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Sheboygan native's Christmas Character "Oliver the Ornament" now part of mission to end bullying

Oliver the Ornament and his creator Todd Zimmerman are on a tour all over the midwest spreading a message of kindness.

Zimmermann, born in Sheboygan where he wrote the book, has already scheduled dozens of appearances in six states and will donate up to 1,000 free books to teachers who use his free Days of Kindness classroom materials this year.

At a Rotary-sponsored event in Port Washington recently, Zimmermann gave away 120 books to school children.

"This message is too important to worry about mileage, especially in these divisive days," Zimmermann said, adding that he will add events as he can. "One study I read said only 25 percent of Americans believe we live in a kind society. I hope to improve on that."

Zimmermann's kindness tour uses his book to teach children, and possibly remind adults, that bullying and being unkind to others is never in season.

Oliver is one of 11 Christmas tree ornaments featured in the book. He is bullied by some of the other ornaments, but others in the collection help him and work to bring around the unkind members of their tree family. Store owners are saying the Oliver product line will be the next big thing in Christmas.

Zimmermann attributes the appeal to the fact that most American have a deep, emotional attachment to their Christmas ornaments. Nearly 80 percent of American households decorate at least one tree each holiday season. Many of us stop and reflect as we decorate, remember where certain ornaments came from and even recounting the stories to whomever will listen. "Oliver is the perfect messenger for anyone who still has, or wants, a drop of holiday joy in his or her heart," Zimmerman said. "He is a Christmas ornament, but his message cuts across all religion and cultures."

Oliver the Ornament was one of People magazine's best new books of 2016.

The books is carried in more than 350 stores across the country.

A growing portion of each book's proceeds (it's a 7-book series) is donated to a children's charity. 100 percent of the 7th book's profits will be donated. For every book sold at the Days of Kindness events, a book will be donated to a children's charity.

Oliver's next Wisconsin stop is December 2, Syren General Store,7711 Park W. Street in Siren.

For more information go to http://olivertheornament.com/

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