As Seen on Martha

February 2006
by Donna Gummelt

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Sitting at the kitchen table,
I watched the tiny screen as Matt Lauer reported that a silver SUV containing
Martha Stewart had slipped past photographers and into the Alderson Federal
Prison Camp, where she would begin serving a five-month sentence. Since my idea
of a gourmet lunch is a grilled cheese with the crust cut off and my idea of
decorating is putting twinkle lights in an artificial banana tree, the news
that America’s lifestyle diva was entering federal prison, although
interesting, seemed certain to have no impact on my life. How wrong I was.

About a year earlier, after 25
years in the Las Vegas entertainment industry, I had begun to write stories for
my niece, stories that she seemed to enjoy very much. One story became two and
two became ten and before I knew it, I had a co-writer, Dondino Melchiorre, and
an illustrator, Juan Varela, and a small publishing company, Story Store
Collection Publishing. Juan doesn’t exactly speak the king’s English, but his
Spanish is superb (unfortunately, my high school Spanish had disappeared into a
black hole along with pi and the date of the Magna Carta), and we often found
ourselves dancing a tango of jumbled languages and cultures.

From that often frustrating
beginning came the idea that would transform our books from just another
collection for children—we’d make them bilingual. Story Store Collection

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