The process of self-publishing truly comes from the heart. It took nearly 4 years to see this simple book idea to come to life. My sister Aarin planted the seed in my mind that this project was even possible. Her gorgeous illustrations make our playful character Spot unforgettable.
By including underwater photography by Richard Salas, the story takes an exciting visual depth for young readers. We include science facts, that make our tale even more relevant, in understanding marine life and the world we live in together (humans & wildlife).
My mother, a retired school teacher with 30+ years experience in the classroom, suggested we incorporate a teaching guide at the end of the story to help encourage conversations with the reader on topics such as: recycling, ecology, helping each other, etc. With her professional insight, we were able to launch a book that is absolutely unique!
Learn more about the book & its collaborators here.
If you are interested in contributing your art to Friendly Planet Club's web content (ie. coloring, learning, and game pages), please contact us.
If you have a story to tell...
We are compiling a network for those that
want to connect with other self-publishers, writers, & artists. If you would like to be a part of our shared contact list, please email here.
Spot: A Sea Pup's Survival Guide
AUTHOR & FOUNDER
Thank you for visiting our website. You most likely found us through a friend, or we may have met at the library, or possibly at your school. The Friendly Planet Club has been an ongoing project, that will continue to grow and evolve with continued support from our community of artists, writers, teachers, and friends.
A couple years ago my sister, an illustrator and graphic designer, mentioned the idea of self-publishing a children's picture book together. I had told her about my recent visit to a Mammal Center that rehabilitates animals, including sea lions that have been injured by ocean pollution. Thus we created a storyline with a purpose of inspiring children to care for our environment.
I have always had a fascination with the ocean and marine life and kept a collection of wildlife photography books. There was one particular book that I cherished called Blue Visions, with photography by Richard Salas. On a whim, I decided to try contacting Richard and see if he would be open to collaborating. I sent him a rough draft of the layout and anxiously waited for a response. I was so nervous and scared he would politely reply "No thanks." To my surprise, within a couple hours, he graciously replied "How can I help you?"
Connecting with other storytellers
As I began to share this self-publishing endeavor with close friends and family, I was delighted to learn that they also had a story to tell... for kids! I began to realize that "kindness" was a universal theme that we all found important.
I then started to envision a network of storytellers, artists, educators and children collaborating on books under one umbrella-- focused on the message to:
Be kind to the planet.
Be kind to each other.
Since I didn't know anything about printing or launching a book, I just started reaching out to random self-publishers via social media, anticipating a piece of advice (good or bad). With a bit of luck, I found Harry E. Pacheco the author of Glady's Glasses. We instantly connected and I begged him to be my mentor and guide me through the process. Harry obliged to offer his support, as he was on a mission to stop bullying through his literature.
Starting a Club
I began to reflect on my childhood and thought back to being a little girl, when I really wanted to be a Girl Scout. I had a friend growing up that would proudly show me the special badges she earned participating in fun nature and community-based activities. I remember asking my mom, a working single parent, if I could join the club too. Unfortunately, my mom explained that we couldn't afford it.
My mom, however, took the initiative to take me to the library and introduce me to National Geographic Magazine. She also found time to explore the city with me and my siblings, living in Los Angeles.
Now, as an adult, I think about the millions of other kids that want to "be a part of the club", any club. It is my hope that the Friendly Planet Club can be a portal for teachers and parents to find exciting ways to engage with their children by learning more about the environment, animals, and each other..
Although, we are a small group of people, donating our time, research, and creative abilities to grow Friendly Planet's online club content-- I see this as an opportunity to "be our best".