Monthly Archives: December 2012

Sharing New Year’s Resolutions

By Cameron Crane

Image Credit: thriftyfun.com
It’s hard to believe that the New Year is almost upon us. Each year seems to fly by quicker than the last, but there is no question that this past year for me has been an amazing one. On the last day of 2011, I made a resolution to focus more on the things that really matter and spend less time worrying about the little things. As a result, I have been able to grow in various facets of my life, dedicating myself fully to work, friends, and hobbies, and only occasionally feeling like I am spreading myself too thin. Tonight at midnight it’s a new year, and time to focus on a new resolution.
This year my resolution for the New Year is to dedicate just a little more time to my relationships. The holidays were difficult for my family this year. It was our first year spread out all over California, and we faced many challenges trying to reunite during the holidays, especially with the extreme weather conditions in the North this past week. We spent this Christmas inside, reflecting on the last year and looking forward to the next, unknowingly setting the groundwork for what would become our resolutions. We all realized how grateful we were to be together, and we made a pact to cherish our time more. This reflection process was the key for each of us to arrive at a resolution organically.

After the conversation with my family, I went downstairs and called a friend who had been trying to get in contact with me for a while. For one reason or another, we had lost touch, and I knew that reconnecting would be the first step in honoring my own goal. It was great to catch up, but I became acutely aware of just how much time we had let go by when she asked if I wanted to talk to her daughter, Ashleigh.

Somehow, Ashleigh had been frozen in my mind as the three-year-old I was introduced to five years back. At the time, she could barely talk, and the little that she did speak was in Spanish, her parents’ native language. Now, she was enthusiastically chatting about the holidays quicker than I could keep up, with only the occasional word in Spanish here and there. When I mentioned this to her, she laughed, “I have been trying to speak more English so it’s easier in school. I still speak Spanish with Mama and Dad, but I need to be better at English mostly.”

“Is that your New Year’s Resolution?” I asked her.

“What’s that?” she asked.

I explained that a resolution is a goal or vision you set for yourself for the New Year. I told her it could be anything she wanted, as long as she could promise to stick to it for the whole year.

“That’s it thenEnglish,” she said proudly, and then paused, “And to be nicer to my little brother.”
Just like that, Ashleigh arrived at her resolution as organically as my family and I had. Not only that, it was simple and achievable. After hearing her swell up with pride and tell her mom about her new goal, I realized how empowering the process could be for children. 

I am proud to have been part of the conversation, and look forward to catching up with Ashleigh next year.

Have you set New Year’s Resolutions with your family? Do you plan to? What are your children’s resolutions for the New Year?

If you are looking for a resource for healthy New Year’s Resolutions for kids, here is a list published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Sharing New Year’s Resolutions

By Cameron Crane

Image Credit: thriftyfun.com
It’s hard to believe that the New Year is almost upon us. Each year seems to fly by quicker than the last, but there is no question that this past year for me has been an amazing one. On the last day of 2011, I made a resolution to focus more on the things that really matter and spend less time worrying about the little things. As a result, I have been able to grow in various facets of my life, dedicating myself fully to work, friends, and hobbies, and only occasionally feeling like I am spreading myself too thin. Tonight at midnight it’s a new year, and time to focus on a new resolution.
This year my resolution for the New Year is to dedicate just a little more time to my relationships. The holidays were difficult for my family this year. It was our first year spread out all over California, and we faced many challenges trying to reunite during the holidays, especially with the extreme weather conditions in the North this past week. We spent this Christmas inside, reflecting on the last year and looking forward to the next, unknowingly setting the groundwork for what would become our resolutions. We all realized how grateful we were to be together, and we made a pact to cherish our time more. This reflection process was the key for each of us to arrive at a resolution organically.

After the conversation with my family, I went downstairs and called a friend who had been trying to get in contact with me for a while. For one reason or another, we had lost touch, and I knew that reconnecting would be the first step in honoring my own goal. It was great to catch up, but I became acutely aware of just how much time we had let go by when she asked if I wanted to talk to her daughter, Ashleigh.

Somehow, Ashleigh had been frozen in my mind as the three-year-old I was introduced to five years back. At the time, she could barely talk, and the little that she did speak was in Spanish, her parents’ native language. Now, she was enthusiastically chatting about the holidays quicker than I could keep up, with only the occasional word in Spanish here and there. When I mentioned this to her, she laughed, “I have been trying to speak more English so it’s easier in school. I still speak Spanish with Mama and Dad, but I need to be better at English mostly.”

“Is that your New Year’s Resolution?” I asked her.

“What’s that?” she asked.

I explained that a resolution is a goal or vision you set for yourself for the New Year. I told her it could be anything she wanted, as long as she could promise to stick to it for the whole year.

“That’s it thenEnglish,” she said proudly, and then paused, “And to be nicer to my little brother.”
Just like that, Ashleigh arrived at her resolution as organically as my family and I had. Not only that, it was simple and achievable. After hearing her swell up with pride and tell her mom about her new goal, I realized how empowering the process could be for children. 

I am proud to have been part of the conversation, and look forward to catching up with Ashleigh next year.

Have you set New Year’s Resolutions with your family? Do you plan to? What are your children’s resolutions for the New Year?

If you are looking for a resource for healthy New Year’s Resolutions for kids, here is a list published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Reflections and Beginnings

by Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press
I have always taken the last week of the year as an opportunity to find the top of my desk, triage my vast In Box, sort through the piles on the floor of my office and make them disappear, and as I do so, reflect upon the preceding year. When I feel as though those tasks are accomplished, then I prepare my goals for the year ahead. This practice of reflecting on what’s been and pondering what will be, on both professional and personal levels, has served me well. It enables me to feel grateful for all of my blessings and hopeful for the future.
“Circle of Reflection” by Joyce Tenneson, courtesy of Providence Journal

 Reflections of 2012
While the world experienced chaos during 2012—from extreme weather, to polarizing politics, to more financial woes, to unspeakable violence, to geopolitical upheaval, to fiscal cliffs—Little Pickle Press flourished. To me, this represents two things. First, people and organizations that are elevating the consciousness of others are thriving. Second, small businesses are creating a strong foundation in our country upon which we will be able to climb out of the financial abyss we have created collectively.
Here are the highlights of what Little Pickle Press accomplished during 2012:
  • Published 3 titles, including one by an internationally bestselling author of adult nonfiction and our first chapter book.
  • Garnered numerous industry awards for not only our new titles but also our previous titles.
  • Hired 3 more employees, bringing our headcount to 5.
  • Hired an independent contractor as our new Social Media Director.
  • Augmented our field sales presence from 2 people to 16 people, and now enjoy nationwide coverage.
  • Increased our inside sales team from one person to two people.
  •  Expanded our distribution capabilities to include highly reputable firms that sell content to schools, libraries, corporations, and foundations.
  • Commenced negotiations with two world-class developers of digital content.
  • Enjoyed multiple transactions of sales involving over 1,000 units.
  •  Arranged for our digital content to be released on another global platform.
  • Sold translation rights to several of our titles to publishers throughout the world.
  • Completed our 4th year of operations and crossed over from being a start-up to a growth-stage company.
  • Became a Delaware corporation.
  • Raised the first half of our first round of investor capital.
  • Featured in a Publisher’s Weekly article.
  • Named among the Top 10 Best for the World Companies with fewer than 10 employees in the B Corp 2012 Annual Report.
  • Donated our books and eBooks to children who needed them in Ethiopia, Kenya, and throughout the United States.
As I stand on the threshold to the New Year, facing forward, I am experiencing two emotions. First, I feel enormous gratitude to my team for investing their time and talents to help me to build Little Pickle Press and to my family and friends for supporting me through this odyssey that is growing a company. And second, I am full of inspiration, hope, anticipation, and motivation for what lies ahead of us this year.
Photo by Dan Connor

Beginnings in 2013
Here’s what to expect from Little Pickle Press in 2013:
  •  Raising the second half of our first round of investor capital.
  • Publication of at least 5 and possibly 7 new titles, including other chapter books.
  • Rebranding our music franchise and creating original works for all of our titles.
  • Developing more book apps with world-class partners.
  • Hiring a Chief Digital Officer.
  • Developing one or more of our titles into a movie or TV series.
  • Donating more of our books and eBooks to children who need them throughout the world.
From all of us at Little Pickle Press to all of you, Happy New Year! May your 2013 be graced with consciousness, peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and prosperity.

Reflections and Beginnings

by Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press
I have always taken the last week of the year as an opportunity to find the top of my desk, triage my vast In Box, sort through the piles on the floor of my office and make them disappear, and as I do so, reflect upon the preceding year. When I feel as though those tasks are accomplished, then I prepare my goals for the year ahead. This practice of reflecting on what’s been and pondering what will be, on both professional and personal levels, has served me well. It enables me to feel grateful for all of my blessings and hopeful for the future.
“Circle of Reflection” by Joyce Tenneson, courtesy of Providence Journal

 Reflections of 2012
While the world experienced chaos during 2012—from extreme weather, to polarizing politics, to more financial woes, to unspeakable violence, to geopolitical upheaval, to fiscal cliffs—Little Pickle Press flourished. To me, this represents two things. First, people and organizations that are elevating the consciousness of others are thriving. Second, small businesses are creating a strong foundation in our country upon which we will be able to climb out of the financial abyss we have created collectively.
Here are the highlights of what Little Pickle Press accomplished during 2012:
  • Published 3 titles, including one by an internationally bestselling author of adult nonfiction and our first chapter book.
  • Garnered numerous industry awards for not only our new titles but also our previous titles.
  • Hired 3 more employees, bringing our headcount to 5.
  • Hired an independent contractor as our new Social Media Director.
  • Augmented our field sales presence from 2 people to 16 people, and now enjoy nationwide coverage.
  • Increased our inside sales team from one person to two people.
  •  Expanded our distribution capabilities to include highly reputable firms that sell content to schools, libraries, corporations, and foundations.
  • Commenced negotiations with two world-class developers of digital content.
  • Enjoyed multiple transactions of sales involving over 1,000 units.
  •  Arranged for our digital content to be released on another global platform.
  • Sold translation rights to several of our titles to publishers throughout the world.
  • Completed our 4th year of operations and crossed over from being a start-up to a growth-stage company.
  • Became a Delaware corporation.
  • Raised the first half of our first round of investor capital.
  • Featured in a Publisher’s Weekly article.
  • Named among the Top 10 Best for the World Companies with fewer than 10 employees in the B Corp 2012 Annual Report.
  • Donated our books and eBooks to children who needed them in Ethiopia, Kenya, and throughout the United States.
As I stand on the threshold to the New Year, facing forward, I am experiencing two emotions. First, I feel enormous gratitude to my team for investing their time and talents to help me to build Little Pickle Press and to my family and friends for supporting me through this odyssey that is growing a company. And second, I am full of inspiration, hope, anticipation, and motivation for what lies ahead of us this year.
Photo by Dan Connor

Beginnings in 2013
Here’s what to expect from Little Pickle Press in 2013:
  •  Raising the second half of our first round of investor capital.
  • Publication of at least 5 and possibly 7 new titles, including other chapter books.
  • Rebranding our music franchise and creating original works for all of our titles.
  • Developing more book apps with world-class partners.
  • Hiring a Chief Digital Officer.
  • Developing one or more of our titles into a movie or TV series.
  • Donating more of our books and eBooks to children who need them throughout the world.
From all of us at Little Pickle Press to all of you, Happy New Year! May your 2013 be graced with consciousness, peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and prosperity.

Inspiring Holiday Takeaways

By Cameron Crane

Image Credit: apartmenttherapy.com
Last night, as I was sitting on the living room couch enjoying a cup of tea and reflecting on the holidays, I was inspired to read about how other people were spending theirs. As I was reading, I began to notice that among the usual holiday reflections, there seemed to be a unique set of themes this year, especially when it comes to realizing what is truly important. From enjoying the moment, to giving thanks and giving back, here are some of the great holiday takeaways I was able to uncover:
Getting back in to the Holiday Spirit

Amid the chaos of shopping and traveling, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays. We want everything to go smoothly, we expect everything to go perfectly—and (because we are human) more often than not, they don’t. This year, there was an emphasis on shifting focus back to the things that matter: family, friends, traditions, togetherness, gratitude, love—all the things that make the holidays truly special.

Want, Need, Wear, Read

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday. The holidays are filled with deals that, while wonderful, can sometimes cause us to overindulge and overspend. It makes sense. For those of us with large families to shop for, checking off the gift list can be daunting. Luckily, when it comes to holiday gift giving, the trick is truly in the quality and not the quantity. This year, one simple philosophy taught many of us how to give more while giving less: want, need, wear, read.

Giving Back, Saying Thanks

For many of us, the holidays serve as a wonderful reminder of all that we have. There is something about being surrounded by family, friends, cheerful music, lights and presents that seems to fill the air with gratitude and hope. This year, as many communities struggle to recover from recent tragedies, many people felt inspired to spread these feelings to those who need them most.

Looking forward to a bright New Year

Well, it’s official; the world did not end on December 21. We have a bright, new year ahead of us, and we can once again look forward to setting goals to help us become better people in 2013. This year, there is emphasis on making resolution setting a family activity, and on supporting one another throughout the year as you work toward your individual goals.

Inspiring Holiday Takeaways

By Cameron Crane

Image Credit: apartmenttherapy.com
Last night, as I was sitting on the living room couch enjoying a cup of tea and reflecting on the holidays, I was inspired to read about how other people were spending theirs. As I was reading, I began to notice that among the usual holiday reflections, there seemed to be a unique set of themes this year, especially when it comes to realizing what is truly important. From enjoying the moment, to giving thanks and giving back, here are some of the great holiday takeaways I was able to uncover:
Getting back in to the Holiday Spirit

Amid the chaos of shopping and traveling, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays. We want everything to go smoothly, we expect everything to go perfectly—and (because we are human) more often than not, they don’t. This year, there was an emphasis on shifting focus back to the things that matter: family, friends, traditions, togetherness, gratitude, love—all the things that make the holidays truly special.

Want, Need, Wear, Read

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday. The holidays are filled with deals that, while wonderful, can sometimes cause us to overindulge and overspend. It makes sense. For those of us with large families to shop for, checking off the gift list can be daunting. Luckily, when it comes to holiday gift giving, the trick is truly in the quality and not the quantity. This year, one simple philosophy taught many of us how to give more while giving less: want, need, wear, read.

Giving Back, Saying Thanks

For many of us, the holidays serve as a wonderful reminder of all that we have. There is something about being surrounded by family, friends, cheerful music, lights and presents that seems to fill the air with gratitude and hope. This year, as many communities struggle to recover from recent tragedies, many people felt inspired to spread these feelings to those who need them most.

Looking forward to a bright New Year

Well, it’s official; the world did not end on December 21. We have a bright, new year ahead of us, and we can once again look forward to setting goals to help us become better people in 2013. This year, there is emphasis on making resolution setting a family activity, and on supporting one another throughout the year as you work toward your individual goals.

Christmas Memories

By Kelly Wickham

Every year, Christmas memories flood back to us. It happens when we pull out the boxes of Christmas ornaments, old cards sent from family and friends, and when we bake things we haven’t baked in the last 12 months. They’re a blessing, these memories, and yet for a lot of people they can be painful reminders of things that are no longer.

As a kid, we had some common traditions for Christmas. We opened one present on Christmas Eve and then went to midnight mass at St. Thomas the Apostle in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. After mass, when we came home with the smell of fresh candle wax and the coveted frankincense that the priests saved for special occasions, our family sang carols, read Twas the Night Before Christmas, and then drifted off to sleep in the hopes that the morning would bring presents we had asked Santa for on our lists. We always had a fresh cut tree that we decorated with popcorn and cranberries on a string. Mom always had to do the cranberries with the needle so we didn’t poke ourselves.

As I formed my own family as a young mom when I finally got out on my own, I tried to keep those Christmas memories fresh in my head so that I could recreate them with my own children. We kept up the tradition of Christmas Eve presents, but I made sure they were always pajamas so that they were practical. As a single mom, my traditions were born from the necessity of not having enough money to buy things. We couldn’t afford ornaments so my children and I did the popcorn and cranberry strings, too, and we added paper ring chains. For the brief time I was married, my husband insisted on using a fake tree and that’s when it dawned on me that my memories of childhood was fading.

There’s something refreshing about starting over and the first Christmas post-divorce helped me gain that all back. We got fresh trees again and the memories of Christmas past joined together to form a present that made me happy once again. Friends told me that Divorced Christmas was hard, but I didn’t find it all that difficult because traditions became so important to me that I began my narratives with, “The way we do Christmas is…” and I realized I could fill in the blanks on my own. For instance, this year we decided that all of our tree toppers were tattered and the kids voted on something rather non-traditional: an Abraham Lincoln stovepipe hat. We live in his hometown after all. It’s silly, but meaningful to us.

Here’s to you and yours this Christmas. Here’s to the traditions you have, the ones you make, and the stories you get to tell about the narrative of this holiday. May the good memories come flooding back to you and may you beat back the bad ones that like to haunt this time of year. I’ll remember that this Christmas is even more about friends and togetherness and forgiveness.

Christmas Memories

By Kelly Wickham

Every year, Christmas memories flood back to us. It happens when we pull out the boxes of Christmas ornaments, old cards sent from family and friends, and when we bake things we haven’t baked in the last 12 months. They’re a blessing, these memories, and yet for a lot of people they can be painful reminders of things that are no longer.

As a kid, we had some common traditions for Christmas. We opened one present on Christmas Eve and then went to midnight mass at St. Thomas the Apostle in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. After mass, when we came home with the smell of fresh candle wax and the coveted frankincense that the priests saved for special occasions, our family sang carols, read Twas the Night Before Christmas, and then drifted off to sleep in the hopes that the morning would bring presents we had asked Santa for on our lists. We always had a fresh cut tree that we decorated with popcorn and cranberries on a string. Mom always had to do the cranberries with the needle so we didn’t poke ourselves.

As I formed my own family as a young mom when I finally got out on my own, I tried to keep those Christmas memories fresh in my head so that I could recreate them with my own children. We kept up the tradition of Christmas Eve presents, but I made sure they were always pajamas so that they were practical. As a single mom, my traditions were born from the necessity of not having enough money to buy things. We couldn’t afford ornaments so my children and I did the popcorn and cranberry strings, too, and we added paper ring chains. For the brief time I was married, my husband insisted on using a fake tree and that’s when it dawned on me that my memories of childhood was fading.

There’s something refreshing about starting over and the first Christmas post-divorce helped me gain that all back. We got fresh trees again and the memories of Christmas past joined together to form a present that made me happy once again. Friends told me that Divorced Christmas was hard, but I didn’t find it all that difficult because traditions became so important to me that I began my narratives with, “The way we do Christmas is…” and I realized I could fill in the blanks on my own. For instance, this year we decided that all of our tree toppers were tattered and the kids voted on something rather non-traditional: an Abraham Lincoln stovepipe hat. We live in his hometown after all. It’s silly, but meaningful to us.

Here’s to you and yours this Christmas. Here’s to the traditions you have, the ones you make, and the stories you get to tell about the narrative of this holiday. May the good memories come flooding back to you and may you beat back the bad ones that like to haunt this time of year. I’ll remember that this Christmas is even more about friends and togetherness and forgiveness.

Featured Customer of the Month: Phoenix Books

By Cameron Crane

21 Essex Way

Essex, VT

Since its inception, Little Pickle Press has been working hard to be on the vanguard of positive change, particularly when it comes to the environment. Our books are printed in the Americas on recycled paper, using soy-based inks, and without dust jackets. Our posters are printed on TerraSkin®, a combination of mineral powder (>75%) and a small quantity (<25%) of non-toxic resin, combined to create an environmentally friendly paper. From the content of our picture books, to their shipment and storage in our warehouse, and even to our virtual and nearly paper-free daily operations, everything that Little Pickle Press is does is done with the goal of reducing our impact.

We love working with companies that uphold similar values. As you probably know, we are part of the B Corporation community, and we feature one of these socially and environmentally responsible companies a month, highlighting all that they do to improve their business practices. But when we come across a likeminded independent bookstore with these values, we are truly elated. Phoenix Books in Essex, VT, our featured customer of the month, is a shining example.



Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community, and sustainability. This locally-owned independent bookstore, with a second location in Burlington, is a proud member of both Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and Local First Vermont. Phoenix Books is truly an amazing asset to the Essex and Burlington communities, going above and beyond to support not only their customers, but also local authors, artists, and other local companies. In fact, out of every $100 spent at Phoenix Books, $68 stays local.

The selection of books at Phoenix Books is equally as impressive. Browse their collection of stories for all ages, and you are sure to find a gift for everyone on your holiday list. And if someone on that list happens to be an environmental enthusiast, then hey, you’re in luck. Whenever possible, Phoenix Books sources eco-friendly products from Fair Trade/Green Certified companies, including (of course) Little Pickle Press.

We are thrilled to be a part of such an inspiring story, and we look forward to continuing to support Phoenix Books. We are proud to have our books on their shelves, and encourage anybody in the neighborhood to go look for them! While you are there, be sure to browse the art gallery, and grab a coffee at the in-house café.

Thank you, Phoenix Books, for all that you do for the community, and for choosing to support Little Pickle Press.

Featured Customer of the Month: Phoenix Books

By Cameron Crane

21 Essex Way

Essex, VT

Since its inception, Little Pickle Press has been working hard to be on the vanguard of positive change, particularly when it comes to the environment. Our books are printed in the Americas on recycled paper, using soy-based inks, and without dust jackets. Our posters are printed on TerraSkin®, a combination of mineral powder (>75%) and a small quantity (<25%) of non-toxic resin, combined to create an environmentally friendly paper. From the content of our picture books, to their shipment and storage in our warehouse, and even to our virtual and nearly paper-free daily operations, everything that Little Pickle Press is does is done with the goal of reducing our impact.

We love working with companies that uphold similar values. As you probably know, we are part of the B Corporation community, and we feature one of these socially and environmentally responsible companies a month, highlighting all that they do to improve their business practices. But when we come across a likeminded independent bookstore with these values, we are truly elated. Phoenix Books in Essex, VT, our featured customer of the month, is a shining example.



Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community, and sustainability. This locally-owned independent bookstore, with a second location in Burlington, is a proud member of both Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and Local First Vermont. Phoenix Books is truly an amazing asset to the Essex and Burlington communities, going above and beyond to support not only their customers, but also local authors, artists, and other local companies. In fact, out of every $100 spent at Phoenix Books, $68 stays local.

The selection of books at Phoenix Books is equally as impressive. Browse their collection of stories for all ages, and you are sure to find a gift for everyone on your holiday list. And if someone on that list happens to be an environmental enthusiast, then hey, you’re in luck. Whenever possible, Phoenix Books sources eco-friendly products from Fair Trade/Green Certified companies, including (of course) Little Pickle Press.

We are thrilled to be a part of such an inspiring story, and we look forward to continuing to support Phoenix Books. We are proud to have our books on their shelves, and encourage anybody in the neighborhood to go look for them! While you are there, be sure to browse the art gallery, and grab a coffee at the in-house café.

Thank you, Phoenix Books, for all that you do for the community, and for choosing to support Little Pickle Press.

6 Delicious Holiday Recipes

By Cameron Crane

I am absolutely in love with December. The air is cool and fresh, the streets are lined with houses adorned in Christmas lights, my living room is filled with the perfect blend of pine and pumpkin spice, and occasionally I get to play cook (or my personal favorite—taste tester!).  From gingerbread, to appetizers, and pretty much everything chocolate or pumpkin, there is nothing I love more than indulging in those irresistible treats that appear all throughout December.

So, for all my fellow food-lovers, here are 6 tasty holiday recipes to try this month:

www.myrecipes.com
www.marthastewart.com

www.marthastewart.com
www.wolfgangpuck.com

www.wolfgangpuck.com
www.roxanashomebaking.com

6 Delicious Holiday Recipes

By Cameron Crane

I am absolutely in love with December. The air is cool and fresh, the streets are lined with houses adorned in Christmas lights, my living room is filled with the perfect blend of pine and pumpkin spice, and occasionally I get to play cook (or my personal favorite—taste tester!).  From gingerbread, to appetizers, and pretty much everything chocolate or pumpkin, there is nothing I love more than indulging in those irresistible treats that appear all throughout December.

So, for all my fellow food-lovers, here are 6 tasty holiday recipes to try this month:

www.myrecipes.com
www.marthastewart.com

www.marthastewart.com
www.wolfgangpuck.com

www.wolfgangpuck.com
www.roxanashomebaking.com

Need a last minute gift? Try a book app!

By Cameron Crane

With the overwhelming number of people purchasing tablets this holiday season, it is no surprise that many parents are considering digital gifts for their children this year. And why not? An interactive book app makes a great gift for the little ones in your life—one that can be shared by the whole family, and used over and over again.
Image Credit: theipadnews.com
Here are some of the children’s book apps on our gift list this year:

Developer: Octopus Kite

Ages: 5 & Up

Description: Help Bartleby in his journey to find new buttons for his collection! Flip switches, press buttons, slide sliders, rotate the ipad, turn in a circle, and carefully read along in this “digital pop-up book” adventure. Designed for parent-led reading for the young child and as a stand-alone story for the older child. This book is a short bed-time story that engages the child in following instructions through reinforced interaction and tactile response – just like a pop-up book!
Developer: Invention Arts

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Based on the award-winning title by Dr. JoAnn Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley, and full of exciting brain workouts, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain is sure to become a favorite among children, parents, and educators.
This innovative and timely interactive edutainment app teaches children that they have the ability to stretch and grow their own brains. It also delivers the crucial message that mistakes are an essential part of learning and introduces children to the anatomy and various functions of the brain in a fun and engaging way.

Developer: See Here Studios LLC

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: What happens when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? You see the world in a different light or, in little Mott Turner’s case, from the ceiling! Imagine how kids can identify with little Mott, who wakes confused and irritable one morning, only to find himself in one upside-down misadventure after another, until finally he is right side up and once again, level-headed. 

The moral of the story: It helps to be in the right frame of mind before you get out of bed!
Developer: Kite Readers

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Have you ever visited the pyramids? Do you like sushi? Can you say hello in Swahili? Based on What Does It Mean To Be Global?, our award-winning picture book, Being Global is an interactive, multi-media, and bilingual app kit, designed to help parents and educators to teach children about the goodness in exploring, appreciating, and respecting other children’s traditions, religions, and values the world over. Discover what it means to be global in this whimsically animated and thoughtfully told interactive story that also includes game play.

Developer: Auryn, Inc.

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Based on actual events, this simple and evocative story (with text & illustrations by Laurence Anholt) has a powerful message of tolerance and compassion for those who appear odd or unusual, and who march to a different drummer. Anholt’s gentle and empathetic text is complemented by his lovely and expressive watercolor illustrations, and includes reproduction of some of van Gogh’s most famous paintings.
Developer: Gramercy Consultants

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: In this first story, as Bella tries desperately to fall asleep, her imagination takes her into the world of creepies and crawlies. Be not afraid for our heroine, she learns to befriend all of the ghoulies and teaches us the lesson not to judge any book by its cover!
Developer: Auryn, Inc.

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Eight very special sticks of colored chalk transform blank sheets of paper into exciting stories that become quite real. Pieces of colored chalk draw a story about a boy stranded on an island and the turtle who rescues him. 

This app helps children learn colors and also the spirit of team work. The process of knowing this through The Chalk Box Story is beautifully illustrated and written by Don Freeman.
Developer: MAPP Editions

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Clara Button loves hats, and when her older brother Ollie breaks her favourite, Mum takes them on a magical day out – to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 

Join Clara on an exciting journey of discovery through the museum, to discover magical hats, mechanical tigers, ancient silk dresses and lots more! 

Beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Emily Sutton, this app is bursting with interactive elements, hats that appear or change with a pop, and buttons that sparkle at every touch.

The app encourages constant interaction for all, inviting children to read along, and to touch and move the iPad to follow Clara on her journey.
Developer: Jumping Pages, Inc.

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: This clever, rhyming, musical and interactive original story teaches kids of all ages, and their parents, respect for the house. Legendary House “mom”, former Congresswoman and presidential candidate Pat Schroeder narrates, leading a modern day movement of a house and its appliances going on strike against its errant family to win respect!
Developer: EPIC

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Babel is a fascinating and entertaining story. Its tactile interaction (blow, pull, push) and choice of fully narrated or ‘I read by myself’ modes make it suitable for children from the age of 2 upwards. The subtle and beautiful illustrations and captivating story-telling will also enchant children up to 8 years old.
Did you know that you can gift an app to your friends and family? For information about how to gift an app, click here

Need a last minute gift? Try a book app!

By Cameron Crane

With the overwhelming number of people purchasing tablets this holiday season, it is no surprise that many parents are considering digital gifts for their children this year. And why not? An interactive book app makes a great gift for the little ones in your life—one that can be shared by the whole family, and used over and over again.
Image Credit: theipadnews.com
Here are some of the children’s book apps on our gift list this year:

Developer: Octopus Kite

Ages: 5 & Up

Description: Help Bartleby in his journey to find new buttons for his collection! Flip switches, press buttons, slide sliders, rotate the ipad, turn in a circle, and carefully read along in this “digital pop-up book” adventure. Designed for parent-led reading for the young child and as a stand-alone story for the older child. This book is a short bed-time story that engages the child in following instructions through reinforced interaction and tactile response – just like a pop-up book!
Developer: Invention Arts

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Based on the award-winning title by Dr. JoAnn Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley, and full of exciting brain workouts, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain is sure to become a favorite among children, parents, and educators.
This innovative and timely interactive edutainment app teaches children that they have the ability to stretch and grow their own brains. It also delivers the crucial message that mistakes are an essential part of learning and introduces children to the anatomy and various functions of the brain in a fun and engaging way.

Developer: See Here Studios LLC

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: What happens when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? You see the world in a different light or, in little Mott Turner’s case, from the ceiling! Imagine how kids can identify with little Mott, who wakes confused and irritable one morning, only to find himself in one upside-down misadventure after another, until finally he is right side up and once again, level-headed. 

The moral of the story: It helps to be in the right frame of mind before you get out of bed!
Developer: Kite Readers

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Have you ever visited the pyramids? Do you like sushi? Can you say hello in Swahili? Based on What Does It Mean To Be Global?, our award-winning picture book, Being Global is an interactive, multi-media, and bilingual app kit, designed to help parents and educators to teach children about the goodness in exploring, appreciating, and respecting other children’s traditions, religions, and values the world over. Discover what it means to be global in this whimsically animated and thoughtfully told interactive story that also includes game play.

Developer: Auryn, Inc.

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Based on actual events, this simple and evocative story (with text & illustrations by Laurence Anholt) has a powerful message of tolerance and compassion for those who appear odd or unusual, and who march to a different drummer. Anholt’s gentle and empathetic text is complemented by his lovely and expressive watercolor illustrations, and includes reproduction of some of van Gogh’s most famous paintings.
Developer: Gramercy Consultants

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: In this first story, as Bella tries desperately to fall asleep, her imagination takes her into the world of creepies and crawlies. Be not afraid for our heroine, she learns to befriend all of the ghoulies and teaches us the lesson not to judge any book by its cover!
Developer: Auryn, Inc.

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Eight very special sticks of colored chalk transform blank sheets of paper into exciting stories that become quite real. Pieces of colored chalk draw a story about a boy stranded on an island and the turtle who rescues him. 

This app helps children learn colors and also the spirit of team work. The process of knowing this through The Chalk Box Story is beautifully illustrated and written by Don Freeman.
Developer: MAPP Editions

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Clara Button loves hats, and when her older brother Ollie breaks her favourite, Mum takes them on a magical day out – to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 

Join Clara on an exciting journey of discovery through the museum, to discover magical hats, mechanical tigers, ancient silk dresses and lots more! 

Beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Emily Sutton, this app is bursting with interactive elements, hats that appear or change with a pop, and buttons that sparkle at every touch.

The app encourages constant interaction for all, inviting children to read along, and to touch and move the iPad to follow Clara on her journey.
Developer: Jumping Pages, Inc.

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: This clever, rhyming, musical and interactive original story teaches kids of all ages, and their parents, respect for the house. Legendary House “mom”, former Congresswoman and presidential candidate Pat Schroeder narrates, leading a modern day movement of a house and its appliances going on strike against its errant family to win respect!
Developer: EPIC

Ages: 4 & Up

Description: Babel is a fascinating and entertaining story. Its tactile interaction (blow, pull, push) and choice of fully narrated or ‘I read by myself’ modes make it suitable for children from the age of 2 upwards. The subtle and beautiful illustrations and captivating story-telling will also enchant children up to 8 years old.
Did you know that you can gift an app to your friends and family? For information about how to gift an app, click here

Holiday Gift Guide Mentions for LPP!

By Cameron Crane

Little Pickle Press is humbled and grateful to have been included on several gift guides this holiday season. Our books have been featured among a selection of extraordinary products, recognized for both their high quality and high integrity.








Order our award-winning books and gifts by December 15, 2012, to avoid holiday shipping costs, obtain a 30% discount on your entire order, and receive a free TerraSkin poster. Just use code LPPHoliday at checkout. 


Thank you to everyone who featured us this season. We appreciate your continued support.

Holiday Gift Guide Mentions for LPP!

By Cameron Crane

Little Pickle Press is humbled and grateful to have been included on several gift guides this holiday season. Our books have been featured among a selection of extraordinary products, recognized for both their high quality and high integrity.








Order our award-winning books and gifts by December 15, 2012, to avoid holiday shipping costs, obtain a 30% discount on your entire order, and receive a free TerraSkin poster. Just use code LPPHoliday at checkout. 


Thank you to everyone who featured us this season. We appreciate your continued support.

My Experience with Mary Joy

By Kelly Wickham
Photo Credit: Karen Walrond of ONE.org
I’ve never visited an orphanage before and most of my visions of them are dependent on the musical “Annie”. That’s not very realistic, to be sure, but the commonality there is some sort of community, right? In October of this year I was fortunate to visit a number of foreign aid locations in Ethiopia, Africa with a group from ONE.org. Our first stop left me breathless in that way that makes my heart yearn to help the integrated people from the community there: Mary Joy, established in 1994 as a non-political and non-religious institution. The full name, Mary Joy Aid Through Development (MJATD), doesn’t lend itself to thinking about an orphanage, per se, but that’s because they do so much more.

The children we met at Mary Joy welcomed us with song and dance and, as is traditional in the Ethiopian culture, a coffee ceremony. The goal of Mary Joy is to work with children, women, and families in the surrounding community in a way that gives the community there some help. But more importantly, it gives them some hope.

Photo Credit: Karen Walrond of ONE.org 
Mary Joy identifies needs to improve the livelihood of the families, offer help for those living with HIV/AIDS, and build capacity on an organizational level. While all that sounds very technical, I felt moved to speak on an emotional level of what they’re doing so powerfully at Mary Joy.

First, let me explain the coffee ceremony. It’s a long process that begins by starting a charcoal fire, stoking it, and then roasting the beans. It is both an outdoor and indoor process and the smoke doesn’t seem to bother anyone. After they’re roasted, water is heated up on the fire and a tray arranged with tiny coffee cups is presented for cleansing. Hot water is poured into one of them, and that cup is used to fill the next one to wash it out, and this goes on until they are all cleaned. The roasted beans are then ground up, added to the water, and very carefully poured into each cup. But here’s the thing: it’s not about the process although that’s very clearly a cultural act. It’s that this is something that takes timeand what do we all do with the time we’re afforded when someone is lovely and painstakingly preparing a cup of coffee that takes less than 2 minutes in the Keurig I have on the kitchen counter? We talk. We listen. We interact with one another and learn about each others’ lives.

Photo Credit: Karen Walrond of ONE.org
The women at Mary Joy are teaching the young girls who are supported by the foundation to do tea ceremonies, which are similar to the coffee ceremonies. This is how they speak to the community about the prevention and impact of AIDS and what it means to practice safe sex. It gives them an opportunity to speak about sponsoring a child who lives there, whose parent or parents might have died from the disease. It allows them to build the capacity to care for one another. I cannot imagine a young teenage girl in the United States who would be comfortable hauling tea making instruments and going into a stranger’s home to discuss AIDS, let alone sex.

Poverty does many things to a culture, and discussing economic empowerment and primary health care concerns to build capacity within an organization to take out into the community seems like a daunting task. I give Mary Joy (and the women running it) a lot of credit for seeing a problem and going after it with a laser-like focus. Families are helped, children get health care needs met, and futures can actually and realistically be dreamt about in a way that wasn’t possible before Mary Joy came along. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This year, Little Pickle Press will be sponsoring a child through Mary Joy. If you are interested in sponsoring a child too, you can download the application here

My Experience with Mary Joy

By Kelly Wickham
Photo Credit: Karen Walrond of ONE.org
I’ve never visited an orphanage before and most of my visions of them are dependent on the musical “Annie”. That’s not very realistic, to be sure, but the commonality there is some sort of community, right? In October of this year I was fortunate to visit a number of foreign aid locations in Ethiopia, Africa with a group from ONE.org. Our first stop left me breathless in that way that makes my heart yearn to help the integrated people from the community there: Mary Joy, established in 1994 as a non-political and non-religious institution. The full name, Mary Joy Aid Through Development (MJATD), doesn’t lend itself to thinking about an orphanage, per se, but that’s because they do so much more.

The children we met at Mary Joy welcomed us with song and dance and, as is traditional in the Ethiopian culture, a coffee ceremony. The goal of Mary Joy is to work with children, women, and families in the surrounding community in a way that gives the community there some help. But more importantly, it gives them some hope.

Photo Credit: Karen Walrond of ONE.org 
Mary Joy identifies needs to improve the livelihood of the families, offer help for those living with HIV/AIDS, and build capacity on an organizational level. While all that sounds very technical, I felt moved to speak on an emotional level of what they’re doing so powerfully at Mary Joy.

First, let me explain the coffee ceremony. It’s a long process that begins by starting a charcoal fire, stoking it, and then roasting the beans. It is both an outdoor and indoor process and the smoke doesn’t seem to bother anyone. After they’re roasted, water is heated up on the fire and a tray arranged with tiny coffee cups is presented for cleansing. Hot water is poured into one of them, and that cup is used to fill the next one to wash it out, and this goes on until they are all cleaned. The roasted beans are then ground up, added to the water, and very carefully poured into each cup. But here’s the thing: it’s not about the process although that’s very clearly a cultural act. It’s that this is something that takes timeand what do we all do with the time we’re afforded when someone is lovely and painstakingly preparing a cup of coffee that takes less than 2 minutes in the Keurig I have on the kitchen counter? We talk. We listen. We interact with one another and learn about each others’ lives.

Photo Credit: Karen Walrond of ONE.org
The women at Mary Joy are teaching the young girls who are supported by the foundation to do tea ceremonies, which are similar to the coffee ceremonies. This is how they speak to the community about the prevention and impact of AIDS and what it means to practice safe sex. It gives them an opportunity to speak about sponsoring a child who lives there, whose parent or parents might have died from the disease. It allows them to build the capacity to care for one another. I cannot imagine a young teenage girl in the United States who would be comfortable hauling tea making instruments and going into a stranger’s home to discuss AIDS, let alone sex.

Poverty does many things to a culture, and discussing economic empowerment and primary health care concerns to build capacity within an organization to take out into the community seems like a daunting task. I give Mary Joy (and the women running it) a lot of credit for seeing a problem and going after it with a laser-like focus. Families are helped, children get health care needs met, and futures can actually and realistically be dreamt about in a way that wasn’t possible before Mary Joy came along. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This year, Little Pickle Press will be sponsoring a child through Mary Joy. If you are interested in sponsoring a child too, you can download the application here

Meet Megan Sievert, Peace Corps Volunteer and Modern Day Heroine

By Rana DiOrio, Founder and Chief Executive Pickle of Little Pickle Press

On the fourth night of my recent trip to Ethiopia as a guest of the ONE Campaign, we met with three Peace Corps volunteers. These courageous and talented women gave up everything that is comfortable, familiar, and safe in their lives to travel to Ethiopia to tackle big problems—health, nutrition, education to name a few. Peace Corps volunteers like the ones we met are often the only volunteer serving a very large community of people in need. They are not given a playbook or even many tools or resources to effect positive change. They are asked to rely upon their wits and values to, well, perform miracles, which is exactly what they do.

I had the privilege of sitting next to Megan Sievert during our dinner. She is charged with the task of providing education to her community. When she learned that I publish children’s media, she said, “I knew there was a reason I should sit down next to you tonight.” She was right.

In our first exchange of emails, Megan sent me this picture with the following explanation:

“Here is the empty room that the Andinet Primary School has allocated for an Early Grade Reading Center in Injibara Town. Standing in the newly constructed room is the Principal Ato. Muhabaw. Ten Peace Corps volunteers recently collaborated with the organization Books for Africa to send a container of books and the plan is to fill this room and four other primary schools with picture books and supplementary reading materials for the children grades 1-4 (like a little library). There is school support and it will be an exciting project throughout the year if we can furnish it and get the kids inside and excited to put their hands on anything other than their one textbook.”
I subsequently interviewed Megan by email, and here is our conversation.


Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I actually grew up all over the world. My parents were educators abroad so I spent the first 17 years of my life attending international schools on five different continents. As a toddler I lived in Lusaka, Zambia but my early grades of schooling were in Karachi, Pakistan. From there our family moved to Stavanger, Norway and later to Caracas, Venezuela. I spent my high school adolescence in Budapest, Hungary. While it is not the most common way for Americans to grow up, I believe it has shaped me into a unique global citizen who will always remain committed and compelled to serve the world’s needs.


Q: What inspired you to join the Peace Corps?

A: Maybe because of the way I grew up or because I went on to study International Relations in college, but after being rooted in the US for four years, I was craving more of an in-depth exploration into a culture and language. I think I originally joined the Peace Corps to continue to travel and stay involved in international development because it is an agency that allows me to engage in cross-cultural exchange while helping populations in need.  First I served for three years in Malawi and then after a few years pursuing artistic and film ventures, I missed the simple grassroots humanitarian lifestyle. Now I am in my second Peace Corps assignment in Ethiopia. 

Q: Why did you choose to come to Ethiopia?


A: Actually I didn’t choose. I like to think it chose me. The Peace Corps assigns willing and capable volunteers to go where they are needed. I could have accepted a nomination in South America and Asia but I must be an Africanist at heart because the nomination to help establish English Language Improvement Centers in Ethiopia is what felt right in my gut at the time. The Ministry of Education was requesting native English speakers to help develop the fluency and English proficiency of primary school teachers. Peace Corps sent me the invitation to be involved in Ethiopia and I accepted the assignment. My job placement in specific has been at a College of Teachers Education and my work to develop Early Grade Reading Centers in the primary schools has been in alignment with the needs of the community.

Q: Where are you based? How big is the community you serve?

A: I am in Northwest Ethiopia in the Amhara region in a town called Injibara (locally known as KosoBer). It is surprisingly cold here since we are relatively high in elevation at 8,400ft and the temperature gap has been hard to acclimatize to. The day temperature in the sun can be so pleasant in the 80s but then it can drop into the 40s at night.  There is even hail sometimes, but the high rainfall allows for multiple crops during the year. The Ethiopian highlands are fertile, lush and green but the moisture can bring mold and an everlasting dampness so that it can take four days for my clothes to dry during the rains. The town is a semi-urban zonal capital with a population of about 45,000 people but the town serves the entire Awi zonal population of over a million inhabitants. Many government offices and businesses operate out of this town, making for a dynamic flow of people, goods and services.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face on a day-to-day basis?

A: As a foreigner, there is a lot of harassment from strangers and overly excited children who stare or shout “you, you, you” or “ferenji, ferenji, ferenji” (which is the local term for foreigner). On a daily basis, this form of attention can be draining and difficult to ignore. It is a relatively homogenous society and the community is not always open-minded. The general difficulties dealing with an inconsistent water supply and flea infestation can be challenging from a physical and hygienic standpoint.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of living in Ethiopia?

A: I enjoy the food and coffee.

Q: How were the box of Little Pickle Press books received by the children with whom you work?

A: Unfortunately we haven’t yet received a box of books from Little Pickle Press but this is most likely due to the very slow postal system or a hiccup in the mailing if the box was opened en route or held up in customs. We look forward to include the books in our Early Grade Reading centers and design programming to read the books aloud to the children when they do arrive. Thank you in advance to those of you who put effort into preparing a package for the community here.


Q: What resources or tools do you wish you had that you don’t?

A: The primary schools need help to purchase paint so we can cover the Early Grade Reading Center walls and floors with educational pictures, the alphabet and numbers. Five primary schools in the town are now involved in opening Early Grade Reading Centers and they have each designated a space to develop. Any stencils, templates, cloth pocket book holders, educational puzzles, games or crafts that can help us to furnish these model reading centers along with books would be an amazing enhancement for the thousands of Ethiopian children in this town to engage in a colorful reading space.

Little Pickle Press will be sending Megan regular shipments of our titles. We will post pictures of Megan’s children engaged with our books on our FB page as we receive them. As always, we welcome your comments, questions, and observations.


I have recently returned from Ethiopia at the kind invitation and expense of The ONE Campaign, a nonpartisan, advocacy organization dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and malnutrition, particularly in Africa. ONE works to convince governments to invest in smart programs that save lives. While there, I traveled with a group of parenting bloggers to observe how the organizations for which ONE advocates are effecting real change in Ethiopia.

ONE doesn’t ask for your money, just your voice. If you’re moved by anything you read or see here, or on the ONE blog, please consider adding your voice, and join ONE by filling out this form. Your information will remain confidential.