Meet Karen and Hannah, mother-daughter co-authors who are on a mission to teach kiddos the valuable lesson that it’s okay to be different. Through their book, The Little Lemon that Leapt, they are creating tools to help kids overcome bullying. While they have a strong business relationship, their mother-daughter bond is even stronger. Check out their inspiring story in this week’s post:

How did you come up with the idea for ‘The Little Lemon That Leapt’?

Karen: One spring afternoon we decided to have a brainstorming session on Hannah’s couch. We spent about ten minutes writing down every thought that popped into our heads: goals, dreams, ideas, influences. Our pens were flying! When Hannah quizzed me on my results, I read out loud from my page of scribbles. My final words were, “The little lemon leapt without fear.” Hannah’s eyes widened and she immediately said, “Mom, that is going to be a children’s book. You are going to write it, and I am going to illustrate it.” The confidence in her voice was all that I needed.  “Ok,” I said. On that day our separate dreams of writing a children’s book (mine), and starting something that makes a difference (hers) merged into one. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Hannah: One afternoon in 2013, my mom and I decided to do some creative brainstorming. She ended up writing in her notebook, “the little lemon leapt without fear.” At the time it was just a cute little alliterative sentence that bounced out of her brain, but when she read it out loud I knew it had potential. I said, “Mom…that could be a children’s book.” The rest is history. The concept behind #ichooseweird (embracing differences in yourself and others) is something that we both believe in and quickly wound its way into Lionel’s story as we brought the book to life. This was a lesson that my grandpa taught my mom, aunt, and uncle every day when they were kids, something my mom passed onto me, and a concept that surrounded me every day of my studies at Berkeley. The fact that everything came together so seamlessly is nothing short of a God thing in my book.

How has collaborating on the book impacted your relationship?

Karen: We have always been extraordinarily close, even through her teen years. Honestly, I didn’t think that we could get closer. I was wrong. It is like filling a jar with pebbles. You think that there is no more room, then you get a cup of sand and pour it in and it fills holes that you didn’t even realize were there. That is what this collaboration has done for our relationship. We now share a creation that is bigger than ourselves. This probably sounds weird (which we love), but we are proud parents of a beautiful baby. We are not just mother/daughter anymore, we are also co-parents to our business and its mission. I couldn’t be more proud!

Hannah: We have always been close, but working together has practically turned us into the same person. We always say that we share a brain. On a daily basis we find ourselves saying the same thing at the same time, or saying exactly what the other person was thinking, or texting each other simultaneously after hours of silence. We are very much in sync. I love it. People tell us quite frequently that our relationship is unique. We transition between acting like a mother and daughter, business partners, and friends a dozen times a day. Somehow we always make it work! There’s definitely an array of emotions that goes hand in hand with working so with someone you are close with, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

What do you most admire about each other?

Karen: There are many things to admire about Hannah as a daughter, business partner, and human being. If I had to narrow my list to one thing (which is next to impossible), it would be that I am constantly in awe of her ability to see the best in people and situations. She chooses positivity, gratitude, and kindness every day of her life. She chooses never to speak ill of anyone. She chooses to be joyful always. Life is full of choices, and Hannah always chooses well.

Hannah: I don’t know where to start. Selflessness is one quality that’s hard to miss with my mom. Ten times out of ten she will put her wants or needs aside for those of someone else. I admire that about her so much. She genuinely cares about people. She prioritizes relationships and experiences over things. She appreciates all kinds of art, music, and live theater. She also has a crazy ability to retain information. From prices to the penny, to historical facts, to names of people in real life or even characters in books or movies, it always amazes me how much she retains and can subsequently turn around and share with someone else. My mom rocks!