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

The Contract by Sheila Grinell

“How do you encourage curiosity in a place where thoughts are policed?”

Joanna Dunhill knows just how difficult it can be working with family, and now that she has an opportunity to finally, in mid-life, achieve professional and financial success, family—and Saudi Arabian culture—stand in the way. Author Sheila Grinell flawlessly depicts female empowerment and cultural dissonance in this story about the difficulties of owning and growing a small business. Her new novel, THE CONTRACT (She Writes Press, October 2019, Original Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-63152-648-0, $16.95), explores the many “contracts” we enter in our lives, implicitly in marriage and with siblings, as well as explicitly on the job.

Joanna and her husband, Ev Dana, operate a museum design company to which Ev supplies brawn and creativity in an abstracted, laid-back way that irks Jo no end. Given her drive and management skills, though, she’s convinced they can win a much-prized deal with the Saudi Arabian government. The mission: to create a new children’s museum focused on renewable energy.

When Jo’s competitor and archrival, Phil Owen, becomes involved in the deal, Jo must find a way to look past their personal drama and join forces. Harder still, she must probe the limits of what she will be allowed to accomplish in Saudi Arabia as she seeks to expand opportunities for the mothers and daughters who will patronize the future museum. Meanwhile, it seems Ev would rather pass on the entire project and explore one of his own at a local art gallery. Will Joanna’s over-ambitiousness and Ev’s side-gig get in the way of both their business and their marriage?

“The test was about to begin. Not the presentation she and Ev would make to the review committee–they knew how to present their qualifications. No, the test would be learning the ropes of a society that repressed women yet where the potential client, the deputy director of the agency that had summoned them, was female.”

 In THE CONTRACT, Grinell draws complex characters who share many of the struggles Americans face in business, especially when confronted with gender and cultural differences. Even here, where we enjoy the freedom to choose our own paths, we are often unsure how to take the next step.


Sheila Grinell spent forty years developing science centers in the US and consulting on museum projects around the world, including in Saudi Arabia. She turned to literature in her sixties, publishing a debut novel, Appetite, in 2016. The Contract is her second work of fiction. Born in a taxi in Manhattan, she studied at The Bronx High School of Science, Harvard University, and the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and their dog.

The Baby Decision by Merle Bombardieri

The Baby Decision by Merle Bombardieri

Case Summary: Reissue of a book originally published in 1987 by an MSW with a private practice.

Goal: Brand Merle Bombardieri as a national expert regarding family planning and relationships.

Result Examples: Interviewed by Refinery29, New York Times, and was published on Time’s Motto Blog.  Book sales were steady, and her practice grew significantly.


Amazon: The Baby Decision: How to Make The Most Important Choice of Your Life

“An energetic book, full of advice, issues to consider, and exercises to help you discover your true feelings on the subject.”    — Kirkus Reviews

“Intelligent and Insightful” — Los Angeles Times



How to Make the Most Important Choice of Your Life

By Merle Bombardieri MSW, LICSW

A burning question for women of childbearing age is: “Do I want to be a parent?”  Despite a culture that often idolizes babies and extols motherhood, more women and couples are choosing to be childfree because of career or other commitments or because parenting doesn’t appeal to them.  Babies are wonderful, but come with sleepless nights, colic, couple stress and money problems.  So having a child only makes sense for those who look forward to nurturing a child. Well-meaning family, friends, and societal norms may pressure you one way or another, people need to make the decision that is best for them.

Merle Bombardieri, MSW, LICSW has helped her psychotherapy and coaching clients and workshop students face the baby question for the past thirty-five years. Her book THE BABY DECISION: How to Make the Most Important Choice of Your Life (Publisher; Pub Date; Price) is based on her work, and it will give decision-makers all of the tools they need to make a decision and deepen their relationships in the process.

In THE BABY DECISION, with the depth that only a seasoned therapist can provide, Bombardieri presents guidelines for making the decision while arming you with crucial knowledge about both parenting and childfree living.   You will learn a sample dialogue you can use to respond to pressure from loved ones, and how to broach the subject with your partner. .  Do you want a baby but your partner doesn’t?  THE BABY DECISION will open doors to creative compromises and possibilities that will be life-affirming, and increase intimacy between partners.

Bombardieri’s 5-step process in THE BABY DECISION will teach you how to:

  • Separate your own needs and preferences from society’s myths and expectations about parenting
  • Use “Secret Doors” exercises to uncover your hidden feelings and wisdom.
  • Give full consideration to the rewards and opportunities of living childfree
  • Manage work-life balance and keep your relationship strong if you decide to have a child
  • Learn about one-child families; single, LGBT, older parenting; and fertility and adoption options
  • Make the most of either choice, and even borrow some benefits from the path not selected

THE BABY DECISION is a comprehensive guide that cuts through tangles of pros and cons so that the right decision clearly emerges   Bombardieri also includes examples from her vast experience as a psychotherapist that will illustrate her points.  With a warm, conversational tone, THE BABY DECISION will be a comfort as much as it is a resource for the most life-changing readers will ever face.


Merle Bombardieri, MSW, LICSW is a clinical social worker in private practice in Lexington, MA. She has contributed to Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2005, The Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Magazine, Glamour, Self, and Brides. Learn more at http://www.thebabydecision.com/


How to Make the Most Important Choice of Your Life

By Merle Bombardieri MSW, LICSW

Publication Date: July 31st, 2016


Price: $9.99


473 pages