Maurice’s Mission

Our Mission is to develop and deliver to children a moral compass and empathy through entertainment.

Maurice’s Valises is a twelve book children’s adventure series, written by J. S. Friedman. It recognizes and values the importance of early childhood literacy, artistry and ethical development. The inspired voice of Maurice comes from many of the great sages of history. It comes from their sayings and influences. It even has a bit of Peter Pan’s pixie dust while feeding a child’s imagination. Through his journey Maurice narrates, entertains and inspires kindness, curiosity, empathy and stewardship.

What is author J. S. Friedman’s greatest wish? That despite this tough world, our children learn how to be kind to others, show empathy when it matters most, and be compassionate, even when it’s inconvenient.

How does one grandfather, one writer, even begin to help children develop kindness, empathy, and compassion? In this case, he turns to a mouse called Maurice.

Maurice is a world traveler, a gatherer of wisdom. His tales, recounted before a roaring fire, bring children the teachings of Aesop and Einstein, Buddha and Berra, Confucius, Thoreau, and many others.

These teachings have endured for centuries because they connect us to our own best selves. If an endearing mouse with a yen for adventure can help children learn these lessons, so much the better. Maurice’s Valises are little books with big ideas. May they help little hearts and minds grow big.

J. S. Friedman was a commercial photographer and has his own set of valises. He created the award-winning book, exhibit, Earth’s Elders: The Wisdom of the World’s Oldest People, as well as the nonprofit educational organization Earth’s Elders Foundation. From his work to bring generations together for the benefit of all, he imagined how a small mouse might help with such a big idea. Mission impossible ? He says mission responsible.

Maurice’s stories would only be words scribbled on a page without the vision of illustrator Chris Beatrice.

Chris is an award-winning artist whose long list of clients like Simon and Schuster, MacMillan, Scholastic, Disney/Hyperion, Penguin, Random House, American Greetings, have allowed his work to grace the covers of classic children’s books like Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe. His skills transcend paper, as he is also an acclaimed video-game designer and commercial artist. Explore Chris’s artistry by visiting his website.

Artist Statement

Visual storytelling has been a passion of mine for a very long time. As a child reading fairy tales and folk tales the imagery was as much a source of magic as was the story itself, sometimes more. I hope to be able to capture a small part of this magic in my work.

My pictures often start off as hazy, almost dreamlike images… a scribble, as loose gesture, a bunch of fuzzy shapes. From there I push light, color and value as far as possible, not knowing exactly where the picture will end up, gradually pulling it into focus. Initially working in acrylics and oils I have gradually transitioned to where most of my professional work is painted digitally.
In illustrating children’s picture books I always seek to create pictures that both illuminate the text and tell parts of the story not directly communicated by the text. This complementary relationship, though similar to film, is unique to children’s picture books (one reason why they are still loved by parents and children).  I also strive to create pictures that can stand on their own as individual works, each telling its own small story.