When Mike was a kid, his mum taught at a nursery school. She would find amazing books and act them out at home before taking in to read to her class.
Watching his mother perform, he thought that being a kids book author must be the most noble profession ever.
When Susan was about 8, she wrote a poem. It read *clears throat:
“Help me find a door
that will lead us out of war
Where men can always be free
Where men can be what they want to be
If you find it, let me know
Cuz that’s where I’ll go
So help me find a door
That can lead us out of war.”
Sheer brilliance, right? No? Just Susan’s mom felt that way?
Susan was asked to read her poem to a college class who applauded enthusiastically, and she knew right then that writing was the fastest way to fame and fortune…
As Mike and Susan built the company together, even winning a couple of regionally Emmy Awards along the way, one dream had gone unfulfilled for too long, especially for Mike. Upon getting his first rejection letter from the publisher Kids Can Press, he vowed that they would publish him one day.
And so he and Susan wrote their first children’s book, I Got You A Present! It was championed by the late, great, publisher-extraordinaire, Sheila Barry, who loved it but felt her company, Groundwood Books, wasn’t the right place for it.
So Sheila, being one of the most amazing humans you could have ever met, walked it across the street to her competitors, who bought it.
And that’s how our first book ended up being published at Kids Can Press, the same company that rejected Mike more than 20 years ago — and fulfilled a life-long dream.
But it turned out so much better than we hoped, thanks to all the love and attention from our editor, Katie Scott, and our illustrator, the amazing Cale Atkinson.
And what can I say about Lisa Lyons, who is not only one of the country’s finest business leaders, she has also become a good friend.
It takes a community to publish a book, and ours made us so much better.