The week after the launch of Talk About Touch, the Village of Akiak, Alaska, invited Sandra Kleven to keynote
their annual Education Summit. Kleven also signed books at the Bethel Library and met with many local leaders.
She was interviewed on KYUK radio.
Talk About Touch was published in 2012 by Illumination Arts, Inc. This company has a history
of prevention work as publisher of The Right Touch, in 1998. The Right Touch was Kleven's
first book on the topic.
Talk About Touch was launched at the Children's Maltreatment Conference. The Alaska Children's Alliance
hosted a reception in a large suite on the 16th floor. The City of Anchorage spread out below through floor to ceiling
picture windows. Sponsors were recognized and congratulatons shared over long effort now a reality.
Two corporate sponsors are helping to lead the way toward a state-wide prevention campaign that will coincide with the
release of the book. Alaska's Children's Alliance provided the first large commitment to the project. ACA is an
association of Alaska's ten Child Advocacy Centers. These organizations are involved with the forensic interviews that
follow an allegation of sexual abuse. They are scattered geographically across the state. They are the heart of
the services statewide that work to protect children from sexual abuse.
This generous donation was followed by a commitment from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, to send Talk About
Touch to every tribe and school library of the Y-K Delta. The books will be sent with prevention materials.
As plans evolve, training in the villages may be offered. All efforts will coordinate with Governor Sean Parnell's "Choose
Respect" campaign, now leading the way in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
Sponsorship on a personal and corporate level is still being solicited. Specific goals are being developed that
will multiply the impact of every dollar given.
~ Sandy Kleven, LCSW
In January of 2012, Kleven was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The nominations are based on poems published
in Stone Boat in Sheboygan, WI and in F-Magazine of Anchorage, Alaska.
October 20, 2011
Today Patrick delivered the second to last illustration. He is
now working on the final picture with dad and son on the snomachine, heading to grandma's house. Sugar, the dog, is
riding in the sled and howling like a wolf.
We have set a target date
of February 14, 2011 for the launch of TALK ABOUT TOUCH.
Our list of sponsors has
grown to eight.
Today we added Beth Weltner.
I know the rest from memory.
Vivian Faith Prescott,
now of Kodiak, Joan Dewey and Linda Curda of Bethel, Rufus Reese, Bobbi Gibson and Laura Baez formerly of Bethel,
Rebecca Vale of Anchorage.
Thank you. We are
past half-way because of you.
For a fundraiser, I have
created a magnet the size of a business card. It has the first picture, "Dad and son at the table" and it says, "Say no. Get
away. Tell someone." I am offering these for $2. I can probably mail with first class postage - so $2.50 for a
single magnet. I'll work on both a larger magnet and a poster but most of all, consider sponsoring or donating so we
can continue at a brisk pace. Cards on table - one illustration is $100 to Patrick Minock and I am paying as we go. Vivian's
donation detailed below has allowed me to pick up steam. Between the donation and my own out of pocket we will have the next
five pictures down. That will mean nine of the needed sixteen. I am happy to send the entire manuscript to any who ask and
may be able to add it to this page via link. I will add the magnet.
Patrick took the bus across
town to deliver, first the "falling through the ice drawing and then, just days later, he arrived with grandmother giving
Oscar a bath. This is how it happened with THE RIGHT TOUCH. I told the illustrator what I saw in my mind, and she could
produce it. She could see what I envisioned and had the talent to get it on baby - and, as with Patrick surpassing the
image in my head - several times over.
July 22, 2011
WE are four illustrations into
the project. We've been at a standstill since June. Then in July we were able to move ahead, thanks to Vivian
From Vivian Faith Prescott, poet and writer
Vivian is a recipient of the Jason Wenger Memorial Award. Jason was a student in
the Creative Writing MFA Program. He was murdered in December of 2006, by a troubled strange, who shot him while he
was warming up his car one morning. He was my friend. The UAA Low Residency Program in Creative Writing award several
students each year from a fund set up as a memorial. Vivian was one of three students selected this year. I recieved
an email a few days later. Vivian wrote to say she was giving half the award to support Talk About Touch: Alaska a
book for children that I am struggling to get into print. I am working with the wonderful native artist, Patrick Minock
and stay current with him paying him the price he deserves for every drawing. With this money, we will have eight of
sixteen drawings completed. See some of the first drawings, here.
I am writing to express my appreciation at receiving the Jason Wenger Award. I
am honored and proud to be stand with the others. I've decided to donate half of my Jason Wenger Award money to the children's
book Talk About Touch: Alaska being developed by program graduate, Sandy Kleven. The money will help with the cost of the
illustrations. I want to make this donation an extension of the Jason Wenger Award, reaching further to do good in the world
as Jason would have done. I also want to communicate how important it is to support our fellow MFA students. This award
was created response to a tragedy to assure that Jason’s memory was associated with recognized literary achievement.
Passing on a part of the award to this high purpose – the prevention of child sexual abuse – seems yet another
you so much, Vivian. I meet with the artist tomorrow. With great affection! Sandy
March 30, 2011
(above)is the first illustration,
drawn by Patrick Minock,
Alaska Native artist
from a village on the Yukon.
went to his Anchorage home,
evening and saw the
drawing for the first time.
From this date, forward,
Patrick Minock will be working with me
bring the words to life.
Seventy-five individuals and organizations have expressed interest in supporting this
project. They will help us carry this project through its birthing... as a book in hand, a book in homes, throughout
Alaska - and in other Indigenous communities.
We are raising money to pay the artist and to 1) propose the project to an agency or
publisher; 2) Or do an on demand web-based publication. Whatever the final choice, Talk About Touch will be in
the hands of the reader, within the year.
April 26 - 2nd illustration
Below, is the second picture for Talk About
Touch. Again, I went to Patrick's home. At least the drive in was free of snow. Water standing in puddles
created some challenges but once inside I sat with Patrick's two daughters, their boyfriends and two babies, while Patrick and I made plans for the third drawing,
which will include the whole
Picked up the fish camp illustration.
Received donations from
Joan Dewey and Linda Curda of Bethel. The forth illustration was finished. The dog, "Sleepy" under
June 15, 2011
I am in a holding pattern
waiting for decisions about sponsorship from Tundra Woman's Coalition and Alaska Native Justice Center. Patrick
calls every few days to check but I can't ask for more drawings until I have some support from the community.
Below, find a representation of the original format for the story. Since the 1980's, this tool for sexual abuse
prevention has been available in a four page, 8.5 x 11 format, printed on card stock. More than a thousand copies have
been sold and several regional health corporations have purchased the rights to reproduce it in their regions.
is the problem -- TALK ABOUT TOUCH is a story for young children -- ages 3 -- 8. There is too much text unsupported
by pictures to adequately engage young children. It was originally written to be published as a story book, but to date,
this is the only version available.
Since finishing my MFA in Creative Writing, I have been
able to re-double my efforts to 1) find the right illustrator and 2) to find the right publisher. In this case, the
illustrator holds a key to captivating the right publisher.
The development fund for TALK
ABOUT TOUCH will assure that the illustrator is paid as the work is produced. If no publisher steps forward, then
it will be a relatively easy step to publish the book independently.
Talk About Touch is sexual abuse prevention story set in a Native village. A native father talks to his son
about touching problems and what to do if anyone tries to touch him in ways that make him uncomfortable. The situation
is applied to girls as well. The father gives examples of other unsafe situations and helps the child understand that
his warning feelings will help him to be safe. Examples are given of times when such touching is okay -- such as when
changing a baby's diapers. But if there is no good reason, the father advises his child to get away from the situation as
soon as they can and tell a trusted grownup about what happened.
This story was written in 1985. It has been reviewed by experts in the field and
by the cultural experts of Alaska -- the Native people themselves. Several thousand copies have been distributed throughout
the state since then.
regional organizations have purchased the reproduction rights to Talk About Touch (some under different names as
we worked to find one that avoided confusion with other publications).
As the author of this story, it is my goal to see it published in a multi-page format
- a picture book - published independently or with a motivated publisher. The issue is great concern in Alaska where
the number of children sexually abused far exceeds that of other states.
If you would support this transformation, please consider a donation or sponsorship.
Meanwhile, I will continue
to offer limited rights to reproduce, Talk About Touch, in the original four page format. $100 is the charge.
All such payments support the development of the picture book version.
Sandra Kleven, LCSW
Sandy Kleven is also the author of
The Right Touch: A Read-Aloud Story to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse. This is a 32 page, large format, hard bound book with full color illustrations by the artist, Jody Bergsma. Copies
of The Right Touch, signed by the author, are available
Holding Our Own
Sandra L Kleven, LCSW
writer, poet, clinician, filmmaker
Children's Behavioral Health
Consultation and Training
3978 Defiance Street
Anchorage, Alaska 99504
907 332 6735