Eifrig Publishing, LLC, was founded in 2006 by Penny Smith Eifrig of both Lemont, PA, and Berlin, Germany. With degrees in History, German, Literature, and Russian from Cornell University (BA '90) and the Free University of Berlin (MA '94), she began her career as a field producer for NBC News during the East German Revolution. Her passion for both history and languages developed, and she funded her further studies by starting a translation/copy editing company in the early 90s. Her path included jobs in education at the Free University of Berlin, in multicultural education curriculum development, and as a freelancer for several publishing companies. Along the way, she and her German husband also started another small business, Knütes, which developed out of an idea to design and patent innovative gloves for handholding (www.knuetes.com) made locally from 100% recycled plastic bottles, which is a completely different story. But what she did learn in all of her varied endeavors, is that she loved being independent and creating and designing and doing good in her community.
In 2006, she was presented with an interesting manuscript and asked if she could publish it. Excited at the challenge, Eifrig Publishing began. After her family moved back to the USA from Germany part time, she was frustrated at the lack of environmental consciousness she observed in the US. With two young daughters in tow, she also quickly saw the restrictions on how and what a girl is "supposed" to be as projected in the media and advertising. As manuscript after manuscript arrived in her inbox, often with themes that correlated so well with the positive messages she wanted to share, Eifrig Publishing developed.
The motto underlying Eifrig Publishing is creating books that are good for our kids, good for our environment, and our good for our communities.
Our selection of children's titles range from themes of environmentalism, self-esteem, and body image, non-traditional roles for girls, as well as empowering tales of animal rescue and protection, historical preservation, love and kindness. We also hold an annual Young Authors-Creative Kids (YACK!) writing contest: every manuscript is published online as a free digital book, providing kids a way to share their writing with others, and the winning author's book is then published under the YACK! imprint. The author gets to select a non-profit to benefit from the sale of the book.
In addition to environmental topics, the production of our books is green. All books are printed locally in the USA on high quality recycled paper. When possible, the books go directly from production to the consumer, keeping the ecological imprint as small as possible. We are also partners with Eco-Libris, an organization that plants trees in developing countries; by adding one dollar to a book order, book buyers can help replenish forests around the world!
We attempt to promote the sale of books in small independent bookstores, which often are important centers of local communities. Eifrig Publishing and many of our authors are collaborating with organizations with donations from sales (eg. to food pantries, SPCAs, pre-schools). Our authors themselves form a community, with collaborations between authors to share skills (eg. marketing, illustrating), as well as cross-promoting one another's books. One forthcoming project that we are developing is a non-profit that will help get books AND authors to underprivileged kids. The idea behind Random Acts of Reading (ROAR) is to have schools with "meet the author" budgets to share with their less fortunate neighbors by sponsoring "2-for-1" meet-the-author events. Not only will more schools get to enjoy the inspiring talks by authors, but the kids in both the giving and receiving schools can experience the joy of sharing and community involvement.
In the Media
State College Magazine (July 2014, 3 pages)
NPR (Sept 2010)