Debra & Sal Barracca

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Debra & Sal are native New Yorkers and met while working as freelance artists at Bantam Books in NY. They 9780140566659-l.bmpmarried in 1985 and started a children’s book packaging company, Halcyon Books, where they collaborated with artists and writers to create and package books for sale to publishing companies. Sal was also an agent for illustrators in the advertising and publishing fields.

One day, they were in a taxi on the way from Grand Central Station to their office. The driver had a dog in the front seat with him, and the idea of Maxi and The Adventures of Taxi Dog was born. They wrote the book and hired Mark Beuhner, one of the artists that Sal represented, to do the illustrations. “We wanted to show how Maxi was adopted and loved, and teach kids how important it is to be kind to animals”. Debra & Sal designed and packaged the book and went to Bologna, Italy to the Children’s Book Convention to promote it. Dial Books of NY bought it, and The Adventures of Taxi Dog was published in 1991. Three books followed in the series, currently out of print. A portion of the proceeds was donated to animal welfare agencies to help the cause.

In the 25 years of publication, there have been offers of movies or TV deals, but last month, a deal was finally struck with CPTV to produce live-action episodes of Maxi and his adventures, to air in Spring of 2016. Hopefully, the show will be picked up by PBS stations nationwide. There is currently a program in schools to promote SEL (social & emotional learning) through the use of a Maxi puppet and the books and other material. “We are thrilled that this program seems to be extremely successful in helping children deal with various issues they are facing”.

They currently live in Seymour, CT with their daughter Sam and three cats.

For more info on Taxi Dog, please go to taxidogtv.com. The Adventures of Taxi Dog is available through Amazon or can be ordered by individual bookstores.

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