Tag Archives: business

Good Morning, Farmer Carmen! [Katie Woo’s Neighborhood]

Written by: Fran Manushkin

Illustrated by: Laura Zarrin

For ages: 5-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Farming, Farmer’s Markets, Teamwork, Friendship. 


Do you know how refreshing it is to see a farmer in a book that isn’t a white man? I am truly excited about it. In this beginner chapter book, Katie gets to spend the night on a farm, owned by her friend Pedro’s aunt Carmen.

In the book, Katie helps to pick the vegetables and go to the farmer’s market for the day, helping to sell the vegetables.  As a manager of my own town’s farmer’s market, I was excited to see this representation and focus on support of small business owners! Sweet, simple, no reader is going to get bashed over the head with a moral to the story.  Just some good representation!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

franm_0-2Fran Manushkin is a prolific writer that has been at it for many years!  Here is an excerpt from her website, so you can get to know a little more about her:

“I wasn’t born in a log cabin, although I do come from the Land of Lincoln–Illinois. I grew up in Chicago with five brothers and sisters and one dog, Snowball. I loved to read, but had absolutely no inkling that I could grow up to be a writer. I thought all writers had triple names, like my favorite, Maud Hart Lovelace, and that they had entire books waiting in their heads, and simply wrote them down, lickety-split.

I always knew I wanted to work with children, so I got a B.A. in education from Chicago Teacher’s College. After graduation, I moved to New York City. My great good fortune came when I met Ezra Jack Keats (author-artist of THE SNOWY DAY), who told me about an editorial assistant’s opening in the children’s book department of Harper & Row. I was hired, and for ten years I worked with two of the most brilliant editors in publishing: Ursula Nordstrom and Charlotte Zolotow.

After  becoming a junior editor, I soon had the great pleasure of discovering new talent: I did Bruce Degan’s first book, AUNT POSSOM AND THE PUMPKIN MAN, Myron Levoy’s classic, ALAN AND NAOMI, and  I also worked with Lillian Hoban on her first Arthur books.

It was Charlotte Zolotow who urged me to write my own stories, and my first book BABY (later titled BABY, COME OUT!) was published in 1972. Since then I’ve written many many books, but no thrill has ever matched that moment when I became a writer.

Because I was such a late bloomer, I am always eager to help children recognize and appreciate their gifts and begin using them NOW. When I speak at schools, I show children my messy manuscripts, the artist’s many sketches, and talk about how much stubbornness and good humor it takes to accomplish anything in life, including writing.”

laurazarrinLaura Zarrin spent her childhood in the St. Louis area exploring creeks, woods, and attic closets, with plenty of tree climbing and digging for artifacts in the backyard all in preparation for her future career as an archeologist. She never became one because she realized she’s much happier drawing in the comfort of her own home while watching TV. Obsessed with the Little House books and Native American cultures, Laura drew lots and lots of pioneers and studied pictographs and books about that time period. When she was 12, her family moved to the Silicon Valley in California where she still resides with her very logical husband and teen sons, and their illogical dog, Cody.

Sound Off Saturday Featuring: Mama Tortuga!

Happy Saturday!  We are thrilled to have been able to connect this week with Johana, also known as Mama Tortuga!  She is a powerhouse of bilingual and herbal activism and knowledge, with a flair for business.  Johana is a hustler and has tons of fantastic projects that she’s currently working on.  We hope you enjoy learning about them as much as we did!
The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself/your organization!f70d4b_5e94206b839e4548ac290c241396f086~mv2_d_1836_3264_s_2

Mama Tortuga: Hello, hola!! I am Johana usually called Mama Tortuga. I have created a bilingual website called www.mamatortuga.org to support and provide resources to families around the world, that want to raise free, eco-conscious, multilingual, global citizens. Our perspective is multicultural. We love to create community and to support communities that are working to create a better and improved world!!! I have a very eclectic point of view, from music and arts, to activism, to freedom, our family is here to support this and amplify those voices that need to be amplified!!!

TTA: What are you passionate about?

Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 12.01.17 PM
Johana and her family- Photo Credit: @R Dot Photography


MT: Very passionate about a wholesome approach to live!! From intersectional feminism, mindful parenting, sustainability, arts, and love!!! I am a student of life!! I am also a lover of nature and work alongside my family in our small backyard garden.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!


Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 12.05.09 PM
“Parenting is a spiritual practice. Social Activism is a spiritual practice”

MT: Right now I am working on creating ways to support myself, an immigrant Latina mother, and support other women in my community in learning and healing. Always looking for ways I can generate funds and spaces for us to grow!! Locally, I am offering Spanish and English social classes in the area of West Palm Beach, Fl. I am also on a local Spanish radio, where I support ancestral knowledge on herbals and multicultural traditions. Online, I am offering platforms to support resources for global and conscious families. Also, I am documenting much of my adventures, because I believe our voices are important, even if my English is not perfect!! Always showing solidarity with oppressed groups and searching for a different mindset for our world!!! Right now working on a class to be offered at the Florida Herbal Conference of next year in Spanish!!!


TTA: How can people support you on your journey?


“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”

MT: Thanks for asking this!! We offer a line of wonderful and original Mama Tortuga T-shirts on all sizes for you $21 for sizes S, M, L and $18 for children, includes shipping, we also offer custom orders for bigger sizes or special merchandise. Also, I would love to be offered jobs on translation, multicultural consultant and talks, that are paid. I had been doing a lot of these jobs in the past decade. Sadly, many times, we are not being acknowledged. Also, I would love to be part of online collabs and convos. It is about forming a supporting community!!!


TTA: What book was your favorite in 2019 so far?

MT: So hard to choose!! Going to mention some: The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu, The Holly Wild by Danielle Dulsky and Jambalaya by Louisa Teish

Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 11.55.22 AMTTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

MT: For my website to keep growing and new connections that make a reality the dreams I have about having a supportive community. That the passion that I have for justice and solidarity and healing can come to fruition in abundance of resources and love!!!f70d4b_6ed50d5703164302a09e00d41ac84851mv2.jpg


Stay Connected with Mama Tortuga!

Green, multicultural and mindful family

Spanish Conversational Groups 

Introducing: Baby Ventures!

Happy Saturday!  Chag sameach to those celebrating Passover, and Happy Easter to those who celebrate tomorrow!  This week we are lucky enough to feature Golzar & Lisa!  These hardworking women run Baby Ventures, a book company based in Maryland.  Both of these women use their experiences in non-profit work along with travel & activism to inform their creative and literary endeavors!  We hope you enjoy the adventure of getting to know the wonderful and intelligent Golzar & Lisa!


The Tiny Activist: Introduce yourself!


Lisa & Golzar
Golzar (left) and Lisa (right)

Baby Ventures: Greetings! We are Golzar Kheiltash and Lisa Hall, co-founders of Baby Ventures™, a Maryland-based, women-run indie children’s book company creating diversity and adventure-inspired board books and artwork. We met while working at a nonprofit in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Washington, DC in 2005, and have been close friends and collaborators ever since.


Golzar is an avid humanitarian and advocate. She trained as a lawyer and spent eleven years working on behalf of vulnerable populations at leading advocacy organizations worldwide. When motherhood entered the picture, Golzar started pouring through all the board books she could find to read with her daughter. Many of the “baby books” she came across featured oversimplified topics and images, leaving her to crave more for her budding bookworm. As co-author of all Baby Ventures™ books, Golzar is deeply committed to creating a more enriching, globally informed reading experience for young children.

Lisa has been a lifelong artist and traveler, visiting over fifty countries across six continents. Her travels include serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa, backpacking by herself across Latin America and volunteering at orphanages in Bolivia and India. Upon returning home from each of her trips abroad, Lisa painted the rich diversity of people and places she’d experienced. As co-author and illustrator of Baby Ventures™, books, Lisa combines vibrant imagery with bold colors to bring her real-life adventures to life in each book.

The ABCs of Washington, DC


As avid travelers with a deep reverence for the rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and locales that make up our global village, we founded Baby Ventures™, in 2016, with one simple mission: to encourage children early on to explore all the people, cultures, and places that make our world the wonder-filled place that it is, one literary adventure at a time. Our inaugural title, the ABCs of Washington, DC, is an ode to the real-life adventures we had while living and working in DC!

TTA: What are you passionate about?

BV: While there are several key principles that drive us, one core tenet we are particularly passionate about is working to ensure that all children – regardless of income or circumstance – have equal, unhindered access to quality board books from an early age. Although we are a small company, we are dedicated to donating our books and time to organizations that are working tireless on behalf of children and families, with causes ranging from early literacy to life-saving humanitarian assistance.

Because reading with children is a proven way to foster early literacy as well as a lifelong love of books, we also prioritize hosting story times as often as we can. Last year, through collaboration with the Family Library at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, we were honored to host a very special story time with our ABCs of Washington, DC, which was broadcast live to patients throughout the hospital.

We are also big believers in the power of a library card – we strongly support local libraries nationwide, and we are working hard to ensure that our books are available for circulation at a number of public libraries across the US. We are thrilled to announce that our bilingual Spanish-English counting book, ¡Números, Baby!, has just been accepted for circulation at several branches of the Chicago Public Library!

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!


¡Números, Baby!

BV: We have just released our third title, ¡Números, Baby!, and are undertaking an ambitious and targeted distribution plan across the US.  ¡Números, Baby! is inspired by our own travels across Latin America and Spain, and introduces youngsters to the stunning beauty and linguistic, cultural, and geographical diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. Each page combines numbers and text with vibrant illustrations depicting the unique attributes of nine Latin American countries, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and Spain.


¡Números, Baby! also embodies one of our core company goals: to encourage bilingualism from an early age. Studies have shown that learning a new language is invaluable for the development of babies’ brains. Beyond the science, we believe it is also a singularly powerful way to foster empathy and develop kinship with our global brothers and sisters.

World Central Kitchen (WCK)


We are also honored to help give back to local communities that inspired ¡Números, Baby! – a portion of all sales of this title goes to World Central Kitchen (WCK), a nonprofit food assistance organization founded by chef and humanitarian advocate José Andrés.  WCK is doing exemplary work on behalf of vulnerable populations in Latin America and beyond – please visit their website to support their incredible efforts.  

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

BV: The publishing industry is changing drastically, even from just a few short years ago when we waded into this field. We keenly welcome the uptick in indie authors and publishers who are creating one of kind, timely books that are helping raise tomorrow’s compassionate, connected adults. Get to know your local authors, seek out indie authors who are tackling issues you want your children to grow up reading about, and most of all, shop at your local indie bookstore! Since launching our first book, we have had the privilege of having our books sold at a number of incredible indie bookstores in the greater Washington, DC area. Many of these indie bookstores are women-owned and/or run, and we couldn’t be prouder to collaborate with them. Throughout our indie literary community, women are lifting up other women in the most inspiring and empowering way. Support that by supporting them– go to Indie Bound and find your local indie bookstore!

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?


All Are Welcome

BV: That’s a very tough question! If we had to choose just two, they would be: All Are Welcomewritten by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, and Alma and How She Got Her Name, by author and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal. We are voracious readers with our own little ones, and we find ourselves feeling both moved and hopeful when we read such inclusive, empowering titles with them.


TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

BV: While there are a number of opportunities we are excited for this coming year, top of the list is our upcoming trip to Puerto Rico! This incredible, resilient island inspired page 5 of ¡Números, Baby! and we feel strongly about going to visit whenever we can.  Leading up to our trip, we are striving to set up several book donation drives with our local partners in the US, to help bolster school libraries in Puerto Rico. If you would like to donate a new children’s book or Young Adult fiction or non-fiction book, please contact us at team@babyventuresbooks.com!

Loyalty Books


We will also be hosting several author events throughout this year, including this month: If you and your little ones are in the DC area, join us on March 23rd at newly opened indie bookstore Loyalty Books for story time with our ABCs of Washington, DC – we’ll be celebrating cherry blossoms and the global friendship they represent, and much more from A to Z in our capital city! Check out their website for more details!

Happy reading adventures,

Golzar and Lisa

Stay Connected with Baby Ventures™!


Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 12.28.08 PM

Baby Ventures™ Website

Baby Ventures™ Instagram

Baby Ventures™ Facebook

Baby Ventures™ Twitter