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March 17, 2014 / maxpproductions

George Jackson Academy Career Day

George Jackson Academy 4th Grade(March 14, 2014) Career Day at the George Jackson Academy in New York City was, hands down, one of the best days ever. Two years ago I visited the school as an Author and read the children’s book Max the Shelter Dog to the then fourth graders. It was the most delightful reading I have ever done and still holds number one in my heart. The children, who are now in the sixth grade, were, and still are, intelligent, compassionate, attentive, inquisitive and have a genuine love for learning.

Although I visited the George Jackson Academy in a different capacity this time around for the purpose of sharing with the students my career as a children’s book publisher, I found the same amount of enthusiasm and love of learning and pure intellect that I experienced the first time I visited. The George Jackson Academy, a private school, is clearly doing something right in that the students are consistent in their demonstration of respect for their fellow brothers, for the adults who share their knowledge and they all have a huge respect for the joy of learning and the benefits it holds for their future.

During my hour and a half with both 4th and 5th graders I was met with questions like; Do you appreciate your job? What would you be doing if you weren’t a publisher? Was Max a real dog? Do you like when editors take a chunk of stuff out of your stories? What does TM stand for?

For me, the most exciting part was when they answered my questions, some of which most would consider the answers unknown to 4th and 5th graders such as; What does copyright mean and why is it important? What does the word publishing mean? What is a promotional item? What is the importance of a promotional item to a company? What does marketing mean? What are different ways a company goes about marketing their products/services? From these questions you can see why I am so impressed by the students at the George Jackson Academy as they all eagerly raised their hands and answered correctly. I have no doubt that all of the students who attend this school now and in the future will meet the world with great success and prosperity. They already hold it in their minds and hearts and will go further than most in life.

Needless to say, I hope to one day return to the George Jackson Academy and share in the future of these intelligent young men.

Max P. Productions is a children’s book publisher focused on empowering children through story. The information in this article is copyright 2014 Max P. Productions. Use of this article in part or in whole must be granted by Max P. Productions. Please contact us at cs at maxpproductions dot com if you wish to use the content in this article. Thank you.

October 30, 2013 / maxpproductions

5 Household Items You Can Donate to Your Local Animal Shelter

5 Household Items You Can Donate to Your Local Animal ShelterEveryone has something in their closet or kitchen cabinets or even under their bed that they can donate to their local animal shelter. This is a great list for those who do not have animals in their home.

If you love animals and want to help, here are 5 household items you can donate today:

1. Paper towels

2. All size batteries

3. Light bulbs

4. Old blankets and towels

5. Laundry detergent

I am sure you have one or even all of the above items sitting in your home, so hop to it and get those goodies over to your local animal shelter. The staff will be glad you dropped by.

Max P. Productions is a children’s book publisher focused on empowering children through story. The information in this article is copyright 2013 Max P. Productions. Use of this article in part or in whole must be granted by Max P. Productions. Please contact us at cs at maxpproductions dot com if you wish to use the content in this article. Thank you.

August 7, 2013 / maxpproductions

Understanding Financial Statements: The Fundraiser Approach to Cash Flow Part III

The Fundraiser Approach to Cash Flow

The Fundraiser Approach to Cash Flow

This article is the third of a three part series that helps explain the basic concepts, in a fun easy way, of a cash flow statement of a business. It is geared towards children but anyone can benefit. The idea is to keep it to the basics.

In my first article on financial statements, I talked about how a profit and loss statement can be looked at as a pizza pie. In my second article, I talked about how understanding a balance sheet is like knowing what’s in your cookie jar. In this third article, I talk about cash flow. It’s like selling chocolate bars for your school!

Cash flow is simply the deposits of your business put into a bank account and payments made out of your bank account. It is the movement of cash in and out of a bank account over a period of time.

Let us say you are given the task of raising cash for your school during the months of July through September because they want to buy new sports equipment for after school programs. You have to go door to door in your neighborhood and ask people if they would like to buy chocolate bars. Some will say yes and pay you now even though it will take 12 weeks before the chocolate bars arrive. Others will say yes but promise to pay when the chocolate bars arrive.

When your chocolate bar fundraising is over, you have successfully secured $400 in sales, $200 was paid in cash and $200 are promises to pay later in 12 weeks when the chocolate bars arrive. But wait; now you have to order the chocolate bars and pay for them now! The chocolate bars cost $250. This is your cash flow in July:

  • Beginning cash =  $0
  • Cash received = $200
  • Cash spent = -$250
  • Balance = -$50

You have negative cash flow which means you are not taking in enough cash to cover what you spent. In the meantime, if you look at your financial statement it looks like this:

  • Income =  $400
  • Cost of chocolate bars = $250
  • Profit for school = $150

How can you have a $150 profit but have a negative cash balance? This is why cash flow is important because many businesses cannot cover their costs because they did not collect all the money owed to them when they made a sale.

So, what would a young entrepreneur do to solve this? Borrow from mom or dad.

Now the new cash flow is:

  • Beginning cash = $0
  • Cash received = $200
  • Cash spent = -$250
  • Cash left over = -$50
  • Borrowed Cash = +$50
  • Cash balance = $0

So, cash flow identifies how the flow of cash comes in and goes out by the operations and finance activities. Finance activities means you borrowed money or took it from savings from your piggy bank.

Now, it is September and you dropped off all your chocolate bars at the neighbors who ordered them.

They all pay you now for what is owed for the chocolate bars. You then turn around and pay mom or dad back.

This is your statement of cash flow activity from July through September:

  • Beginning cash = $0
  • Cash received July = $200
  • Cash spent July = -$250
  • Borrowed cash July = +$50
  • Cash received Sept. = $200
  • Pay mom or dad back = -$50
  • Cash balance = $150

Now, your cash balance is the profit you made back in July. All the money came in. I hope this explains cash flow. It can get much more complex than the example but keeping the concepts easy fun and simple is the best way.

Till next time…  

We hope you enjoyed our 3-part series on financial statements. If you have any questions, please let us know. We’re happy to help! And stay tuned, we will have more easy, fun, and simple articles on finances coming up soon.

If you want to revisit part I and II of our three part series click the following: Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet.

Max P. Productions is a children’s book publisher focused on empowering children through story. The information in this article is copyright 2013 Max P. Productions. Use of this article in part or in whole must be granted by Max P. Productions. Please contact us at cs at maxpproductions dot com if you wish to use the content in this article. Thank you.

July 30, 2013 / maxpproductions

Understanding Financial Statements: The Cookie Jar Approach to Balance Sheets Part II

The Cookie Jar Approach to Balance Sheets

The Cookie Jar Approach to Balance Sheets

This article is the second of a three part series that helps explain the basic concepts, in a fun easy way, of a balance sheet of a business. It is geared towards children but anyone can benefit. The idea is to keep it to the basics.

In my first article on financial statements I talked about how a profit and loss statement can be looked at as a pizza pie. A few slices here and a few there lead to expenses and the slices left over were your profit.

The next fundamental for any business, big or small, is the balance sheet. A balance sheet is a snapshot of a businesses or a persons financial health at a certain point in time. Understanding the balance sheet is like knowing what’s in your cookie jar.

For decades, before computers, people would organize their money by placing certain amounts in cookie jars to save up for different expenses and for a rainy day emergency. To this day it is a very effective and simple tool to organize your money.

For instance, if you earned $100 a week you would place $50 in one cookie jar to save up for your monthly house payment. Then you would put another $20 aside in another cookie jar to save up for groceries. Then you would put $10 aside in another cookie jar to save for utilities and miscellaneous items. At this point you would have $20 left over (that’s $100-$50-$20-$10). Most people would take $10 and put it in the fourth jar to save for an unexpected expense or to save for a very large purchase like a car. The rest of the money, $10, would be the money you would carry in your pocket for everyday expenses and entertainment. The fifth jar you would keep your car keys or house keys for safe keeping so you don’t lose them. The final and sixth jar, you would keep your bills; anything you owed to the grocery store, utilities, etc.

Now, if you wanted to see what you are worth, simply add up what is in all the jars including the value of your car ($3,000) and house ($10,000) represented by the keys in the jar. Let’s see, cash is $50+$20+$10+$10 plus fixed assets worth $3,000+$10,000 totals, $13,090. On a balance sheet cash is simply cash of $90 dollars. A car and house are known as fixed assets ($13,000) because it is not money but it is permanent. They are not for immediate sale. A fixed asset can be machinery, equipment, furniture, house or land.

So, now we total all our cash and fixed assets and that represents our total assets of $13,090. But are you worth or valued for this much? No. You might owe money to a bank or your friend or the local vendor.

To find your real net worth or net value, you need to subtract all your current liabilities (things you owe) such as phone bills and grocery store bills. Let’s say that totals $500.  You then need to subtract what you owe on your car, for ex. $1,000, and what you owe on your house, for ex. $5,000. In total your liabilities or what you owe is $6,500.

So here is how it looks:

Cash (cookie jars) – $90

Fixed asset-car (cookie jar) – $3,000

Fixed asset-house (cookie jar) – $10,000

Total Assets (all jars) – $13,090

Then you subtract your bills – $6,500

And your net worth = $6,590

So the simple way to remember a balance sheet is A = L + C which stands for assets = liabilities + capital. This simply tells you what your value of all the things you own, less liabilities (or expenses) and what is left over is your capital or net worth. This, by the way, only is a point in time snapshot. These numbers can change on a daily basis.

I hope the cookie jar approach helps you understand the simplicity in a balance sheet. The more capital or net worth you have is good! You can have a lot of assets but if you owe a lot of bills, you do not have a lot of net worth.

My next article coming up will explain cash flow. Profit and loss statements show what you earn after all expenses. A balance sheet shows what your value is and what assets you have. Cash flow shows you at what times you get your money into your account and when you pay out that money.

Til next time…

To everyone out there, get started figuring out your personal balance sheet. How are you doing? Let us know!

And if you want to revisit part I of our three part series – Profit and Loss Statement – click here.

Max P. Productions is a children’s book publisher focused on empowering children through story. The information in this article is copyright 2013 Max P. Productions. Use of this article in part or in whole must be granted by Max P. Productions. Please contact us at cs at maxpproductions dot com if you wish to use the content in this article. Thank you.

July 19, 2013 / maxpproductions

Understanding Financial Statements is as Easy as Eating a Pizza Pie! Part I

Financial Statements: As Easy As Eating A Pizza Pie!

Financial Statements: As Easy As Eating A Pizza Pie!

The way I see finance statements a child can understand; easy, fun, and simple!

After spending 25 years in finance and business management, I have finally been asked by a colleague: How do you explain financial statements and estimating profit to a child? I laughed out loud because I thought it would be difficult to explain to an adult let alone a child!

This article is one of a three part series that helps explain the basic concepts, in a fun easy way, of a profit and loss statement (income statement), a balance sheet and cash flow. It is geared towards children but anyone can benefit. The idea is to keep it to the basics.

I did a bit of soul searching myself since I actually did not have formal training in financial statement preparation. I learned on the job all by experience. I am a creative at heart but I also had a flair for visualizing numbers. This process goes back to when I was ten years old and a young movie fanatic. I used to look up the grosses for Hollywood movies, in the newspapers and then proceed to figure out what the producer would take home as his profit.

So let’s say the newspaper said a movie earned 500 million at the box office as an example.  I learned that the theater took approximately 30% of the gross box office. So at ten years old, I saw in my mind a Pizza pie with 10 slices. The theater owner took 3 slices which equates to 3/10 or 30%. Then I learned through reading, the distributor of the movie takes approximately 40% of the gross box office. So now that is 4 more slices of pizza out of 10 which equates to 4/10 or 40%. Add those two expenses together and you now have 7 slices out of 10 that are your expenses before you see a dollar into your bank account. So 7 slices from 10 leaves 3 slices left or 30% out of 100%. I realized at a young age numbers can seem big but broken down it is easy to understand.

I also realized huge grosses or “big numbers” doesn’t mean you will be rich. For the producer who invested 125 million and grossed 500 million at the box office, after the 7 slices taken out of the box he is left with 3 or 30%. 30% of 500 million is 150 million.  Take the 150 million and subtract his cost of making the movie and he made 25 million. Now that is a lot of money but investing 125 million and getting back 25 million is a big risk. The producer could have put that money in stocks and earned the same amount without the risk of a box office bomb. His return on investment was 20%. That is 25/125.

So for financials, don’t let the jargon scare you. Break it down into pizza slices. We all understand 3 slices out of 10 slices will fill you a little bit but you will be hungry for dinner.

Continued: Next article will be on the fundamentals of a balance sheet and what it means.

To everyone out there, get started figuring out the profit and loss statement of your favorite company by following the example given above. Let us know how you do! And when you’re done, read part II of our three part series – Balance Sheets – by clicking here.

Max P. Productions is a children’s book publisher focused on empowering children through story. The information in this article is copyright 2013 Max P. Productions. Use of this article in part or in whole must be granted by Max P. Productions. Please contact us at cs at maxpproductions dot com if you wish to use the content in this article. Thank you.

July 18, 2013 / maxpproductions

Ann-Marie Krahel – Humane Educator and Business Owner

Ann-Marie Krahel and Shelter Animal From SAVE

Ann-Marie Krahel and Shelter Animal From SAVE

I first met Ann-Marie in 2011 when she contacted me about our book “Max the Shelter Dog.” She was reading the book to a group of children at a camp in New Jersey ranging in age from 5 – 16 and wanted to give each of them a copy after she finished reading. Since that time we have remained good friends.

 

I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation for this interview. I was eager to find out how she began in rescue, her work with children and about her company and how she manages to stay on top of them all and remain excited about what she does every day.

 

How did you get your start in animal rescue?

 

Around 2005, I was working at a job I didn’t really enjoy. I saw an ad for a Humane Educator in a local paper, and I applied. I always seem happiest when I’m with kids and animals.

SAVE Animal Shelter

SAVE Animal Shelter

 

Growing up, were you always interested in working with animals?

 

I hadn’t always thought about working with them, but I always loved the dogs in my home. There’s some old 8mm video my father shot of me walking around with our little schnauzer, Dandy. I looked so happy. I think the reason I didn’t see myself as an advocate for animals in need is because I didn’t know there were needy animals! I had a sheltered upbringing, and I wish there had been more humane educators back then to increase awareness.

  

Being that you work in the classroom, what is your overall take on what children think about how we adults are dealing with our homeless animals? Do they have any suggestions for us?

 

Kids don’t mince words. While they don’t have a lot of influence in the real world, they’re a lot more perceptive than we give them credit for. It’s a very simple thing not to hurt a dog; I think a lot of their amazement comes from the idea that not everyone thinks that way.

 

Casey, a rescue dog from SAVE

Casey, a rescue dog from SAVE

Do you find any correlation between working with children and working with animals given that both are compassionate at their core?

 

I think that children have a natural affinity for animals for exactly that reason. Just as pit bulls only become fighters when they’re bred that way, children only lose their compassion when they’re raised to be mean. It’s a wonderful thing to see them interact, and it helps increase understanding for everyone involved.

 

In your work with children, do you see a better future for our animals with them as our future leaders?

 

I can only hope. For all my idealism, I know that I’m just one person and there are only so many people I can reach. Still, the ideal is to have compassionate people in positions of influence, and we’ll never get there if we don’t try and try often.

 

You started Just Paws Pet Nannies, LLC, a pet sitting company in Hillsborough, NJ. What made you start your company?

Just Paws Pet Nannies, LLC

Just Paws Pet Nannies, LLC

 

It was a natural extension of my work with SAVE. SAVE gets a lot of repeat business by maintaining good relationships with its adoptees’ owners, and we’d often get calls asking for a pet sitter. I decided I would enjoy spending more time with cats and dogs (because I’m a little crazy, I think!) It works quite well, actually; I do more humane education during the school year, but I have free time during the summer and winter, which are times that coincide with many of my clients’ vacations.

 

You’re doing so many things, what drives you to work as a Humane Educator, and run your own business all at once?

 

I couldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. I’m honestly quite happy that I get to spend my days doing little things to make lives better. It’s occasionally tiring, of course. There are times when I don’t want to hear another bark or yip for a month! Always, though, when you see a pair of eyes that are thrilled to see yours, it becomes worthwhile.

 

What is on the horizon for you? Any future plans?

 

I’m busy enough as is! I think I’ve hit a good place, job-wise. Even if I hit the lottery, I don’t think I’d stop doing exactly what I do, and I’d call that success.

 

We’d call that success, too! Thank you, Ann-Marie for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. It was a pleasure getting to know you better.

 

If you’re in the New Jersey area and are looking for a passionate dedicated Pet Sitter please visit Just Paws Pet Nannies, LLC and if you’re looking to welcome a furry friend into your home check out SAVE Animal Shelter.

 

Max P. Productions is a children’s book publisher focused on empowering children through story. The information in this interview is copyright 2013 Max P. Productions. Use of this interview in part or in whole must be granted by Max P. Productions. Please contact us at cs at maxpproductions dot com if you wish to use the content in this interview. Thank you.

July 9, 2013 / maxpproductions

3 Fun Creative Thinking Projects To Do With Your Kids

3 Fun Creative Thinking Projects To Do With Your Kids

There are a myriad of definitions for the term Creative Thinking floating around on the web. We like to keep things at Max P. Productions easy, fun, and simple, so our definition is quite simple. Creative Thinking is having fun with your brain in new and exciting ways; it’s putting a spin on something ordinary and making it extraordinary; it’s opening your mind, letting go, and having fun with your thoughts and allowing them to run wild.

Children are pros at creative thinking. There’s not much we can say or do to get them to be more creative than they already are. They are innately open to allowing themselves to run wild with their thoughts. As adults, we see it every day, whether we’re passing by a playground, on a train, in a car glancing over at the vehicle beside us and witnessing a child in the window making silly faces, or whether we’re a parent watching our child do the oddest things. It all begins in their brain.

With that said, we have come up with three easy, fun, and simple creative thinking projects you can do with your kids just in case you want to stir things up around the house even more:

  1. Write and illustrate a story! You can use a note pad or construction paper. Keep it simple; the more non-traditional the materials, the better! Give them three random words and have them come up with a story utilizing those three words then let them draw it out. You can even have them take it a step further and have them act out their story!
  2. Read your child their favorite bedtime story or a new one.  Before you get to the end of the story, ask them to come up with their own ending. Let them imagine the outcome then read the author’s ending and see how they compare. Discuss the storyline and how your child would change things.
  3. Create a mini-scavenger hunt in your house.  Each clue you make can be in the form of a riddle or a rhyme, which will make them have to really think about where the next clue is.

There are an endless amount of things you can do to get your child to think creatively. The three above are just the beginning. Do you have any suggestions? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.


Happy Creative Thinking!

Max P. Productions is a children’s book publisher focused on empowering children through story. The information in this article is copyright 2013 Max P. Productions. Use of this article in part or in whole must be granted by Max P. Productions. Please contact us at cs at maxpproductions dot com if you wish to use the content in this article. Thank you.

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