Archive for the 'Project OpenBook Updates' Category

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.

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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, where there is a link to my blog.

Allie’s OpenBook Works
A Lemon’s Plea

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Spotlight on Chris Leavens

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

When I bumped into Chris Leaven’s work, I was totally blown away. He creates mind-bending worlds filled with fantastical creatures. So I was more than stoked when I reached out to him about collaborating on Holey Cow! and he said yes. As it turns out, Chris is also a terrific guy and so I’m honored to introduce you to him and his amazing work (with his permission, I’ve included his wonderful “Dudleya” below).

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an artist/illustrator who likes to draw strange worlds and creatures. A lot of monsters, twisted landscapes, funny situations. I like surreal and bizarre imagery, but my work is generally positive, joyful, and free from violence and morose themes. I create most of my work digitally using Adobe Illustrator and have worked on art for a wide variety of media including computer/video games, print, TV, feature films, and web. In other words, even if you don’t like me it’s hard to avoid me. I currently live in the Los Angeles-area foothills with my wife and our daughter and son.

What’s your passion? What makes you tick?
I don’t know if there’s one particular thing. I love my family, the outdoors, digging things up, planting things, building things, drawing, laughing, traveling, watermelon, cherries, and Christmas.

What’s your wildest dream for Project OpenBook?
Upon reading the finished book, the heads of every bad guy in the world would explode and confetti would come out. (You did say “wildest.”)

Where can people get more of you?
The best places to find out more about me are via my website and my twitter feed.

Chris’ OpenBook Works
Holey Cow!

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Looking Back (And Forward)

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

About this time last year we launched Project OpenBook. 365 days into the adventure, this seems like as good a time as any to recap where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

Some quick stats:

  • 53 poems published. (One per week on average, though it wasn’t nearly that smooth.)
  • 30 contributors, from award-winning authors and illustrators to students and amateurs.
  • $1,000 in freewill donations contributed toward educating girls through Room to Read.

What we’ve learned:

  1. The world is full of good people. I have met a bunch of incredible folks on the first leg of this adventure. All of our contributors have donated time, talent and/or treasure to this cause with nothing promised in return. Indeed, for our artists/illustrators, it’s a leap of faith that anything beyond a blog post will result from their hard work. To me, that’s just amazing. And I could never say thank-you enough.
  2. Starting a movement is hard work. I’ll admit something: I grossly underestimated the amount of work that would be required to organize, push and sustain a project like this. From writing, to recruiting, to making connections, to editing and posting the work and contributor-spotlights, to pushing and cajoling… It all adds up to a ton of hard work. I’ve never avoided work – I often say I’m 10% talent 90% drive – but I admit that I’ve been overwhelmed at times.
  3. Having a baby complicates point #2. We were blessed with a third boy on November 16th of this year. (Things are going great, thanks!) As a result, Project OpenBook sort of went dark for the last couple of months. Some of you have poems or illustrations waiting to be published. We’re finally getting into a rhythm so we should get caught up soon.

Where we’re headed:
I’m excited about what this year might have in store for Project OpenBook. Here’s my vision for 2011:

  1. Launch a book. From the start, our vision was to publish an awesome book. We still think that Project OpenBook will make the most impact once we have something to trade you for your donation. If we’ve been able to raise $1,000 simply by working hard, just think what we’ll be able to do when your donations also get you a book. Our goal in 2011 is to publish a bunch more poems, to curate an amazing book, to launch and market that book, to hopefully sell a boatload of copies and use the proceeds to do amazing things for people in need.
  2. Put Project OpenBook on the iPad. I started this update with a teaser (see image above). We’ve begun concept work on creating a version of Project OpenBook for the iPad. There is still a ton of work to be done. And the amazing dude that is making it happen is doing so in his spare time (see, the world is full of good people). I’m sure there will be bumps in the road – but with a little luck, we hope to launch Project OpenBook on the iPad yet this year.

I would be remiss not to stop and thank the folks that are making Project OpenBook happen: Adrian, Brad, David, Jaime, Ben, Chloe, Avril, Sandy, Jess, Richard, Matt, Marcia, Susanna, Alan, John, Ann, Christy, Nina, Mike, Sharon, Barb, Karen, Courtney, Rachael, Jen, Jesse, Renee, Jodi, Seth, Alan, Maria, Nicholas, Sarah, Fiona, Lynn, Amanda, Rex, Judi, Alexandra, Rahul and every single one of you.

Thank you all! Do good,

P.S. You can donate directly to Project OpenBook here.

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Why Support Girls OVER THERE?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

We’ve had people ask — and you may be wondering too — with all the problems here at home, why is Project OpenBook supporting girls on the other side of the globe? The video above is an awe-inspiring answer to that question.

The Girl Effect is a joint collaboration between the Nike Foundation and the NoVo Foundation. We happen to be supporting girls via Room To Read, but the goal — and the girl effect — is the same.

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