My publisher, Valarie Budayr at Audrey Press, is also my co-creator of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Together with Becky Flansburg, our project manager, we started a holiday six years ago that has blossomed into a celebration of diversity in children’s books that lasts well beyond a single day.
If you don’t believe in coincidences like I do, then it won’t surprise you that the logo for Audrey Press is also the same exact design as my family’s Japanese crest.
When Valarie gifted me an ARC (advance release copy) of Audrey Press’ newest offering, I was interested to hear how it came to be. The subject didn’t surprise me. The more I got to know Valarie, the more I would hear about her travel adventures that included Viking Camp on an island in Sweden where her family hails from, to Scotland, New Mexico, New York City and more. It’s the Viking in her, she explained to me. They are all explorers. And sailors too! Born in Portland, Oregon, she also taught her kids to sail in Portland, Maine.
Evans Bowen is a dear friend of hers who shares the same Viking blood and need to travel. Evans hones into the transformative power of travel, awakening a spiritual side that helps connect travelers to new cultures and to find oneself in a different land because of that changed perspective. Anyone who has traveled can relate to that I think!
It might not surprise anyone that I would then take a pilgrimage with my friends, Valarie and Becky. In this case, I was to be a guide as well as a passenger. It was time to take Becky to see the ocean. She is from Minnesota and has never seen the beach. With a free day to be had because of How To Coach Girls book events, we headed off to Maine to show Becky two different versions of our beach experience.
Valarie’s centers around an island near Portland where people built fairy houses from natural materials in a beautiful wooded glade. I then would guide our little party to Kennebunkport where my family typically gets their beach time to a small cove and a seafood shack for lobster rolls.
And, of course, we built a fairy house together. It’s team building How To Coach Girls style. It was the perfect outing to celebrate how far Audrey Press has come.
We just would have needed to spot dragons, foxes, and vampires. Perhaps they were all there in the forest but we missed them.
Pilgrimage: A Modern Seeker’s Guide by Evans Bowen
This is a guidebook not necessarily for a religious journey but a spiritual one. It’s a gentle guide for adventures to seek and satisfy your most authentic self. These journeys are not necessarily great distances away, or in solitude. It’s simply an invitation to open your mind and heart to bring new meaning to life. I love Evans Bowen way of looking at the world. She also offers a 40 step process to help take that leap of faith in this most fulfilling excursion for tranquility. Gift this to someone graduating from high school, college or graduate school. [adult nonfiction travel, ages 16 and up]
p.s. Other books from Audrey Press:
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.