Lettuce Get in Trouble by Linda Kuo

Introducing Children to the Basics of Design

Lettuce Get in Trouble is the first volume in the Sara Little Trouble Maker series from Center for Design Books—a children’s picture book that teaches the basics of design in a way that is easy for young readers to understand. Inspired by a little-known but influential designer, Sara Little, Lettuce Get in Trouble helps children learn to problem-solve by observing the world around them, asking great questions, and trying out new things.

“Sara wears many hats and one tiny upside-down clock on her black turtleneck. She is always asking a lot of questions.”


In Lettuce Get in Trouble, we meet Sara Little, a troublemaker of the best sort; she asks great questions starting with Why? Sara looks at the world a little differently than other adults—by doing so, interesting problems and the need for design solutions come her way. This first story focuses on Sara’s design influence with new foods and is set in her beloved city of New York. One day, the Ministry of Food asks Sara Little to convince the children to eat more vegetables. Instead of offering a stern lecture, Sara brings her young friends to her Little Lab to explore the colors and shapes of food and why we eat anything at all. Together, they plan a grand event, inviting children from around the world to design fresh, tasty creations. “The children will cook, and we shall allow them to play with their food!” says Sara. Will the leader of the Ministry of Food be happy? Will the children learn to love veggies?

“Good design solves problems and also makes the world more beautiful and fun.”

Through experimentation, discovery, and planning, Sara teaches children that “good design solves problems and also makes the world more beautiful and fun.” In Lettuce Get in Trouble, the children—and designers of all ages—learn to make their world a better place by being curious, ‘taking the time to see’ and not being afraid to cause a little trouble.

“When you take the time to see, the wonders become commonplace, and the commonplace become wonders.”

The Real Little Sara

Sara Little (1917-2015) was a designer, teacher, and observer not afraid to cause a little trouble while developing innovative solutions to fulfill our basic needs. A global traveler, she made connections between people and found wonder in the everyday objects, tools, and rituals their cultures hold dear. As a very petite female designer in the world of large men, Sara used her unique perspective and curiosity to design a wide variety of revolutionary products. Her projects ranged from the medical mask (that inspired the N95) to cookware to astronaut’s spacesuits. This first story reflects Sara’s influence on promoting casual dining and finger foods in America.

About Linda Kuo, Author

Linda Kuo designs products for children and loves creative storytelling. She has a BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York and an MFA from Stanford University, where Sara Little mentored her. Sara often said, “Design is to create order.” Linda practices Sara’s teaching in all her projects as the Design Director at Pottery Barn Kids&Teen, headquartered in San Francisco, and serves as a board member of the Center for Design.

About Mariana Rio, Illustrator

Mariana Rio is an award-winning illustrator and educator in Porto, Portugal. She graduated in Communication Design from the Faculty of Fine Arts, at the University of Porto. With over a decade of experience, she is happy to spend her days creating characters and visual narratives for publishing houses and institutions worldwide. Her illustrations have been featured in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair exhibitions. Mariana is always eager to learn, and she found Sara Little’s legacy a huge inspiration. Find more at: www.marianario.com

About Center for Design Books

The Sara Little [Turnbull] Center for Design Institute is a non-profit (501c3) in Seattle, WA, with a mission to educate and enhance the public’s knowledge of design and further the education of underserved women and girls. Profit from the book series will support that work.


Sara Little Trouble Maker Series
By Linda Kuo, Illustrated by Mariana Rio
Published by Center for Design Books
Distributed by Six Foot Press and Ingram Publisher Services
ISBN: 978-1-7372098-0-5
Publication date: May 17, 2022
Format: 4-color, hardcover, 44 pp.
Website: www.saralittletroublemaker.com

Canary in the Coal Mine by Charles Salzberg

Canary in a Coal Mine: An allusion to caged canaries (birds) that mining workers would carry down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide leaked into the mine, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners, thus providing a warning to exit the tunnels immediately (source: yourdictionary.com).

“I’m a P.I. I have a license that says so. I take it out and look at it every so often, just to remind myself I actually have a profession. Profession. I say the word aloud. It’s a strange word. It makes me think of the “world’s oldest.” I’ve done pretty much everything in my life except for that, though some might not make much of a distinction between what I do and what they do. They do it on their back. I do it on my feet. That’s pretty much what sets us apart. It’s like that Sinatra song. You know the one. Puppet, pauper, pirate, poet, pawn and king.”

–Pete Fortunato

New York City—nine million people with a 24-hour nightlife, and an underbelly everyone knows is humming along, but most choose not to venture into it. Not so for Private Investigator Pete Fortunato, who makes his living searching for the bad behavior that is inevitable in such a giant metropolis. Today he is about to come into some cash and what seems to be an easy assignment when wealthy, sexy Lila Ashton appears at the door. In reality, Pete has no idea of what trials he will face. In Canary in the Coal Mine (Down and Out Books; ISBN 978-1-64396-251-1; April 2022) award-winning author Charles Salzberg introduces mystery readers to a new hard-boiled P.I. and a brand-new mystery series.

Lila Ashton’s request is simple: find my estranged husband. Easy money Pete thinks, until he finds the husband dead in Lila’s ex-lover’s run-down apartment. While Pete tends to follow his own rules and his own code, which is telling him to take the paycheck and walk away, he quickly finds that Lila Ashton is hiding something. If he doesn’t get to the bottom of it, he may join Mr. Ashton six-feet under.

Not able to wait for the Homicide Department to plod through their procedures, and with death threats at his door, Pete is going to have to step up and use all of his P.I. muscle to solve the case. Armed with Lila’s useless actor, ex-boyfriend, who is hilariously dense, Pete will literally travel miles before he gets a chance to sleep.

Fans of the Henry Swann Series, Devil in the Hole, Second Story Man, and other mysterious works from Charles Salzberg will enjoy getting to know this new gumshoe. Pete Fortunato as a P.I. committed to his case, with a strong distaste for personal physical danger, will join the ranks of other great characters in the genre, like Sam Spade and Mike Hammer. Canary in the Coal Mine is a gritty whodunnit that takes reader for a bumpy ride with an unexpected destination.


Canary in the Coal Mine
By Charles Salzberg
Down and Out Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-64396-251-1
Publication Date: April 2022
Price: 18.95 (Paperback) | 7.99 (eBook)


Blood on the Bayou by Douglas J. Wood

“Another body was found in the French Quarter, throat slit. The report was void of much detail except for one fact that made Broussard’s stomach turn. The victim held a crude wooden cross in his hand and had “XXX” carved in his forehead. The reporter wrote that it was the mark of the so-called Bayou Slasher, New Orleans’s name for its latest serial killer.”

When a third murder in the French Quarter forces New Orleans police to confront the fact that they have a serial killer on their hands, Captain Raleigh Broussard puts his top detective on the case. The last two murders have led to dead ends, without any DNA evidence and only a loose connection to Voodoo to work from. While Detective Rebecca Simone and her team are investigating the third murder the killer strikes again, this time killing two victims at once. With DNA evidence finally found at the newest scene, all signs point to a local man who quickly becomes their top suspect. Between the forensic data and Voodoo trinkets found at his apartment, Simone is certain they have the right guy.

Farther north, however, it seems the FBI has been keeping close tabs on this case from their offices in Washington D.C. Enter Special Agent Christopher DiMeglio. Fearing Simone and her team have arrested an innocent man, he packs his bags and heads for uncharted territory.

What DiMeglio lacks in familiarity with the culture of New Orleans, he makes up for in knowledge of serial killers. Combined with Simone’s local expertise, the two form a tentative rapport under the common goal of keeping the city safe. With doubt about their initial suspect’s guilt mounting, it’s a race against time to either prove his guilt or find the real killer. After all, if they do have the wrong man, the Bayou Slasher can, and will, strike again.

The latest thriller from Douglas J. Wood, Blood on the Bayou (Plum Bay Publishing, March 2022, ISBN: 9781734884869, Trade Paperback), showcases his ability to build a suspenseful and thought-provoking story. With a mix of complicated characters and insightful commentary on the state of policing, Wood brings the reader right into the difficult world that public servants must navigate. Dealing with pressure from the public, internal corruption and racism, and the constraints of the legal system, Wood allows for a glimpse into the frustrating conditions police often find themselves working under. Rather than shying away from difficult topics, Wood fully and rightfully explores them through the narrative of a gripping murder mystery that will leave readers dying to know what happens next.

“And how do you do that? How would you take care of the racists?’

“Another good question that haunts us every day. Education is one way. But dealing with racists under our laws is a challenge, including those among our fellow officers. Look at Guidry. He’s as racist as they come and he’s the top cop. We all too often give him and others like him embedded in society rights beyond what they deserve, even electing them to office.”

“You sound frustrated.”

“Find me a cop who isn’t.”

About the Author

Douglas J. Wood is the award-winning author of many books, both fiction and non-fiction. Blood on the Bayou is his sixth novel.  He lives in North Carolina with Carol Ann, his wife of 48 years.  They are blessed with three grown children and four adorable grandchildren.

Blood on the Bayou
By Douglas J. Wood
Plum Bay Publishing
ISBN: 9781734884869
Publication Date: March 2022

Tailoring Your Hashtag Strategy

If you work with social media in any capacity, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen and used hashtags across multiple platforms. The landscape around them, however, is constantly changing and every site tends to leverage them slightly differently. It can be very confusing if you’re new to social media or coming back from a long hiatus to find everything has changed.   This is why tailoring your hashtag strategy should be a routine part of your social media plan.

Why is it important?

Often, hashtag use contributes to a site’s algorithm- the magical formula that helps others find your posts. Some platforms encourage you to use as many hashtags as you want. Other sites actively suppress posts that use too many. Some sites may not punish you for a plethora of tags, but the excessive hashtags might be useless. To help your visibility, you need to know the sweet spots for each of your platforms. Here, I’ll share some tips for the big three: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. There are a lot of helpful articles out there for other popular platforms, like TikTok. Just make sure what you’re looking at is up to date, since it’s changing all the time!


Instagram loves hashtags. They allow up to 30 hashtags per post (10 per story), so feel free to use all 30. Note that it doesn’t always help to use all of them. Generally, anywhere from 8 to 14 hashtags is the most effective number. Tags are considered more useful on Instagram because they are the main way people find content. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, people can follow specific hashtags on Instagram. If you use tags in your stories, they also show up on the page for those hashtags. When developing an Instagram hashtag strategy, find both popular hashtags that fit your post as well as more niche tags. This way, you can reach a diverse audience. If you don’t like how 30 hashtags look in the caption, you can “hide” the hashtags in a comment afterwards! It is purely visual and won’t affect how your post shows up in a feed.


While Instagram encourages hashtags, Twitter requires tailoring  your hashtag strategy. In fact, engagement decreases with every hashtag you add to a post. In general, a tweet should have between 1 and 3 hashtags, with 1 being ideal. Hashtag-spamming on Twitter could also greatly reduce your impressions if your account is flagged for being either spam or a bot. Even if the algorithm doesn’t flag you, your followers might find the over-use of hashtags annoying. It’s best to focus on trending hashtags or hashtags that fit a specific topic.


Like Twitter, Facebook does not encourage the over-use of hashtags. It also leads to a decrease in engagement once you start using more than 2. This seems counterintuitive given that Facebook is the parent company of Instagram, but the platforms fundamentally embrace hashtags differently. On Facebook, try to use industry-specific hashtags or create your own branded one. Of course, trending hashtags are never a bad idea here, either!

For other social media tips, be sure to check out our other blog posts!