Re-vision the Holidays with Giving Tuesday & littleBLUEPRINT | W.O.R.D. Ink
Ms. Ziff always pushed me to do my best, and never let me slack off.  She introduced me to my love of writing and gave me the confidence I needed both academically and in myself.Georgia 9th Grade, The Buckley School
The skills Vanessa taught my son--particularly the value of revising many times […] attention to detail, and high standards—are still with Nico several years later.Liz McNicoll, Attorney, Paramount Pictures
Vanessa Ziff Lasdon possesses the dynamic combination of an incisive intellect and boundless passion when it comes to teaching her craft and sharing skills with her students.MaryLynn Richmond
What our daughter values most about her time in Vanessa's class is being inspired to become an organized writer who could convey her thoughts in a meaningful manner.Laurie and Chris Harbert
Whether it’s teaching a student to become a more vivid creative writer, a more effective analytical writer, or a more selective business writer, Vanessa can do it all.Meli and Stephen Rose

Vanessa is an outstanding writer and a joy to work with.

Aimee Trudeau, Web Developer,
Vanessa’s vast skills, complete dedication, and clear purpose construct a solid core for every student she teaches. Her passionate nature produces both a fun and rewarding learning experience.Michele Noble, Director, Writer, Filmmaker
Ms. Ziff is always organized, resourceful, and ready for anything. She believes in a process, [...] the best of all being the Ms. Ziff approach, which makes her spectacular.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
I learned as much from teaching with Vanessa as any of her students under her guidance. Where so many others fall back on old tricks, Vanessa taps into her extensive experience to invent new methodologies for each and every one of her clients.Patrick Kieffer, Fifth Grade – English & History, The Packer Collegiate Institute
All of us remember teachers who inspired us to greater heights and who influenced our lives. Vanessa Ziff Lasdon has played this role in my daughters' lives.Jack Tauber, M.D.
Ms. Ziff set the foundation for my analytical, constructive, and creative skills. Whether writing a sonnet or writing an essay, I still have her lessons in my mind.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
My son learned more about writing and literary appreciation from Ms. Ziff in fifth grade than in any other year of school. I wish all teachers had Vanessa’s passion for teaching and inspiring!Kim Ford
Vanessa’s greatest ability is to help each student realize his or her own untapped potential. It’s the stuff that changes lives!Jacqueline Frohlich
Ms. Ziff’s friendly demeanor and enthusiasm made communicating easy and learning exciting. She taught us to understand and appreciate the material, and have fun in the process.Alivia 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Having an eight-year old highly gifted boy was not enough to make him put all those brilliant ideas on paper. Daniel feels constantly challenged by Vanessa and that ignites him.Liliana Benitez
Vanessa is a true master of her craft. She is a blast to work with, completely trustworthy and utterly authentic. To work with Vanessa is a privilege; you just want to soak up all her talent, and bottle it up for yourself! She is an inspiration.Sarina Fierro, Head of Lower Elementary, Curtis School
Vanessa’s methods are creative, thorough and innovative. She makes writing fun and has turned our daughter’s “like” of writing into a true “LOVE”.The Altmans
It's obvious that Vanessa is a wordsmith: "Write. Observe. Revise. Discover...W.O.R.D."  These are the four essential ingredients for becoming a writer; two of them about the work (writing and revising) and two of them about the joy (observing and discovering.) Vanessa accomplishes it all.  Julie Larios, award-winning poet and children’s author
Vanessa transformed our son Josh from a decent writer into an excellent writer.  We wholeheartedly recommend Vanessa and her ability to draw out the best in your child’s writing ability.Jill and Larry Krutchik
I know that the many fun and challenging lessons I’ve learned from Ms. Ziff will help me achieve my goal of one day being a professional writer and filmmaker.Jaren S. 7th Grade, The Buckley School
Vanessa is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. She’s extremely organized, communicates ideas effectively, helps motivate, and has a lively, engaging teaching style that brings out the best efforts in all of her students.Howard Tager
Vanessa is high-energy smarts and charm, the kind of writer and teacher who captures and captivates readers of all ages.New York Times bestselling author, Cynthia Leitich Smith
Ms. Ziff is definitely not just my teacher and tutor; she is my mentor.Lexi 7th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Vanessa captured the essence of what I wanted to relay on my site without sounding trite, unlike my experience with previous writers.Martin Pugh, Musician
Ms. Vanessa has challenged me to stretch my writing and I am excited for what I will do next.Evan, 3rd Grade
Vanessa got my 8-year old son excited and intrigued to dig deeper into his experiences and bring his thoughts to life. Now Evan’s words dance and sing, which makes me want to dance and sing!Sally Micelotta
I honestly don’t know what kind of a writer and reader I would be without the tools I learned with Ms. Ziff. She was always a very understanding, rigorous, and involved teacher, and an incredible mentor.Maddie 9th Grade, Marlborough School
While we continue to be impressed by Vanessa’s many attributes, it is her high energy level, extraordinary patience, and passion for what she does that make her truly unique.Melissa and Rob Weiler
The writing skills my daughter, now excelling in ninth grade English Honors, left Vanessa’s class with continue to be an invaluable set of resources.Betsy Leva
Vanessa has a gift for inspiring even the most reluctant writer and her passion for writing is infectious. She is a favorite workshop leader at our Young Writers’ Conferences.Julie Moore & Rena Svetic, Young Writers’ Conference Founders
Ms. Ziff maintains a good balance of knowing when to give more help and when to insist that you rise to the challenge of the learning situation. She instills confidence, honors excellence, and respects effort.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake

Re-vision the Holidays with Giving Tuesday &

Guest post co-written by W.O.R.D. Ink team members, Jaya Mukherjee & Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

Jaya Mukherjee Vanessa Ziff Lason

I love the revision process because in writing and life, to revise our process can signify more about us than the art we create. The challenge we must pose to ourselves is to revisit something familiar with completely new eyes. Whether it’s an essay, a facet of our own identity, or our perspective on the world, if we approach revision with an open mind, the process can be an opportunity of discovery and exploration. I find this notion of revision to be particularly pertinent during the holiday season.

Giving Tuesday littleBLUEPRINT

As a child, I could barely contain my anticipation of the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas were thrilling opportunities to eat to my heart’s content, get exactly what I recorded on a wish list, break free from homework, and spend time with family. In retrospect, I’m regretful of my limited perspective. As an adult who is responsible for the educational, social, and moral betterment of children, I think it’s important for students to approach the holidays with a mindset that has space for compassion and philanthropy along with the turkey and the presents. If the holiday season is truly meant to be about family, tradition, and generosity of spirit, then we are all responsible for providing kids with opportunities to expand their outlook. Why not kickstart a revision of the holidays with Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday long

Hot off the heels of Black Friday’s mad dash and Cyber Monday’s shopping spree, Giving Tuesday is an international day of generosity and “unselfies” devoted to the true spirit of the holiday season. Giving Tuesday is a movement in which hundreds of organizations, corporations, non-profits, celebrities and leaders have teamed up to promote charitable giving. Individuals participate by engaging in charitable events or sending donations to their favorite causes. By participating with our families in Giving Tuesday, we offer kids the chance to revise their perception of the holiday season. Working in soup kitchens, volunteering on community projects, or donating clothes to homeless shelters, children can make room for a spirit of charity and generosity.


Moreover, Giving Tuesday allows for a sense of personal connection to acts of contribution. Many of our nation’s greatest struggles seem like faceless, insurmountable afflictions to children and students. By participating in Giving Tuesday, we are showing kids concrete ways that they can make a difference while building a sense of community responsibility. We are also teaching them to consider the needs, wants and hardships of others in a solution-oriented way. We can help our kids connect giving and charity with power and self-awareness. 


In the same spirit of empowerment and compassion,’s personalized and ready-made children’s books offer families an avenue to tackle tricky issues such as loss, divorce, and holiday celebration. Founded by attorney and writer turned “momtrepreneur,” Katherine Eskovitz, littleBLUEPRINTs guide children to make a plan or blueprint for themselves – how they will celebrate their holidays, cope with their parents’ separation, or express their sadness and anger in times of loss.

blog2 “To Celebrate the Holidays, I Have a Plan” promotes great values for kids that take our national holidays beyond materialism. This particular littleBLUEPRINT explores community, gratitude, love, tradition, family, and leadership.
littleBLUEPRINT’s approach to holiday celebration is all about reflection and giving back. Suggesting that kids make their celebrations memorable and special by creating cards, poems, and drawings for the people they love not only honors a spirit of generosity but also presents the holiday season to children as a time to celebrate themselves, their loved ones, and the world around them.


Suggestions on how to celebrate


A plan for the holiday

“To Celebrate the Holidays, I Have a Plan” challenges children to be agents of change: After introducing more altruistic elements of the holidays, this particular littleBLUEPRINT asks children to construct a plan on what they will do to make their holiday memorable for themselves and others. challenges our kids to consider themselves in the context of others and take action in making the holiday memorable. 

littleBLUEPRINT’s Have A Plan series is the gift that keeps on giving, long past the holiday season. 

Different "I Have A Plan" ready-made and personalized book options by littleBLUEPRINT

Different “I Have A Plan” ready-made and personalized book options by littleBLUEPRINT

  • Topics Address Important Events in a Child’s Life:  littleBLUEPRINT’s objective is to help children “thrive during life’s challenges and celebrations.” Have A Plan options currently include: sleep, safety, holidays, mourning/death, divorce and separation.
  • Personalized: The author of a littleBLUEPRINT book can truly engage children by making them the heroes of their own stories through the use of family pictures and autobiographical content.
  • Thoughtful, Expert-Endorsed Scripts: With an advisory team of children’s book authors, parents, psychologists and pediatricians, story narratives skillfully explain the most difficult transitions for children in a way that’s uplifting, thoughtful, and loving. The series is meant to facilitate communication and to teach kids healthy, proactive ways of expressing themselves.
  • Empowering for All Ages: By teaching toddlers and teens alike the skills they need to manage stress, excitement, sadness, fear and uncertainty, kids can have a sense of control in tumultuous times. Have a Plan books are structured to lead to a step-by-step method for how a child or young adult can respond to both good and bad times in their lives.
  • Believes in Kids: They believe that with the right conversations and expectations, students can take ownership of the events in their lives and positively impact the lives of others.


STARTING TODAY with GIVING TUESDAY, let’s provide our kids and teens with opportunities and the foundational skill set to contribute to their many communities in meaningful, empowering ways. A book from is a profound method of not only deconstructing hardship and celebration, but also of building coping and leadership skills in our children.

Join W.O.R.D. Ink in re-visioning the holidays with Giving Tuesday & A child’s life is his or her own unfolding story. Show them how to be their own hero. 


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