Monthly Archives: May 2013

Inspiring Women: Creativity, Innovation, and Compassion

By: Sarah Seward
When asked if I would like write a post on inspiring women, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to narrow down the list. Each of these three women inspires one of three key values I live by: creativity, innovation, and compassion.


Paula Scher, Graphic Designer

The graphic design field is, for the most part, a boys’ club, but Paula Scher has been blazing the trail for women for four decades. Scher has been a principal at Pentagram, the distinguished international design consultancy, since 1991 and has an unbelievable resume of clients and projects. Her career is the stuff dreams are made of, but it’s her creative process that inspires me most.

Scher’s process is based on the idea that design is play. She values happy accidents, thrives on rebellion, and fears no new experience. When I am struggling with a project, I remember Scher’s advice, “you have to misbehave to make breakthroughs,” and it never fails to inspire something completely unforeseen.


Akanksha Hazari, Founder and CEO of m.Paani

Degrees from Princeton and Cambridge are pretty inspirational; using them for the good of those less fortunate is doubly so. While lots of other talented young entrepreneurs were out trying to make a killing, Hazari founded m.Paani, an award-winning social enterprise that designs and implements mobile-based loyalty programs that empower underserved communities. The program won the Hult Prize and was honored by President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Hazari’s plan uses mobile phones to address access to key basic services including safe water, education, healthcare, energy, and nutrition. Hazari is currently piloting this innovative model in India; next up is Africa, home to many communities in need of the basic services many of us take for granted each day.

The power to dream big, innovative dreams and make those dreams a reality is what makes Hazari so inspiring. In her own words, “We are this Gen Next, where our dreams have no walls. Were better connected, better informed, and better resourced than any other generation in history. This makes us incredibly powerful.”

Erin Ganju, Co-Founder and CEO
 of Room to Read

Erin Ganju’s vision is a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential, and contribute to their community and the world. This real, compassionate mission is truly inspiring. As CEO of Room to Read, Ganju manages worldwide operations across ten program countries and seven fundraising offices, and oversees a global employee base of over 500 people. When I think about what it must be like to oversee the work of 500 people, it makes my load feel blissfully light.

When I consider huge impact Room to Read has on women, communities, countries and the world at large, it’s hard not to get goose bumps. Ganju sums it up best in a recent blog post for the Huffington Post, “The result: thousands of young women working together in their communities to gain an education and explore their professional and personal dreams, proving that when women support women, the world change that we all seek begins to happen.”

We all need inspiring women in our lives, and we don’t have to look far to find them; they are all around us, working their magic on the world every day. If you want a little more inspiration, check out Ripple’s Effect. Featuring a plucky dolphin named Ripple, this wonderful picture book is a great way to share the positive effect of girl power with your little ones! 

Inspiring Women: Creativity, Innovation, and Compassion

By: Sarah Seward
When asked if I would like write a post on inspiring women, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to narrow down the list. Each of these three women inspires one of three key values I live by: creativity, innovation, and compassion.


Paula Scher, Graphic Designer

The graphic design field is, for the most part, a boys’ club, but Paula Scher has been blazing the trail for women for four decades. Scher has been a principal at Pentagram, the distinguished international design consultancy, since 1991 and has an unbelievable resume of clients and projects. Her career is the stuff dreams are made of, but it’s her creative process that inspires me most.

Scher’s process is based on the idea that design is play. She values happy accidents, thrives on rebellion, and fears no new experience. When I am struggling with a project, I remember Scher’s advice, “you have to misbehave to make breakthroughs,” and it never fails to inspire something completely unforeseen.


Akanksha Hazari, Founder and CEO of m.Paani

Degrees from Princeton and Cambridge are pretty inspirational; using them for the good of those less fortunate is doubly so. While lots of other talented young entrepreneurs were out trying to make a killing, Hazari founded m.Paani, an award-winning social enterprise that designs and implements mobile-based loyalty programs that empower underserved communities. The program won the Hult Prize and was honored by President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Hazari’s plan uses mobile phones to address access to key basic services including safe water, education, healthcare, energy, and nutrition. Hazari is currently piloting this innovative model in India; next up is Africa, home to many communities in need of the basic services many of us take for granted each day.

The power to dream big, innovative dreams and make those dreams a reality is what makes Hazari so inspiring. In her own words, “We are this Gen Next, where our dreams have no walls. Were better connected, better informed, and better resourced than any other generation in history. This makes us incredibly powerful.”

Erin Ganju, Co-Founder and CEO
 of Room to Read

Erin Ganju’s vision is a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential, and contribute to their community and the world. This real, compassionate mission is truly inspiring. As CEO of Room to Read, Ganju manages worldwide operations across ten program countries and seven fundraising offices, and oversees a global employee base of over 500 people. When I think about what it must be like to oversee the work of 500 people, it makes my load feel blissfully light.

When I consider huge impact Room to Read has on women, communities, countries and the world at large, it’s hard not to get goose bumps. Ganju sums it up best in a recent blog post for the Huffington Post, “The result: thousands of young women working together in their communities to gain an education and explore their professional and personal dreams, proving that when women support women, the world change that we all seek begins to happen.”

We all need inspiring women in our lives, and we don’t have to look far to find them; they are all around us, working their magic on the world every day. If you want a little more inspiration, check out Ripple’s Effect. Featuring a plucky dolphin named Ripple, this wonderful picture book is a great way to share the positive effect of girl power with your little ones! 

Girltopia–Make Your Perfect World

By Audrey Lintner

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
In a perfect world, chocolate would be a health food, common sense would be common, and my perennials would actually survive more than half of a growing season. As I sit here, nibbling chocolate-covered espresso beans, I can accept the fact that we do not live in a perfect world.

That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to change it.

My whole life has been a journey to get me from Point Augh! to Point Booyah! Every step has been taken with the intent of improving my world. Sometimes, it was the world at large that was my focus. Recycling, volunteering, enlisting in the Army; all done to help put the Big Picture into focus. Other steps pointed toward a more perfect personal space; learning a craft, taking a vacation, walking away from an abusive relationship.

Each step is hard. If we’re lucky, each step is worth the effort. If we’re really lucky, we’ll meet someone with a map.

For young ladies starting out on the journey, that someone will be in California this November 9th. Presented by the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Girltopia is an inspirational expo for girls ages 5-18 and their families. With an expected sellout crowd of over 15,000 participants, Girltopia promises to stimulate the eyes, ears, and brains of girls from across the country.

Offering interactive exhibits, celebrity guests, and workshops, Girltopia takes the focus off of “what’s out there” and shines it on “what’s inside.” Exhibitors include museum and park representatives, authors and publishers, sports teams, science and archaeological associations, and food and fashion moguls, just to name a very few. Has the young lady in your life ever asked, “What shall I be?” There’s a good chance she’ll find an answer (or at least plenty of inspiration) at Girltopia. Registration begins June 1st, so get ready.

Since its quiet beginning in 1912 and a Congressional charter in 1950, the Girl Scouts of the USA has worked to provide girls throughout the nation with the chance to grow physically, spiritually, and mentally. With a stated mission to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” the Girl Scouts of the USA continues to empower girls to reach their full potential, giving them the tools and the voices they need to create, if not a perfect world, a much improved one.
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Share your voice! How will you encourage the girls of today to make their world a better place? What steps will you take to create your own Utopia?

Girltopia–Make Your Perfect World

By Audrey Lintner

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
In a perfect world, chocolate would be a health food, common sense would be common, and my perennials would actually survive more than half of a growing season. As I sit here, nibbling chocolate-covered espresso beans, I can accept the fact that we do not live in a perfect world.

That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try to change it.

My whole life has been a journey to get me from Point Augh! to Point Booyah! Every step has been taken with the intent of improving my world. Sometimes, it was the world at large that was my focus. Recycling, volunteering, enlisting in the Army; all done to help put the Big Picture into focus. Other steps pointed toward a more perfect personal space; learning a craft, taking a vacation, walking away from an abusive relationship.

Each step is hard. If we’re lucky, each step is worth the effort. If we’re really lucky, we’ll meet someone with a map.

For young ladies starting out on the journey, that someone will be in California this November 9th. Presented by the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Girltopia is an inspirational expo for girls ages 5-18 and their families. With an expected sellout crowd of over 15,000 participants, Girltopia promises to stimulate the eyes, ears, and brains of girls from across the country.

Offering interactive exhibits, celebrity guests, and workshops, Girltopia takes the focus off of “what’s out there” and shines it on “what’s inside.” Exhibitors include museum and park representatives, authors and publishers, sports teams, science and archaeological associations, and food and fashion moguls, just to name a very few. Has the young lady in your life ever asked, “What shall I be?” There’s a good chance she’ll find an answer (or at least plenty of inspiration) at Girltopia. Registration begins June 1st, so get ready.

Since its quiet beginning in 1912 and a Congressional charter in 1950, the Girl Scouts of the USA has worked to provide girls throughout the nation with the chance to grow physically, spiritually, and mentally. With a stated mission to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” the Girl Scouts of the USA continues to empower girls to reach their full potential, giving them the tools and the voices they need to create, if not a perfect world, a much improved one.
Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Share your voice! How will you encourage the girls of today to make their world a better place? What steps will you take to create your own Utopia?

Educating Girls in Pakistan with the IQRA Fund

An interview with Genevieve Chabot
by Kelly Wickham
Genevieve Chabot is a brave, intelligent woman but the most important part of that sentence for what we’re about to share is that she’s a woman. She comes from a family of storytellers who like to observe and listen to others’ stories, but being a woman in a developing country taught her some important lessons about how girls and women are expected to behave and she is doing it with her organization, The IQRA Fund.

While studying for her doctoral research, Genevieve decided to switch the focus on her study after a 2007 trip to visit Pakistan with her husband Doug. She met a 13 year old girl named Iqra there whose father passionately wanted her to grow up with a solid education. As the world is well aware, many countries do not value educating girls because their job is to learn how to keep a home and raise a family. Since meeting Iqra and her father, Genevieve committed to finding ways to help take down the barriers to girls’ education and what that means for communities when that happens.

In Pakistan, Genevieve noticed a cultural shift during a meeting to help build this educational foundation. While the men spoke and took care of the business, the women went to the kitchen to help with the tea service. Taking note of this, she remembered a story from Greg Mortenson of the Central Asia Institute that he wrote about in his book Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson writes about a Balti proverb:

The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family.

Genevieve’s patience paid off and, since she was the lead on this project stemming from her research, she spent her time observing and listening, but only with the women and children. She used her connections to her husband to help gain their trust because many in Pakistan had seen broken promises from others who wanted to help. At one of her first meetings she was ushered to the honored seat in the far corner of the room. This was his way of being polite so Genevieve bowed and said, “No, thank you, sir” and proceeded to sit by the door where the women come to serve tea. In Pakistan, the decision makers are the men and they hadn’t seen an educated woman who could help bridge the gaps in what they needed.

Since she couldn’t speak directly to the men, she followed the women into the kitchen and, after a few weeks, she sort of passed a test. One day, one of the men came up to her and called her “Sir” and invited her to the meeting with the men. She knew something shifted then. Even if they did call her “sir”.

The IQRA Fund was born that day and she was able to bring science education to the young girls in Pakistan. She told me that besides being the name of the girl who inspired her to change her life and create a way to bring education, it also means “read” in Arabic. Wisely, she also asked what the elders wanted for their communities and how she could help and, it turns out, they wanted education: for everyone.

Little Pickle Press is honored to have been able to connect with IQRA and we asked her some questions about her work during our month of celebrating girls and women.

What are the barriers to girl getting an education?
Depending on the region, the first one is financial.  It costs $100 per girl for a year of primary education and $1,000 for high school. At the high school level it becomes an additional expense for room and board plus tuition. There are also cultural and social and religious expectations where girls are most valuable as a mother and wife. Unfortunately, there are also the geographic barriers in valleys where it takes 6 hours and a ½ day hike to get to a village.


What would you say to young girls in America, quite privileged, connected to with caring, empathy and compassion for girls who live on the other side of the word?

The girls on the other side of the world from America live with a storytelling tradition. History, as they know it, is told by women in the kitchen to the girls who are also learning cooking skills. In America is used to work that way as well. IQRA helps provide with stories and materials that mothers tells their daughters which is another way to educate both the younger and older populations and, for many, this is the first time they have the chance to read and write. Their prized possessions are the books they read and also the stories they now write.

What are the strengths in the communities that want to educate girls? 

While the Central Asia Institute builds schools, Genevieve wanted to build an educational foundation that would sustain in the community and be powerful for the men and the women who are raising families there. There is generational change happening in pockets of the world and it’s hopeful – these communities, fathers, families, elders  — they don’t have a deficit view of what they have. “Change can come if it’s celebrated and empowered.”

Thank you, Genevieve, for sharing the powerful work of IQRA with us and helping us see so clearly the vision you have for education girls!
Please visit the IQRA Fund to see their work and how you can help be a part of the change.

Educating Girls in Pakistan with the IQRA Fund

An interview with Genevieve Chabot
by Kelly Wickham
Genevieve Chabot is a brave, intelligent woman but the most important part of that sentence for what we’re about to share is that she’s a woman. She comes from a family of storytellers who like to observe and listen to others’ stories, but being a woman in a developing country taught her some important lessons about how girls and women are expected to behave and she is doing it with her organization, The IQRA Fund.

While studying for her doctoral research, Genevieve decided to switch the focus on her study after a 2007 trip to visit Pakistan with her husband Doug. She met a 13 year old girl named Iqra there whose father passionately wanted her to grow up with a solid education. As the world is well aware, many countries do not value educating girls because their job is to learn how to keep a home and raise a family. Since meeting Iqra and her father, Genevieve committed to finding ways to help take down the barriers to girls’ education and what that means for communities when that happens.

In Pakistan, Genevieve noticed a cultural shift during a meeting to help build this educational foundation. While the men spoke and took care of the business, the women went to the kitchen to help with the tea service. Taking note of this, she remembered a story from Greg Mortenson of the Central Asia Institute that he wrote about in his book Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson writes about a Balti proverb:

The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family.

Genevieve’s patience paid off and, since she was the lead on this project stemming from her research, she spent her time observing and listening, but only with the women and children. She used her connections to her husband to help gain their trust because many in Pakistan had seen broken promises from others who wanted to help. At one of her first meetings she was ushered to the honored seat in the far corner of the room. This was his way of being polite so Genevieve bowed and said, “No, thank you, sir” and proceeded to sit by the door where the women come to serve tea. In Pakistan, the decision makers are the men and they hadn’t seen an educated woman who could help bridge the gaps in what they needed.

Since she couldn’t speak directly to the men, she followed the women into the kitchen and, after a few weeks, she sort of passed a test. One day, one of the men came up to her and called her “Sir” and invited her to the meeting with the men. She knew something shifted then. Even if they did call her “sir”.

The IQRA Fund was born that day and she was able to bring science education to the young girls in Pakistan. She told me that besides being the name of the girl who inspired her to change her life and create a way to bring education, it also means “read” in Arabic. Wisely, she also asked what the elders wanted for their communities and how she could help and, it turns out, they wanted education: for everyone.

Little Pickle Press is honored to have been able to connect with IQRA and we asked her some questions about her work during our month of celebrating girls and women.

What are the barriers to girl getting an education?
Depending on the region, the first one is financial.  It costs $100 per girl for a year of primary education and $1,000 for high school. At the high school level it becomes an additional expense for room and board plus tuition. There are also cultural and social and religious expectations where girls are most valuable as a mother and wife. Unfortunately, there are also the geographic barriers in valleys where it takes 6 hours and a ½ day hike to get to a village.


What would you say to young girls in America, quite privileged, connected to with caring, empathy and compassion for girls who live on the other side of the word?

The girls on the other side of the world from America live with a storytelling tradition. History, as they know it, is told by women in the kitchen to the girls who are also learning cooking skills. In America is used to work that way as well. IQRA helps provide with stories and materials that mothers tells their daughters which is another way to educate both the younger and older populations and, for many, this is the first time they have the chance to read and write. Their prized possessions are the books they read and also the stories they now write.

What are the strengths in the communities that want to educate girls? 

While the Central Asia Institute builds schools, Genevieve wanted to build an educational foundation that would sustain in the community and be powerful for the men and the women who are raising families there. There is generational change happening in pockets of the world and it’s hopeful – these communities, fathers, families, elders  — they don’t have a deficit view of what they have. “Change can come if it’s celebrated and empowered.”

Thank you, Genevieve, for sharing the powerful work of IQRA with us and helping us see so clearly the vision you have for education girls!
Please visit the IQRA Fund to see their work and how you can help be a part of the change.

Designing for Award-Winners—Showcasing the Independent Book Publishers Association’s BFDAs

By Sarah Seward, Principal Designer at Little Pickle Press
As a graphic designer, creating visual solutions for communication needs is my craft, my passion; the sort of thing that wakes me up in the night to jot down ideas, despite the disapproval of my cat, who rather vocally protests these sudden interruptions of her beauty sleep. When first tasked with creating a new seal for the Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA’s) Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards (BFDAs), I wasn’t sure what to expect; but being and avid reader and supporter of the IBPA, I approached the project with enthusiasm and an open mind.



A Dynamic Design for a Progressive Award

Designing the BFDA seal was a complex challenge calling for a dynamic solution reflecting the award’s multi-faceted nature. As I listened carefully to the voices of my collaborators, I understood that the IBPA represents a long-established tradition of supporting excellence in the publishing industry and that the BFDA celebrates the innovation at the vanguard of digital publishing. This unique duality required a solution that was respectful and sophisticated while at the same time modern and fresh. Needless to say there were a few midnight awakenings and a little angry caterwauling before we arrived upon a winning design.



Working with a Team of Visionaries


Working with the team for this project was a delightful departure from my norm. Florrie Binford Kichler, IBPA Executive Director; Rana DiOrio, CEO at Little Pickle Press and IBPA Board Member; and Christopher Robbins, Founder at Familius and IBPA Board Member; the four of us formed a creative melting pot of ideas and insights.

I worked closely with Rana DiOrio to evolve the design and found her ability to galvanize people into action completely awe-inspiring. However, it was only with tremendous support from the entire team that we were able to come up with a design befitting the dynamic nature of the BFDAs.

Take it from someone who would rather bathe her snarky cat in cold water than take art direction from multiple stakeholders, collaborating with this team was a pleasantly eye-opening experience. Each had a distinct vision for the BFDA seal and offered invaluable perspective that contributed significantly to the final design.

A Valuable Opportunityfor Me and for Indie Publishers


Reflecting on the experience, I am humbled by my good fortune to have had the opportunity to work with a wonderful team on a project rich with personal meaning. The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards recognize innovation and excellence of digital content and are regarded as one of the highest national honors in independent publishing. Winners and finalists are announced to all of the major trade journals and media. The cachet that accompanies winning a BFDA is impressive, and I am honored to be a part of it. If you are an indie publisher or author publisher with exemplary digital content, check out the submission guidelines here. If you will be at BookExpo America, be sure to stop by IBPA’s Booth number 2346.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Sarah Seward

A long-time professional in graphic arts industry, voracious reader of all things design, and passionate supporter of socio-environmental responsibility, Sarah Seward designs solutions that embody a healthy blend of professional experience, fresh creativity, and big-picture accountability. When she’s not designing for the greater good, Sarah enjoys watching baseball and reading in the company of her two sassy cats. Learn more about Sarah at sweetsarahstudio.com

Designing for Award-Winners—Showcasing the Independent Book Publishers Association’s BFDAs

By Sarah Seward, Principal Designer at Little Pickle Press
As a graphic designer, creating visual solutions for communication needs is my craft, my passion; the sort of thing that wakes me up in the night to jot down ideas, despite the disapproval of my cat, who rather vocally protests these sudden interruptions of her beauty sleep. When first tasked with creating a new seal for the Independent Book Publishers Association’s (IBPA’s) Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards (BFDAs), I wasn’t sure what to expect; but being and avid reader and supporter of the IBPA, I approached the project with enthusiasm and an open mind.



A Dynamic Design for a Progressive Award

Designing the BFDA seal was a complex challenge calling for a dynamic solution reflecting the award’s multi-faceted nature. As I listened carefully to the voices of my collaborators, I understood that the IBPA represents a long-established tradition of supporting excellence in the publishing industry and that the BFDA celebrates the innovation at the vanguard of digital publishing. This unique duality required a solution that was respectful and sophisticated while at the same time modern and fresh. Needless to say there were a few midnight awakenings and a little angry caterwauling before we arrived upon a winning design.



Working with a Team of Visionaries


Working with the team for this project was a delightful departure from my norm. Florrie Binford Kichler, IBPA Executive Director; Rana DiOrio, CEO at Little Pickle Press and IBPA Board Member; and Christopher Robbins, Founder at Familius and IBPA Board Member; the four of us formed a creative melting pot of ideas and insights.

I worked closely with Rana DiOrio to evolve the design and found her ability to galvanize people into action completely awe-inspiring. However, it was only with tremendous support from the entire team that we were able to come up with a design befitting the dynamic nature of the BFDAs.

Take it from someone who would rather bathe her snarky cat in cold water than take art direction from multiple stakeholders, collaborating with this team was a pleasantly eye-opening experience. Each had a distinct vision for the BFDA seal and offered invaluable perspective that contributed significantly to the final design.

A Valuable Opportunityfor Me and for Indie Publishers


Reflecting on the experience, I am humbled by my good fortune to have had the opportunity to work with a wonderful team on a project rich with personal meaning. The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards recognize innovation and excellence of digital content and are regarded as one of the highest national honors in independent publishing. Winners and finalists are announced to all of the major trade journals and media. The cachet that accompanies winning a BFDA is impressive, and I am honored to be a part of it. If you are an indie publisher or author publisher with exemplary digital content, check out the submission guidelines here. If you will be at BookExpo America, be sure to stop by IBPA’s Booth number 2346.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Sarah Seward

A long-time professional in graphic arts industry, voracious reader of all things design, and passionate supporter of socio-environmental responsibility, Sarah Seward designs solutions that embody a healthy blend of professional experience, fresh creativity, and big-picture accountability. When she’s not designing for the greater good, Sarah enjoys watching baseball and reading in the company of her two sassy cats. Learn more about Sarah at sweetsarahstudio.com

Mama Janes: Celebrating Women and Girls Who Make a Difference

An interview with Evelyne Michaut

by Kelly Wickham



Evelyne Michaut speaks on the phone like a woman with a mission. That’s exactly what she is. This month, Evelyne Michaut and her business partner, Lisa Cratty, are launching a website dedicated to the respectable undertaking of supporting women with a purpose. Evelyne and Lisa launched Mama Janes, a marketplace community of mothers that has a twist: it’s a supportive social marketplace where women can learn business practices, sell their high quality wares in a free showcase boutique, and connect with their community of customers and friends.
Think marketplace with a social media plan, but better. Moms, Evelyne and Lisa maintain, are powerful beyond measure and have the tools and skills to connect as entrepreneurs. To that end, they’re reaching out to women every day who not only want to practice responsible business conventions, but who are also concerned about things like putting organic clothing on their children, eating and living well, and to participating in the global marketplace.

As business leaders.

It’s isolating to be a work-at-home mother and Mama Janes aims to help by showing moms how to promote their work, find customers, and teach business practices for entrepreneurs. Evelyne and Lisa understand the economic and political powers at play for purchasing and Evelyne’s background in environmental advocacy is perfect for launching this initiative.

“Women define what it looks like for us to be examples for the daughters of the world,” Evelyne told me. That’s why she and Lisa set up cohorts of moms who want to find an outlet and make it a lucrative one, both economically and personally. As you poke around Mama Janes, you’ll notice that the site is unique in that it brings in that missing piece of connectedness that many sellers feel when they independently sell products.

Yet, it’s more than that. Evelyne and Lisa know that if we are to help women in real and powerful ways, then we do it with choice and diversity. Her view is that if she defines it and creates it and we learn along together, we are finding our way in the world. We already know that women care who makes a product and that purchasing power takes root there. Young girls, take note: this is what it looks like to support each other.

The hardest part of convincing moms that they have what it takes are the internal barriers girls grow up with, but Mama Janes is committed to listening to them and organically growing their needs. There’s no prescribed program save for the community which helps moms improve the design of their websites, or helps with their Facebook marketing plans, or provides mentors. Providing commercial grade products and solving problems that arise in the marketplace where women find themselves is the larger mission of Mama Janes, and they are going to change the way we spend, think, work, and raise our families.

Evelyne shared part of her day with me in a phone interview and I learned so much about why this website was a necessity for both Lisa and her. You know how that works: I asked questions, she provided answers and by the end I wanted to hop on a plane and go sit in a coffee shop with her for an indeterminate amount of time. But my favorite answer Evelyne gave me didn’t come from a question I asked, but from one I should have. She said that it guides her in their conscious business practices and the mission of Mama Janes: how can we expect girls to thrive if moms aren’t?

Are you a mom entrepreneur who wants to find that balance of work and family in a business-friendly and ecologically responsible way? Check out Mama Janes and become a part of their community.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
See how Mama Jane’s gives back!
Visit the newly launched Mama Janes website and check it out! You can connect with customers and friends, shop for products, and support other moms who are mompreneurs.

Mama Jane’s vision is that of a global village market run by moms. We are starting in the US, but we already want to support our sisters in other countries. In that spirit, Lisa and Evelyne sponsor “sisters” through Women for Women International, and we donate 5% of Mama Jane’s profits to this amazing organization who helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Mama Janes: Celebrating Women and Girls Who Make a Difference

An interview with Evelyne Michaut

by Kelly Wickham



Evelyne Michaut speaks on the phone like a woman with a mission. That’s exactly what she is. This month, Evelyne Michaut and her business partner, Lisa Cratty, are launching a website dedicated to the respectable undertaking of supporting women with a purpose. Evelyne and Lisa launched Mama Janes, a marketplace community of mothers that has a twist: it’s a supportive social marketplace where women can learn business practices, sell their high quality wares in a free showcase boutique, and connect with their community of customers and friends.
Think marketplace with a social media plan, but better. Moms, Evelyne and Lisa maintain, are powerful beyond measure and have the tools and skills to connect as entrepreneurs. To that end, they’re reaching out to women every day who not only want to practice responsible business conventions, but who are also concerned about things like putting organic clothing on their children, eating and living well, and to participating in the global marketplace.

As business leaders.

It’s isolating to be a work-at-home mother and Mama Janes aims to help by showing moms how to promote their work, find customers, and teach business practices for entrepreneurs. Evelyne and Lisa understand the economic and political powers at play for purchasing and Evelyne’s background in environmental advocacy is perfect for launching this initiative.

“Women define what it looks like for us to be examples for the daughters of the world,” Evelyne told me. That’s why she and Lisa set up cohorts of moms who want to find an outlet and make it a lucrative one, both economically and personally. As you poke around Mama Janes, you’ll notice that the site is unique in that it brings in that missing piece of connectedness that many sellers feel when they independently sell products.

Yet, it’s more than that. Evelyne and Lisa know that if we are to help women in real and powerful ways, then we do it with choice and diversity. Her view is that if she defines it and creates it and we learn along together, we are finding our way in the world. We already know that women care who makes a product and that purchasing power takes root there. Young girls, take note: this is what it looks like to support each other.

The hardest part of convincing moms that they have what it takes are the internal barriers girls grow up with, but Mama Janes is committed to listening to them and organically growing their needs. There’s no prescribed program save for the community which helps moms improve the design of their websites, or helps with their Facebook marketing plans, or provides mentors. Providing commercial grade products and solving problems that arise in the marketplace where women find themselves is the larger mission of Mama Janes, and they are going to change the way we spend, think, work, and raise our families.

Evelyne shared part of her day with me in a phone interview and I learned so much about why this website was a necessity for both Lisa and her. You know how that works: I asked questions, she provided answers and by the end I wanted to hop on a plane and go sit in a coffee shop with her for an indeterminate amount of time. But my favorite answer Evelyne gave me didn’t come from a question I asked, but from one I should have. She said that it guides her in their conscious business practices and the mission of Mama Janes: how can we expect girls to thrive if moms aren’t?

Are you a mom entrepreneur who wants to find that balance of work and family in a business-friendly and ecologically responsible way? Check out Mama Janes and become a part of their community.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
See how Mama Jane’s gives back!
Visit the newly launched Mama Janes website and check it out! You can connect with customers and friends, shop for products, and support other moms who are mompreneurs.

Mama Jane’s vision is that of a global village market run by moms. We are starting in the US, but we already want to support our sisters in other countries. In that spirit, Lisa and Evelyne sponsor “sisters” through Women for Women International, and we donate 5% of Mama Jane’s profits to this amazing organization who helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

Children in Tech: Interview with Aarti Parikh

By Cameron Crane


Image credit: kidsorangetech.com
When we look ten years in to the future, there is only one thing that seems to be a certainty: the technological world, as we know it, will cease to exist. Today’s newest ideas will be a thing of the past, and many of us understand that our lives will be a constant relearning process, as we continue to adapt and adopt.


Yesterday we welcomed Aarti Parikh, Co-Founder of our digital partner KiteReaders, as she told us all about women in technology. Today, we are excited to have her back to discuss the future of tech, and the hands it will most likely fall in to.


What or who do you see as the tech developers of the future?


I think understanding technology and basic coding will be as essential as reading and writing. Kids that master that will have a definite advantage. I see the tech developer of the future as more of a polymath. Programming may be one of their many skills, which they leverage to solve business problems, scientific problems, create content and media to teach, or start social revolutions.


How have you passed your experiences on to your daughters? When did you decide to teach them to code?


It started with my children testing the book apps I was making. They would not only test the apps but recommend features they wanted me to add. The apps had interactivity, music, and coloring pages. I remember my daughter’s suggestion to add stickers into the coloring pages of the app I had made. The creative aspect roused their interest and they wanted to learn.


I started my daughter when she entered fourth grade, introducing her to building a website and writing simple HTML and CSS. After a while she wanted to code something more interactive, at which point we worked together on some JavaScript and ruby modules in Khan Academy and Code Academy. We are also reading the book Learn to Program by Chris Pine.


The best part is the discussions I have with them and the fun questions that they ask. We talk a lot about what code means, what a computer language is and how it relates to Math and English. Their questions usually drive the conversations. Why is code written in English? How do you build animations? How can I check if my math homework is correct? Why doesn’t Siri understand Grandma?


Do you recommend getting children involved with coding early?


I am not an education expert, but I think it would be interesting for kids to code starting in 4th or 5th grade and in teams. However, I do believe that it has to be teacher assisted for they do need a guide in case they get stuck. Coding is hard. You want to build on their confidence so that they feel challenged but not frustrated or overwhelmed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About Aarti Parikh

Aarti took to computers while she was in high-school. Since then, she has enjoyed programming in various languages. As a software engineer, Aarti has contributed to several products in the last ten years  that have had a positive impact in the world. At KiteReaders, she not only designs the products and writes the code behind them, but she also works with literature, which she has loved since her childhood. Her prior experiences includes the design and development of the advertising platform at Yahoo!, developing enterprise pharmacy software at Tech-Rx (now McKesson Provider Technologies), and more.

Children in Tech: Interview with Aarti Parikh

By Cameron Crane


Image credit: kidsorangetech.com
When we look ten years in to the future, there is only one thing that seems to be a certainty: the technological world, as we know it, will cease to exist. Today’s newest ideas will be a thing of the past, and many of us understand that our lives will be a constant relearning process, as we continue to adapt and adopt.


Yesterday we welcomed Aarti Parikh, Co-Founder of our digital partner KiteReaders, as she told us all about women in technology. Today, we are excited to have her back to discuss the future of tech, and the hands it will most likely fall in to.


What or who do you see as the tech developers of the future?


I think understanding technology and basic coding will be as essential as reading and writing. Kids that master that will have a definite advantage. I see the tech developer of the future as more of a polymath. Programming may be one of their many skills, which they leverage to solve business problems, scientific problems, create content and media to teach, or start social revolutions.


How have you passed your experiences on to your daughters? When did you decide to teach them to code?


It started with my children testing the book apps I was making. They would not only test the apps but recommend features they wanted me to add. The apps had interactivity, music, and coloring pages. I remember my daughter’s suggestion to add stickers into the coloring pages of the app I had made. The creative aspect roused their interest and they wanted to learn.


I started my daughter when she entered fourth grade, introducing her to building a website and writing simple HTML and CSS. After a while she wanted to code something more interactive, at which point we worked together on some JavaScript and ruby modules in Khan Academy and Code Academy. We are also reading the book Learn to Program by Chris Pine.


The best part is the discussions I have with them and the fun questions that they ask. We talk a lot about what code means, what a computer language is and how it relates to Math and English. Their questions usually drive the conversations. Why is code written in English? How do you build animations? How can I check if my math homework is correct? Why doesn’t Siri understand Grandma?


Do you recommend getting children involved with coding early?


I am not an education expert, but I think it would be interesting for kids to code starting in 4th or 5th grade and in teams. However, I do believe that it has to be teacher assisted for they do need a guide in case they get stuck. Coding is hard. You want to build on their confidence so that they feel challenged but not frustrated or overwhelmed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About Aarti Parikh

Aarti took to computers while she was in high-school. Since then, she has enjoyed programming in various languages. As a software engineer, Aarti has contributed to several products in the last ten years  that have had a positive impact in the world. At KiteReaders, she not only designs the products and writes the code behind them, but she also works with literature, which she has loved since her childhood. Her prior experiences includes the design and development of the advertising platform at Yahoo!, developing enterprise pharmacy software at Tech-Rx (now McKesson Provider Technologies), and more.

Women in Tech: Interview with Aarti Parikh of KiteReaders

By Cameron Crane

Over the past few years, Little Pickle Press has been working hard to translate our award-winning picture books into digital format, both as book apps and enhanced eBooks. In doing so, we have been fortunate to develop many meaningful relationships, including that with one of our digital partners, KiteReaders.


Today, we welcome Aarti Parikh, Co-Founder of KiteReaders, to tell us about her experience as a woman in the tech industry.


When did you first decide to get involved in the tech development industry?


I was fortunate that the school my parents had sent me to was part of a Computer Literacy program, and I wrote my first program in Basic on the BBC Microcomputer. I enjoyed Math and English at school, however writing programs was a lot more fun and allowed more freedom to be creative, especially since most courses taught in our school tended to be rigidly structured. Also, with programming there is sort of a level playing field; the student can actually code something more interesting or creative than the teacher, and there are many ways to arrive at the same solution. I decided to stick with it and pursued an engineering degree in college. The tech industry was booming in the late 90s, and I was able to find work quite easily after I graduated.


What has your experience as a female tech developer been? Has this experience changed over the last decade?


One of the most challenging things for me as a developer has been to keep up with emerging technologies; I must improve my coding skills while delivering products to meet deadlines. Learning often happens in informal settings in the team. This is the hard part. It is easy to feel excluded and out of the loop, and it may not be intentional. I learned that speaking up about my ideas was not enough, and many times I had to demonstrate with a proof of concept. That in turn meant I had to push myself harder, which comes with a price of time. In hindsight, I see it as a positive, as it let me evolve and be more self-sufficient as a developer.


Software development usually occurs in cycles, and sometimes the code completion deadlines require long hours. It disrupts the home life, and with a family you need a supportive and understanding partner. However, most developers do have the options of flexible working hours, and that has made things a little bit easier for me during my career.


Social media has had a huge impact among tech developers over the last decade. With a lot of influencers like framework developers online, it has become easy to find information and we have less dependence on the immediate team or hierarchy within organizations. New ideas may flow from a Tweet or a trending framework on GitHub or an article or a video on YouTube. However, this is a tricky area to navigate, since personal life and work seems to get blended in a very public setting.


Do you have any advice for women with the desire to enter the industry?


Education in this field does not mean getting a degree; you have to be a practitioner. A college degree, even in Computer Science, does not guarantee a job as a developer. You have to at least be coding if not staying current with the latest practices. My advice is to network with others in the industry; find mentors. A lot of growth happens with sharing ideas and success or failure stories. Be a self-starter: build something, learn something. Nowadays there are a lot of educational programs encouraging women, such as HackBright Academy or StarterLeague. If you are looking to change a career, that might be a place to start.


Is there anything else you would like to share with us?


Most recently, my company KiteReaders was accepted in the Accelerator Program at 500 Startups. It is an exciting time for us to be part of an international, diverse, and talented group of people, some of whom have travelled from Africa, Vietnam, and Jordan. It is amazing to see the ideas and software talents of all these countries represented in Silicon Valley right alongside the brightest and best talents. I am not aware of any other industry that enables this chance. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About Aarti Parikh


Aarti took to computers while she was in high school. Since then, she has enjoyed programming in various languages. As a software engineer, Aarti has contributed to several products in the last ten years  that have had a positive impact in the world. At KiteReaders, she not only designs the products and writes the code behind them, but she also works with literature, which she has loved since her childhood. Her prior experiences includes the design and development of the advertising platform at Yahoo!, developing enterprise pharmacy software at Tech-Rx (now McKesson Provider Technologies), and more.


Women in Tech: Interview with Aarti Parikh of KiteReaders

By Cameron Crane

Over the past few years, Little Pickle Press has been working hard to translate our award-winning picture books into digital format, both as book apps and enhanced eBooks. In doing so, we have been fortunate to develop many meaningful relationships, including that with one of our digital partners, KiteReaders.


Today, we welcome Aarti Parikh, Co-Founder of KiteReaders, to tell us about her experience as a woman in the tech industry.


When did you first decide to get involved in the tech development industry?


I was fortunate that the school my parents had sent me to was part of a Computer Literacy program, and I wrote my first program in Basic on the BBC Microcomputer. I enjoyed Math and English at school, however writing programs was a lot more fun and allowed more freedom to be creative, especially since most courses taught in our school tended to be rigidly structured. Also, with programming there is sort of a level playing field; the student can actually code something more interesting or creative than the teacher, and there are many ways to arrive at the same solution. I decided to stick with it and pursued an engineering degree in college. The tech industry was booming in the late 90s, and I was able to find work quite easily after I graduated.


What has your experience as a female tech developer been? Has this experience changed over the last decade?


One of the most challenging things for me as a developer has been to keep up with emerging technologies; I must improve my coding skills while delivering products to meet deadlines. Learning often happens in informal settings in the team. This is the hard part. It is easy to feel excluded and out of the loop, and it may not be intentional. I learned that speaking up about my ideas was not enough, and many times I had to demonstrate with a proof of concept. That in turn meant I had to push myself harder, which comes with a price of time. In hindsight, I see it as a positive, as it let me evolve and be more self-sufficient as a developer.


Software development usually occurs in cycles, and sometimes the code completion deadlines require long hours. It disrupts the home life, and with a family you need a supportive and understanding partner. However, most developers do have the options of flexible working hours, and that has made things a little bit easier for me during my career.


Social media has had a huge impact among tech developers over the last decade. With a lot of influencers like framework developers online, it has become easy to find information and we have less dependence on the immediate team or hierarchy within organizations. New ideas may flow from a Tweet or a trending framework on GitHub or an article or a video on YouTube. However, this is a tricky area to navigate, since personal life and work seems to get blended in a very public setting.


Do you have any advice for women with the desire to enter the industry?


Education in this field does not mean getting a degree; you have to be a practitioner. A college degree, even in Computer Science, does not guarantee a job as a developer. You have to at least be coding if not staying current with the latest practices. My advice is to network with others in the industry; find mentors. A lot of growth happens with sharing ideas and success or failure stories. Be a self-starter: build something, learn something. Nowadays there are a lot of educational programs encouraging women, such as HackBright Academy or StarterLeague. If you are looking to change a career, that might be a place to start.


Is there anything else you would like to share with us?


Most recently, my company KiteReaders was accepted in the Accelerator Program at 500 Startups. It is an exciting time for us to be part of an international, diverse, and talented group of people, some of whom have travelled from Africa, Vietnam, and Jordan. It is amazing to see the ideas and software talents of all these countries represented in Silicon Valley right alongside the brightest and best talents. I am not aware of any other industry that enables this chance. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About Aarti Parikh


Aarti took to computers while she was in high school. Since then, she has enjoyed programming in various languages. As a software engineer, Aarti has contributed to several products in the last ten years  that have had a positive impact in the world. At KiteReaders, she not only designs the products and writes the code behind them, but she also works with literature, which she has loved since her childhood. Her prior experiences includes the design and development of the advertising platform at Yahoo!, developing enterprise pharmacy software at Tech-Rx (now McKesson Provider Technologies), and more.


Women Who Are Makers

By Kelly Wickham


Last month, PBS aired a documentary called Makers about the women who make America. The project uses the digital medium to showcase thousands of American women who, through the use of their captivating stories, have become the leaders they are today. It was developed through the collaborative efforts of AOL and PBS and collects the stories of women, by women; stories that we tell ourselves and our daughters so that powerful voices can be heard by future generations.

It’s a simple idea, really, but one far more potent than I first realized. I managed to catch an episode when I was flipping channels and caught the stories being told by Marlo Thomas. Not only can I appreciate Ms. Thomas for being “That Girl” on reruns when I was a tween girl, but my parents bought me the book and accompanying album, “Free to Be You and Me,” when I was about 10 years old. The album came out when I was a toddler, but my parents bought it saved it for the three girls in my family so that we would listen and learn how to be strong women someday.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Marlo Thomas would be in the Makers documentary video. In fact, I was feeling rather old to admit that I played the album on my record player when I was a child. We had limited mediums through which to hear about gender stereotypes, individuality, and tolerance when I was a child. So, naturally, I saved the book and album for my own daughter to enjoy. Little did I realize that the Internet would be born and that we would have, at our fingertips, an amazing array of powerful messages for girls.

Unfortunately, I also didn’t realize that the amplification of messages toward girls would be as violent and vitriolic as we have seen in the last few years, with social media playing a major role in how those messages come across. That’s why documentaries like Makers are important. Stories of powerful women like Alice Walker and Madeleine Albright and Judy Blume are all over the site. If you visit Makers they have wisely categorized videos of women in all kinds of jobs. The arts and politics and science/tech are a few you’ll find. I’m partial to the category of education and business as well, but a good place to start would be with the Groundbreakers, women who have blasted through the glass ceiling that many women found themselves up against after being given the message that they can do anything.

If you have a girl in your life who could benefit from hearing stories from the women who are making our world a better place, and from women who are stretching themselves to ensure that girls are equal, please visit Makers and watch the videos with her. It may be your daughter or your sister or even, for those men out there, your wife. They’re little snippets of power and social change that started with just one woman; to hear them tell the stories themselves makes the experience even more powerful. 

Women Who Are Makers

By Kelly Wickham


Last month, PBS aired a documentary called Makers about the women who make America. The project uses the digital medium to showcase thousands of American women who, through the use of their captivating stories, have become the leaders they are today. It was developed through the collaborative efforts of AOL and PBS and collects the stories of women, by women; stories that we tell ourselves and our daughters so that powerful voices can be heard by future generations.

It’s a simple idea, really, but one far more potent than I first realized. I managed to catch an episode when I was flipping channels and caught the stories being told by Marlo Thomas. Not only can I appreciate Ms. Thomas for being “That Girl” on reruns when I was a tween girl, but my parents bought me the book and accompanying album, “Free to Be You and Me,” when I was about 10 years old. The album came out when I was a toddler, but my parents bought it saved it for the three girls in my family so that we would listen and learn how to be strong women someday.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Marlo Thomas would be in the Makers documentary video. In fact, I was feeling rather old to admit that I played the album on my record player when I was a child. We had limited mediums through which to hear about gender stereotypes, individuality, and tolerance when I was a child. So, naturally, I saved the book and album for my own daughter to enjoy. Little did I realize that the Internet would be born and that we would have, at our fingertips, an amazing array of powerful messages for girls.

Unfortunately, I also didn’t realize that the amplification of messages toward girls would be as violent and vitriolic as we have seen in the last few years, with social media playing a major role in how those messages come across. That’s why documentaries like Makers are important. Stories of powerful women like Alice Walker and Madeleine Albright and Judy Blume are all over the site. If you visit Makers they have wisely categorized videos of women in all kinds of jobs. The arts and politics and science/tech are a few you’ll find. I’m partial to the category of education and business as well, but a good place to start would be with the Groundbreakers, women who have blasted through the glass ceiling that many women found themselves up against after being given the message that they can do anything.

If you have a girl in your life who could benefit from hearing stories from the women who are making our world a better place, and from women who are stretching themselves to ensure that girls are equal, please visit Makers and watch the videos with her. It may be your daughter or your sister or even, for those men out there, your wife. They’re little snippets of power and social change that started with just one woman; to hear them tell the stories themselves makes the experience even more powerful. 

Featured Customer of the Month: Tree House Books

By Cameron Crane


As you may already know, this week we have been celebrating Children’s Book Week. Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country, first established in 1919. Its purpose is to celebrate books and to foster a lifelong love of reading in children, which is something all of us at Little Pickle Press strive to do every day. So, as you can imagine, it is always a pleasure for us when we come across a customer that seeks to do the same.

Tree House Books is one such customer, which is why we decided to highlight them today. Founded in 2004, Tree House Books is a non-profit organization with a mission to: “grow and sustain a community of readers, writers, and thinkers in North Central Philadelphia.” It serves primarily as an after-school meeting spot, full of artwork and books, and designed to “encourage a lifelong relationship with education, reading, and each other.” Children who enter Tree House are not only inspired to build a relationship with books, but are also encouraged to build a relationship with one another, as the company emphasizes and embodies the importance of being a member of a community—a sentiment that Little Pickle Press also shares strongly.




Although Tree House Books hosts and sells an amazing collection of children’s literature, the company’s goal is to be more than “a place to buy books”, and to instead become “a place where life with books is always happening.” Writing workshops, open mic venues, leadership programs, homework support centers, hangout spots, and a theater help to make this vision a reality. You can find out more about Tree House’s programs here.
If you are in the North Central Philadelphia area, we highly recommend stopping into Tree House and browsing its selection of literature, specializing in children’s books, African American literature, poetry, and biographies. You can also sign up to volunteer for the program, and become part of a team seeking to make a positive impact in the lives on children by nurturing social, academic, and creative development.

If you are not in the area, but are still interested in supporting Tree House’s mission, consider donating books to the organization. Donations are accepted on a weekly basis.

Thank you Tree House Books, for fostering a lifelong love of books and community in North Central Philadelphia! We are honored to be on your shelves.



Featured Customer of the Month: Tree House Books

By Cameron Crane


As you may already know, this week we have been celebrating Children’s Book Week. Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country, first established in 1919. Its purpose is to celebrate books and to foster a lifelong love of reading in children, which is something all of us at Little Pickle Press strive to do every day. So, as you can imagine, it is always a pleasure for us when we come across a customer that seeks to do the same.

Tree House Books is one such customer, which is why we decided to highlight them today. Founded in 2004, Tree House Books is a non-profit organization with a mission to: “grow and sustain a community of readers, writers, and thinkers in North Central Philadelphia.” It serves primarily as an after-school meeting spot, full of artwork and books, and designed to “encourage a lifelong relationship with education, reading, and each other.” Children who enter Tree House are not only inspired to build a relationship with books, but are also encouraged to build a relationship with one another, as the company emphasizes and embodies the importance of being a member of a community—a sentiment that Little Pickle Press also shares strongly.




Although Tree House Books hosts and sells an amazing collection of children’s literature, the company’s goal is to be more than “a place to buy books”, and to instead become “a place where life with books is always happening.” Writing workshops, open mic venues, leadership programs, homework support centers, hangout spots, and a theater help to make this vision a reality. You can find out more about Tree House’s programs here.
If you are in the North Central Philadelphia area, we highly recommend stopping into Tree House and browsing its selection of literature, specializing in children’s books, African American literature, poetry, and biographies. You can also sign up to volunteer for the program, and become part of a team seeking to make a positive impact in the lives on children by nurturing social, academic, and creative development.

If you are not in the area, but are still interested in supporting Tree House’s mission, consider donating books to the organization. Donations are accepted on a weekly basis.

Thank you Tree House Books, for fostering a lifelong love of books and community in North Central Philadelphia! We are honored to be on your shelves.



5 More Books We Love for Children’s Book Week

By Cameron Crane

The official 2013 Children’s Book Week bookmark by Grace Lin

Are you already through the first ten books we recommended? Here are some more of our favorite books from our monthly First Friday Book Reviews to help you celebrate Children’s Book Week:

Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love Story, Written by Kara LaReau and Illustrated by Scott Magoon
There are several great messages in this story. The first is about self-acceptance. The second is an effective approach to handling exclusionary play. The third is that life is richer, sweeter, and more fulfilling when you share it with someone you love.

The North Star, Written and Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
The underlying message is to follow your inner compass, to march to the beat of your own drummer, and in so doing to actualize your own dreams. The message reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Linda DuPuy Moore—“Follow your dreams and pursue them with courage, for it is the pursuit of those dreams that makes life really worth living.” What a powerful message to give the architects of our future, our children. 

One, Written and Illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi
At its foundation, this is a book about standing up to bullies. We are drawn to the book, however, for its powerful message that it only takes one person to catalyze positive change.

We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers, Written and Illustrated by Lauren Child
The message in this book is simple: if we aren’t careful, the world will end up looking like Marty’s room (a huge mess!) or worse, and that will ruin everything. Luckily, by becoming extremely very good recyclers, we can help stop this from happening.

The message in this book is that all ground-breakers were once children, just like the readers, and they hatched the ideals that shaped our great nation. The take away message to children is that they can make a difference. Dream, and then make it so.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~









5 More Books We Love for Children’s Book Week

By Cameron Crane

The official 2013 Children’s Book Week bookmark by Grace Lin

Are you already through the first ten books we recommended? Here are some more of our favorite books from our monthly First Friday Book Reviews to help you celebrate Children’s Book Week:

Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love Story, Written by Kara LaReau and Illustrated by Scott Magoon
There are several great messages in this story. The first is about self-acceptance. The second is an effective approach to handling exclusionary play. The third is that life is richer, sweeter, and more fulfilling when you share it with someone you love.

The North Star, Written and Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
The underlying message is to follow your inner compass, to march to the beat of your own drummer, and in so doing to actualize your own dreams. The message reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Linda DuPuy Moore—“Follow your dreams and pursue them with courage, for it is the pursuit of those dreams that makes life really worth living.” What a powerful message to give the architects of our future, our children. 

One, Written and Illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi
At its foundation, this is a book about standing up to bullies. We are drawn to the book, however, for its powerful message that it only takes one person to catalyze positive change.

We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers, Written and Illustrated by Lauren Child
The message in this book is simple: if we aren’t careful, the world will end up looking like Marty’s room (a huge mess!) or worse, and that will ruin everything. Luckily, by becoming extremely very good recyclers, we can help stop this from happening.

The message in this book is that all ground-breakers were once children, just like the readers, and they hatched the ideals that shaped our great nation. The take away message to children is that they can make a difference. Dream, and then make it so.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~









10 Books We Love for Children’s Book Week

By Cameron Crane


Today marks the first day of Children’s Book Week, one of our favorite weeks of the year. Are you looking for new books to read with your children this week? We are here to help! Here are some of our favorite books that we featured in our monthly First Friday Book Reviews:

Say Hello to Zorro, Written and Illustrated by Carter Goodrich
The message in this book is one about adapting to change and enjoying companionship, and that even though at times it may not be easy, life is more fun when you have someone to share it with. Although Bud is sometimes grumpy, and Zorro is sometimes bossy, walks are more fun when they are together, and nap time is more comfortable.


A World of Wonders, Written by J. Patrick Lewis and Illustrated by Alison Jay
This book tells us that the world is a fun and interesting place that we should explore and enjoy, but that it must also be protected and cherished. In the poem “Walk Lightly”, for example, Lewis asks the reader to “Make the Earth your companion. / Walk lightly on it, as the creatures do.”

The Curious Garden, Written and Illustrated by Peter Brown
Nature reminds us of old and forgotten things and can make them new again. In the Author’s Note, Brown poses the questions to the reader: What would happen if an entire city decided to truly cooperate with nature? How would that city change? How would it all begin? We can all apply these questions to our own lives.

Olivia’s Birds, Written and Illustrated by Olivia Bouler
This book features more than fifty fascinating birds, from those living in your backyard to those that are threatened, endangered, and extinct. Beautiful illustrations help to bring each bird to life, highlighting their unique qualities, and subtle facts help to enlighten children about the dangers today’s birds are facing. Olivia offers all children a powerful nudge of encouragement on the last page, giving them insight in to what they are capable of doing to help.

A Long Walk To Water, by Linda Sue Park
The powerful message of hope comes full circle after Salva is adopted by an American family in New York but still chooses to return to his country and help them find clean water sources. It’s a story of survival and the futures that await us even when the world is so very dark.

Lulu and the Brontosaurus, Written by Judith Viorst and Illustrated by Lane Smith
The message in Lulu and the Brontosaurus is one about growing up and accepting responsibility for our actions, and the way we treat other people. It teaches us about being polite, and how to interact with our peers. It also teaches us a lesson that most of us have had to learn the hard way (as Lulu Does)- that we can’t always get what we want, but sometimes, it’s for the better.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, Written by Eileen Spinelli and Illustrated by Paul Yalowitz
The message in Somebody Loves You is the one little gesture of love (any kind of love), can make somebody’s day, and even change their life. In Mr. Hatch’s case, the possibility that he may be loved drives him to go out and create love in his own life.

Hug Time, Written and Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
The message in Hug Time is one of universal kindness. It highlights how one simple action can make an impact on the world, and emphasizes that an act of kindness is often appreciated and reciprocated. The reader is encouraged to embrace the world, and to bring kindness into it, starting with the people closest to them.

Beautiful Oops, Written and Illustrated by Barney Salzberg
Beautiful Oops! teaches us that “a mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery”. With just a few simple words, the reader feels encouraged to find the opportunity and beauty in their own mistakes.

Connected Wisdom, Written by Linda Booth Sweeney
When you pick up this book, you’ll first notice the wonderfully elegant and spare illustrations by Guy Billout. These perfectly enhance the organization of the book, neatly divided into twelve natural laws of living systems. Each chapter is then complemented with a flawlessly rewritten folk tale from around the world, which illustrates through story the principles in each law. 

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