Welcome to the Redleaf Press® Blog!

From the desk of Redleaf Press publisher, Linda Hein

Welcome to Redleaf Press®’s inaugural blog post, and thank you for visiting our new Internet hangout! I hope you’ll continue to check back to see what Redleaf Press staff members and authors share here. This will be a space for interaction, so I hope you’ll join in the conversation and feel welcome to share your ideas, thoughts, stories, and responses with us. (You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and, of course, our Website.)

I thought that our first blog post would be the perfect opportunity to tell you about the history of Redleaf Press.


In 1971, no one imagined that a community’s first, simple steps to help working moms would decades later grow into a leading voice for children. But that’s how we started.

It was a time of profound change for families here in St. Paul and around the nation. With mothers of young children entering the workforce in record numbers, child care arose as a major issue. Who would take care of the kids while mom was at work? Where? How? Would it be affordable? How could the community help?

A group of creative and passionate people, determined that the needs of children would be paramount as the community learned to adapt to these changes, joined forces to start the organizations that are now Think Small and Redleaf Press.

In 1973, a mobile toy lending library, Toys N Things, was created. As it visited family child care homes, children enjoyed supervised play on the bus and providers participated in training sessions aimed at improving the quality of care.

The Toys N Things Training and Resource Center was a humble, colorful beginning of a group that would in time join with four other organizations — each dedicated to affordable, organized, and accessible early childhood care and education — to ultimately become Resources for Child Caring. As the publishing division of Resources for Child Caring, Toys N Things Press published Teachables from Trashables: Homemade Toys That Teach in 1979, and its first non-grant, independent book, Open the Door, Let’s Explore, by Rhoda Redleaf, in 1983. (The updated, revised edition of the book, Hey Kids! Out the Door, Let’s Explore! remains a favorite among family child care providers and classroom teachers!)

The first books, published in 1979 and 1983

In 1987, Resources for Child Caring established a reputation as leading authority on family child care tax issues. Toys N Things published the 1987 Family Child Care Tax Workbook. (Annual editions of Family Child Care Tax Workbook and Organizer and Family Child Care Tax Companioncontinue to be the most comprehensive, trusted tax resources for family child care professionals.)

In 1991, Toys N Things changed its name to reflect the change in its service and heavier focus on resources, rather than toys. Redleaf Press was chosen as the new name to honor author and longtime staff and board member Rhoda Redleaf.

In 2012, Resources for Child Caring changed its name to Think Small, a name that is contemporary, differentiating, and reflective of our intense focus on early childhood. Together, Think Small and Redleaf Press remain as dedicated to our mission now as we have always been-and to the principles that gave rise to our organization in 1971:

  • That the quality of a child’s early experiences greatly influences his or her success later in life.
  • That there is much that can be done to improve the quality of early childhood settings to optimize a child’s development.

Today, Redleaf Press is a leading nonprofit publisher with a national and international presence in the early childhood field. Our products are sold in all fifty states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, as well as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific through international distributors.

Proceeds from Redleaf Press continue to support many of the services that are offered to teachers, directors, providers, and families through Think Small. And just think — it all started with a group of people dedicated to improving the lives of children.

Join in the conversation!

We mean it when we say we want to hear from you! We welcome your suggestions, ideas, expertise, and questions — we’re ready to interact with you. Do you remember our first publications, Teachables from Trashables or Open the Door, Let’s Explore? What kinds of things would you like to read about on the Redleaf Press blog? Leave a comment, and let’s get chatting!

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