Maddie, 7 and her brother Simon, 4  live in Chicago, IL. Maddie loves to perform in front of a crowd, wear beautiful ballet costumes and pose for photos. Alyson is a designer and developer of kids books and printed matter in Chicago, IL. She started her own press this year called Grow Books press. She has done freelance writing for the previous STEP magazine and manages her own Blog along with her previous publications, Grow: An Environmentally Friendly Book, First Word Cards, Co-authored The Business of Holidays, and spent several years perfecting her letterpress skills.


 What do you want to be when you grow up A ballerina

What is your favourite famous person Hannah Montana

What makes you laugh My friends, and sometimes my brother

What makes you angry When my brother steals my barbies!

Your favourite book My Atlas, I love looking at maps

Your favourite films Narnia

The best holidays you ever had When I went to my grandma’s house in Texas for 10 days alone. We spent the entire time playing, horse back riding and swimming

A place that you would dream to visit Paris

Your favorite outfit My skinny jeans and my kitty tank top

The next item you would be happy to get A pillow pet

If you had a magic wand, what would you do with it right now Stop people from polluting the planet


Your favourite children’s brands I have always loved Tea, they have such a cute line of clothes along with J.Crew Crewcuts, they have captured a look that is genuine

Do you buy a lot online for your children ? I do not shop a lot online anymore, I used to before I went back to work full time

A website that inspires you I love web sites by other indie designers, like The Paper Ship, I find these completely inspiring

The criteria you consider when you buy something for your children Since my kids go to private school I don’t have to buy them a lot of clothes so when I do I want them to be cute and give them a chance to express themselves

Last item you added to Madeline’s wardrobe Skinny jeans, we are a bit behind the curve but school just let out so it was time to shop

Most precious item you bought for a child I am completely in love with a sevi giraffe that I bought my son when he was born

Best gift you gave for a child’s B-day Scribblers coloring book

Items that are hard to find I can never find white tights for my daughter’s uniform unless they are in season. An item like this should ALWAYS be in season but they are not, very frustrating

Favourite pieces in Maddie’s wardrobe I think she looks so cute in a green and white wide striped Gap A-line tank with shorts. I love simple classic pieces

The book on your bedside table The Audacity of Hope, By Barack Obama

An unforgettable place you’ve travelled to Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp (East of France). When I was in college I spent quite a bit of time touring the works of Le Corbusier and this chapel is amazing, sitting on a pristine hill in a small town in France

The ideal place for a family summer holiday We love to vacation in Michigan on the beach. For the past several summers we have rented beach houses on the lake with private beach access. It has to be the most laid back vacation where you literally don’t have to go anywhere, you can just relax while the kids play in the water, and in the evening have a bon fire and gaze up at the stars


And now, Alyson, a bit more about Grow Books press…

Why did you want to make a book like this? I had to, after doing my first book, Grow: An Environmentally Friendly Book, where my partner and co-author, KJ and I literally glued 700 books together ourselves, we had to put away the glue for a while out of sheer exhaustion, but it just made sense that a book should not create more waste. We knew we wanted a partner book to “Grow” for older kids and one day I received a mailer from Design Within Reach and it was printed on newsprint. It was this moment that I knew that “Imagine” had to be on posters. Plus how fun is it to draw on big paper and make large beautiful artwork
Why do you think systems are so important to teach about? Well, systems are what bind us all together as a planet. When we were thinking about the book, it came to me that all living things share the same structure, for example, rivers from a satellite picture look like veins, it is the branching of things that complete the flow of what we need to sustain life. Here in the US kids don’t think about the fact that when they flush the toilet it goes somewhere and it is a system that continues to give us water. I also wanted to have kids look around at the world around them and love it
Why Chicago? Chicago is am amazing city, one with loads of potential. Lots of parents who live in the city leave to go live in the suburbs by the time their kids are 8 years old. I completely do not understand why anyone would flee such an amazing place. I styled the “Imagine” video around kids stomping around the city like it was theirs. When I was reviewing the shots my 3 year old asked if he could run around like my older daughter (did in the photos) without an adult. I wanted to show people that we don’t have to be afraid to stay in our urban communities
What is next for Grow books? Wow, we have so much on our plates, from upcoming books, which are all wonderful stories, to doll houses and play things. Hopefully you will hear more from us in the near future and we will hold to our mission – Eco-friendly printed matter for curious kids! 100% hand made in Chicago