Archive for the 'News' Category

Momaha Reviews Every Hero Needs a Sidekick

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Omaha couple creates book for kids expecting a new sibling

By Ashlee Coffey, editor of

Mar 28, 2017

Momaha Review Blog Post

On Christmas Eve, my son Sam excitedly ripped open a present from his aunt and uncle. Underneath the wrapping was a book.

But this was no ordinary book.

“It’s me! It’s Sammy!” he squealed.

The book, “Every Hero Needs a Sidekick: The Adventures of Super Sam,” featured detailed drawings of Sam as a superhero. He couldn’t believe it.

He brought the book to me, climbed into my lap and immediately had me start reading it. Inside, the book features beautiful artwork of Sam as a superhero, leaping tall buildings and outrunning a speeding train.

But the story is what will get you. It’s about preparing a child for the birth of a sibling.


There’s a New Superhero in Town: New Big Brother, Big Sister Book

Friday, January 27th, 2017


We recently released a brand spankin’ new personalized children’s book, called Every Hero Needs a Sidekick!  This big brother / big sister book follows the adventure of your little superhero as they find out they’re getting a sidekick: a new baby brother or sister.

We’ve turned up the volume on personalization again – this time showing images of the big sister or big brother throughout the book.  So you’ll get the chance to choose skin and hair color when creating your book.

We think you’re going to love it! (more…)

Teacher Gives The Gift Of Reading

Friday, January 17th, 2014


Late last year we received an email from Ashley Tisdale, a second-grade teacher in North Carolina, saying she had fallen in love with our personalized Christmas book, ‘Twas the Mouse Who Saved Christmas.  She said she wanted to buy a copy for each student in her class… all 18 of them!

I was travelling at the time, but hastily typed back a reply on my phone: (1) we will gladly cut you a break on price and (2) what a generous gesture…how can I enroll my own second-grader in your classroom?!?

Ashley graciously offered to let us share in the joy of her gift with some pictures and a short Q&A:

What’s your passion? What makes you tick?
I am a self-proclaimed DIY rockstar, travel junky, and lifelong learner.

Tell us about your students.
I teach second grade at a Title One school in North Carolina. Most of my students read below grade level but they do show an enjoyment for reading. Watching them grow from the beginning of the year to this point has been inspiring.


What made you decide this was the gift you wanted to give your students?
Instilling a lifelong passion for reading is so important to me so I knew immediately that I wanted to give the students a literacy related gift. I was sorting through my personal library when I came across a personalized Christmas book my mom had made for me when I was four years old. I started searching the internet for customizable Christmas books when I discovered several blogs that mentioned ‘Twas the Mouse Who Saved Christmas. I was so pleased with the reviews, pictures, story, and overall quality that I knew that was what I wanted for my class.


Can you tell us about the kids’ reaction?
They were ecstatic! As soon as they saw the books on their desks, the gasps and busy words of excitement filled the room. Most of them were so happy to have received a gift, they initially didn’t notice that they were personalized. Once they realized their names were in the stories, they went nuts! Their joy was worth every penny.



Postscript: Thank you, Ms. Tisdale, for letting us share in your wonderful gift.  And thank you for reaffirming our belief in the power of education and literacy. Something tells me you’ll be remembered as “my favorite teacher” by lots and lots of kids that get lucky enough to pass through your classroom.




And The Award Goes To…

Thursday, November 7th, 2013


We’re very excited to announce that Creative Child Magazine has named ‘Twas the Mouse Who Saved Christmas a 2013 Book Of The Year!

This personalized book for Christmas spins the classic Christmas poem around your child’s name. When a daring mouse accidentally rips your child’s name from Santa’s list, she must avoid Santa’s cat, Fritz, and fix things before Christmas!

Christmas is right around the corner! Order a copy now so you can read it with your favorite kiddo throughout the month of December!

New Personalized Book: ‘Twas The Mouse Who Saved Christmas

Monday, October 15th, 2012


We’re stoked to introduce you to our new personalized book, ‘Twas The Mouse Who Saved Christmas!

Meet Pipp Squeak, the adorable but mischievous mouse who lives in Santa’s wall.


‘It’s the night before Christmas and Pipp goes looking for a cookie…


But she finds St. Nick’s cat, Fritz, instead — and accidentally rips Santa’s list!


Gasp! Look whose name got ripped from this list…your child’s!


Pipp tries to fix the list… but she does more harm than good!


And she’s not done yet! Can Pipp avoid getting eaten and fix her mess in time to save your child’s Christmas? Create your personalized book now to find out!

Personalize This Book

First Birthday Gift Ideas

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Following Featherbottom made an appearance on the The 10! Show, a daily lifestyle and entertainment show in Philadelphia. Shannon Choe of Premier Baby Concierge went on the show to talk about her favorite gift ideas for a one-year old’s birthday. Skip ahead to about the 4:10 mark to see our quick segment. Spoiler alert, it includes the words “…a really neat keepsake…the illustrations are awesome.”

Project OpenBook In The News

Thursday, March 18th, 2010


Project OpenBook made the nightly news last night. Lance Schwartz features special interest stories in a series called “Lance’s Journal” for 10/11 News in Lincoln, Nebraska. His stories are uplifting and inspiring, a truly welcome break from many of the stories that violently force their way into the nightly news.

Lance did a terrific 2 minute video on Project OpenBook. He somehow found a few soundbites to make me sound halfway intelligent (not an easy task). This news piece also gave me a great excuse to meet Jaime Kubik and her sons. A huge thank-you to Jaime for contacting Lance (among others) and spreading the good word. It’s through the generous work and contribution from folks like Jaime that Project OpenBook will continue to grow toward its full potential.  We’re just waiting for Oprah to call back…

My only regret is that the footage of my son reciting Magic Tricks got clipped in the editing room. Thanks to Lance for creating such a terrific piece.

You can watch Lance’s Journal here or by clicking the image above.


Friday, January 1st, 2010

Thank You

2009 snuck out the side-exit before I had a chance to thank a few people who deserve it. A huge thank you goes out to:

My family and friends, especially my lovely wife. For their love and support. For enduring through four years of hearing about this far-off idea. For sticking with me through it all.

Ken Wiebke. For building this shockingly amazing website in his spare time. For staying sane through 3+ years of changes and speed-bumps. For sacrificing his free time. For his sense of humor through it all. For his understanding family. For his friendship.

Brad Sneed. For shaking hands three years ago on little more than an idea and a single meeting over breakfast. In an age of contracts and litigation, that kind of my-word-is-bond trustworthiness is rare and refreshing. For two years of painstaking work — the artwork of Following Featherbottom is simply breathtaking. For continuing this wild ride with Project OpenBook and beyond. For his understanding family. For his friendship.

The dudes at Oxide Design. For the concepts for this website and blog. For transforming my crummy logo ideas into something awesome. For help in naming our first book. For being generally awesome dudes.

Phil Belin. For his advice and counsel. For making MarbleSpark official. For embracing a pay-for-results model and bucking the tired old legal practice of hourly billing.

Adrian Hanft. For making this blog look and work terrifically. For working around the deficiencies of various browsers (if you’re reading this in Internet Explorer, please consider switching). For putting up with me.

For you. If you’re reading this, thank you. You’re here at take-off, before we’ve really proven ourselves. Thank you for riding along. With your help, I hope we can do amazing things in 2010.

image by psd

Maiden voyage

Friday, January 1st, 2010


We’re pulling up anchor.  Raising the mast.  Leaving port.  Setting sail.  Pointing our bow toward the edge of the earth and hoping it’s round after all.

After four years of hard work, of highs and lows, of faith and doubt, we’re finally ready.

I could write a book about what it’s taken to get to this point.  About the friendships made, the relationships strained, all the monumental effort, joy and pain that went into this idea called MarbleSpark.  But there will be time for looking back later.

Right now I want to look ahead.  Right now I want to talk about what this is.  And what we believe it can become.

First, the name.  Why MarbleSpark?  It speaks to our goal of igniting minds.  Marble is meant figuratively, as in brain, noggin’, noodle – like, “Have you lost your marbles?”.  And Spark suggests ignition, explosion, combustion.   We want to spark creativity, spark curiosity, spark imagination.  For you and for the kids in your life.  MarbleSpark isn’t just a name, it’s a mission.

So what is MarbleSpark?  We’re a publisher of amazing books.  For now, that’s Following Featherbottom, a personalized storybook that tells the story of your child’s name.  But we hope there will be many, many more amazing books to come.

But our dreams don’t stop with selling a ton of books.  We started MarbleSpark with the dream of making an impact.  We’ve got a plan to give away a boatload of books to kids that need them most.  We’ll tell you more about that plan over the coming months.

And that’s where this blog comes in. We don’t know exactly where this journey will take us.  But it will be an adventure.

And we’re hoping you’ll ride along.  We’re hoping you’ll participate – through your comments and input.  We’re hoping you’ll share this with everyone you know.  We’re hoping you’ll be a part of it.

So climb aboard.  Bookmark this site.  Add it to your RSS feed.  Or follow along on Facebook or Twitter. Anchors aweigh!

Photo by Holy7th.

My favorite gift

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Storybook Thank You

A fan shared this thank-you note from her granddaughter Hanna (age 6 and in Kindergarten):

Grandma Jodi ~ Thank you so much for the book.  I can’t believe it is all about me!  We’ve read it lots of times!  thanks     ~Love Hanna

…and from Hanna’s mom:

OMG!  That book is amazing!  You should have seen how big her eyes got when she realized it was about her!  Amazing.  Definitely her most favorite book ever!

That’s easily my favorite Christmas gift of 2009 (with no offense to the giver of my 2nd favorite gift: socks and underwear).  I’m blown away by how thoughtful and smart (and prompt!) young Hanna is.  She’s obviously destined for big things!

Thank you, Jodi, for sharing it!  We’re honored to have been a small part of your Christmas.