GLENN TOWERY

Author of the B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S.
TRILOGY OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS

I wrote these stories for the B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. because, for nearly 20 years,
I worked exclusively with children. In 1995, I began working part time at the Community Youth Sports and Arts Foundation, a group home established for at-risk youth in south central Los Angeles, California. My young charges were boys, and all of them were gang affiliated young men sent to us from the juvenile justice system. In my capacity at the group home, I served as a counselor and gang interventionist. These were teenaged boys, but they taught me a lot about human nature and reminded me of many of the pitfalls that I, in my youth, had fallen into.

It was my experience working as a Residential Counselor at a children’s mental health facility that prompted me to write the three manuscripts for the characters in the B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. books. The concept for the B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. was the brainchild of me and my wife, Juanita Cole Towery. Juanita, an artist, created the four multicultural characters Jamal, Kako, Mitch and Maria, who are best friends, and we dubbed them the B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. is an acronym for “Being Respectful In Today’s Environment, Brings Real Achievement Towards Success”. From 2001-2010, my work as a Residential Counselor at a children’s mental health treatment facility in Altadena, California served as the catalyst for writing these stories. During the 9 years I worked in that facility with young boys and girls ages 7 to 12 years old, I learned a lot about what makes children tick. I suppose that’s one of the main reasons that these books are written in poetic verse. I learned that children pay attention and learn better when things can be related to in a pattern and even better when that pattern rhymes. All three stories have a personal meaning to me. One of the things I learned was that it is terrible to be cursed out by a 7 year old. I cannot tell you how that feels, and it is a feeling that no matter how often it happens you can never adjust to it. You simply tolerate it in the environment in which it existed, hence the very first book I wrote entitled, “GOOD WORDS, BAD WORDS…DON’T SAY THAT!”

At the residential treatment facility, bath time often brought drama with it. Hygiene was always an issue that often reared its stinky head, and that was the impetus for the second book “NEVER AGAIN WILL WE BATHE”. In addition to that, in both the group home and in the mental health facility, I witnessed and dealt with bullying. I even witnessed bullies amongst the adults, and kids do learn by example. I was raised up in South Central Los Angeles, and there were plenty of bullies there. Of course, being the oldest of my siblings, I was usually the one who had to deal with them. Seeing this all around me and seeing how devastating bullying can be prompted the creation of the third book “JAMAL HAS A BULLY”.

I started writing in grade school and have always loved it. Right after coming out of the military as a Vietnam combat veteran, I began writing plays and screenplays. I had a natural gift and love for it. In college, I excelled at writing and graduated in1997 as the valedictorian of my class, Magna Cum Laude and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree as a Cinema Major from Columbia College Hollywood.

Prior to that, I had several of my scripts optioned and, debatably, one of my television shows was produced to become a popular television series on ABC. In 1988, I entered a play entitled “Shadow Boxer” into the Inner City Cultural Center’s National Short Playwright Competition. It was a tremendous experience. It played to sold-out, Standing Room Only Crowds for the three months that it was in the competition and became one of the four finalists in that national competition.

During that time, I also worked with children when, due to illness, I replaced the director of the children’s film, “Christopher Cleans Up His Room”. Other feature-length screenplays of mine include, “HITCHHIKE FOR LOVE”, “REST IN PEACE”, “A TEXAS NEW YEAR’S EVE” and STARFUNK AND THE ASTRAL PIONEERS”. In 2017, “STARFUNK AND THE ASTRAL PIONEERS” was awarded in three screenplay writing contests: the CANNES SCREENPLAY CONTEST, THE AUSTIN REVOLUTION FILM FESTIVAL, where it was a semifinalist, and the “HOLLYWOOD SCREENPLAY CONTEST as an OFFICIAL FINALIST.

In addition to being a filmmaker and writer, I also enjoy writing songs and music. So, quite naturally, I wrote the theme song for the B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. (my wife collaborated with the lyrics) and I wrote a song for “JAMAL HAS A BULLY!” and “NEVER AGAIN WILL WE BATHE!”. I too am an artist. I paint clocks if you would like to see them visit my artist website ART OF TIME at
glenn-towery.squarespace.com

The additional magic of these books comes from the wonderful illustrations that my wife, Juanita, painstakingly and passionately created to bring these characters and stories to life. It is her work that makes these books so much more memorable, in so many other ways.

It is our hope that these books help teach children of all ages and adults (we like to say our books are for all ages) the importance of positive social skills, the power of words, and the strength of diversity and its impact on our communities. We hope that they serve as a reminder to adults also, to teach their children things that will become positive in their lives and show them how they should relate to others without preconceived prejudice. Thank you for reading my story. I hope that you enjoy what is on this website and the stories in our books as well. After all, they are written for children ages 1 to 99!

JUANITA COLE TOWERY

XCEPTIONAL CREATIONS

Juanita Cole Towery is a self-taught artist, drawing since the age of 5. She has been painting, exhibiting and selling her works as a professional artist since 1992. Juanita is a wonderfully diverse artist who uses various mediums and vibrant colors on multiple surfaces to create images that stimulate the imagination of its viewers. Without locking herself into any particular style of painting, Juanita refers to her style of art as “Abstract Nita-ism” where realism and the abstract co-exist in perfect harmony.

Juanita and Glenn recently published a series of three children’s books entitled “Good Words, Bad Words…Don’t Say That!”, “Never Again Will We Bathe” and “Jamal Has A Bully”. B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. is an acronym for “Being Respectful In Today’s Environment Brings Real Achievement Towards Success”. In a labor of love over several years, Glenn authored the stories and Juanita created the characters of the books that include four multicultural friends named, Jamal, Kako, Mitch and Maria who tackle life’s challenges, lessons and discoveries from a kid’s point of view.

Juanita illustrated the B.R.I.T.E B.R.A.T.S. three-book series with vivid and vibrant panels to capture Glenn’s stories. “Creating the B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. characters has been one of the highlights of my artist career,” expressed Juanita. “Ironically, the characters were created in less than 2 days, almost as if they were meant to be. Their images just flowed onto the sketch pad without hesitation. I consider them to be our additional four children in an ideal world.”
The books are available in hard back, soft back, e-books on Blurb and as e-books on Amazon. Interactive online coloring books, activities and games will be available on the B.R.I.T.E. B.R.A.T.S. website. In addition, Glenn wrote and composed songs for each book that are also available for download.

Juanita’s experience in working with children includes owning and operating a daycare center with her two sisters in Houston and substitute teaching, both in the 80’s. In 1995, Juanita was the only artist to serve on a committee of art educators in selecting the art curriculum for kindergarten and grades 1-5 for the Clear Creek Independent School District located in League City, Texas. More recently, Juanita also worked as a Residential Treatment Counselor and Case Manager at a residential treatment facility in Altadena, California for 9 years.

Juanita resides in Round Rock, Texas, an Austin suburb. A native Texan, she was formerly published and exhibited as Juanita Cole Howard when she resided in Houston, TX. In 2001, she moved to Los Angeles, California with her then new husband, Glenn Towery, and exhibited in several galleries there until they moved back to Texas in 2013. Since moving to the Austin area, she has exhibited in the AVAA gallery in Austin and in the City of Round Rock Arts Gallery. To view more of her art visit Xceptional Creations at juanita-coletowery.squarespace.com


HUNG NGUYEN

ANIMATION ARTIST

Special Thanks goes to animator Hung Nguyen who did all of the animation for these three books of the website.

Mr. Ngyuen came to us looking for a project to sink his teeth into and utilize his talents and skills. He traveled to Los Angeles from Milwaukee to create all of the animations on this website including our Children’s Online Coloring Book page, our singing animations and our dancing lizard.