Members of Band of Innocence

What can I say about teamwork. Who doesn’t like to be part of a team, a club, or just hang with a group of friends? There are nine people on a baseball field all working together to win the game. There are eleven on a football team and five on a basketball team and I can go on and on about all the other teams that have a certain amount of players, but the bottom line is they play as a team. All the parts have to fit perfectly, just like a car engine. If the parts didnʼt fit, forget about that car going anywhere.

Lebron James would still be a great player but would never win a game if his team didn’t play as one. Mia Hamm, a two-time Olympic soccer player, could never have won her gold medals in the Olympics without the help of her team. Same thing with A-Rod who played for the Yankees. He could never play every position on the ballfields field. Each player brings a different talent to a team. Some can hit, some can run, and some can catch. There are very few who can do it all and even if they could they need the other players to cover the field.

Young African-American girl reading Band of InnocenceIt’s the same in my new book, Band of Innocence – Legacy (2019 Winner Juvenile Fiction – New York City Big Book Award) – each child brings something different to the table. A different way of thinking and a different talent. Even though each child was brought up differently and reacts to situations with their own way of thinking they all get along and actually enhance each others talents. That’s what a team does.

A team also protects its members. When I was young I played lots of baseball. We had a small kid named Danny who played right field and in school sometimes he would get picked on but his team would always defend him. He was one of us.

In the Band of Innocence – Legacy each child has a white glow around their wrist that signifies their unity and dedication to the team. When a member is down or hurt another member always comes to their aid.

You are part of a team whether you know it or not. Look around you. Your class is a team, your friends are a team, your city is your team, and so is your world. You are part of the Kids Team. You need to support and help everyone on your team. You also have a talent that no one else has because you are you. Different from anyone else. Every kid is your team mate and as a team you need to work together and use all itʼs members, with their differences, to win and when a team works together, they are not only unstoppable but itʼs pure magic. Yay you.

Did you hear? 

Hey have you ever heard of the Frigatebird? These birds do not swim and cannot walk well or take off from a flat surface. They have the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, which means they are able to stay aloft for more than a week, landing only to roost or have babies on trees or cliffs.

When I was sailing – yup, me sailing – in the British Virgin Islands, I first spotted the Frigatebird. They have forked tails and could always be seen gliding really high above all the other birds.

I have never sailed before and would never have known how much teamwork goes into just getting the boat to move. Sails up, sails down, pulling ropes, cleaning decks – jeez, I needed a vacation after that vacation.

Anyway, back to the Frigatebird. They basically live their lives in the air looking for food and catching the warm currents so they could just glide along. I know youʼre saying to yourself, “but Robert, what does this have to do with teamwork?” Well, let me tell you, my friend.

Since the frigatebird canʼt really land and take off like normal birds when one gets trapped in the water other frigatebirds come to help him out. They lift him up from his wings so that he can catch some air and fly. They know that their teammate is in trouble and they risk their lives to help him or her.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that someone has your back like the Frigatebird? Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where if youʼre in trouble you know that someone is there to help? I think we can learn so much from animals and the way they treat their families and friends. Look up on your computer or go to the library and check out the Frigatebird. Youʼll see what a beautiful bird they truly are.


I guess it’s all about birds this month. So here it goes.

This guy in a station wagon is riding down the road with the back full of penguins. A cop sees him and pulls him over and says,”I want you to take those penguins to the zoo right now!” The guy says, “O.K.”

Next day the cop sees this same guy going down the road with the penguins in the back. This time the penguins are wearing sunglasses. He pulls the guy over again and says,”I thought I told you to take those penguins to the zoo.”

The guy answers, “Yeah, that’s right, we went and had a great time. We’re going to the beach today!” 

Something to stuff your face (Kid-flavored recipes)

Grandma’s Peruvian Stew


• 2 Tbsp butter

• 1 tsp cayenne pepper

• 1 Ear of corn

• Juice of 1/2 lime

• 1/4 cup Olive oil

• 2 med onions

• 3 large clove garlic

• 2 med butternut squash, peel and cut into cubes

• 2 tomatoes

• 1 Tbsp oregano

• 2 tsp sea salt

• 1 tsp pepper

• 4 cups water

• 1 cup peas


1. Melt the butter in a skillet.

2. Stir in the cayenne and put the cob of corn in the pan.

3. Add the lime juice and turn the corn to coat evenly.

4. Set aside.

5. Heat the olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic for 7-8 min.

6. Add the aquash, tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, and water.

7. Stir to combine and cook about 25 minutes.

8. Cover and cook 5 minutes.

9. Slice the corn off of the cob and place on top of stew.

Ya wanna piece of me?

 So here’s the challenge for this month. Look around and see where teamwork would work better than if you were doing something on your own. Or if working on something by yourself is better than having a team. Try getting some friends to form a team and see if there’s something that needs to be done that can use all your talents and include someone on your team that you would never have included and see what special talents they have. You may well be surprised.

How’d we do? 

So our last newsletter was on failure. How did you do? I know I failed just yesterday when I was trying to play a song on a banjo. It was a new song I was writing and I couldn’t get the banjo part right. I tried over and over. I actually had never played banjo before so I got so frustrated I had to walk away for a bit. Has that ever happened to you?

Well, I wasn’t giving up, I was just pausing. After returning, I continued to fail but eventually I was able to actually play the instrument. It was the failure that motivated me to keep trying. So get out there and fail.


  1. Rabiah Seminole on November 16, 2019 at 7:01 am

    Great newsletter..I have to have teamwork here ar our rescue to care for all the animals or it would never work.

  2. Ellen on November 20, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    Being part of a team is great. You don’t have to do it all & working together is a great way to explore things you haven’t thought about before.
    Great newsletter Robert!