Archive for the 'Project OpenBook Updates' Category

A Book Drop for Jill

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

This is my cousin, Jill. She would have turned 49 years old today.

Jill was born with Spina Bifida and lived with significant physical disability.

She was also gifted in many ways. She smiled bigger, laughed harder, hugged tighter and held your hand longer. (more…)

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Sharing Our Love of Reading Aloud

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Reading Aloud

My husband and I have been reading aloud to our kids since they were in utero. Our love of books has made it an easy and fun activity.

As our kids have grown, we’ve continued to read aloud to them. Sharing a book together has been a special way to connect.

If you follow MarbleSpark happenings, you know about our literacy initiative, Project OpenBook, where we give away copies of our kids poetry book, The Yeti in My Freezer, to deserving kids without access to books at home.  

Our wish has always been to read the poems aloud to the kids and hand the books out individually rather than drop a pile of books at a nonprofit for distribution. We wanted to expand our love of reading aloud to kids besides our own! (more…)

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Giving Through Books = Gratitude, Laughter and Smiles

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Giving Through Books

The old adage, “Giving is better than receiving” rings true for us at MarbleSpark.

There are many ways to give to others, but giving through books is our favorite. A book can spark a child’s imagination and is a gift that can be opened again and again.

Through our literacy initiative, Project OpenBook, we donated 1,000 copies of our kids poetry book, The Yeti in My Freezer, to deserving kids last week. It was a week chock-full of gratitude, laughter and smiles.

Yeti books

(more…)

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Giving Tuesday: Spreading the Love of Reading

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Love of Reading

Giving Tuesday encourages a global day of charitable giving at the beginning of the holiday season. It’s a great way to focus on helping others, whether that be through your time, donations, goods or your voice!

At MarbleSpark, we are big believers in giving back and wanted to find a special way to celebrate this day.

What better way than to share our love of reading with others!  (more…)

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Edge Magazine Features Project OpenBook

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Reading Done Right

Article written by Kathy Rygg of Edge Magazine

Photo by Christopher Tierney

Reading Done Right

A year ago we introduced you to MarbleSpark, a local publisher that writes and illustrates custom children’s books using a child’s name, providing a personalized gift cherished by kids and parents alike. But when founders Phil and Stacey Haussler discovered that 61 percent of children growing up in poverty don’t have a single age-appropriate book at home, they decided they wanted to expand the mission of MarbleSpark to help lower that statistic. The impact they’ve made on the community in the last year alone is nothing short of impressive. (more…)

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Our Book Drop with Educate Uganda

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Educate Uganda Book Drop

For the past several years, our family has been involved with a local nonprofit called Educate Uganda.

The Founders are part of our church and have made it their mission to help educate orphaned Ugandan children, as well as improve the learning environments for these kids. Studies have shown education is the key to ending so many struggles of Ugandan orphans.

This organization hits home with us because, as parents, one of the most important things we can give our children is an education. (more…)

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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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Spotlight on Allie Biondi

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I was introduced to Allie through poet-extraordinaire Jesse Anna Bornemann. As you can tell from this snapshot, Allie once drank from a bottle labeled “Drink Me” and shrunk a bit.


Oh, did I mention: she’s also hilarious and awesome.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an illustrator/animator/all around crafty type girl living in Brooklyn. I currently work with preschoolers by day and work on comics and freelance illustrations at night. I like to make up little songs about whatever I’m doing when I’m doing it. My socks rarely match.

What’s your passion? What makes you tick?
I love the most, of everything the way I see it. When I was little I used to dream of the day where I had the ability to draw the things in my head – and feel happy everyday for that gift! Sunshine, tiny animals, playing bass guitar, skiing, surfing, and being surrounded by trees makes me the happiest.

What’s your wildest dream for Project OpenBook?
That it continues to connect artists/writers together to help children in need. Giving creative types a way to make a happy dent in the world is a beautiful thing.

Where can people get more of you?
My artwork can be seen at 24crayons.com, where there is a link to my blog.

Allie’s OpenBook Works
A Lemon’s Plea

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