Best of Both Worlds podcast: Calee Lee on kids’ books, plus an announcement….

Today’s episode of Best of Both Worlds features an interview with Calee Lee, owner of Xist Publishing. Years ago, as a mom of two young kids, Calee was doing a bit of freelancing here and there when her daughter asked her to read her a story on her e-reader. The experience was unsatisfying; the formatting and art of children’s books for tablets left much to be desired. So Calee set about to change that. She started her publishing company right before the Kindle Fire launched, and rode that wave to bring many dozens of titles to market each year.

In this interview, she talks about her business, and how to raise readers. We also chat about our favorite and least favorite children’s books. Let’s just say that Sarah and I have some disagreements about the merits of Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.

And…there’s a little announcement in the intro to the episode about the Best of Both Worlds family! You can click over to my Instagram account (@lvanderkam) for more, and I’ll do a post with more details tomorrow!

25 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Calee Lee on kids’ books, plus an announcement….

  1. i haven’t listened to the episode yet (tonight!) but am intrigued about the disagreement about richard scarry!

    personally, i am not a fan and am resistant to introduce any of the richard scarry books into our toddler’s (she is 3) collection. i think my husband checked out cars and trucks from the library a while back and it wasn’t a hit (to my glee!)
    i have some other controversial opinions about kids books, though generally i am a HUGE fan of books and reading and this is a big part of my toddler’s life.
    i do NOT care for any of the brown bear brown bear (or spinoff) books at all (i have resorted to hiding our copy). i also do not like robert munsch, and i find the little miss/mister men books kinda problematic.

    1. @haya- so we are fans of Richard Scarry. The kids have all enjoyed looking over all the art and hearing the stories – there’s so much to see on each page! But my kids have also been OK with me saying “we’re only going to do 4 pages” or “we just get one story in ‘What Do People Do All Day?'” or whatever. I think Sarah’s wanted story completion, which can make one of those books drag on FOREVER. Plus her kids fought over who found Goldbug. Mine are just far enough apart in age that they haven’t been getting joint bedtime stories.

      1. Ha, it’s so funny to hear this indepth discussion of Cars and Trucks and Things That Go because it’s my toddler’s absolute favorite book in the world. I kind of love it too, but we’re not yet at the point where he can figure out that I’m not reading every single thing on the page. It’s more of a book where I just stop and let him point things out to me anyway. It’s also a fabulous vacation book as mentioned – it was the only book we took on an epic plane trip recently with more than 16 hours of flying time – the amount of detail packed into each page becomes a huge advantage in that situation. And the Gold Bug pointing out is a great party trick – everyone’s super impressed that a 2 year old can find them all immediately. Plus hearing the really unusual trucks come out of my son’s mouth – motor grader anyone? – just kills me every time. So I guess count me as a fan 🙂

  2. Such exciting news. Congratulations! I concur with you and Sarah…baby clothes are the best. My own four are long past the baby stage, but I still have a small(ish) plastic bin of baby clothes in the basement. They represent memories of a different chapter in my life.

    1. @Kate – mine didn’t make it to the basement yet – they’re still in a drawer in my closet where I stuck the newborn stuff after kid #4. It’s been so fun to pull them out and remember how tiny these little guys can be!

  3. Congratulations Laura! Such exciting news. I’m impressed that you’re still keeping the running streak going too right now…so awesome!

  4. Congratulations! I really didn’t see that coming – but such lovely news! It will be very interesting to follow you in this new chapter.

  5. Congratulations, Laura! And best wishes to you and your entire family on all the adventures, great and small, ahead!

  6. Congrats! I’m also a mom of 5 (also four boys and one girl), and my oldest was 12 when the youngest arrived. They have a particularly close relationship — I hope it’s the same for you!

  7. Would love to know the names of the books you and Sarah were saying are favourites with your kids. I listen in the car so can’t write anything down. Thanks, and congratulations on the good news 🙂

    1. @Samantha- I know SHU mentioned Mo Willems. Calee liked the Little Blue Truck books for young kids. For a chapter series, I’ve been doing well with the Magic Treehouse Merlin Missions books. I read them aloud with my daughter.
      John Klassen’s books are great. And I personally enjoy Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, but clearly this is a controversial opinion.

  8. Congratulations Laura!!! You’re amazing…I have two little ones (3 & 1.5) and I’m struggling with feeling on top of things. So I think you’re a secret superwoman :). Best wishes to you and your family!

    1. @Zulema – Thanks! I don’t know about superwoman, I think we’re all just trying to figure it out as we go…

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