Member Spotlight: Purple Cow Publishing

I am Catherine L. Grider, the creator of the Yum and Yam books and Purple Cow Publishing. I’ve taught hundreds of beginning readers for the last 29 years in either Kindergarten or Junior Kindergarten in both the public and independent settings. For years I’d searched for a phonics series of only emergent books for my young students. Instead, I’d find reading series that had a couple of emergent books and then increased in difficulty too quickly for a beginning reader. After complaining to my husband that a series was needed with a variety of books at the novice level, he suggested I stop my grumbling and make my own series…So I did! 

What is Yum and Yam?

● Yum and Yam books are a series of short stories with fun illustrations designed for emerging readers. Each of the ten books guides children through the early stages of reading while building confidence and a sense of accomplishment. 

● Yum and Yam Early Phonics Readers keep the child’s confidence and interest level high, so when the reader is ready to try a more challenging book, he/she will have the confidence and determination to take on the new challenge. 

● Yum and Yam Early Phonics Readers are for children that have learned the letters and corresponding sounds and are ready to blend the sounds to decode simple words. Yum and Yam is also great for anyone, regardless of age, learning the English language. 

● Yum and Yam Coloring/Workbook was created to complement the Yum and Yam Early Phonics Readers. It reinforces blending and decoding skills, along with some fine motor practice. ● Yum and Yam Early Phonics Readers and Coloring/Workbook are available for preview at

What obstacles have you faced and how are you tackling them?

The biggest obstacle I’ve faced is finding a United States manufacturer of triangular colored pencils that will sell to me. I never could find one. Knowing that colored triangular pencils help young children with pencil grip and those with weak fine motor control, not to mention could be used with the Yum and Yam Coloring/Workbook, I had to look outside the country. I found what I was looking for with a manufacturer in China.

Once I finally received the pencils, the next obstacle was to get them tested by a third-party lab to make them compliant with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. There has been a large learning curve, but triangular colored pencils should be for sale on the website by December 2019.

What are your hopes for Yum and Yam?

My hopes for the Yum and Yam series is to continue to grow with more sets, including bilingual editions. I also would like to branch out with educational tools, puzzles, and games. In five years, the Yum and Yam brand will be well known to teachers, parents of young readers, and readers wanting to learn English as a second language. 

Why did you choose Surge South?

I choose the Surge, South Tacoma because it was an affordable way I could start my business while I figured out all the little details before going live. Its location is convenient, and Alice has been amazing! When pallets of books, pencils, boxes, etc. are delivered, I’ve received a quick phone call or emails with pictures. The Surge is the perfect place for any start-up. It is affordable, especially when you think of all the extra costs of starting a business.

Where can we go to support you?

If you are interested in learning more about Yum and Yam Early Phonics Readers or purchasing a box of books or workbooks, please visit my website at . If you have questions about Emergent readers, send me an email. I can be reached at