Wordstock Interview: Hartlyn Kids

Geek Culture

Christine and Aisha of Hartlyn KidsChristine and Aisha of Hartlyn Kids

Christine (left) and Aisha of Hartlyn Kids at Wordstock. Photo: Jonathan Liu

Among the various booths at Wordstock, there are many small publishers trying to get the word out about their books. Tucked away near the Children’s Stage was Hartlyn Kids, a new company with children’s books about different countries. I chatted with Christine and Aisha about their books. They currently have two titles available: The Bamboo Dance, about the Philippines, and Adventures That Lead to Home, about India.

GeekDad: So, tell me a little bit about Hartlyn Kids!

The Bamboo DanceThe Bamboo DanceAisha: Sure! The motto of Hartlyn Kids is “traveling the globe, one book at a time,” and that’s what we’re trying to do. Each of our books is about a different country, and is written by an author who has actually lived in that country. We want to provide children with an authentic look at the day in the life of a child in another country. To go along with the travel theme, we also have a Hartlyn Kids passport, and in the back of each book there’s a passport sticker which you can put into your passport. Each book also has a small section of Learning Tools, which includes a few words and phrases from the culture.

Although these are our first two titles, we plan to have three to five new books every year, until you’re able to travel the entire globe.

Christine: We’re also trying to create a community of artists. For example, our artist for this series is Lisa Butler, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She has more of a collage style of work, which we absolutely love, with the fabric pieces, the hand-made illustrations, and paper. In other series we may have watercolor, or acrylics. So we really want to bring forth a lot of different artists who may not have the chance to work for major publishing houses. So we want to create a community of artists and writers.

GD: Where are you based?

Christine: Hartford, Connecticut. I’m from Hartford, and she’s from Brooklyn, so that’s how we got the name Hartlyn Kids.

GD: How long have you been around?

Adventures That Lead to HomeAdventures That Lead to HomeAisha: So, these are our first two books, which were available for sale at the beginning of August. Actually our India book just arrived about three weeks ago and isn’t available for sale on our website until tomorrow [Monday, October 10]. This is one of the first times it’s available. So we’re very, very brand-new.

GD: How did you get the idea of Hartlyn Kids? What inspired you to do this?

Christine: Well, our children inspired us. We wanted a book that would allow children to see the world around them on any budget. As much as we would love to be able to travel the world, often times it’s just not within the budget of a family. So in this situation a child is able to get a taste of what it’s like to live in a particular country, by looking at a day in the life of a child in that country. They also get to experience having a passport, traveling the world you never know where it’s going to lead you.

GD: Where do you find the authors? How did you get in touch with them?

Aisha: We have a few ways of finding authors. We have a place to send submissions on our website, so we can select some from that. We also find some through eLance, which is a freelance website, so we can put a posting out and people respond to that. But also, there’s just people we know. We have a few books which will be coming out soon written by people we know who are from different countries, who always wanted to write but haven’t gotten the opportunity at a big publisher.

GD: Can you give me a preview of what countries you have coming up?

Christine: We have Trinidad in the queue, and we also have a book from Ghana, plus possibly China. We’re always looking for others.

Aisha: This [Wordstock] is actually a great place to make connections.

GD: Have you roped anyone in this weekend to write your next book?

Aisha: We spoke to some people who might be interested, and we went to the Brooklyn Book Festival and we got some people who were interested as well. That’s what we like about coming to these events, that it puts us out in front of people, and we get to meet interesting people: artists, writers, and press.

GD: Anything else you’d like to add for our readers?

Aisha: Yes, please visit our website at www.HartlynKids.com. We always have great deals and sales going on. We also have a blog, which talks about how we introduce our kids to different cultures.

For more about Hartlyn Kids, visit the website linked above, or find them on Twitter or Facebook.

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