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Longboat author's first children's book garners widespread acclaim

The children's book "TIP's Magical Journey" by Longboat resident Barbara Mishkin has won several awards for its message of diversity and inspiration for children and adults.

Barbara Mishkin with her book,“TIP's Magical Journey: The Ride of Discovery and Inspiration”.
Barbara Mishkin with her book,“TIP's Magical Journey: The Ride of Discovery and Inspiration”.
Photo by Petra Rivera
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When Barbara Mishkin’s grandson asked about a year ago what happened to a fictional boy named Tip from the childhood stories she told him, she couldn’t imagine the journey she was about to embark on. 

Inspired by stories her father told her as a child, Mishkin shared with her grandchildren the adventures of Tip as a way to pass on advice. Last year, her now grown-up grandchildren urged her to publish the stories of Tip in a book as a way to continue her life's passion of inspiring people.

“TIP's Magical Journey: The Ride of Discovery and Inspiration” is now an award-winning children’s book released on Aug. 15, 2023. It is available for purchase on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. The book takes young readers on a captivating train ride filled with valuable life lessons. It follows an 8-year-old boy, Thaddeus Isaac Pendleton, as he meets characters from different countries and they share their wisdom with him. 

“Tip is basically a family member at this point,” said Mishkin. “He has been such a vital part of my life and my children’s lives. I didn’t do it for the awards or to make money. I did it as a story of inspiration. I did it so my kids and family could have a legacy of seeing the type of person I am.”

Each character Tip meets was inspired by travels she took with her husband on his business trips or intriguing current events she read about. Mishkin said she would make sure each lesson from these characters was easy for a child to understand and relate to in their lives.

"TIP's Magical Journey" has won several awards from the National Parenting Center, including Winner of the Holiday 2023 Inclusion Report, Literary Titan, Readers' Favorite Award and the five-star Readers' Choice Award in the Autumn Book Awards. On Amazon, the book has received more than 20 five-star reviews.

"It's a whole new world for me," said Mishkin. "It is the most amazing opportunity and is reaching people I didn't think it would reach. I got a picture from a girl in Israel reading the book. I have 80-year-old women who are reading the book and relating to it. So it is incredible to reach all these different audiences. Truly, a dream come true."

Mishkin plans to publish four more books about Tip’s adventures with Wow! Publishing and Distribution. She already sent in the first draft for her second book, "TIP’s Magical Birthday." In this story, Tip’s father throws him a birthday party, inviting all the children from the neighborhood. Tip continues to learn life lessons and draw inspiration from the children.

As an artist herself, Mishkin loved working with illustrator Jason Shiver to bring her vision to life.

“I can't do people in my art. That's why I did not do that,” said Mishkin. “My illustrator and I went back and forth making sure everything was perfect and I loved it. I never actually knew what Tip looked like, so it's crazy to see him on the page. I’m hoping that a little boy out there will read the book and say, ‘Hey, that looks like me.’”

The Inspiration Project

"TIP's Magical Journey" is an extension of the nonprofit Mishkin started nine years ago in Pennsylvania, The Inspiration Project. 

“It all started at Disney World, the most magical place on Earth,” said Mishkin. “I was at a crossroads at what I wanted to do next with my life, I was 70 years old. I woke up the next morning when I was in Orlando, and God gave me the name of the project and what I would be doing. I had never had an epiphany like that.”

Barbara Mishkin with her art.
Photo by Petra Rivera

After that Disney World trip, Mishkin started to put artwork she made into recycled frames. Each piece had an inspirational message on it. She started donating these to nursing homes. The Inspiration Project grew from there as volunteers started to help her. 

The project collaborated with nonprofit organizations such as Special Olympics and Samaritan’s Purse. She also put the inspirations on cards to reach a different demographic such as homeless populations. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine prevented The Inspiration Project from continuing in person. Mishkin was unable to work with her volunteers or give away her inspiration cards. Mishkin thought this was a good opportunity to move the project online via Facebook. The Inspiration Project page has reached almost a million people worldwide. 

“I get messages through Facebook or through the email saying, ‘I needed that today. I was having a hard time and your inspiration made the biggest difference to me,’” said Mishkin. “I never know what is going on with their life. Maybe something happened in their family or with friends, but they felt something from The Inspiration Project and it cheered them up.”

Mishkin shared she has always been a writer in a sense. She pursued creativity in different ways throughout her adult life, such as becoming an artist at 50 years old and learning how to play the piano. Mishkin also was hired to film a video series called “Memoirs,” documenting the life stories of elderly people and their families in Pennsylvania. After about 25 years of vacationing on the island, she and her husband officially bought a condo in Longboat Key six years ago.

Mishkin's art connects with the message of "TIP's Magical Journey.” She has made multiple pieces surrounding themes of race and equality. This year, Mishkin is the co-chair along with Judy Herman for the Seaplace Condominiums annual art show. The show promotes art from Seaplace residents. 

Mishkin said that community is one of the most important parts of her life. She started a club at Seaplace called “Our View” for residents to discuss current events and get to know more people. She is also a part of different organizations around the island such as Temple Beth Israel and the Barbara Club, a networking organization made up of women who share the name of Barbara.

“I've done volunteer work since I was 12 years old,” said Mishkin. “Not that it was instilled in me, I just like helping people. I was always a listener. I have never been one for getting up and making speeches. But if I can give someone a word of advice or even just listen, I want to do whatever I can to inspire them and brighten up their day.”



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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