We’ve created this blog to help support families in raising their children with love, honesty and joy to be reverent, loving caretakers of each other and the earth. We hope this becomes a valuable resource for you & connects you with other Chinaberry families.
|Ann Ruethling On a hope and a dream, Ann founded Chinaberry in 1982. Knowing the power that books can hold in children’s lives, she passionately searched for books to share first with her own children and then with her extended Chinaberry family. Both of Ann’s children, Elizabeth and Evan, show up throughout the catalog & blog - sometimes as little kids and sometimes older, as they are now. Read Ann’s Posts|
|Barbara Lieberson Barbara started out as a special education teacher whose life was completely overtaken by a colony of feral cats living near the school where she taught. After many years of dedicating herself to animal rescue, welfare, wildlife rehabilitation and legislative issues, her love of children’s books brought her here to our Customer Service team. Read Barbara’s Posts|
|Janet Kelly Janet has been enthusiastically involved with Chinaberry since her oldest daughter, Ann, was 7 and her youngest, Kathryn, was on the way. Now grandson Tristin adds to the mix, giving his seal of approval on Level 1 books and Other Delights. As a licensed esthetician, Janet is always on the look-out for the best of the best in holistic body and skin care. Read Janet’s Posts|
|Janine Webb janine’s lifelong love of reading led to a career in book publishing, which introduced her to Chinaberry. Now in her current role as Mom, she shares her passion for books with Jarratt, her incredibly inquisitive pre-schooler, and blossoming baby Nina, both of whom, along with Chinaberry books, make storytime the most gratifying part of each day. Read Janine’s Posts|
|Julie Grimaldi Julie has worked at Chinaberry since before her oldest son was born. “Book” is often the first word out of her younger son’s mouth every morning! Now that she has two young boys who love to read stories together, there are a lot more opportunities to snuggle up with a great Chinaberry book. Read Julie’s Posts|
|Kevin Dillon Kevin, who began his Chinaberry mission in Customer Service and the Book Fair department, developed a deep appreciation of fine children’s literature in his previous job as a pre-school teacher. For six glorious years he had the privilege of finger painting, ducking goose, umpiring kickball disputes, aiding in the struggle with tricky math homework and, best of all, sharing his favorite books at story time. He’s very proud to be writing for Chinaberry, where he can share his love of books. Read Kevin’s Posts|
|Lucinda Herring Lucinda comes from a long line of “bibliomaniacs,” growing up with wall-to-wall books and loving the wonder of words. She has passed this love on to her daughter Eliza, her nieces and nephews, and all the children she reaches in her writing, storytelling and spiritual direction work with families/communities. Reading and annotating for Chinaberry helps fulfill her lifelong passion for nourishing our children’s imaginations and creative gifts to the world. Read Lucinda’s Posts|
|Robin Harrison Robin has many children in her life who have grown up on Chinaberry books, including her niece, nephews, and step-children. Robin has been a book lover since she learned to read and is rarely found without a book in her hand or bag. Books are truly her life’s passion. Read Robin’s Posts|
|Sheila Dowe Sheila began her connection with Chinaberry more than fifteen years ago when her oldest was just a young babe! Back then she relied on Chinaberry for quality books for her boys. Now Daniel and Ben are teenagers — which happened in that veritable blink of an eye — and while she’s not reading them children’s books anymore, she hopes her love of reading continues to rub off on them and many of our wonderful Chinaberry families. Read Sheila’s Posts|
If you would like to write to us, please send your correspondence to:
Chinaberry, Inc. 2780 Via Orange Way, Suite B Spring Valley, CA 91978
You may also reach us by Fax 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 619-670-5203
- We are committed to making this world a kinder, gentler place, both with the products we offer and in the way we do business.
- For each item you see, we’ve considered a hundred others. This means we’ve personally read the books, played the games, and used the products in order to find only the best. You won’t find a single ho-hum or overly hyped, media-driven item amongst our offerings.
- Because our customer service representatives read the books and use the products, they are familiar with what we carry and can answer any questions you may have.
- We love our customers and treat them as we ourselves would want to be treated — personally, honestly, and fairly. We really do provide old fashioned customer service!
- When you buy from us, you are casting your vote for a small, independently-owned, personally run business as opposed to the large, impersonal conglomerates that now surround us.
The History of Chinaberry From Chinaberry’s founder, Ann Ruethling: When Chinaberry began back in 1982, I personally handled each order - with my 2-year-old daughter Elizabeth’s help. Elizabeth was my first child, and it’s because of her that Chinaberry, Inc. came to be. Well - she AND the fact that living in Oregon with a toddler during a winter when it rained 13 FEET in five months resulted in major cabin fever. This cabin fever was successfully endured thanks to library books (and baking bread nearly every day). Now if you are a parent, you know that NOTHING is good enough for your first child! In my case, I was disturbed by the lack of caring and respect expressed in many of the children’s books we found at the library, not to mention the sexism and violence. (Remember the Mother Goose nursery rhyme about the old lady who lived in the shoe and beat her kids soundly before she put them to bed?) Before long, I found I had another mission in life (other than eating home-made bread): to search out books for Elizabeth that were positive and uplifting, because it looked as if the sun would never shine, and we’d be reading books together forever (or at least until global warming caused the ocean’s water level to swallow up this little coastal Oregon town once and for all). Much work went into that little project of mine. I subscribed to numerous children’s literature publications and scouted out as many libraries as I could. I started keeping notes on index cards about the books I liked and at what age I wanted to introduce Elizabeth to each book. By the time my stack of index cards was three or four inches high, I began to realize how much time and energy had gone into this mission of mine. And I realized there were probably a lot of other concerned parents who could greatly benefit from my stack of 3×5’s. I felt that if parents could just feed all those wonderful books into the hearts and minds of their children, the world would have to become a better place. Thus, Chinaberry was conceived - at first as a free service, and then as a catalog business to make it easier for parents to buy the books I was telling them about. Today our catalog is mailed three times a year to more than 3.5 million people worldwide, and we sell more than one million books annually. What often makes me believe this is all just a pleasant dream is that I never sat down to think of what I could do to make money, back during those days of howling wind and rain in Oregon. What I thought about was filling a need I had: to give my child wonderful, uplifting reading experiences that would color her whole life in a positive way and to help her to grow into a caring, gentle person. Not only have I found that thousands of others (our customers) have the same vision for their children, but also that when something is somehow “meant to be,” it manages to jump any hurdle it finds in its way. My hope is that Chinaberry continues to thrive in the same spirit it has since that first trusting customer sent $18.93 to a PO Box in Port Orford, Oregon. My vision is that Chinaberry remains as intimate and focused as those days when I packed a few orders on the kitchen table with my toddler.