Mainstay Publishing

Local women team to publish children’s books with a twist.

Denise Blum left behind a marketing career and the writing that she enjoyed to be a stay-at-home mom. It was during this time that she decided she would one day return to her passion.

“I was reading children’s books to my kids and realized that there weren’t that many good ones,” says Blum, a mother of two who lives in Warwick, Md.

So a couple years ago, Blum teamed with longtime friend Lisa Sanderson to start Mainstay Publishing. The duo publishes children’s books that focus on kid-friendly resort areas.

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“The books incorporate locally owned businesses,” says Sanderson, a resident of Smyrna and also a mother of two. “We try to get the local flavor of that market.”

They’ve produced six books so far, with more on the way. Resorts covered include Delaware’s beaches, along with towns in New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.

The stories offer readers both young and old an opportunity to solve a mystery. In “The Dubious Dolphin Dilemma,” for example, a young boy loses a stuffed dolphin at the Delaware beaches. Blum hid a clue that offers curious readers a hint of how the story will end.

“It’s a way to get the kids engaged,” she says. “It gets them turning pages.”

The incorporation of local businesses, in this case Grotto Pizza and Dolle’s, also engages adults, Blum says. And it creates a nice souvenir of a family beach vacation. “It brings back memories of whatever resort area they went to,” she says.

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Many of the businesses highlighted in the book also sell the books. Business owners and their families are featured as characters in the books, as are Sanderson and Blum.

“It’s kind of funny to see yourself as a cartoon character,” Blum says with a laugh.

(—Drew Ostroski