Live Inspired

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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Introducing Journals to Our Best-selling Life by the Numbers Book Series

by Amelia · 03.05.2015

The Life by the Numbers series began with the bold, best-selling 5 book—and asked the question “Where will you be five years from today?” It was a new kind of book—filled with quotes, stories, and prompts meant to act as a guide to help you find what truly inspires you, to identify your biggest dreams, and to chart a course to make them come true.

The 5 book, and the others that followed, have become internationally known and award-winning. With tens of thousands of copies printed, they’ve touched the lives of thousands of people—with each book offering a new way to discover and realize what really matters to you.

1: How Many People Does it Take to Make a Difference?

2: How Will You Create Something Beautiful Together?

5: Where Will You be Five Years from Today?

7: How Many Days of the Week Can be Extraordinary?

10: What's on Your Top 10 List?

Now we’re taking it a step further. To complement the best-selling book series—and due to popular demand—we’re introducing Life by the Numbers journals. Each journal features even more inspiring statements, new questions for you to consider, and plenty of space to write down every life-altering idea.

So which dream are you going to make come true?

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Now Presenting… Your Backstage Pass to Meeting Our Frank & Funny Comics

by Amelia · 02.26.2015

When we first thought of doing a line of humor cards and notebooks, we realized that we needed go to the comedy experts. That’s why we’re grateful to have award-winning David Crowe as our friend and guide into the stand-up comedy world.

David considers the Frank & Funny cards and notebooks another great venue for the touring comics. He says, “What I like about this line is that it doesn’t use funny pictures or graphics. They really let the imagination of the reader loose... and that’s what stand-ups do for a living.”

We’re lucky to have more than 50 stand-up comedians from all across the country—with new comics added every season.

And when we asked them about why they like writing for the line, here’s what they had to say:
"Having my own greeting card means that something weird and silly I wrote has become intimately involved in the lives of thousands of strangers, which makes me feel grateful, but also a little awkward and anxious.”

–Matt Olson
“I’ve been thinking about it and what I like about writing for greeting cards is that it allows me to voice jokes that I like, but might never work as live performance bits. When you read them, it changes the tone. Just the mere turning of the page to see what's inside gives the reader the pause the joke needs to work.”

–Art Krug
"It's great having a greeting card. Now I can tell people I'm a published author."

–Ross Parsons
 “Words can't describe how cool it is to have my own greeting card. Seriously. I have no words. I'm saving them for the next greeting card.”

–Patti Vasquez

Thank you, Patti! We can't wait to see more from you and all of the comedians in the seasons ahead.

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Discover How We Designed and Wrote Our Newest Gift Book YES

by Amelia · 01.26.2015

"There is a world of endless possibilities waiting behind every YES."
-Kobi Yamada, YES book-

Our newest gift book YES is a little different for us. It’s tough, it’s gritty, it’s bold. Why? We wanted to create a title that told readers—in no uncertain terms—that their potential is in their own hands. “Yes means going for it, Yes means a positive attitude, Yes means embracing life, even when it is a bit scary, and finding ways to live with passion,” says author Kobi Yamada.

Drawing on inspiration from an old Nike ad about not taking no for an answer, Kobi created a unique dialogue within the book—including both negative statements that critics will say as well as positive questions to push back on those harsh statements. As Kobi explains, “The main challenge was to create a back and forth dialogue of pessimism and optimism where the reader can see and feel the impact that attitude and outlook has on everything we experience in our lives.”

To match this bold tone, designer Jessica Phoenix took a rich collage design style to the page. “I found a collage by Clark Goolsby that gave me the inspiration for how to bring color into the book. I created my own ‘digital collage’ and used it as a backdrop for many of the spreads. Creating that collage was a challenge I enjoyed—I'd never made anything like that before.” Jessica also used markers, tracing paper, and black tempera paint. “The style is bold, hand-drawn type with pops of bright, colorful geometric patterns.” She says that despite the complexity of the project, she truly enjoyed simply drawing. “I created a lot of the elements with tempera paint and markers so it was fun to literally get my hands dirty making this book.”

The key element for Jessica in designing the book was the audience. “I had to keep running my design ideas through that filter: could this be given to a teenage boy? What about a mother of three? I would say this book has a fairly urban feel, which, in the end, may not appeal to everyone, but I do think it will strike a chord with many. Everyone can relate to that voice of negativity in our mind that tells us ‘no,’ which is why it's so needed to have a book that tells us we can ignore that voice and say ‘yes,’ instead.”

The result is an intense yet uplifting graphic style that mirrors the negativity and optimism that can be found in the words on each page. It’s our hope that after reading YES, customers will have a more positive filter to look at situations, or at themselves—a filter that’s more supportive, positive, and encouraging. “The best takeaway from this book is that the readers can recognize negativity and cynicism easily, whether from others or their own insecurities and fears, and know that it is not truth.”


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