Why I Can Charge $1,086.99 for My E-book!

Leafing through the pages of a magazine Taste of Life delivered for free to my front door, I am shocked at the cost of items featured.

A Lora Piana cardigan sells for US $3,195 (a sweater!):

Lora Piana cardigan

One piece of Berluti Scritto luggage goes for $8, 950 (are you kidding?):


A Pallas pant is offered at $1,884!


I should know better, since design houses such as Gucci, Versace, and labels represented by celebrities seem to thrive even in economic downturns. I’m completely amazed that people are willing to pay SO much for products they’ll likely throw out when the season is over to make way for any new status symbol. Products that are manufactured for a mere fraction of their retail value. (I know it’s all about adding the cost of branding, marketing, publicity, corporate money and return on investment.)

And the public falls for it. it seems the more expensive an item is, the greater the draw.

So…I have given much thought to these disposable products and compared them to the timely and timeless information offered to parents, teachers and students in my book Grading the Teacher. Originally published by Penguin Books, it’s now a revised e-book including an updated report card evaluating teachers, available in most electronic formats:

Grading_teacher_frontresized to 400

Years in development based on my experience as teacher, as parent of four now adult children with a wide range of school experiences, and as adult university student, Grading the Teacher incorporated research and questionnaire results sent by parents and educators at all levels from coast to coast. When published, the book was extensively featured by media and received accolades from parents, teachers and school administrators world-wide, including the following:

“For parents who want advice on how to become involved in their child’s schooling, this …can open the door …A valuable tool in the hands of educators who want to do some self study.” Beverly Brenna, The StarPhoenix

“I am extremely impressed .. Teachers and well as others, particularly parents have much to gain from what is written.” Dr. Lois Harrison-Jones. Former: Superintendent of Schools in Richmond, VA and in Boston, MA; Associate Clinical Professor of Howard University School of Education; Educational Consultant of Harcourt-Brace School Publishers; President of National Alliance of Black School Educators

“What I need to do, and again I invite you to do the same, is to examine my teaching from the framework of perspectives described by Nellie Jacobs in her book ‘Grading the Teacher.’” Adam Simpson. Sabancı University, Istanbul/Turkey. Award winning teacher and blogger: http://www.teachthemenglish.com/2013/10/contemplating-who-i-am-as-a-teacher-plans-for-professional-development/

The fact that Grading the Teacher became a bestseller, reached readers around the globe, and offered parents, teachers and students good guidance and support for years, I’ve come to the conclusion that pricing this revised, updated e-book for $1,086.99 may be too cheap…

Read more rave reviews and testimonials:


Decide for yourself if the real price is worth it…


Happy New Year!


Tips to Writing a TV Christmas Movie Script

Christmas movies

Confined without visitors to our home for six weeks following our November 25, 2010 kidney donation surgeries (see last post), my husband Paul and I laughed away the time watching every Christmas, Chanukkah, and Chrannukah movie shown on television. For multiple reasons, some of which are truly unexplainable, I got hooked.

Every year since, I re-watch the old ones and capture as many new releases as possible-and there are many. There’s an entire growing Christmas movie production industry employing screenwriters, directors, actors, producers, set designers, etc., some of whom are recycled time and again.

As a wannabee screenwriter, and with my extensive experience as amateur critic, I decided to make good use of my activity by analyzing the commonalities in these movies. In case you, too, want to write such a script, these are some of my findings with a few examples:

Overall impression:

The majority of scripts, characters, and dialogue are really simple. Viewers can be ironing (?), making popcorn, carrying on a phone conversation, vacuuming, or reading a book at the same time. Just turn the volume up.


Potentially include the word “Christmas” or “Santa” or “Merry.”

Examples: One Starry Christmas. An Old Fashioned Christmas. Meet the Santas. Merry Matrimony. For more, click here.

Plot possibilities:

  1. Airport shuts down due to storm. Main character is dumped by boyfriend and escapes, or tries to reach fiancé by Christmas to meet future in-laws or get married, falls in love after a lot of sarcasm and bickering with guy who provides transportation or support. They commit after knowing each other a few days-and having first kissed under mistletoe they accidentally stood under.

Christmas detour

2. Successful single executive, on the verge of promotion/transfer meets magical Santa or dead former boss, or hits head due to fall, awakes transformed to earlier, alternative life as wife/husband and parent with beloved boy/girlfriend s/he left to pursue career.


3. Consultant with boyfriend/fiancé arrives at office or store or office or town in Alaska to overcome major challenge, falls in love with new guy she discovers is really nice and “the” one. Kisses reluctantly occur under mistletoe.

Bride for Christmas

4. Magical Santa stirs pot so everything turns out all right and helps singles find each other so they get married a couple of days later at Christmas or New Year’s Eves.

Miracle on 34th street


  1. Airports and bus terminals shut down, crowded with passengers;

2. Cars or trucks that break down enroute, giving lots of time for arguing and romantic bantering and surreptitious, longing looks;

3. Small out-of-the way town completely devoted to Christmas. (Although in one movie scene I did notice a small town parade with three people dressed as turning dreidels.) Towns are snow-bound, or snowless until the last scene when-lo and behold- snowflakes start falling;

4. Lodges, for skiing, or being renovated, or apparently full (with no other patrons in sight) except for the one remaining bedroom which must be shared by the couple who are still strangers;

Christmas tree decorated

5. Living rooms dominated by tons of decorations no normal person would try to emulate. Christmas trees reaching to ceiling, covered in tinsel, strings of popcorn, ornaments, and angels, and crowned with the special star. Dozens of presents surround the base of the tree, even if there are only two or three characters in the scene.


  1. Female characters wear highest heels on freezing, icy streets.

2. Woolen hats with ear covering and pom poms for secondary characters and extras.

3. Ugly sweaters adorned with Christmas symbolsChristmas sweaters

4. Cocktail wear for office festivity, meeting snooty in-laws, engagement party, bar gathering


  1. Always provide a supportive, wise-cracking side-kick friend or office-mate.

2. Saucy, super sensitive children are a bonus.

3. Parents and family add a bit of depth.

4. Santa, his wife, and elves can feature here and there.

5. Reindeer can be either seen or referred to in dialogue.


1. Have characters discuss , relationships, especially elements of characteristics of any potential “the” one.

2. Add a bit of philosophy here and there.

P.S. Don’t forget to add to the mix sappy (piano?) music, and the group of carolers wandering through neighborhoods.


Please Re-post: Sign Petition for Creation of Living Kidney Donor Candidate Registry

Since my last post/update about our appeal for a kidney/registry, following is some new information.

How YOU Can Help Thousands of People suffering from Kidney Failure

Please support these two new sites:

1. Facebook page:

Facebook Take the Leap Support Registry

Please click here to “Like”: Facebook Take the Leap Now Living Kidney Donor Registry

Recommend anyone who is a donor or recipient to visit it to share their stories!

2. Petition: 


Please click here to sign: Petition to Create a Living Kidney Donor Registry

Forward the link to your networks,

Consider contacting media about featuring the absence of a living donor registry and reasons for its creation.

If you have any suggestions for reaching out, please contact me, and I will follow through.




Dear Family, Friends and Colleagues,

our wedding portraitOn Valentine’s Day in 2011, Paul and I were featured in the National Post newspaper about our love story. The article began, “Who knew when Paul and I met at a cottage closing party on Sept. 30, 1967 we’d be celebrating our 42nd anniversary …a month after our transplant surgeries?”

In early January, 2010 Paul’s kidneys failed as a result of polycystic kidney disease. Since it can be inherited, direct family members were not suitable donors. I volunteered. During the following 11 months Paul underwent dialysis three times a week, five hours each session. Meanwhile, we were each put through a series of tests for compatibility. To our surprise, results indicated my kidneys were an excellent match. On November 25th that year, one of my kidneys was transplanted into Paul—and began working immediately. We thought we were home-free for at least the next 20 years!

Unfortunately, two years ago, our transplanted kidney’s function was compromised by a rare effect of a virus. Since then the outstanding medical staff at the Toronto General Hospital (TGH) has worked diligently to slow down the kidney’s deterioration.

Contrary to wide-spread belief, there is no living kidney donor candidate list in North America.

In Ontario, only when someone goes on dialysis is he or she automatically added to the bottom of a list of recipients who typically have to wait 7–10 years for a kidney from a donor who has died. Up until now, every person whose kidneys fail must find his or her own living kidney donor. Can you imagine being in such a predicament?

I am appealing to you to help us find an extraordinary individual who would be willing to donate a kidney to Paul.

IMG_2294I have never been comfortable asking anyone for anything; however, the time is approaching when my husband may have to go back on dialysis. This would mean being confined three times weekly to a hospital room, attached to a dialysis machine, and restricted to an unhealthy diet. Paul is known throughout the legal and business communities for his professional work and mentorship. For decades, he has volunteered as a leader in community service organizations domestically and internationally. Paul prays to be able to continue his work, and to enjoy the freedom to come and go, our four children, their spouses, grandchildren, relatives, friends and colleagues.

Recently, a successful media appeal for donors was made on behalf of Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk who needed a liver transplant. Five hundred people came forward. My hope is for a similar response of living kidney donors, not only to benefit Paul, but also other kidney patients in need of a transplant. It’s time to create a living kidney donor candidate registry! Please sign the petition at http://chn.ge/1HM8fBP. Help spread the word… forward this appeal to your network of family, friends, colleagues, associations and organizations. 

Outcomes for living kidney donors are excellent. Long term studies show that they continue to live normal lives after donation. Our bodies are able to adjust and function quite well with one kidney – I can attest to that. Living donor evaluation includes many tests to help determine that this is the right decision for the donor from a physical, practical and emotional point of view. All donors are seen by a health care team different from that of the recipient to ensure their needs are specifically addressed. Only those who have passed this rigorous evaluation process are accepted as donors. The well-being of the potential donor is never compromised for the sake of the recipient. To learn more about organ transplants and the TGH team, visit www.uhn.ca/MOT.

Furthermore, TGH Living Donor Kidney Transplant Assessment Coordinator Julie Cissell or I can provide email attachments which include donor manual, consent and health history forms. Potential donors can contact Julie by phone (416-340-4577) or email (Julie.Cissell@uhn.ca). Mention my name or Paul’s. Julie will answer any questions about living donor criteria and testing process.

I am also prepared to share my personal donor experience with any person, group or organization. Just contact me by email at nelliejacobs46@gmail.com. Thanks for your help, which is very much appreciated!

Please sign and support the creation of a living donor candidate registry: chn.ge/1HM8fBP.

Warm regards,

Nellie Jacobs

Another Significant Day

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you keep them? This is the very first year I made one. I decided to …


That’s it.

For me, being present means noting the moment, paying attention, and eliminating distractions.

If I’m truly present, I also think about the elements that make each day meaningful. Here’s an example…

This past Friday I learned a new skill.

The Art Gallery of Ontario had offered a Members’ Night which included various activities. Paper-covered tables and an easel were set up in the central court for a cartooning workshop. Inspired by a visit to the Gallery’s Art Spiegelman exhibit which displayed dozens of his drawings for his Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus books, I was eager to participate  in a learning experience that would combine my writing and artistic passions.

Cartoonist Dave Lapp gave an inspiring beginner’s demonstration to a growing crowd of onlookers. He pointed out some key elements to consider when drawing within frames:

Click on any photo to expand its size.

Click on any photo to expand its size.

When he finished his demonstration, I stared at Lapps’ drawings, taking in the information I’d just learned.


The horrifying significance of the day hit me like a bolt.  If you recall, Friday, January 9th, 2015 was the third day after the French cartoonist murders in Paris, and the criminals had just been found and killed.

I looked around at the surrounding audience, consisting of young and old, men, women and children, people of all cultures and stages of life. Many waited their turn while I and others already sitting at long tables completed creating our first cartoons. What a coincidence that this particular workshop would be offered on such a momentous day. We were all participants in an affirmation of the power of ideas – and a pencil. It was an incredible experience.

Here is my first cartoon. When I picked up the pencil I had no idea who to draw or what to write. The completed comic arrived unconsciously and unexpectedly:


 Thanks to an opportunity provided by the AGO. On a day when shots were heard around the world – I stumbled across a new and powerful way to express my creativity.

Holiday Emotions can Fuel Creativity

* As the holiday season and year end approach, some of us can experience all kinds of heightened emotions. Mixed with the joyful anticipation of festivities and gatherings of friends and family can come sad thoughts about a myriad of disappointments and losses.


In my own experience, embracing my deep emotions and subsequent reactions has resulted in a wide range of creative benefits that include articles, artwork, television shows, podcasts, books and poetry.


I believe that if we identify our feelings and reactions–and if we explore the reasons for them–we can turn our insights into opportunities that fuel raw creativity. As example, without self-editing (at least in first drafts), I fired off “Just Let me F***n Dance!” a few days after taking my teenagers to a holiday concert where, embarrassed, they kept whispering to me to sit down. Reading that particular item of poetry to audiences inspired the most wonderful discussions among participants who were moved to share their own stories. Can you imagine the conversation with my late, beloved 90 year old mother-in-law about the poem’s title? I love to share that, too, because its description has become a piece of comedy on its own.


So, as the holiday season approaches, let’s welcome the depths of our emotions. Let’s mine our reactions and express them. Let’s use our insights as springboards for infinite creativity. Let our feelings fuel the development of music, plays, movies, poetry, dances, performances, paintings, sculptures, pottery and quilts. As I see it, powerful reactions can lead to exceptionally powerful creativity.



Creativity consultant Nellie Jacobs is an artist and author whose revised e-book edition of Grading the Teacher-a best-seller first published by Penguin Books-is now available in most e-reader formats (Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K1OKH4O  & Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/grading-the-teacher). Website: http://www.nelliejacobs.com

* This article was first published in the Creativity Coaching Association November, 2014 newsletter: http://www.creativitycoachingassociation.com/newsletter/2014/November.shtml

Grading the Teacher is now an E-book specially reduced


Are you a parent with school-age children?


Are you a teacher at any level?


You may be interested in “Grading the Teacher: A Parent/Teacher Guide, reduced next week to $.99.


Follow the links for details>http://gradingtheteacher.com/2014/05/31/grading-the-teacher-only-99-cents-june-4th/