Archive for the 'News' Category

Project OpenBook Book Drop Featured in the News

Friday, May 4th, 2018

Reading Yeti in My Freezer

Our most recent book drop in Bellevue Public Schools was featured on the news! The Omaha World-Herald covered the story and Channel 3 featured it.

Click link below for full story.

http://studio.omaha.com/Omaha-couple-giving-back-in-books-33769454?playlistId=16295

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Omaha World-Herald Article: An Experiment in Doing Good

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

500 books will be given to Bellevue students as part of Omaha company’s ‘experiment in doing good’

An Experiment in Doing Good

Article written by Micah Mertes / Omaha World-Herald staff writer

April 28, 2018

It started with a single book for a single child. Then the books and the children multiplied.

More than a decade back, Omahans Phil and Stacey Haussler were expecting their first child (they now have three), and they wanted to give him something special, something one-of-a-kind.

Phil, a writer, ended up making him a personalized storybook.

The Hausslers — along with two other dads: Ken Wiebke of Overland Park, Kansas, and Brad Sneed, of Prairie Village, Kansas — parlayed this idea into a business. In 2009, they created MarbleSpark, which makes and sells personalized children’s books. In MarbleSpark books, kids become the stars of their own stories.

“We’re all about creating those magical moments with kids and parents,” Stacey said. “When a child reads a story that’s about them, they realize that there’s some magic there.”

At the same time, the company wanted to find a way to give back to the community, to take part in what Phil called “an experiment in doing good.”

They launched a side endeavor called Project OpenBook.

“Our goal was to get books into the hands of kids that need them the most,” Stacey said, “that don’t have access to them at home.”

Stacey, citing a U.S. Department of Education statistic, said that 60 percent of children in poverty don’t have a single age-appropriate book in their homes. Project OpenBook aims to lower that number.

“We wanted to give a book away to kids,” Stacey said. But they wanted to make it just the right book — an “awesome” book.

They decided to make it from scratch. They solicited the help of writers and illustrators from across the country to contribute to what became “The Yeti in My Freezer,” a Shel Silverstein-esque children’s poetry book.

At the end of 2017, Project OpenBook printed and delivered 1,000 copies of the book to students through DIBS for Kids (DIBS stands for “Delivering Infinite Book Shelves”), a local nonprofit that aims to ensure that every student has a great book to read.

Now, a few months later, Project OpenBook is about to make its second book drop. On Monday, the organization will deliver 500 copies of “The Yeti in My Freezer” to students at two schools in Bellevue.

One of the reasons the group decided to do a kids’ poetry book, Stacey said, is that while reading is foundational in a child’s development, “it also needs to be fun. Kids need to be excited and enjoy what they’re reading. So we put together a compilation of funny kids’ poems.”

Currently, MarbleSpark is paying for the printing and shipping costs of Project OpenBook. But Stacey said that if they can get the permission from the contributors to sell “The Yeti in My Freezer,” the proceeds would go toward more book drops — more books for more kids from the company that started with a single child and a single book.

See full online article here.

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Project OpenBook: Introducing ‘The Yeti In My Freezer’

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

First Project OpenBook book drop

Seven years ago, just two months after launching MarbleSpark, we announced the launch of an experiment called Project OpenBook.

Our idea was to create a crowd-sourced, illustrated children’s poetry book and give it away to deserving kids… especially kids who lacked access to books they could call “their own”.   (more…)

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Our Favorite Part of This Adventure

Monday, December 4th, 2017

We absolutely love hearing stories of how our personalized books created a spark between you and a child, family-member or friend.

We made a short video (gulp) to ask a favor…

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We Are Taking the 21-Day Read Aloud Challenge

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Blog_Read Aloud challenge

*This post was written for Momaha.com. Read on and then click link below to read full article.*

I’ve always had a love of books.

So when I became a first-time mom almost 12 years ago, I wanted to share this love of reading with our son.

(more…)

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Edge Magazine Features MarbleSpark as Local Children’s Book Author

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Edge Magazine

Article written by Carole Sprunk of Edge Magazine

Photo by Christopher Tierney

“Build a Better Community.” These words are displayed all over Sump Memorial Library in Papillion. That is exactly what Omaha local authors Stacey and Phil Haussler, Kathy Rygg, and Bruce Arant are doing. (more…)

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Why We Created a Personalized Children’s Book Company

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Personalized children's book company

Why did we create a personalized children’s book company? Here’s our story.

In 2005, my wife and I were expecting our first child. On a whim, I wrote and illustrated several crude storybooks. I loved the idea of giving our future kids one-of-a-kind gifts.

My name is spelled Philip with one L. And as a kid, I always hated being unable to find my name on the personalized key-chains at the gas station. As we narrowed in on a couple boys and girls names, I realized our child was going to be even less likely than I had been to find their own personalized keychain.

So I set out to make a book that would solve that problem. My first attempts were… not good. But I’ve always had a stubborn streak. (more…)

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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 Momaha.com

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.

(more…)

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

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Every Hero Needs a Sidekick

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…)

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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.


 


 


 

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