Books by Kids was created by a Florida mom named Heather Surface
following the success of the first book that she authored with
her two sons, Jamie (11) and Peyton (8). The book, Jacksonville
from A to Z, started as a game the Surface family would
play on long trips to pass the time. Heather and her husband,
Frank, would ask the boys to take turns naming a Jacksonville
characteristic, historical figure or venue beginning with each
letter of the alphabet. As the list grew and grew, so did an idea!
Jamie and Peyton decided to write a story about Jacksonville based
on their research and approached a local non-profit organization
with a Heart for Children about the prospect of involving
patients from a local children's hospital to create the illustrations.
Ultimately, 22 young patients ages 4 - 20 provided 28 beautiful
illustrations for the Jacksonville from A to Z book. The Surfaces
printed 5,000 hardcover books in December 2008, and they are currently
selling them in more than 60 stores and venues around the city. The trio
has done numerous book signings all over the city. The book has
been responsible for raising thousands of dollars for various
child-based non-profit organizations in Jacksonville.
Jamie and Peyton attend Riverside Presbyterian Day School in Jacksonville.
Heather has a rich background in marketing and communications.
She worked for the city of Jacksonville for nearly ten years and
was the communications director for the Jacksonville Super Bowl
Host Committee. Today, Heather operates a public relations and
marketing firm and is involved in numerous charitable endeavors.
She is married to Frank Surface, a Jacksonville native who loves
sharing all the things he loves about his hometown with his family.
As Books by Kids works to publish books in other markets, we
think it's important to note the role moms have played in the
evolution of our concept. As moms, we're all looking for ways
to educate, inspire, motivate and benefit our kids. Moms have
been involved in the development of Books by Kids every step of
the way! In addition to the role a mom played in the writing and
publishing the first book in the A to Z Series, the talented graphic
designer for Books by Kids is a Florida mom who works from home
so she can spend quality time with her young daughter.
The illustrations in Jacksonville from A to Z were created by young patients, but their moms and dads provided much-needed encouragement and inspiration. To all the great moms and dads out there, we salute you!