2014: The Year in Review

New Year’s Eve always calls for reflection. Where has this past year taken us? What have we accomplished, and how have we grown? At Free Spirit, 2014 was certainly one for the books! (Pun intended—everything we do is for the books.) From Fort Worth to Frankfurt, staff and authors traveled around the world speaking with families, educators, and publishers about our learning tools that support young people’s social-emotional health. We published 26 new titles, geared up for a soon-to-launch new website, attended dozens of conferences and book events for our authors, hosted three school field trips at our Minneapolis headquarters, and saw our books make headlines all over the news!

Here are some highlights:


  • Free Spirit rings in the New Year and enters its 31st year of business!
  • With help from educators, the Free Spirit editorial team starts working to align our books for kids and teens with the Common Core State Standards. (Check out our Pinterest boards to see which books have been aligned so far.)



  • Free Spirit designer Michelle welcomes adorable Baby Mira to the family!
  • Free Spirit leaves the frozen tundra of Minnesota once again and returns to California for the annual conference of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Several Free Spirit authors including Katherine McKnight, Ph.D., Otis Kriegel, Susan Kessler, Ed.D., April Snodgrass, M.Ed., Andrew Davis, Ed.D., Diane Heacox, Ed.D., and Richard M. Cash, Ed.D., attend the conference to speak and participate in book events.


  • USA Today features middle-school-age author Armond Isaak and his dream to help kids with Asperger’s feel less alone for World Autism Day.
  • MyBodyBelongstoMeNancy Carlson and Armond Isaak fill the house at St. Paul’s charming Red Balloon Bookshop for their Armond Goes to a Party launch and sell over 200 copies of their new picture book.
  • Judy Galbraith travels to the United Kingdom to showcase Free Spirit books at the London Book Fair.
  • Jill Starishevsky’s work is featured by CNN for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in this moving tribute on the importance of talking to kids about body boundaries.



  • MovingChildIsALearningChildFree Spirit attends the NAEYC Professional Development Institute and highlights the release of one of its first early childhood educator resources, A Moving Child Is a Learning Child by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy.


  • Jim Delisle’s blog post on how to advocate for your gifted kid goes viral and becomes our most read article of the year.


  • Elizabeth Verdick and Nancy Carlson are both featured at the Minnesota State Fair’s Alphabet Forest.
  • In Toronto, coauthors Lisa Berger and Goldie Millar attract record crowds at the Chapters launch party for their new picture book, F Is for Feelings.
  • Free Spirit acquisitions manager Meg welcomes adorable Baby Mabel to the family.


  • BeingMeWithOCDFree Spirit hosts a “Back-to-School Open House” for Twin Cities booksellers, educators, and librarians. The event was attended by about 75 people and featured nearly 20 of our local authors!
  • Alison Dotson, author of Being Me with OCD, is featured on NBC News for her work as an advocate with the International OCD Foundation.


  • Free Spirit once again exhibits at the Twin Cities Book Festival, one of our perennial favorite events.
  • Judy Galbraith travels to Germany to showcase Free Spirit books at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
  • The website (cyberbullying.us) of Justin Patchin, Ph.D., and Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., authors of Words Wound, receives a quarter of a million visitors during Bullying Prevention Month!
  • Inspiring Stories of Sportsmanship by Brad Herzog wins a 2014 Eureka! Honor Award from the California Reading Association.
  • TeachingSmarter from FSPFree Spirit travels to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s annual gifted conference. Speakers include publisher Judy Galbraith and debut author Patrick Kelley (Teaching Smarter, March 2015).


  • Free Spirit’s office dog, Twiggy, starts Agility School and can be seen prancing around headquarters showing off her new tricks, usually with little sister Violet trailing close behind.
  • Free Spirit staff and authors travel to Baltimore for the annual conference of the National Association for Gifted Children. Authors present include Diane Heacox, Ed.D., Richard M. Cash, Ed.D., Jean Sunde Peterson, Ph.D., Thomas S. Greenspon, Ph.D., Dina Brulles, Ph.D., Shannon Anderson, Karen Brown, Sally Yahnke Walker, Ph.D., and Sylvia Rimm, Ph.D.


  • Differentiation for Gifted Learners by Diane Heacox, Ed.D., and Richard M. Cash, Ed.D., receives the esteemed 2014 Legacy Book® Award for Educators from the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented! Richard attends the celebration in Fort Worth.
  • The Free Spirits enjoy too many holiday sweets; everyone gains two pounds.

Thanks to everyone who helped make 2014 such a wonderful year for Free Spirit Publishing! We couldn’t do this work without the support of you, our readers.


The Free Spirits

(Judy, Alison, Anastasia, April, Beth, Cassie, Colleen, Darsi, Deb, Emily, Erik, Greg, Janet, Jeff, Kim, Kristina, Lauren, Lindsey, Marjorie, Matt, Meg, Megan, Michelle, Penne, Steven, Suzy, Tanner, Violet, and Twiggy)

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About Mary Stennes Wilbourn

Blogger for Free Spirit Publishing.
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