Summer Safety Tips: Safety At Home

Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder, Executive Director, and the author of our trio of Kidpower Safety Comics, shares skills all young people and families should consider for not just the summer, but for lifelong safety and confidence.

Safety at Home

For some families, summer means spending more time together at home. This offers an excellent opportunity to build children’s boundary setting skills and review family safety rules about what is and is not okay to do when you are at home. Good awareness and the ability to express a clear boundary can stop most problems before they start. You can:

Model effective boundary setting. If the children in your life are doing something that crosses your boundaries – perhaps by climbing or jumping on you, throwing balls in the house, or using words that you find offensive – tell them clearly and respectfully, as soon as you can. Model maintaining a boundary in the face of resistance!

Use sibling bickering as a learning opportunity. When one child is feeling upset about another’s behavior, try coaching the child who is feeling bothered to express a clear respectful boundary. Coach the other child to listen. Deal with the crossing of appropriate personal boundaries with the same firm clarity you would apply to hitting, kicking, or spitting.

Set clear boundaries about physical aggression. If your children are getting physically aggressive when they are upset with each other, stop the behavior. Direct children toward more appropriate and effective ways of managing their conflicts.

Review safety rules for answering the door or phone. Revise rules based on your children’s development of skills and possible changes in your living situation. We recommend that young children check with the adult in charge first before they answer the phone or open the door, even when a parent is home.

Update safety rules about going. We recommend that young people do not change the plan about where they are going, whom they are going to be with, or when they will be home without checking with their parent or other adult in charge first. It is important for everyone to be clear about what the expectations are.

Review and practice emergency plans. What if there is an earthquake? What if someone gets hurt? What if there is a fire? Practice safety strategies.


These skills and many more are covered in Irene’s three books,

cover of "Kidpower Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3-10

Kidpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3 to 10
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

Even young people have big powers. Mouth Closed Power. Stop Power. Walk Away Power. Kids—and their adults—learn how to be safe. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Kidpower Youth Safety Comics

Kidpower® Youth Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Kids Ages 9 to 14
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

How older kids can stay safe while becoming more independent. With practical tools to stay safe from bullying, abuse, and violence. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Fullpower Safety Comics

Fullpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Teens and Adults
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

The tools for teens & adults to take charge of their emotional and physical safety and develop positive relationships that enrich their lives. Based on the Kidpower/Fullpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and adults.


With thanks to Irene for permission to excerpt her excellent Summer Safety: Kidpower Tips For Families article.


Epic Success in Kids’ E-Book Subscription

“We were one of the first to sign with Epic!,” says Rana DiOrio, founder and CEO of Little Pickle Press, “and one of the biggest reasons is their commitment to excellence in children’s publishing.” She also cites “the pedigree of the principals” as a factor in her decision, offering that Donahue and Markosian were respected digital industry figures with a well-capitalized business plan that was not likely to be a flash-in-the-pan venture. She was also pleased about the number of Little Pickle titles Epic! solicited. “They wanted everything on our list. Some platforms like TumbleBooks or Reading Rainbow pick and choose and tell you which titles they want.”



To read the entire article, click here.

10 Lessons The Arts Teach


The evolution of one of Ken Min's illustrations for What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

Some of Ken Min’s process creating an illustration for
What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

1.  The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

2.  The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.

3.  The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

4.  The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

5.  The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

6.  The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.

7.  The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms emply some means through which images become real.

8.  The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

9.  The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

10.  The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

Illustrator Ken Min's self-portrait from What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

Ken created this image of himself for
What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?
See Ken’s blog post for more!

We love Elliot Eisner’s 10 Lessons that the Arts Teach, from his book The Arts and the Creation of the Mind (Chapter 4!) There’s a nice downloadable PDF of this from the National Art Education Association here.

Relish Media Releases the Breath To Breath Discussion Guide!

Breath To Breath Discussion Guide cover

Child trauma expert Dr. Donna Gaffney helps readers and teen book clubs explore the themes, events, and emotions of Craig Lew’s YA novel-in-verse Breath To Breath in this discussion guide that covers:

Words and Myths
Helping Others
Asking For Help
Trauma and Shame
Resilience and Forgiveness
Healing and Self-Care
Finding Sanctuary
How You Can Help Or Get Help

We hope it will spark conversations, open hearts, and, in the words of the real-life William, help “knock the front teeth out of abuse.”

Get the FREE Breath to Breath Discussion Guide

Celebrate #EarthDay With Great Deals On Our Greenest Titles

For the month of April  2016 only, get the paperback edition of Sofia’s Dream and A Bird On Water Street for only $5 each, and the hardcover edition of Sofia’s Dream and What Does It Mean To Be Green? for only $10 each!

Sofia's Dream pin, 12,31,13, final

Sofia’s Dream 

In this picture book for children ages 3-7, Little Sofia befriends the moon and sets off on a dreamy adventure to visit. The view from up high inspires Sofia to protect our Earth.


"A Bird on Water Street" cover, a light-blue bird silhouette against a grass-green sky

A Bird On Water Street

This middle grade novel has won over a dozen awards and honors. It tells the story of Jack, who is 13-years old and loves his town, but not the dangerous mine that keeps nature away. But how can he tell his dad, who wants Jack to be a miner, too?


What Does It Mean To Be Green? cover

What Does It Mean To Be Green?

Drawing on two sides of your paper instead of just one. Walking to the park instead of getting a ride. Turning off the water while you brush your teeth. In this picture book, a young boy and girl explore the myriad ways they can be Green over the course of a day. There’s so much we can all do to save our world!

Sap to store

Sap to Store:

The Journey of Maple Syrup

There are three of us in the house, and three different waffle styles. Junior likes his waffle cut into pieces, which he then picks up and dabs carefully (Corners only!) in a tiny puddle of syrup. I drizzle a bit of syrup into each “pocket” and dig in. Larry systematically drowns his waffle in the remaining syrup and wonders if we have any more.

No matter how you serve it, real maple syrup is a treat that takes breakfast to a whole new level. While you probably don’t want to know how most commercial table syrups are made, the sap-to-store timeline of maple syrup production is kind of amazing. Check out these fun facts, courtesy of Deseret News and Mental Floss:

  • It takes four maple trees, at least 40 years old, to yield enough sap over six weeks to produce one gallon of maple syrup. It takes 35 to 40 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of syrup.
  • Maple syrup and maple sugar are rich in potassium, calcium and iron, and are fat free.
  • Today, about 80 percent of the world’s supply comes from Canada.
  • In Korea, sap is usually preferred to syrup. The gorosoe, or “tree good for the bones,” is a Korean maple that’s been tapped by southern villagers since at least the ninth century. Locals consume its sap in huge quantities; drinking over 5 gallons in one sitting is a common practice.
  • Imitation maple syrup is mostly corn syrup, containing 2 to 3 percent of real maple syrup.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our sneak peek at what goes into your breakfast, and we hope you have the chance to enjoy a real, home-cooked meal with your loved ones very soon. After everyone is fed, may we suggest a bit of post-prandial reading? Today is the last day to get our APP-etizing iPad adventure, based on The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, for a mere ninety-nine cents.

How do you like YOUR waffles?

Sap to store

The Egg and I

In a teeny little corner of a tiny little unincorporated township, there lived a mismatched flock of the most indulged hens to ever cluck. These chickens had a peach tree in the middle of their enclosed yard, from which they picked pecked their own fruit. They were let out multiple times each day to chase bugs and eat grass. They were named and petted during their lives, and mourned and buried upon their deaths.

They also produced some of the best eggs to grace a breakfast table.

I grew up knowing that no, eggs did not simply appear in the grocery store, scrubbed shiny and lined up in neat cartons. They were laid by living, breathing chickens and frequently streaked with something unmentionable.

If you’ve ever wondered exactly how an egg is made (or you just want to freak out your kids the next time they get picky about what’s for breakfast), the video at the end of this post is for you. After you watch and share, please visit our iTunes store to purchase and download our egg-ceptional app, based on The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, available for only ninety-nine cents through March 17th.

  • Eggshell production drains calcium from the hen’s body. The comb, wattles, legs, and ear lobes will fade as the calcium leaches out. Calcium must be replenished through either feed containing calcium, supplements such as oyster shell, or high amounts of calcium in the soil of birds with outdoor access.
  • Hens don’t usually lay eggs in the dark, so once a hen’s laying cycle reaches dusk time, she will usually not lay till the following morning.
  • The shell color is a breed characteristic. Most chicken breeds lay light-to-medium brown eggs. A few breeds lay white, dark brown, green, blue, or cream colored eggs.
  • Often a hen will sing “the egg song” before or after she lays an egg. Some will sing during the process of laying. It is a cheerful song that seems to be a proud announcement.
  • If you aren’t sure how old an egg is, you can submerge it in water. The freshest eggs will remain at the bottom of the container, while old eggs will float. Floaters should either be discarded or opened far from your nose.

Thanks to The American Cowboy Chronicles for the nifty trivia!

How do you like your eggs?

Sap to store

Cow to Cup:

An Udderly Fascinating Process

In my part of the Midwest, cows outnumber people. I’ve had raw milk on my cereal and fresh cream in my coffee. I’ve churned butter, made cheese, and frozen ice cream. Heck, I can even tell you if the farmer let his herd graze a little too close to the wild garlic.

With my eyes closed.

Not every kid is lucky enough to grow up where the slightly-less-wild things are, however, so we at Team Pickle want to share a few of the many absorbing farm-to-table journeys (such as today’s cow to cup process) with you. From now through the 17th, drop in to read the details and view some footage about three breakfast staples: milk, eggs, and maple syrup. In addition to fun facts, we’re also offering super savings on our iPad adventure that’s based on the award-winning The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen. The app is ninety-nine cents for a limited time, but the learning is priceless.

Speaking of learning, here are those facts that I promised you, courtesy of Green Meadow Farms, Inc.

  • The natural yellow color of butter comes mainly from the beta carotene found in the grass cows eat.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cows do not have 4 stomachs; they have 4 digestive compartments in one stomach: The rumen holds up to 50 gallons of partially digested food. This is where cud comes from. Good bacteria in the rumen helps digest the cow’s food and provides protein for the cow. The reticulum is called the hardware stomach because if cows accidentally eat hardware (like a piece of fencing scrap), it will often lodge here causing no further damage. The omasum is sort of like a filter. The abomasum is like our stomach.
  • Cows only have teeth on the bottom.
  • All 50 states in the United States have dairy farms.
  • The average cow produces enough milk each day to fill six one-gallon jugs, about 55 pounds of milk.

What’s your favorite dairy product?

We’re always looking for new ways to share our stories with you!

Lee here, and I’m excited  that I’ll be heading out to New York for the 2016 Digital Book World Conference + Expo, #DBW16, March 7-9, 2016.

#DBW16 banner

It’s all about publishing’s “digital transformation” and how we can be innovative and have our stories make an impact whether they’re on the page, the screen, the audiobook, or something that hasn’t even been invented yet!

Two of the innovative companies Little Pickle Press is already teaming up with will be at the conference, Hummingbird and Enthrill, so I asked Steven Blake Mettee of Hummingbird and Kevin Franco of Enthrill to each do a quick interview for this blog.

Happily, they both said yes!


Stephen Blake Mettee of Hummingbird

Stephen Blake Mettee is the president and chief visionary officer of Hummingbird Digital Media an e-book retailing start-up destined to disrupt the e-book retailing oligopoly. He founded independent presses Quill Driver Books and The Write Thought. During his time at the helm of QDB, Mettee shepherded two titles into Book-of-the-Month Club selections and one onto the New York Times bestseller list. One QDB title was cited in a Supreme Court decision.

He served two years as chairperson of The Independent Book Publishers Association.

Lee: You’ll be one of the speakers on a panel, “New Paths for Direct Sales.” Can you encapsulate Hummingbird’s innovative approach?

Stephen: Anyone can have their own branded and curated e-book and audiobook storefront from which they can sell the titles from more than 2,700 publishers—including their own titles if they’re a publisher. No hurdles or costs are involved. The program is turnkey; it’s as easy as setting up a Facebook page and works to produce sales 24/7/365.

Lee: At lot of people see the ongoing digital changes to publishing as intimidating—change is difficult, and this change seems constant. What’s your advice on transforming that focus to look for the opportunities in all the change?

Stephen: Don’t fear change, embrace it. Don’t reinvent the wheel, look at what others are doing and copy their best practices.

Lee: What do you most look forward to about attending the 2016 Digital Book World Conference + Expo?

Stephen: We’re excited about exposing Hummingbird Digital Media’s unique platform to an industry audience of one thousand plus.

Thanks, Stephen!


Kevin Franco of Enthrill

Kevin Franco is co-founder and CEO of Enthrill, a digital content distribution company proliferating the distribution and sales of ebooks for publishers world-wide. Enthrill is based in Western Canada, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Enthrill’s copyright protection software delivers ebooks into the native app or platform which the consumer has already chosen as their default reader. Enthrill developed the online and in store ebook program for Walmart Canada and is working with many large retail chains in expanding the points of sale for ebooks.

Lee: One of the conference focuses (and the panel you’ll be on) is “New Paths for Direct Sales.” Can you encapsulate Enthrill’s innovative approach?

Kevin: Focused on building alternate paths to market, Enthrill has paved the way, developing new direct sales for publishers. Some of these include bulk/corporate sales, author download cards and physical retail gift cards distributed through Walmart, Safeway, Sears, Toy’s R Us and many other major retailers. The platform Enthrill created utilizes PackaDRM, the key to delivering content into any device, including e-inks. This new copyright protection software opens up the possibilities for publishers so they can sell ebooks in as many different ways as they can sell print books – with no restrictions placed upon them.

Lee: At lot of people see the ongoing digital changes to publishing as intimidating—change is difficult, and this change seems constant. What’s your advice on transforming that focus to look for the opportunities in all the change?

Kevin: The direct to device (D2D) market, which is what ebook sales is largely comprised of has plateaued and growth in this area is likely to remain slow now that the market has established its settling point on ebook penetration. We see a massive opportunity for publishers to expand their sales in many ways that they are currently unable to access fully, such as B2B sales, bulk, corporate, gifting, educational and via online retailers. We estimate this to be a $4 billion white space of uncharted territory, waiting for the right tool for publishers to access, and we believe we’ve created that tool.

Lee: What do you most look forward to about attending the 2016 Digital Book World Conference + Expo?

Kevin: For me personally, this event puts me face to face with book people. The book industry hosts the most passionate people when it comes to what they produce. Helping to proliferate distribution for publishers and expand the network of people that enjoy books drives our entire team. Digital Book World helps attendees learn about advancements in the industry such as alternate sales channels and new production and distribution tools.

Thanks, Kevin!

If you’ll be at the conference, say hello! And if you’d like to register, #DBW16 is offering a discount on registration: Use the code SCBWI5 to get 5 percent off.

If you want to know more about #DBW16, you can check out my post about the Author Earnings website and Launch Kids here, as well as five more pre-conference interviews (with Christopher Kenneally, Peter Hildeck-Smith,  Jane Friedman, Kristen McLean and Lorraine Shanley) here.

And you can follow along on social media with the hashtag #DBW16.

Thanks for letting me share,


Our Lesson Plans & Discussion Guide Roundup


teacher reading from "What Does It Mean To Be Present?"

We love when our books spark great discussions!

Here are easy links to download our always FREE Lesson Plans & Discussion Guides, packed with fun and meaningful activities and discussion prompts for classroom students and homeschoolers:

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? Discussion & Activity Guide for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be Kind? Discussion Guide for teachers grades pre-K to 3.

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be Present? Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be Green? Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be Safe? Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free What Does It Mean to Be Global? Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free The Cow In Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

(We have two bonus lesson plans featuring The Cow In Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, one from Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom, A Bowl Full of Agriculture, and the second from Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom, The Cow In Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen Educator Guide/Lesson Plans.)

Download your free Ripple’s Effect Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free BIG Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free Sofia’s Dream Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3

Download your free Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-6.

Download your free Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free The Owner’s Manual For Driving Your Adolescent Brain Lesson Plans for teachers grades 3-8.

Download your free A Bird On Water Street Discussion Points for teachers grades 4-8



What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? Blog Tour

Join us on the virtual book tour road! Read reviews, check out interviews with the authors, and enter giveaways for a chance to win your own copy of What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?. Follow along using the tour schedule below, updated daily.unnamed-1

February 3rd Leo Libris – REVIEW
February 4th The Book Adventures of Emily – REVIEW
February 5th Freda Hansburg – INTERVIEW
February 8th my name is Sage – REVIEW
February 9th Literary Lunes – REVIEW
February 12th Fascinating Quest – REVIEW
February 13th Townsend House – REVIEW
February 16th The Phantom Paragrapher – REVIEW
February 17th Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews – BOOK SPOTLIGHT


We want to know what you think!
Add your review to:
goodreads_logo_324-a908b923dc3ed9b7a13f3da4d1ffb2df           amazon_logo_large          LPP_logo_no_stack copy



Find out more about What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? 

What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

What Does It Mean To Be An EntrepreneurLadies and gentlemen, boys and girls; a little fanfare, if you please! Little Pickle Press is proud to announce the release of What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?, number six in the award-winning flagship series.

To get you ready to read, we asked co-author Rana DiOrio to tell us why this book is just the thing for young readers today.

1. Breakthroughs are often thought of as big explosions of ideas. Is that how Entrepreneur came about, or was it more of an evolution?
I conceived the idea of writing Entrepreneur a few years ago. I wanted a resource to explain to my children what it is I do. As a former technology investment banker and living in the Bay Area, I knew there were many other children who would benefit from this book. I approached an iconic serial entrepreneur to co-author the title with me. His vision of it was different than mine. I wanted to capture the essence of entrepreneurship, and he wanted to block and tackle the “how-tos”. After I realized that he wasn’t an ideal fit, my editor friend and fellow entrepreneur, Emma D. Dryden, offered to co-author the title with me. I thought the idea was inspired, so that’s what we did. Our collaboration was dynamic and fun. So, the short answer to your question is that Entrepreneur evolved to became exactly the book I hoped and dreamed it would be.
2. What makes this book timely? 
Small business activity is on the rise in 49 of the 50 U.S. states and 38 of the top 40 largest metropolitan areas during 2015, according to two new reports from the Kauffman Foundation. As we speed away from the economic sluggishness caused by The Great Recession, innovation abounds and access to capital is great. Entrepreneurs are changing the way we live, work, and give. Their work product and creative problem solving are improving our standard of living—creating wealth, jobs, and conditions for a thriving global society.
As many children are future entrepreneurs and all children stand to benefit from entrepreneurs, it makes a lot of sense to engage them in conversations about entrepreneurship.
3. Do you feel that an entrepreneurial spirit is something that can be nurtured and developed, or is it something you’re born with? How would you encourage it?
There is scholarly evidence supporting both sides. In my humble opinion, which is informed by working with entrepreneurs for 25+ years, I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit can be nurtured and developed and is most often sparked and fueled out of necessity. There are myriad ways to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in children. An easy place to start is by taking advantage of one of the many programs designed for this purpose—the Angel Resource Institute, the Boys and Girls Clubs Young Entrepreneurs Academy, BUILD, The Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, the Edward Lowe Foundation, the MIT Enterprise Forum, the National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, to name a few. Even the Girl Scouts of America recently introduced an Entrepreneur Badge!
Thanks, Rana. Hey, folks. We all know that kids are bright, inventive, and energetic. Books like What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? will give them the direction that they need to channel those resources into a future that benefits everyone. Buy a copy today for that creative little (or not-so-little) someone in your life!

Define Water Bottle: Take Your Pick

Define Water BottleIt’s a rare soul who can truthfully admit that they drink the recommended daily allowance of water, or even close to it. Filtered through coffee, perhaps, or sweetened and carbonated. But plain water? Boring. This is where the Define water bottle comes to the rescue.

Infused water is a big deal right now, with touted benefits from improved health to life-altering events. The real benefit is the fact that when you add a touch of flavor to water, people tend to drink more. When that flavor is derived from chemical-free additions such as fruit and veggies, so much the better.

When thirteen-year-old Carter Kostler realized that his mom loved fruit-infused water, but didn’t have a convenient way to take it on the go, his mind went into design mode. The result? The Define water bottle.

Available in multiple sizes and styles, the Define water bottle features a wide mouth for filling purposes, a secure flip-top lid, a lanyard for easy carry, and BPA-free parts that are easy to disassemble at dish washing time.

Clean water, though kind of dull in the flavor department, is a must for a healthy lifestyle. When an entrepreneurial spirit tackles convenience, boring is all washed up.

Solar-Powered Water Filter: A Prize Winner

Solar-powered water filterWhile many kids her age were worrying about the latest fashion trend or cell phone upgrade, fourteen-year-old Deepika Kurup was focused on a pressing global issue—clean drinking water. This interest led to her prize-winning invention of a solar-powered water filter.

After witnessing children in India collecting water from a contaminated drinking source (the only one then available), Kurup took it upon herself to seek a solution. After several months of research and testing, she hit upon a working combination: “she ultimately came up with a system that exposes titanium oxide and zinc oxide to sunlight, creating a chemical reaction that generates hydroxyl radicals, which in turn can kill harmful bacteria.”

While still in seventh grade, Kurup entered the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, eventually going on to  win a $25,000 award. Rather than simply basking in the glow of the scientific community’s praise, Kurup has further plans for her invention. “My next step is applying for a patent,” she says. “I want to start a nonprofit organization to deploy my innovation.”

From sunlight to limelight, Deepika Kurup and other young entrepreneurs like her should prove that the next generation is in good hands.

3D Printing: A New Way to Build

3D printingIt used to be a common joke that anyone who looked at a printer would wish aloud that said printer could run off material goods such as dinner or a pile of cash. While 3D printing may not make you rich or well fed, it is doing a lot to make lives easier.

The first patent application for 3D printing (then called RP, or Rapid Prototyping) dates back to 1980, when a Dr. Kodama of Japan first sought approval. The patent fell through due to a delay in filing, which allowed Charles Hull to take honors for the first patent.

The idea behind 3D printing is pretty straightforward. Rather than spitting out ink, the print head extrudes melted plastic in a preset pattern. The printer builds up the plastic layer by layer, until the object is complete. The actual process is a bit more complicated, but fun to watch.

While it’s neat to think of printing out your own knick-knacks, one of the most important uses of 3D printing is in the medical field. Prosthetics, organ and tissue models, and other printed pieces are helping to improve surgical procedures and enhance independence and mobility for amputees.

While the old saw about printing off a new yacht might be closer than ever to coming true, it’s no joke that an entrepreneurial spirit is something to build on.

Stem Cells: Your Body’s Building Blocks

Stem cellsRemember when you were a kid, and you got to play with modeling clay in art class? Wasn’t it neat, turning that nondescript clump into whatever you could dream up?

Did you know that your own body is capable of that same type of creativity?

In addition to bone cells, brain cells, and a ton of other kinds of cells, your body produces stem cells. These are unspecialized cells that can, with the right encouragement, become just about any kind of cell that your body needs.

The discovery that cells are the building blocks of life has been around since the mid-1800s. By 1961, the first research studies were being conducted. The year 1968 saw the first bone marrow transplant, a medical breakthrough that led to cloning research and incredible advancements in cancer treatments.

A well-known use of stem cells involves the treatment of cancers such as lymphoma. Stem cells are removed from an adult donor through a process called apheresis. The patient undergoes heavy doses of chemotherapy to kill the cancer, and then the stem cells are transfused into the patient. If all goes well, the stem cells multiply, creating healthy new cells and starting the patient on the road to remission.

Cells are microscopic. BUT.

Combined with an entrepreneurial attitude and a desire to change things for the better, they become one of the biggest breakthroughs of this century.

Velcro®: Stick With It

Velcro® Combing burrs out of your dog’s fur usually results in snarls—from pelt and person both. For George de Mestral, an “Ah, rats!” moment turned into an “Aha!” breakthrough, with the invention of Velcro®.

During a hunting trip in Switzerland in the forties, Mr. de Mestral decided to take a closer look at the tenacious and aggravating cockleburs that covered his pants and his dog. The image of hundreds of tiny hooks snagged in his brain, and our man George realized that it might be possible to create a strong, lightweight, and re-usable fastener.

Within ten years, Velcro® had been patented in Switzerland, with an additional trademark registered in the United States. The name is a mashup of the French words velour and crochet—velvet hook.

Simple yet ingenious, Velcro® is also an empowering tool. Small children and folks with mobility issues can use Velcro® to replace shoelaces, buttons, and other fasteners, allowing them to dress themselves and tend to personal needs without assistance.

George de Mestral’s entrepreneurial eye proves that perseverance can change the world. If at first you don’t succeed …

Stick with it.


Penicillin: Dawn of the Antibiotic Age


It’s that gross stuff that lurks in aging containers of leftovers, or turns your bread gray and nasty.

It’s also credited with saving more than eighty million lives.

In ancient Egypt and for centuries after, physicians would often slap a slice of moldy bread over wounds to promote healing and prevent infection. Nobody knew exactly why it worked until a fateful day in September of 1928, when Alexander Fleming noticed a glob of green mold growing in a petri dish that had been inoculated with Staphylococcus bacteria. The mold had cut a clean swath through the otherwise healthy bacterial colony. Subsequently named Penicillium notatum, this fuzzy green interloper was subjected to numerous studies by Dr. Howard Florey, Dr. Norman Heatley, and Dr. Ernst Chain.

It was discovered that penicillin worked on bacterial cell walls, preventing tiny holes (caused by cell division) from closing, and allowing fluid to rush in and pop the bacterium like a balloon.

While the potential for penicillin was obvious, so was the problem with turning it into a useful medicine: the scientists involved couldn’t produce nearly enough. Luckily, the P. notatum strain has several relatives, and the chance discovery of P. chrysogenum led to the purposeful culture of large quantities of penicillin. By 1942, the first civilians could be treated—and cured—by this amazing new medicine.

Alexander Fleming was just doing a little post-vacation cleanup in his lab when he made a discovery that changed the face of medicine. His mind may not have been on a cure at that moment, but his entrepreneurial spirit and sense of curiosity took the “Oo, what’s this?” spark and fanned it into a lifesaving breakthrough.

Penicillin is only one of the many amazing drugs available today. What would you consider a breakthrough discovery in medicine? Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Breakthroughs: An Overview

With a special book birthday on the horizon, Little Pickle Press would like to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit helps turn great ideas into a better reality.

Whether it’s building a better mousetrap or creating something entirely new, creativity is at an all-time high. While not every idea will lead to re-inventing the wheel, brilliant concepts are turning up in every aspect of life.

Join us each day this week as we dig into the motivation behind six breakthroughs from the past century. Share your thoughts about each discovery, and tell us what entrepreneurship means to you. At the end of the week, we’ll light the candles on an inspiring new release from Emma D. Dryden and our own Chief Pickle, Rana DiOrio.

Invite your friends, because we’re saving seats for all of you!

Little Pickle Press and The Great Kindness Challenge – A Perfect Way To Start The New Year

The cat from What Does It Mean To Be Kind?

Little Pickle Press has partnered with The Great Kindness Challenge to help educators inspire students to be kind. To achieve this goal, we’ll donate the e-book of our award-winning What Does It Mean To Be Kind? and its discussion guide to 16,000 schools participating in the 2016 challenge!

And from January 5, 2016 to May 5, 2016, Little Pickle Press will donate 15% of the net sales of the print version of What Does It Mean To Be Kind? to The Great Kindness Challenge to fuel this important work.

Please help us foster kindness by spreading the word. And we hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy of this title, either from us or wherever books are sold.

What Does It Mean To Be Kind? cover

Thanks for joining us in making our world a better place!

Team Pickle