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The Not Perfect Hat Club Blog It event is the result of ongoing conversations between North Carolina teacher Beverly Ladd, who has made a name for herself doing creative and innovative things on Skype, and the creators of CritterKin, Jena Ball and Marty Keltz. We have discovered that we share a commitment to teaching all kinds of learners and harnessing the power of multimedia storytelling to not only empower them to learn but allow them to share their ideas, insights and creativity with the world.

Learn more about each of us below

Profile 3 Jena Ball has been a freelance writer, illustrator and educator for almost 35 years. During that time she focused  primarily on environmental, food and memoir writing. She also created an online writing course designed to help  students labelled as “underachievers” fall in love with reading and writing stories. She accomplished this by taking  them out into nature to record and reflect on their experiences.

The concept for CritterKin was born while Jena was volunteering at the local SPCA and realized what a powerful  impact animals were having on kids. Using the real dogs she met at the shelter as the basis for her characters, she  began writing stories about a goofy pack of mixed breed mutts and the challenges they faced. The stories are  designed to give children the chance to experience and discuss emotional skills in engaging and entertaining ways.

To dates there are three CritterKin books with number four and five on the way. Each of the books focuses on one of  the  dogs and its unique challenges. For example, Ricky Bobby is paralyzed and has special needs; Lance is a big  black pit bull who deals with fear and prejudice; and Newton is a senior coping with growing old. Collectively, the books are known as theCritterKin Tales.

Project based learning activities, based on each of the themes in the books, have also been developed for use in 1 – 6 grade classrooms. These are designed to give children a chance to practice emotional and traditional skills in real world settings. The newest CritterKin tale is The Not Perfect Hat Club (NPHC) . To learn more about the NPHC, please visit:

Jena can be found blogging at and on Twitter @Jenaiamorane

BevLaddBeverly Ladd teaches second grade for the New Hanover County Schools district in North Carolina. An experienced global educator, Beverly’s firsthand experience as a Skype Master teacher has shown her how global connections allow students to become more aware of their world and appreciate one another’s differences. Beverly just completed a 24-hour Skype-a-thon, the second of its kind in the world, and first of its kind in the Northern Hemisphere. Beverly is passionate about sharing and collaborating with teachers globally as well as integrating technology to extend learning and build relationships. blog: Twitter: @bevladd



Marty in HatAn Emmy Award-winning producer, Keltz was the co-founder and president of Scholastic Productions, Inc. (1978-1995) and a Senior Vice-President in charge of New Media at Scholastic Inc., the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books. He led the teams that created The Magic School Bus on PBS, The Indian In the Cupboard, and The Babysitters Club feature films, home videos for Clifford The Big Red Dog, and more than 300 hours of television programming.
As a media producer in both the U.S. and Canada, he has worked with documentary filmmakers, visual effects companies, global brands, the Discovery Channel, and the Alliance Atlantis “Lifetime Channel for a series with True Entertainment on Doctors Without Borders. Early in his career, as publisher of Media & Methods magazine, he broke new ground with a publication for teachers with a focus on quality media products for use in the classroom. As a teacher he brought media into junior high school English classes to teach writing and story development.