Monday, February 4, 2013

Spotlight on Mom -- Rana DiOrio of Little Pickle Press

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, then you know I love sharing book reviews for children and adult books.  And, three times a year, spring, summer and fall, I do a "Welcome in spring/summer/fall" feature, where I spend a few weeks sharing new releases from children's book publishers.  So, as I was gearing up for my upcoming spring feature, I stumbled across Little Pickle Press, Inc. and saw that it was run by a mom, Ran DiOrio.  I thought what a great way to share some amazing books, in addition to having Rana share her mom entrepreneur story with you in my Spotlight on Mom feature.  So, I reached out to Rana and she agreed to be featured. 

Before I share my Spotlight on Mom interview with Rana DiOrio of Little Pickle Press, Inc., I wanted to showcase a few of the books from her website that caught my eye, and would make for a great gift for your little ones, or a great excuse to snuggle up on the couch and read to your child.  Either way, you will enjoy the selection of books that Little Pickle Press, Inc. has to offer.


"In this magically illustrated bedtime story, little Sofia befriends the Moon and sets off on dreamy adventure to visit her friend. She sees our planet from the Moon’s point of view and is inspired to do whatever she can to protect the Earth and to encourage others to do the same."



"BIG goes beyond the basics to show that size is more than a matter of height. Touching on ideas such as health, citizenship, and imagination, this book can be the key to heartfelt dialogue between children and caregivers about the importance of values over valuables."


"This colorful, insightful story, demystifies for children what it means to be green by helping them to view everyday tasks through an environmentally-friendly lens. The book empowers children to do whatever they can to protect the earth’s precious resources. Don’t be surprised if they start coming up with suggestions of their own for you!"   



"This refreshing, vibrant picture book engages all of the senses to demonstrate the myriad of ways a child can seize the moment. The story sparks meaningful discussions about the important gift of appreciation, giving children and adults alike the opportunity to live more fully and richly. Learn more about the Author & Illustrator of the book."

And, now, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mom interview with Rana DiOrio.


Name: Rana DiOrio
Company Name/Product/Service: Little Pickle Press, Inc. is an award-winning publisher of children’s media.
Company Location: San Francisco, CA
Company Website:
Twitter Handle: @LPP_Media + @ranadiorio
Age of Company: We are entering our 5th year of operations.
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:
"Follow your dreams and pursue them with courage for it is the pursuit of those dreams that makes life really worth living." ~ Linda DuPay Moore

"Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so." ~ Belva Davis
"God gives talent, work transforms talent into genius." ~ Anna Pavlova

Favorite Book:
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand 

Rana DiOrio Photo
Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
I am a single mother of three children. My oldest daughter, Ryan, is 9 years old. My daughter, Alexandra, is 7 years old. And my son, Beckett, is 4 years old. My interests include practicing yoga, reading nonfiction and children’s books, dreaming, effecting positive change, and, of course, being global, green, present, and safe.
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?
Little Pickle Press creates content that catalyzes meaningful conversations between parents and children, teachers and students about the things that matter most. The Company publishes award-winning books and then extrapolates the content to other mediums—eBooks, enhanced eBooks, book apps, music, etc.
While I was pregnant with my son, The Great Recession commenced, and it became an increasingly challenging time to be in finance. My husband at the time encouraged me to take some time away from the workforce, so I did. During that time, I wrote two of my children’s picture book manuscripts—What Does It Mean To Be Global? [] and What Does It Mean To Be Green? []. I shared them with people in the publishing industry and educators and received universally positive feedback. I started doing research on green publishing. I wanted to print in the Americas on recycled paper with soy inks and without a dust jacket (that children just rip off). I discovered that there were no publishing companies that would do this. My research also revealed that the publishing industry was just waking up to the digital age. Since my focus as a lawyer and an investment banker was software, I recognized the opportunity. I decided to found Little Pickle Press in early 2009, initially to publish my titles in an environmentally-friendly manner and soon thereafter to publish the titles of other authors, including internationally bestselling ones such as Shawn Achor.
What is a typical workday like?
One of the refreshing things about running a growth-stage company is that no two days are alike. My best stab at a “typical” work day is this . . . I wake up at least an hour and often two before my children so that I can field email and check in on social media before I wake them up for school. While they get dressed, I make breakfast for them, and we are out the door at 7:15 am. After driving them to school, I often have meetings or calls or writing I need to accomplish. I pick my son up at school at 2:30 pm and bring him home, and our mommy’s helper meets us there. I get more accomplished until it is time to pick up the girls from school. Either I get the girls and our mommy’s helper makes dinner or vice versa. We always eat dinner together as a family. After dinner, our helper and I divide and conquer the various tasks—taking baths, making lunches, doing homework, reading bedtime stories, etc. Once the children are in bed, I go back to work until I get enough done so I can sleep peacefully. 
What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 
We are a virtual company, which has many advantages but also some disadvantages. Advantages include being able to hire talent from all over the country, flexible hours, and employees who enjoy a work-life balance. Disadvantages include challenges to build a corporate culture and communications in the absence of an office environment. I know that the positives of being virtual outweigh the challenges.
What did you do in your past work life?
I was a lawyer, an investment banker, and a private equity investor.
What have been some of your major successes?
Writing four multiple award-winning children’s picture books.
Scaling Little Pickle Press with my own capital to the point where we can take on investors, which we have just done.
Developing a children’s book app (Being Global: that won multiple awards, even against one of Walt Disney’s best-selling book apps.
Becoming a certified B Corporation (
Building a global brand that represents the highest quality content for children.
Achieving all of this while putting my children first and giving my time and other resources to help those in need.
What have been some of your major challenges?
My major challenges have been: (1) being chronically sleep deprived, and (2) feeling alone at times. 
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
My children and the positive impact we have on all of the children we touch with our content.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Yoga. Nature. Meditation. Gratitude. Oh, and wine.
What is next for your business?
We will be releasing 5 to 7 titles during 2013. We are working on turning one or more of our properties into a live action series or full feature animation. We will be developing original music compositions for each of our titles. We are seeking a Young Adult novel to publish this year or early next year.
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?
Ask a lot of questions and be a student of your domain. Trust your instincts. Seek the advice of those who can help you to make important decisions. Persevere—your hard work will yield positive outcomes. Live your dream.


  1. Great post Robin! Rana DiOrio is such an inspirational woman; having a little insight into her work and life is enlightening and motivational. I am also so glad you chose to feature Rana's book What Does It Mean To Be Present? It is one of my favorite children's books due to the reflective content and beautiful illustrations. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Thank you for this wonderful post, Robin! Rana is an amazing leader, and I agree with Sarah, having this insight is inspiring. I will help to spread the word!

  3. What a wonderful interview with an amazing woman, mom and boss (among other things). Although I'm not sure she actually sleeps, ever, with the amount of things she gets done each and every day. Rana's books, along with Sofia's Dream, are my children's favorites, read time and time again.

  4. Thank you for the kudos, team. I am humbled and grateful. I aspire to be the change we seek in the world. Thank you for helping me and Little Pickle Press to be on the vanguard of effecting positive change to benefit children.

    1. Well, you ARE the change we seek in the word. You inspire me.

  5. Rana is so deserving of praise. She is a true inspiration and works harder and smarter than anyone I have ever met. Little Pickle Press just published my chapter book and I am thrilled by how well it turned out, and that is due to the tireless efforts of Rana.

  6. Rana is a powerful force and a woman for whom I have immense respect. Not just for what she's building on her own and seeing through with her vision, but for all the things she said here about being a woman and mom who thinks carefully about all her choices. Little Pickle is SUCH a great company.

    I am always interested in how women run their daily lives. It helps me know that, while my own path is different, people get things done in their own way. For some reason that's comforting. What a fantastic interview to get to know her even better.

  7. I have been interviewed many times since the inception of Little Pickle Press, and I am grateful to Robin for asking different and evocative questions. If anyone else has questions for me, please ask them. Thank you for your interest and support. ~ Rana

  8. Wonderful post. It's amazing what all you've accomplished! I've said this before -- I love all the covers.

  9. Thanks again Rana. I loved hearing about Little Pickle Press and your story, in addition to reading all the wonderful comments from colleagues of yours. You truly are an inspiration to many, and I am so grateful to have stumbled across Little Pickle Press and had the opportunity to meet the mom behind this amazing company. Kudos to you. :-)

  10. Yes, Rana is a force of nature. She has a heart of gold and is beyond generous. She deeply believes the joy is in the giving. Rana loves big and is fiercely loyal to her friends and family, I have had a front row seat to watch Rana embrace lifes challange. Each challenge that has been thrown her way, she has embraced while still being grateful. She is an inspiration. I have the good fortune to know Rana. She is a gift in my life.

  11. This was a great interview to read and Rana is such an inspiration. heather