Louisville-based publisher earns International 2018 Book Excellence Award
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville publisher that teaches life lessons to children all over the country just got a boost.
The author and illustrator of Baxter's Corner discusses what an international award means for their young company.
There's a children's verse on each colorful page. Each flip makes up a story with its very own lesson.
A former business writer, author Linda Baker admits it wasn't always her strength. "I can remember trying to make up a story and it was the most boring story and so Mary Ellen and I got to talking. Many years had elapsed and I said, 'well, let's give it another shot,'" Baker said.
Baker and Mary Ellen Stottmann, who met many years ago, reconnected in 2012. "When I retired from my business, to do nothing, I started painting again," Stottmann said.
Stottman's initial vision was to create children's books that teach manners.
"We realized that we were observing some things in the news, some behavior issues with kids, and lots of things happening and we thought you know what, we think there's a need to reignite a sense of some basic values that we hope to take a small part in through our books," Baker said.
Characters take on lives of their own. "It's morphed into something that's much deeper," Stottmann said.
The author and illustrator, who go by Chief Pencil and Chief Crayon, have published six books in the last six six years under their publishing company, Baxter's Corner, named after Stottmann's grandson.
The books teach resilience, respect, determination, compassion and cooperation. Each book is complete with a discussion at the end and a set of accessories including toys, puppets and art.
"It's amazing when you've got a great product and nobody knows about it. You can't sell it," Stottmann said.
The word is out, thanks in part, to two prestigious awards. The first honor, the Mom's Choice Award for Gerome Sticks His Neck Out, was received last year.
The most recent is the biggest to date. The pair won the 2018 Book Excellence Awards Competition in the category of Picture Book, ages four to eight, for their most recent book, What A Tree It Will Be!. The international competition accepted entries from all over the world in more than 100 categories.
"When we feel so very passionately about what we're trying to achieve and have someone else recognize and say, 'we like it too,' that's great, it's a warm feeling," Baker said.
For this team that just sort of happened, it's only the beginning. "We have had great fun telling these stories and interestingly, the stories just keep coming and coming at this point. There are more stories to be written than we have time to write and illustrate."
It's all in an effort to help kids communicate, escape and inspire.
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