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Guest Blogger: Why The Tooth Fairy Kit is So Much More Than the Tooth Fairy!

by Miriam · 09.12.2017

The most magical thing about your child losing their first tooth is not the Tooth Fairy. It’s in the process of losing that tooth. The anticipation. The mystery.

And most of all, the rainbow of feelings for the parent and child. My daughter, River, just lost her first tooth after six long weeks of wiggling. She was excited, nervous, frustrated, scared, amazed, curious, and brave. And the thing that helped us through it all was The Tooth Fairy Kit.

The kit has everything you need to go along on this new adventure: a journal to record the story of each lost tooth, a tooth pillow with a pocket for tucking in lost teeth, and an illustrated book about Lunette, the Tooth Fairy.

Every family has their own unique tradition with the Tooth Fairy. Pinterest alone will show you how to make special, glittery Tooth Fairy coins and print Tooth Fairy certificates. As wonderful as these ideas are, they don’t actually focus on the emotions surrounding losing your first tooth. Or the six weeks of waiting!

As soon as River noticed her loose tooth, I gave her The Tooth Fairy Kit. It made the moment much more meaningful for both of us to sit and read Lunette, the True Story of the Tooth Fairy for the first time, write her name in her Tooth Journal, and snuggle her new star pillow.

For the following weeks, she took her star pillow everywhere. She took it to the grocery store.

She tucked it in her cubby at school. “In case my tooth falls out and my teacher doesn’t have a bag for it, Mom.”

She cradled it between her palms at bedtime.

And everywhere she went, she announced, “I have a loose TOOTH!” And proudly displayed her pillow, explaining how she will put her tooth in the pocket when it pops out. She shared smiles with dozens of people over those six weeks.

She also got frustrated that her tooth wasn’t falling out yet! She would forget to wiggle it some days, and the tooth would tighten its grip in her gums. Then at night as we read books in bed, she’d twist and push it so much we’d ask her to stop so she could pay attention to the story.

She’d also cry when she was tired, saying she would miss her tooth when it was gone. She told me she was afraid it would hurt a lot when it fell out.

Her impatience and fear were relieved whenever she took her Tooth Journal out to read all about teeth and how and why they fall out. She carefully filled in her Tooth Tracker in the journal, circling her tooth on the chart and practicing writing Lunette’s name next to her portrait.

River’s tooth eventually did fall out, in the middle of the afternoon, just as I was reaching to take a “before” picture of her smile. She looked up at me with wide eyes and started to cry and laugh all at once. And I held back my own tears mixed with bittersweet joy and pride. 

 

That night, River left a note asking the Tooth Fairy to leave her tooth in her star pillow so that she wouldn’t have to miss it. And the next morning after she discovered a dollar bill AND her tooth still tucked inside her pillow, she believed.

Lunette’s story centers on being brave, clever, and kind. As a fairy, that was her achievement. As a child losing her first tooth, that’s just what River was. And as the perfect companion for a childhood rite of passage, that’s just what The Tooth Fairy Kit is.

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Giggle, Burble, and Bubble Along with Recess Monkey and Dive In!

by Rondi · 07.25.2017

Calling all explorers! We’re excited to share a peek inside one of our illustrated children’s books, Dive In!: A Topsy-Turvy-Say-It-Out-Loud Underwater Adventure. Written by the acclaimed family music band and Grammy Awardnominated Recess Monkey, and illustrated by Rob McClurkan, this book offers hilarious, interactive fun for the whole family.

Dive In! follows famous explorer Sir Sebastian Stockingbottomham on an underwater adventure, alongside a blobfish named Burt and his sidekick Crab ready to make readers laugh like they’ve never laughed before. Each page invites the whole family to share in the fun by following interactive read-aloud prompts, talk like they’re underwater, and take part in some very silly shenanigans as they move the book (and themselves!) up, down, and all around!

We recently had the opportunity to talk with the authors, Recess Monkey’s Jack Forman and Drew Holloway, about their inspiration for the book, and what it’s like being a part of a high-energy, highly acclaimed family rock band. Let’s dive in and see what they had to say! 


Q&A with Jack Forman and Drew Holloway of Recess Monkey

Where did your inspiration for Dive In! come from?

Jack: We met 17 years ago teaching at the same school here in Seattle and really have learned a lot about how to follow a kid’s lead. That’s translated to our albums and shows at Recess Monkey, where we’re constantly translating the things that make kids laugh into our creations. The book was a natural extension of listening to what gets kids excited!

Drew: Play and humor are important parts of our work as both teachers and musicians. Whether it’s a classroom of kids or an audience, there’s always an opportunity for a spirited back and forth. Dive In! is like that. It’s an invitation to play, laugh and participate. And there’s also a blobfish, we knew it needed a blobfish!

Tell us about the main character in this story. How did Sir Sebastian Stockingbottomham come about?

Jack: We were laughing about how Jacques Cousteau was the smoothest explorer who ever explored… and wanted to see nature through the eyes of a distant, much less qualified, relative. His name to us just screams pomp and circumstance, but maybe without ever having actually read a book about underwater life.

Drew: He definitely has never read a book about underwater life.

Is this your first book? What made you decide to write a children’s book?

Jack: It is our first book! We’ve written hundreds of narratively based songs and it’s always a challenge to squeeze an entire story into the confines of a three-minute song. We’ve long loved the process of telling stories visually in music video form, but have always wanted to explore written fiction.

Drew: Writing and performing music are Recess Monkey’s main charges but what truly drives us is being creative and trying new things. Creativity is essential, a basic need for us. The book was an opportunity to stretch ourselves.

Is there anything that surprised you during the process of creating this book?

Jack: We were excited about playing with the form of the book itself, imagining how kid readers would play with it as the book was read aloud to them.

Drew: Spoiler alert: I couldn’t believe it when the tables turned on Sir Sebastian! I didn’t see that coming.

What do you think kids and adults will enjoy most about this book?

Jack: Our biggest goal was to give the reader enough cues to become a read-aloud superstar: funny voices, silly rhythms, and a game-like quality to the story. We’ve been teaching for a long time and read-aloud is one of our favorite parts of the school day: such a fun and important way to connect with a story on the inside.

Drew: It’s hard to pick just one thing! A great cartoon has different levels for different viewers. We feel like there’s a lot going on in the story both in the words and the visuals to delight everyone who picks the book up.

How did the band get its name: Recess Monkey? 

Jack: It’s a joke, a play on the rhesus monkey.

Drew: We love the whole school day, but there’s something about recess!

Tell us about a day in the life of Recess Monkey. 

Jack: We work really hard, but balance what we do between creative time and live shows. Summertime tends to be our busiest live season, when we play the bulk of our live performances. Through the rest of the year, as the school calendar picks up, we write and record songs, make music videos, and play shows on weekends. We’re really lucky to always have exciting things on the horizon.

Drew: A Recess Monkey day can be pretty action-packed. When we’re together we try to get a lot accomplished. Playing live and interacting with families is the bulk of our work and super rewarding. It’s nice that most days we’re home for dinner with our family units.

Drew Holloway and Jack Forman

You’ve released over a dozen albums since 2005—wow! What are your favorites out of the bunch?

Jack: Altogether, it’s been 13 albums, and just over 200 songs! I’m always most excited about whatever we’re working on right now, but after an album “rests” for three years or so, I’m able to listen to it with very little memory of what the recording process was actually like. It suddenly becomes like I’m listening to another band’s album.

Drew: It’s hard to pick a favorite! They’re like our children. While they all sound like us, each record is different in a way. If pressed, I might pick Desert Island Disc, the companion to Deep Sea Diver. It has some amazing musical moments, swirling strings, and ukuleles.

What’s next for Recess Monkey?

Jack: Now that we’ve taken our most recent album Novelties to the Grammys, we’re suddenly thinking ahead to our next collection of songs.

Drew:
That’s the question we’re always asking ourselves. It just keeps getting more fun to ponder!


Want to catch Recess Monkey live? They’re performing all over Washington state this summer! Check out a list of tour dates here. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

For more details on Dive In!,* visit our website.

*Disclaimer: not suitable for quiet bedtime. Check pockets for sand after reading. May cause reader to change name to Jacques.

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The Girl Who Ran: Inspiration for Girls, Women, and Risk Takers Everywhere

by Ruth · 07.12.2017

It’s incredible to look back and realize that as recently as the 1960s—within living memory—women weren’t allowed to take part in official races longer than 1.5 miles and that the world believed it was impossible women could ever run the Boston Marathon. 

It was a woman named Bobbi Gibb who proved the world wrong. 

We’re honored to share Bobbi’s story in our new illustrated children’s book. The Girl Who Ran is a stunning tribute to Bobbi as well as inspiration for people of all ages to follow their dreams, no matter who is telling them “no.”

When Bobbi Gibb first saw the Boston Marathon she knew she had to be a part of it. She trained hard, but when the time came to apply, she was refused entry. They told Bobbi girls don’t run, girls can’t run. That didn’t stop her. “I knew I had to run Boston,” Bobbi says “to show what women could do.”

The odds were stacked against Bobbi. Even basic athletic clothing was hard to come by. With no women’s running shoes available, Bobbi purchased a pair designed for boys. To try and blend in at the marathon, she put on her brother’s Bermuda shorts and wore a shapeless hoodie. 

Despite her disguise, the other participants soon realized Bobbi was a woman—and they voiced their support. “We won’t let anyone throw you out,” one said to her, “it’s a free road.” The wider world may have dismissed Bobbi’s dream and her love of long-distance running, but her fellow marathon runners understood both. As the starred Kirkus review for The Girl Who Ran notes, “[Bobbi’s] story speaks to not only women’s fight for equality, but the power of community.” 

Our authors, Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee, worked alongside Bobbi to retell the story of her amazing, boundary-breaking run. They chose a strong rhythm and refrain for the book that echoes the feeling of running, and touches on the title of Bobbi’s own memoir, Wind in the Fire.

She ran further and further, and she ached and perspired,
 and the world whooshed on by, like the wind in the fire.

Our illustrator, Susanna Chapman, lives locally to Boston and attends the marathon every year to cheer on the participants. In 2016 she took her art materials along with her to sketch the runners and make studies for The Girl Who Ran

Susanna’s illustrations are bright and energetic, and beautifully capture the emotions of Bobbi’s journey as well as the fluidity of running—and the joy.

Her illustrations for the book culminate with a stunning gatefold that opens to show a wordless image of Bobbi triumphantly crossing the finish line—and making history.

In 1966, Bobbi finished the race with a time of 3:21:40, ahead of about half the men who were running. Today, more than 50 percent of runners in the USA are women, with over 12,000 running the Boston Marathon every year. And it all started with Bobbi and other pioneers like her. “…the advice I’d give to young people about shaping the future is to follow your dreams,” says Bobbi, “and do what you most passionately feel needs doing.”

We hope you will be inspired by the story of Bobbi Gibb. Of how she broke the rules. Of how her story offers an inspiring message for women and young girls today—to overcome challenges and discover what they’re made of. And of how, one step at a time, Bobbi changed the world for all of us.

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Our Two Best-Selling Children's Books Continue to Encourage and Inspire!

by Rondi · 07.29.2016

It’s been a wonderful year at Compendium, and we have some exciting news we’d love to share with you! Our children’s books What Do You Do With an Idea? and What Do You Do With a Problem? have made the New York Times best seller list! We are honored and delighted to see both of these books reaching, encouraging, and inspiring so many people. And there are even more incredible things happening—read on to discover more!

 

EXCITEMENT BUILDS FOR WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

Released in summer 2016, What Do You Do With a Problem? has already hit the New York Times best seller list and is receiving rave reviews! This inspiring book is the follow-up to What Do You Do With an Idea?—and tells the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn’t sure what to make of it. Created by award-winning author Kobi Yamada and illustrator by Mae Besom, Problem has also hit the Publisher’s Weekly best seller list and received a gold Mom’s Choice Award!

“We all have problems. I know I certainly do. And maybe we don’t always deal with our problems in the best way. We tend to avoid them and hope they just go away,” said Yamada. “I wrote What Do You Do With a Problem? because I wanted to encourage children to face their problems and to look for the good in them. I believe that every problem brings gifts, and these gifts can help us to learn about ourselves and to grow as people.” 

 

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH AN IDEA? MAKES AN IMPACT

Since What Do You Do With an Idea? was published in 2014, it has not only inspired children to embrace their bright ideas but it has also motivated educators, entrepreneurs, and creative minds to share its message with the world. 

From Idea to Movie

What Do You Do With an Idea? will soon inspire even more people across the country. We are pleased to announce that the book is being turned into a movie! The talented team at Film Roman, in cooperation with Compendium, is adapting the book into an animated short film! We will provide updates about this project as details are confirmed—stay tuned! 

Encouraging the Arts

The Inlet Dance Theater in Cleveland, Ohio, is adapting the book into a beautiful dance performance, set to premiere live in late 2017. Inlet hopes to enrich the lives of both their dancers and audiences through all of their performances, and we can’t wait to see this story come to life off the pages!

Inspiring Students 

Across the country, teachers from elementary schools to universities are not only embracing What Do You Do With an Idea?, but they are also using it as a learning tool in the classroom. Brigadoon Elementary in Federal Way, Washington, has used the book to encourage and empower students to share their ideas and help them grow into something tangible. They use an “idea egg” during circle time; whoever holds the egg has an opportunity to speak freely, while everyone else listens. This practice has encouraged both the teachers and students to be more intentional in listening and valuing each other’s thoughts and ideas. 

The book is also resonating well with adults—businesses such as GE and Google are offering it to encourage employees, and friends are sharing it to encourage loved ones to believe in their dreams. Many people are also giving the book as a graduation gift, comparing it to classic titles such as The Giving Tree and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Winning Awards

What Do You Do With an Idea? has won several gold awards, including the Independent Publishers Book Award, the Washington State Book Award, and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, among several others. 

We are honored that these books have been recognized with such wonderful accolades, but we are even more pleased that they have resonated with so many people—and continue to inspire new ideas every day. We can’t wait to see what happens next! And if you are interested in learning more from the author, click this link to hear about his inspiration behind these stories and how they came to be! 

Have these books inspired or encouraged you? We’d love to know! Share your stories with us by emailing sayhello@compendiuminc.com!

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ABC Menagerie

by Meredith · 12.09.2011

"Inspiration is everywhere" is something we say often at Compendium. It's a philosophy we live by. The thought always reminds me of children, for whom inspiration truly is everywhere. Children have a gift for finding opportunities wherever they go and special moments in ordinary days. They savor a single cookie, a bright rock, an unexpected feather. They find beauty wherever it lies.

When Compendium's CEO stumbled across artist Elena Targioni's studio while on vacation in Italy, her sculptures awakened in him a child's sense of wonder and delight. And when the rest of us saw her artwork, we had a similar reaction. Everyone wanted to hold Elena's soft and whimsical sculptures. And everyone was curious to know what was in store for these wonderful creatures.

After some long conversations, lots of writing, countless hours of design, and four days of photo shoots...

we created this:

our latest addition to the Compendium Kids line. ABC Menagerie is one of those books that's sure to enchant any child (and plenty of adults, too). Each animal is introduced with whimsical poetry, and pops off the page with personality and vivid texture thanks to the work of talented photographer Hank Drew and his assistant Genevieve Pierson.

Do you know someone who'd like to meet a new friend or two? Maybe a whole menagerie? Would you like to give someone a cheerful reminder of the sense of wonder we can take in the world around us? This book makes a beautiful gift for any child, or for anyone you know with a childlike heart. Ayo the aardvark, Brunhilde the bear, and Chione the camel tell us they can't wait to meet you!

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Boogie Monster!

by Meredith · 08.02.2011

The Compendium offices are a colorful place to work. There are bikes to ride, candy jars to raid, and life-sized lions and polar bears on the walls. And occasionally, just occasionally, someone shows up to work looking like this:

That's Boogie Monster--the main character of our most recent children's book, and we're thrilled to be able to introduce him to you! When actress and author Josie Bissett approached us with the idea of a Boogie Monster sequel to her Tickle Monster book, we were excited right away. Dance is a great way for kids to get moving, develop coordination, and gain self-confidence; we knew that a book like this one would be a wonderful way for kids and parents to share the joy of dancing together. Josie turned her idea into a full-length manuscript filled with delightful rhymes and we knew this was just the start of something good.

So we contacted our friend and illustrator Kevan Atteberry, who made Boogie Monster into the colorful character you'll see on every page:

Along the way, our friends Recess Monkey got in on the fun, putting together a boisterous CD filled with fantastic back-to-back hits that guarantee a dance party. It's impossible to stay still while listening! The only reasonable thing left for us to do was to top off the fun with some furry orange leggings made for dancing. So we did! And then we packaged everything together in a gorgeous reusable gift box that's destined to become a family favorite.

Obviously, Boogie Monster has made things a whole lot livelier around here! And now, we'd love to share a little of that excitement with you! We're giving away one complete Boogie Monster Dance Kit, complete with book, CD, and leggings! Want to win? Just tell us which Boogie Monster in your life you'd share this gift with--your own child? A niece, nephew, or favorite neighbor? Maybe even someone who's all grown up? Post your answers here or write them on our Facebook wall by Monday, August 15 at 11:59 pm PST, and boogie on!

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Lovely Dreaming

by Robyn · 10.22.2010

We're glad to introduce you to a new guest blogger this week! Robyn is a writer who contacted us a while back with an idea that we truly appreciated. She followed up with us again recently, and we knew right away that her story was one you'd love reading.

***

Do you know that over 300,000 Americans each month search the internet for something to inspire them? I guess that's what I was doing the day I came across Compendium. I remember the excitement rising in me, like a kid in a candy store, when I first found Compendium, Inc. All the colors, designs, and words of purpose and integrity made me feel alive.

Inspiration can be contagious....like when you smile or yawn or laugh around someone and they naturally do that too. When I became inspired by Compendium's website, I knew that I wanted to inspire others through my words also; after reaching out to women on my website, I decided that I wanted to inspire children too.

I have always loved to write. But like many of us, I have doubted the things that come easiest to me. Placing the effort into something for the sheer joy of it, without having expectations of success, was scary to me. Then, I reminded myself that my two toddlers Lilly and Chloe put on dancing performances because they can. They feel inspired and they act on it. Just like that. They do it because of how it makes them feel. They do it because they love to see their Daddy and me smile. It is a little bit of yumminess that is given freely but is priceless to all involved.

Following their example, I decided to write a book to inspire children. I am proud to introduce LOVELY DREAMS. It is a beautiful, whimsical picture book illustrated by Sophie Fletcher, and geared towards 2-6 year-olds. Ultimately, LOVELY DREAMS is an affirmation book for children and adults alike! It encourages us to use imagination, play, and the power of intention to harness our dreams. And after a few reads, I guarantee you'll be walking around saying to yourself, "I can do anything asleep or awake, I can do anything my dreams can make..."

I often wonder what can be accomplished in our worlds if we all believed in ourselves from an early age? If we all truly understood that we could do anything our dreams can make? If you were to know without a doubt in your being that you could do anything you wanted to, what would you do?

To all, Lovely Dreaming!

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