How is everyone doing with those who are quarantined, sheltering at home, essential workers, and beyond? For those who don't know, I have two little boys who are home full time now and I have had to put on a few new hats: teacher, counselor, school nurse, etc. and we are managing. I think one of the best things I have found to help with long days is #OperationStorytime There are countless videos being added on social media with folks reading books they've written, a favorite book, a classic book, and more. 1031 even jumped in and posted this gem to help parents and caregivers who need a different voice reading for a few minutes. Check it out and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos!
While home with my kiddos I also loved finding activities and crafts to do at home. Since the idea of a million scraps of paper all over my kitchen floor made me break out in hives, I was happy to see the #ColoringPages trending on social media as well! As a mom and educator I love finding new activities that link positive messages and lessons with fun crafts. I was ecstatic when the illustrator for The Magic of Making Friends offered to create free coloring pages to download, print, and color. We LOVE seeing your creations and ask that you tag @1031PublishingLane and include the #MagicofReading so we can see all your colorful creations.
Stay home, stay safe!
Your friends at 1031 Publishing Lane
It was January of 2018, when the tinder of Magic of Making Friends started to ignite.
My son was about 4-weeks old, and I had just put him in his bassinet and came downstairs to collapse on the couch for the evening. I was a new mom and I was exhausted. While cozying into my couch groove, I picked up my phone to see an email from Christie with the subject line “Children’s Book Stuffs.” The body of the email was one or two sentences but attached were some character sketches and the suggestion that we write a story about a witch’s first day at school.
I was immediately struck by Christie’s talent, but not surprised. We had worked together, years prior, at The Baltimore Sun Media Group. It’s where we met. It took me a couple weeks to gather my thoughts from her initial email. But I wrote back suggesting names for the characters, storylines and scenarios. The possibilities were endless, which is part of what makes this project so exciting. There are times when I stop in my tracks thinking about something funny one of the monsters can do or say.
And this is where it gets embarrassing. Despite the excitement, it wasn’t until January of 2019, that I sat down in the lunchroom at my work and wrote the first draft of Magic of Making Friends. Driving to work that morning, for no particular reason, “Monsterzon” popped into my mind. It was one of those revelations you get, but you aren’t even aware that you were thinking about the subject at hand. And somewhere between exit 27 and exit 20 on I-695 W, I decided that the book was going to begin with a spellbook purchase on Monsterzon. And as soon as that happened, I couldn’t wait until I had an opportunity to write.
Before my lunch break that day, I printed off the sketches that Christie had sent me a year earlier and studied the characters. Just looking at the characters, I could see their personalities. So, I can’t take much credit for character development, those characters told me who they were and what they were about, which is a total nod to Christie’s talent.
After testing a few different names for our little witch, I landed on Hazel. Like Witch Hazel; get it? And after I had a name and a first task (the spellbook purchase on Monsterzon), this story just kind of magically presented. There was a lot of tweaking in the months to come, adding pages, taking out pages, adjusting rhyme patterns, etc. But the heart of the story was just always there – I don’t know how to explain it. Other than, it wasn’t laborious to write. It just needed let out.
Shortly after completing a graduate degree in education I was presented with an opportunity to review children’s books. I was really excited as I spend a lot of time reading to my children and have seen quite a range in books. The fun part of doing these reviews would be using my Humane Educator lens to view the book. The graduate program I completed was a partnership between Valparaiso University and the Institute for Humane Education and provided each graduate with a focus on solutionary, humane education-focused goals.
I dove in and started reading and reviewing books from all sorts of backgrounds. Along the way I touched base with a previous colleague and she shared with me that her wife had recently started writing a children’s book and would I be interested in giving it a look. Absolutely! I was thrilled and ended up scheduling a webchat with Sarah, the author, and Christie, the illustrator for what would become their 1st published book. We chatted about the book and my review services and made a deal for me to review what they had and we would regroup in a few weeks.
I immediately fell in love with this book, the characters, the illustrations. Everything from beginning to end was so kind and gentle and provided such a warm and positive message for children I wanted to show it to everyone possible. I provided my review and scheduled a follow up webchat just to close the loop with Sarah and Christie. I wasn’t sure of their plans for publishing at the beginning but by the time we were chatting about the review they had shared an interest in publishing or self-publishing and realized that could be a steep mountain to climb. I offered some suggestions, a publisher to send an application to, but that was about all I knew. In the days to come I started reading online how to publish or self-publish a children’s book. Once I navigated away from the scary tales of previous self-publishers I found some practical information which made the whole process feel manageable.
I reached back out to Sarah and Christie and we had another good chat about what’s next and I kind of pitched the idea that self-publishing can’t be that hard…. My optimism combined with their faith I could guide us through this process plus this magical children’s book equated to the creation and inspiration for 1031 Publishing Lane – a publishing company!
1031 Publishing Lane officially founded in Oct. 2019 and our first publication, The Magic of Making Friends, was officially released Feb. 2020.
Come discover the Magic of Reading.
Robin, 1031 Publishing Lane