men ensuring (among many things) that books do not get counted out.

They are the investigators of censorship and all things banned.  They are the rockstars to teachers, children and especially authors for young people.

Last month, a middle school visit in Small Town, TX was canceled four days before I was to appear to present my book Fat Angie and my film At Risk Summer.

Four days before I planned to tell their young people, “Writing Is Freedom. Writing Is Power. Writing Is Voice. And no one can take that away from you.”  Well, someone DID take that away from them.

After a beyond enthusiastic invitation and months of planning emails from the school librarian, the visit was canceled and the independent bookstore order of over 200 books for Small Town, Texas kids was returned.

Silence from the school followed.  After unanswered calls from the Office of Intellectual Freedom and unanswered calls to the principal by my public relations consultant K-Rock (code name, of course), the principal emailed me that there was a “scheduling conflict” and “We are not interested in rescheduling.”  Given that K-Rock gave him an entire year to reschedule, what do YOU think happened?

This cancellation shortchanged every kid in Small Town, TX of an experience that could excite, inspire and empower. I love small-town Texas because I am the product of one. What I hope is that this school can evolve beyond this moment to see that all kinds of books and speakers can be game changers for youth.  What I hope is that this school can see that small-town Texas kids like me needed to know they were counted in, rather than counted out.

It is thoughts not yet imagined that redefine the landscape of our hope, our innovation and our future. Let’s continue this dialogue of being silenced,  of “unofficial” censorship of a book titled Fat Angie.

To ensure that authors and librarians are NEVER SILENCED, I’m gonna ask you for a favor. I ask you to donate $5 to the Freedom to Read Foundation.  In the “In Honor of or In Memory Of” section, type “Fat Angie.”


Let’s be heard!


The Buzz On This Creative Revolution!


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I’m back out in California writing as well as filming for the documentary At-Risk Summer. With a lot going on, I wanted to post a number of links that you all can click to find out more about the Fat Angie book tour that has started this creative (r)evolution!


School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

No More Body Bags

Stories From The Road is from my personal blog that I began while traveling across America on the Fat Angie book tour. There are a variety of entries, but this one is about the loss of Rebecca Ann Sedwick. She was 12 years-old and took her life by jumping from a silo in Florida in September. I never met her, and I wondered would something have changed if I had. Not that I could’ve saved her, but could my showing up have been a moment of hope as it has been for the young people I met.

I took her loss particular hard because in the year that she was relentlessly bullied, no one was able to give her hope that it would end. That leaping from the silo was her only solution. And as someone who struggled as a young person with an abusive drug addict mom and an alcoholic father, I get the thought of the wanting to quick but the action is all wrong. Of all the things that can remove a young person from the world, suicide should never be one of them. There are resources. There are opportunities to make it better now.

Click Here to read a moment I wrote after hearing about Rebecca Ann Sedwick.


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