Being as we are relaunching and all, I thought it would be a good idea to let you know how and why we started, as well as a bit about who we are.
The inspiration for the company came ten years ago after a trip I took to Thailand. My niece and nephew back in the USA were growing up so quickly, and I really wanted to be part of their growing up experience. Then aged 5 and 4 respectively, I wrote them a letter about my trip to Thailand, turning into an adventure book with photos I took of temples, jungles, monks, tigers and tiger poop. The kids loved it, and I think it was my brother who said something like, “You should make this into a real book or something…”
The idea for the first book germinated for a while as I struggled finding the right voice to write it in. I thought about writing it in 3rd person, but I wanted a direct dialogue with the reader so opted for 1st person. I didn’t want to use my own voice, because it is an old and dorky voice, so I needed a hero. The result was 12-year-old Crameye Junker. That name, actually, was stolen directly from my mother. Crameye was her childhood imaginary friend, and being able to bring him back to life made the character even more special.
Over time, the book turned into a business idea—a business where we could have a dialogue with lots of kids about how awesome the rest of the world was. Having grown up in the Midwest (Cincinnati), I thought how amazing it would have been, as a 10-year-old, to not only get foreign packages in the mail, but also to be exposed to different ways of thinking and even being from around the world. And now as an adult, after living abroad for over a decade, I realize that being able to respect and understand other cultures is one of the most important skills someone can have in the 21st Century world. And now that I have a couple foreign languages under my belt, I have also realized how deeply you can explore other cultures once you speak their language.
These skills are lacking in American kids these days, most likely due to geography. The USA is not like Europe, where an entirely new culture is a quick train ride away. Despite this obstacle, American kids still need to get along with people from other cultures if they are to succeed later in life. Gone are the days when the three R’s ruled, and gone are the days when Americans could sit back and let everyone come understand our culture and our thinking.
The Adventurous Mailbox, then, became a way for me to open up young minds to the idea that people can have different ways of thinking and being around the world that are just as legit as their own. I also wanted to inspire them to want to travel abroad, learn another language or two, and in general look upon the world as a big source of adventure.
Now, at the relaunch of The Adventurous Mailbox, after seeing the initial children’s book idea turn into a series of books, developing an entire curriculum based on the books, creating an amazing and fun online and “secret” community, and teaming up to create an amazing computer coding manual, as well as amassing a talented and passionate international team of artists, designers, and educators , after all that we are finally ready to start shipping adventure across the seas again.
A sincere thanks for letting us introduce the world to your kids.