Esmè the Curious Cat could be the 'intentional, iconic character' the world needs!
Former Miss America contestant believes Esmè the Curious Cat can become the new “iconic character” for children’s books.
An entrepreneur since childhood and a former Miss Purdue University, Emily Mishler’s newest project is a children's book series starring Esmè the Curious Cat, a cat who travels the world seeking adventure, meaning and connection in every space and situation she finds herself.
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The first three Esmè books launched in December 2019, March 2020 and July 2020, and the fourth is set to debut late-October. The books, which focus on topics like character development, cognitive skills, conservation and advocacy, are all available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart and local independent bookstores.
“Esmè is an incredibly intentional, new, and expanded addition to the children’s literary market we’ve grown up with and love,” Mishler said. “The time is ripe for a new iconic character.”
Mishler, who wrote the books under the pen name EM Valentine, was inspired to write the series as she was traveling the globe, exploring and building her consulting practice for non-profit entities and start-ups. She opted to keep the travel off social media and is building the Esmè the Curious Cat brand as a way to share the experiences, lessons and the deep connections she lived whilst traveling. The brand’s focus is connection in many ways, kindness, cuisine, and cultural competence as it begins its growth.
With so many students experiencing e-learning, the brand also is offering numerous free digital products, including:
Curriculum Guides & Teaching Tools: multi-page printable PDF’s to help children, teachers or guardians walk through each one of the Esmé books. These guides offer interactive worksheets, problem sets and activities that speak to both personal development and an academic curriculum for grades 1-4. An interactive approach to the more formalized, STEAM education/curriculum to help support a shift in the existing model as we determine public health measures. Exercises and questions include Science, Math, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Technology, Art, amongst other subjects and brain games.
Coloring Pages: Freebies to celebrate days, events, scenes from our books (ex: Earth Day) -- an interactive way to play and incorporate the brand into everyday life (and give guardians a few moments to themselves!)
Coloring Contests: Interactive, competitive tools for engagement of the printables, giving the kiddos something to do in a user-friendly way. Will run once per month. (Available in September)
“It’s all about teaching life skills, inspiring, and empowering children to become the person they want to become,” Mishler said. “The world needs good people and we aim to add resources to help foster childrens’ growth into the best possible version of themselves. The world needs it!”
“Throughout this time, we've seen an especially relevant and important increase in the tools we can create to provide our families, teachers guardians and child-aged fans,” Mishler added. “We're thrilled to be developing and providing uplifting resources to further the cognitive and emotional development of children.”
Mishler’s 18-month trip around the world took her to Australia, Germany, New Zealand, UAE, Israel and many other foreign lands. She embarked upon the adventure after her pageant career ended and she completed a Masters in Business at the University of Notre Dame whilst working in corporate philanthropy. She was a participant in pageants from age 19-24, and was named Miss Purdue and Miss Elkhart County – and she was “pivoting out of a formal structure and jumping into living life on my own terms.”
“The pageant and educational experiences were great and completely transformational, but I just knew there was a different kind of education that awaited me on the other side of normalcy,” Mishler said. “I wanted to further explore other ways of life that could be out there.” In 2015, Mishler was named one of Purdue University's 5 Students Who.. Move the World Forward.
Bringing Esmè to the world is fulfilling Mishler, who teamed with artist and fellow Purdue graduate Erin Spencer, on the project. The books also present Mishler a way to honor her father, John, who died this year from a neuroendocrine tumor and pieces of him are sprinkled throughout the books, including his handwriting. Her father also helped Mishler edit the books while he underwent chemotherapy.
Mishler was inspired by her dad, a farmer and landscape designer who came out during her childhood. Mishler, who is an ordained minister, married her father to his husband in Michigan. “I know my dad was so proud of the creative exploration that has been Esmè,” Mishler said. “The way I chose to “jump in” and take a risk rather than letting fear “drive”.”
Mishler, who grew up on a farm, credited having open space and the freedom to roam and express herself as crucial to her becoming an entrepreneur. She opened her first business while a student at Purdue where she also was President of the Purdue Alumni Student Experience, the largest student group on-campus. Parts of her first company evolved into her consulting firm, The Cultivated Group, which specializes in “business development, creative and brand strategy, strategic planning and fundraising.” Since Mishler launched her first business at age 22, she has raised and distributed more than $20 million of private investment for private clients, for-profit entities and NGO’s.
For more information on Esmè The Curious Cat, visit https://www.esmethecuriouscat.com/media.