Live Inspired

IPPY Gold Awarded to Our Stunning Children’s Book, You Belong Here

by Amelia · 05.23.2017

Bedtimes are for quiet snuggles and soft kisses—and perhaps a book or two (or three!). With You Belong Here, families have a beautiful—and award-winning—classic to add to their nighttime routine.   

“The stars belong in the deep night sky, and the moon belongs there too,
and the winds belong in each place they blow by,
and I belong here with you.”

Richly illustrated with a soft rhyming verse, each page offers a sensory delight and a beautiful message of belonging. And last month it received Gold at the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Conducted annually, “the IPPYs” honor the year’s best independently published titles from around the world. Now in its 21st year, the 2017 contest drew more than 5,000 entries for 83 categories—with You Belong Here awarded for the Children’s Picture Books (7 & Under) category. It’s a wonderful testament to the significance this title offers to families and their little ones.

“My deepest hope with this title is that it offers comfort, reassurance, and a sense of belonging to everyone who encounters it,” says award-winning author M.H. Clark.

Inside, readers will find charming glimpses into different animals’ homes—from birds and whales to lizards and bees—each noting that this is where each creature belongs. Paced throughout, you’ll also see different human homes and cities, with lyrical words that speak directly to the child.

“Lovingly constructed, reliable rhymes, with pleasing pendular swings, might cause listeners to hug themselves tightly and smile,” notes a starred Kirkus Review. “One could easily improvise a quick melody and sing these words as a lullaby.”

The book’s illustrator, Isabelle Arsenault, is an internationally recognized artist, winning such prestigious awards as the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature. “I approach each of my books in a different way. Each text invokes a particular universe, and I endeavor to grasp it by adapting my techniques, my renderings and my graphical approach to each project,” said Arsenault in a Picturebook Makers blog.

Arsenault’s work is a combination of ink and watercolor, and for You Belong Here, she created animals that often appear white with light details amid rich backgrounds. The reason for this is found at the end, with a puzzle being shown put together by a child—which offers a delightful second read for the child to flip back through the book to rediscover all of the “missing pieces.” 

“I think the sense of belonging is so critical to all of us,” says Clark. “It’s one of our biggest emotional needs as human beings—to feel that we are where we belong to be, and are loved and accepted there. I hope this book helps people to access that feeling of comfort and acceptance, no matter how old they are.”

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Celebrate Earth Day with the Care for Our World App

by Angeline · 04.17.2017

With Earth Day just a few days away, we’re excited to share a new way for children to explore the natural world and learn more about the creatures that call Earth home. Independent game studio Sunbreak Games has released Care for Our World, an interactive children’s book app based on our award-winning illustrated title.

This fully animated story takes kids on a charming tour of habitats from every corner of the world, naming the many plants and animals that we share the planet with. This app also has several fun features: children can create their own custom habitats by choosing animals and backgrounds, color select pages from the book, and learn more through the Animal Encyclopedia.

We recently had the chance to talk with Jason Behr, the creative director and founder of Sunbreak Games, about how he turned Care for Our World from a picture book into an animated adventure.

Q&A with Jason Behr, Creator of the Care for Our World App 

How did the Care for Our World App come about? What was your inspiration?

I discovered Care for Our World while browsing a local Seattle-area bookstore with my young son. With a positive environmental message and exceptional artwork, it became an instant family favorite read every night… so I approached Compendium about using our game development background to bring it to life on iPads.

Do you have a favorite scene from the book?

One of my personal favorites is the safari scene. I love how much movement we could bring to the page, with all the characters laughing and dancing and swinging. It’s so happy and energetic, which really captures the spirit of the book.

What is your favorite part of the app development process?

One of my favorite parts of designing an app like Care for Our World is figuring out how to make a unique experience that goes beyond the original material, and really justifies the leap to digital. In this case, it was more than just adding animation, music, and sound to the book, it was also building new coloring and playset modes that let readers create their own content. 

What do you hope families learn from this app?

I hope this app helps families in the digital age reflect on their relationship to the natural world, with its loving story. But I’m particularly proud that we added a brand new encyclopedia feature that goes a step further, and gives kids the opportunity to directly learn from real-world facts, photos, and sounds.

Have your children seen the app and what was their reaction? Did you incorporate their input in the app?

My son was the inspiration for starting the project, so it only made sense that he was also my tester! He’s mesmerized by how animals react with animations and sounds, and tries to find every one on each page. I think the biggest thing I learned from working with kids like my son is that smaller children use their fingers and recognize iconography differently than adults, which led to lots of adjustments in our menus and coloring mode, for example. 

What is your favorite animal?

My favorite animal in the book is the blue whale. It’s amazing to me to imagine that swimming out in our oceans right now is the biggest animal that’s ever lived on the planet, even bigger than the dinosaurs!

The Care for Our World App ($2.99) is now available for iPad at the iTunes store.

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What Do You Do With an Idea? Inspires Students to Sing

by Rondi · 04.14.2017

Since its release in 2014, our book What Do You Do With an Idea? has inspired thousands of people—kids and adults, students and educators, entrepreneurs, and creative minds all around the world. And we have loved hearing about all of the different ways new ideas have been brought to life because of this book.

This year, the students of Centennial Elementary in Olympia, Washington, created an inspiring song based on our book!

In January, Centennial students read and discussed What Do You Do With an Idea? in connection with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and were encouraged to think of the dreams and ideas they had that would make the world a better place. Each class shared their ideas and talked about ways to make them grow. The biggest idea they came up with was to write a song based on our book and about their individual ideas. After writing the song, they created an amazing music video to go along with it. With the help of music and P.E. teacher Jana Gedde, the students wrote the verses, came up with their own choreography and artwork, and recorded all of the singing. “These kids are so inspirational!” said Jana. “I am constantly moved by their amazing creativity and their passion for changing the world.”

Click below to watch the video and hear the wonderful voices of these incredible students.


We were so inspired by these students that we visited their school to congratulate them in person for their work. We joined them for “Friday Sing,” a biweekly celebration where the entire school gathers together to sing, dance, be silly, and recognize special achievements. Nearly 600 students and staff members welcomed us, each wearing gold crowns to represent all of the creativity and unique ideas that each person brings to the world. The hallways were decorated with beautiful artwork representing each student’s ideas, and many colorful welcome signs made us feel special.

This particular “Friday Sing” was especially exciting, as the school was celebrating the end of their Reading Month. “We just wrapped up our reading month, and we had a goal of reading 200,000 minutes as a school,” said Shannon Ritter, Centennial’s principal. “And we blew past that goal—we read over 300,000 minutes, which is amazing!” It also happened to be Character Day, so many students and teachers were dressed as their favorite book character—and we even saw some Idea eggs come to life.

During the assembly, we were honored to hear a live performance of their original song, and Kobi Yamada, author and Compendium president, had the opportunity to do a Q&A with the students. “Thank you all so much. That was such a beautiful song—you don’t know what it means to me,” said Kobi. “It gives me hope to know there are kids like you in the world working to make it a much, much better place.” To thank them for their song, Kobi presented the school with signed copies of What Do You Do With an Idea? for every student, teacher, and staff member.

We are always thrilled to hear about how our products are inspiring others, and it was such an honor to be a part of this special day. Centennial Elementary’s music video is an amazing example of how a single idea can turn into something much bigger. Thank you, Centennial Elementary, for making the world a better place, one idea at a time!

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Introducing In Other Words… Our Newest Greeting Card Line

by Ruth · 02.13.2017

Words can lift us up, comfort us, make us smile; they have the power to show us how much we’re loved and appreciated by others. And at Compendium, we know that finding the right words to share at the right time is important. That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to In Other Words…

We’ve only recently released these cards and they’re already a big hit! Here’s just one of the reactions we’ve received:

“When I started reading through the In Other Words… cards, I felt like, ‘Yes, I finally found the cards I’ve been looking for!’ …I’m in love with these cards. Reading through the In Other Words… catalog, for me, was like finding out the next book to your favorite story is coming out.” – Laura, Seattle, WA

And the inspiration for the line? It all started with an idea by Compendium’s CEO and president, Kobi Yamada. “We wanted to showcase creative storytelling in a way that was portable and fun to give,” says Kobi. “Our goal was to create cards that didn’t just surprise, delight, and entertain, but cards that also connected, encouraged, and inspired.”

Here are just a few of the special things that go into the making of our In Other Words… cards:

Wit with Big Heart

Our talented writers have crafted inspiring sentiments with smart, unexpected humor for a wonderful blend of playfulness, sincerity, and spirit. Every card has a warm, unique voice and is filled with a love of the written word.

Quality Design

“We didn’t just want to highlight great writing, we wanted to celebrate it,” says Kobi. The cards are printed on quality textured papers for a handcrafted feel, while the bright colors and simple, clean designs perfectly highlight the wit and whimsy of the words.

Community Spirit

A percentage of every card’s purchase goes to organizations that promote literacy and support readers of the future. And, like all of our greeting cards, In Other Words… is printed responsibly in the United States on FSC®-certified recycled paper.

We’re thrilled that these cards are getting such a positive response, and we look forward to hearing what you think. “In other words,” says Kobi, “we hope you are going to love these new cards as much as we do!” 

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Compendium's Holiday Gift Guide

by Rondi · 12.01.2016

The holidays are here! And now is the time to find the perfect gifts for your loved ones. From keepsake journals to illustrated children’s books, we’ve come up with a wonderful collection of items that will bring joy and inspiration to everyone on your list.

Record and reflect on the magic of the holidays with these seasonal favorites.


Discover our entire collection of winter holiday gifts here.

Celebrate family with thoughtful gifts that will be cherished for years to come.

Find all of our gifts for kids and families here.

Inspire joy and wonder with the little ones in your life. 

See our entire collection of gifts for kids here

Add a thoughtful touch to holiday gift giving with these small items that have a lot of heart. 

Shop all of our gifts under $10 here


We wish you a bright and beautiful season full of joy, inspiration, and wonder.


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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!



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.” 



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!

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Our Nationally Best-Selling Children's Book Inspires a Stirring Dance Performance

by Kristin · 06.30.2015

This past May, the Tanner Dance Program of the University of Utah performed our nationally best-selling children's book What Do You Do With an Idea? as a dance routine with an entirely original score. What Do You Do With an Idea? is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps bring it into the world. Tanner Dance adapted the book for its biggest event of the year, and we are so honored to have been a part of it.

Tanner Dance put on three inspiring performances in just one day. More than 500 dancers used ballet and modern dance to show how ideas come to life. Each dance had different choreography, and what made the performances especially incredible was that every dancer had the freedom to improvise parts of their routine and integrate their own ideas into the performance.

"Throughout this whole process, the children have been delighted with discovering their own ideas, creating their own ideas and dancing their own ideas," said Joni Wilson, program director of Tanner Dance. Built into the program’s foundation is the dedication toward creating imaginative humans—one dancer at a time. By offering classes to people of all ages and abilities, Tanner Dance gives its students the skills to take their dance ideas and grow them into beautiful, impactful works of art.

Kobi Yamada, the book’s author, was thrilled to attend the event and witness the amazing production. Kobi signed books after each performance, and even went backstage for a peek behind the scenes. "It was a lifetime highlight to be invited into the circle of hundreds of dancers backstage," said Kobi. "It was humbling to see these young talents in costume so earnest about their roles."


Nothing makes us happier than to see how our products are inspiring other people. Tanner Dance's production of What Do You Do With an Idea? is a wonderful example of how anyone can take an idea and turn it into something incredible. The performance has resonated with us here at Compendium, and we thank Tanner Dance for such an inspiring production!

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A Book for All Those Who Dare to Dream

by Amelia · 06.25.2015

This season marks a wonderful first for Compendium—our first children’s book based on an award-winning film. The story is about a young woman with a dream to fly, and the challenges she faces in reaching her goal. Both the film and the book adaptation are inspired by the real-life person Miss E. Lilian Todd, the first woman in the world to design and build an airplane.

Miss Todd is relatively unknown in the world of aviation, which is what drew the film’s director Kristina Yee to the story. While doing research for another project on aviation, Kristina came across a November 28, 1909 New York Times article noting Miss Todd’s accomplishment. But after the successful flight of her first plane, she disappeared into history.

“I wondered why I’d never heard of her, and the more I read, the more her story smacked of injustice. I thought it was amazing that she accomplished so much, and yet is so forgotten by the history books,” says Kristina.

The significance of her plane and its flight should not be understated. Though the Wright Brothers had made history with Kitty Hawk in 1900, very few others at the time were successful in getting a “flying machine” off the ground—much less staying in the air for more than several minutes.


“The mystery of what happened to her after her plane flew also drew me to her,” says Kristina. “I wanted to believe that, as we’ve portrayed in the story, her disappearance wasn’t a tragedy, but an adventure.”

Miss Todd took a full year to create. The twelve-minute musical short was worked on by a dedicated group of passionate students at the National Film and Television School in the UK, and went on to win the Student Academy Award in 2013 as well as the Royal Television Society Award in 2014 and dozens of other awards.

The film was made using stop-motion animation with handmade sets and puppets and incorporating paper cut-outs, felt, and other custom-built props including several miniature models. The book adaptation, Miss Todd and Her Wonderful Flying Machine, was created using stills from the short film to bring Miss Todd to life in a whole new way. Alongside Kristina, the book was written by Frances Poletti who also wrote for the film.

We would like to say a special thank you to Kristina and Fran. We’re thrilled to have worked with such a talented team to create this unique children’s book. We look forward to encouraging young readers to pursue their dreams, no matter who may tell you no.


Watch the entire film at!


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Our 30th Anniversary!

by Amelia · 05.07.2015

We are excited to announce our 30th anniversary! Over the past three decades, much has changed—but the core of our mission to live inspired has stayed the same. We are proud of what we have achieved and eager to see what the future holds.

To honor the occasion, we’d thought it would be fun to share a little sneak peek with you—into our history, our people, and our hopes for the future. We hope you enjoy getting to know us a little better and we look forward to sharing the next 30 with you!


Compendium started in a 700-square-foot apartment, making small pop-open window cards. Our team relied on a simple dream: to inspire millions. Our window cards, originally made only for corporate clients, soon expanded their reach. Their magic was undeniable. “Can somebody, somewhere, anywhere, pick up a window card, and, even though it’s just a little piece of paper with a message in it, open it up and have that touch them in a way that is affirming and exciting for them?” asked Compendium founder Dan Zadra. “And, if so, can you replicate that by a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, and a million?” The power behind the cards surprised and delighted us—and led us to expand our focus to gifts and books for everyone and all of life's occasions.


From a small apartment to an industrial park to several places in between, Compendium kept growing. We made gift books and saw the power they held. We made desk accessories and saw the beauty they added to people’s lived. So we looked even further, making journals, children’s products, greeting cards—and many other formats.

Each step of the way, we held tight to our dream. And, like us, it grew. We knew we wanted more and we created the tagline “live inspired.” We wanted to not only reach millions of people, but to inspire their everyday—to live abundantly, richly, more fully. “I’d like Compendium to be a resource for other people, for inspiration, and connection,” says Compendium CEO and President Kobi Yamada. “That’s at the heart of it.”


Now, reaching our 30th anniversary, we’re excited to see what the future holds. Because we know that no matter where we go, what products we explore, or what dreams we discover, we will still keep to our mission—to make a positive difference in the world. “Ultimately," says Dan Zadra, "living an inspired life means giving back.”


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Meaningful Gifts for Mom and Dad

by Amelia · 04.27.2015

"The only people who truly know your story are the ones that helped you write it."


With our newest I Love You Mom and I Love You Dad gift books, we aimed to create meaningful, keepsake titles that offer connection, personalization, and a hand-crafted feel—creating a gift that is not only beautiful, but meaningful as well.

Author M.H. Clark says she hopes these books offer a framework for capturing a story that’s as unique as the giver—with room for all different types of stories and all different types of families. Each book is filled with heartfelt statements on the special connection between a parent and child, as well as written prompts for the reader to fill in with their own memories, anecdotes, and reflections:

•    These words make me think of you…
•    I've always admired how gifted you are at…
•    If I could give you anything in the word, it would be…

Answer each prompt however you like—with a sketch or illustration, a list, a big sentence or a whole paragraph. No matter how you fill it out, whether in one afternoon or over the course of many days, you’ll create a completely unique record of your relationship.

For the design, designer Heidi Rodriguez wanted to offer a classic, open look that appealed to wide range of aesthetics. She drew on inspiration from family photo albums, particularly with the framing of each prompt. In addition, Heidi added warmth and a personal feel by incorporating hand-drawn geometric textures as well as hand-traced type.

The end result is a set of titles that will inspire and spark special moments between family members—a beautiful keepsake that, as M.H. says, “…will create a beautiful picture of your relationship.”

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