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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Inspirational, Funny Book Helps Kids Choose Happiness

Ishi: Simple Tips from a Solid Friend 
By Akiko Yabuki
POW! A division of powerhouse Packaging & Supply, Inc., Brooklyn, NY, 2016

“Ishi: Simple Tips from a Solid Friend” is a self-help book for children. A white rock with two black dots for eyes and a black line for a mouth introduces himself as Ishi, which means rock in Japanese.

The optimistic, good-natured rock offers advice for how to feel better when you’re not having a good day and tells readers they can choose to be happy.

Ishi tells readers “When something feels impossible, I sleep and rest. And try again the next day!” and “When I feel bottled up, I move my body. Run, swim, climb, a tree!” Sometimes the pictures tell a joke with word play. For instance, Ishi is pictured in a bottle when he says, “When I feel bottled up.”

The best thing about the book is the beautiful, colorful, well-constructed photographs that show Ishi lying among puzzle pieces, resting on puffy white sheets, stuck in a bottle, or smiling in a tree. They are expressive as well as beautiful and help the reader make friends with the encouraging rock.

At the beginning of the book, Akiko Yabuki writes, “How to use this book,” and she lists, 1., Enjoy the book. 2. Choose happiness. 3. Share your happiness. 4. Pass Ishi to a friend. 5. Enjoy their happiness. And she writes, “About this book: Stinky days. We all have them. After having one too many, I found Ishi. Ishi bcame my rock. Ishi gave me tips. Simple tips. Tips that made me happy. I hope they make you happy too!”

“Ishi,” first found success as a self-published book. In March 2014, Yabuki did a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to self-publish the book. On her website for the book, she says the campaign raised $9,976 from 153 backers, she calls happiness ambassadors. She lists them by name on the last page of the book.

The author wrote a blog on the book’s website where she kept her Kickstarter backers updated about her progress in publishing the book and its success in being distributed to stores in Europe and the United States. The book also has a Facebook page and Yabuki frequently posts new photographs of Ishi in new environments.  

Last year, the self-published book won several awards including a Gold Award from National Parenting Publications and a Silver Award in the gift book category from the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards.

It is currently being published by POW! a children’s book imprint of powerhouse Packaging & Supply, Inc., a book producer and co-edition publisher whose publishing partners include Chronicle Books, Random House, Sterling, Running Press, St. Martin’s Press and many others.

Akiko Yabuki is a producer of edutainment, entertaining content that educates the audience. Akiko learned the ABCs of edutainment as a global producer for Sesame Workshop, the producer of the Sesame Street programs worldwide. Akiko lives in Brooklyn NY with her husband, a black lab named Pono, and a rock solid friend named ISHI.


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