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Ely publisher uses 100-percent post-consumer-waste recycled paper
ELY – Award-winning children’s books that are scientifically accurate and have an engaging story and eye-catching illustrations are the specialty of Raven Productions, Inc., a small publishing company in Ely. The company also produces blank journals that feature local artists’ work on the covers and 100 percent post-consumer-waste (PCW) recycled paper made in Wisconsin inside.
Other offerings are note cards of colorful northwoods settings rendered by local artists and printed on Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) paper, the annual Boundary Waters and Quetico calendar, a selection of books about paddling adventures and northwoods living for adults, and the popular
Ely Summer (and Winter) Times magazine that is available free at Ely businesses and a few locations around the Range.
“It’s a financial challenge to be a small publisher these day,” says owner Johnnie Hyde. “But we’re committed to spending our money as close to home as possible.” Raven Productions products are mostly manufactured in Minnesota, with some children’s titles made in Manitoba. “We absolutely won’t go to Asia for printing; some of their environmental practices are appalling. And we’re committed to using environmentally sound materials even though it detracts from our profit margin.”
Manufacturing isn’t the only locally relevant and environmentally appealing part of Raven Productions. Their mission statement states their goal is to encourage children and grown-ups to explore, enjoy, and protect the natural world and share experiences with one another through storytelling, writing, and art.
Even the books with wide geographical themes include northeastern Minnesota topics, proven by their winning several northeast Minnesota book awards. Midwest Independent Publisher Awards, the Giverny Award for children’s science books, and the Moonbeam Award for excellence in children’s picture books are just a few of the many honors bestowed on their titles.
A new owner would be welcome for Raven Productions, according to Hyde. “I’d be glad to help out, but I want time to write. You’d think a publisher would write, but I’m so busy running the business that I really only edit these days. And I have grandchildren and still work as a firefighter, so my spare time schedule gets filled up quickly.”
Meanwhile, Hyde says Raven Productions will continue to create their signature brand of children’s books with local authors’ and artists’ work, designed to make kids curious about the natural world and enthusiastic about being outdoors.