March 30, 2015
Shuttered Milwaukee publisher donates its books to children
by Nick Davies
Milwaukee-based children’s book publisher Little Bahalia Publishing has been struggling for financial viability, and made the difficult decision to close down on February 28. They have, however, managed to find something of a silver lining, as Laura Langemo reports for the local Fox affiliate that the shuttered company is donating its books to children.
Little Bahalia owner Stacey Williams-Ng says that creating books for kids has been her passion, and that she’s proud of the awards her titles have won, but that “financially it was just too much of a struggle to get the company off the ground.” She says that when she found out that if their unsold books weren’t removed from the warehouse, they would be destroyed, “I thought that’s unthinkable. I’m not even going to allow one to go in the garbage can because the whole reason I went into this business was to get books in the laps of children. That’s where they belong.”
Williams-Ng set about trying to save the books from going up in smoke, looking for somewhere she could donate them. She came across Next Door, an education charity that, per their website, “works with thousands of children and families to give them the skills they need, not just to get by, but to achieve sustainable success in school and in life.” Lengemo reports that many of those children live in poverty and don’t have books at home, and Next Door allows them to take the books they like without having to return them.
“Then they’ll have that literacy,” says the charity’s executive director Carol Keintz, “that printed word that they can not only share with their brothers and sisters but anyone that comes into the home to have this literacy rich environment.”
The donation from Little Bahalia has given Next Door’s library an additional 2,300 books, with a retail value of $47,000. Williams-Ng is pleased that she was able to find a home for them, saying, “It’s such a wonderful program and I learned all about Next Door Foundation and I couldn’t feel better about where these books landed.”
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.