News & Events
Sharing my stories, along with my journey on becoming an author brings me great joy. Please contact me about coming to visit your school.
Thrilled to be back at James Rhoads to present
The Peppermints: A Trip to the Zoo, honoring America's Oldest Zoo here in Philadelphia. Thank you, students and faculty, for joining me in the Eagles fight song and sending the players our positive vibes and support 3 days before the big win!!
FLY EAGLES FLY
Thank you, Girl Scouts! Congratulations to these intelligent, strong, and confident young women in earning your Scribe Badges! You impressed me with your peppermint hunting skills and inspired me with your commitment to a shared sense of curiosity.
Thank you Friends School Haverford for letting me share
The Pepppermints: A Trip to the Zoo with you!!
Thank you to the exceptional students and faculty at AIM Academy for having me. It was wonderful to share all things Minty with you. Congratulations to the talented and creative writers and artists and all who submitted their work for the writing and illustration contest.
Thank you to the extraordinary students and faculty at Holy Child School at Rosemont and congratulations to all the artist/writer contest winners! Your illustrations and stories were outstanding!
Thank you to Agnes Irwin for inviting me to help celebrate Dr. Seuss on March 2, 2016. I loved sharing the newly released The Peppermints: Big Sur with the extraordinary girls in Ms. Haines' fourth grade class.
Nikki's Mantle Story
November 09, 2016 • Avi Fox
as seen in blog on
Nikki has been a good friend since we met at Clover Market a few years ago. I have to note - she is also one of my own personal local style icons. This woman's wardrobe, and sense of passion and empowerment, is nothing to be trifled with. I am inspired by Nikki's passion for storytelling, and how she is making her mark on the world with her teaching and writing. And, by being an example for women following in her footsteps striving to be strong, courageous Amazons of this crazy world. Nikki's story is below, along with some photos from our Wild Mantle photo shoot!
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
- Philip Pullman
When I was a little girl, my father told my sister, two brothers and me bedtime stories about a family called The Peppermints. It was his way of connecting with his children; letting us know that he understood, even as an adult, what it was like to be a kid. Years later, the stories nearly forgotten, were brought back to life again as Grandfather 'Goodie' shared his wonderful stories with his grandchildren. In an attempt to honor the gift of storytelling and precious childhood memories, I compiled a handful of these stories over four years. The result is a nostalgic children’s book series, entitled, The Peppermints.
Taking place in the mid-1950's the stories have a multi-generational appeal: providing nostalgia and enjoyment for Grandparents, and Parents, while providing a unique experience of a time gone by for younger readers. Readers can hop into the Peppermints’ station wagon and join them on their many adventures including: a ski vacation, summer camp, a trip to the seashore, and many more. The Peppermints’ Vintage Modern style straddles the past and the future.
Sharing experiences that mean so much to me is a blessing. Expressing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences through writing has helped me understand things on a deeper level. I enjoy reaching into the past and can relive events as I write them. As a Reading Specialist, I have seen first-hand the power of a good story and its ability to inspire, transport, and transform. My passion is to focus, motivate, instruct and empower my students to see themselves as readers and writers. My role is teacher, and my purpose is to share my passion with others in the hopes that they will connect with their past, understand how it informs their present, and awaken new possibilities for their future.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that, “Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them” and I find that I am most productive and insightful when immersed in nature. Many of the stories have been written while I have been traveling within the United States and abroad. I am a natural observer and delight in finding commonalities in the young and old amongst different cultures.
Writing The Peppermints series has taught me the power of intention. There were things holding me back from writing the stories. I feared the stories weren’t good enough or original enough. Then I realized that two people can experience the same thing, but the way in which it happens is what makes it original and unique. Ideas come and go, but once you set an intention (for me it was ‘I will write for 10 minutes a day.’) you put forth your dreams into motion.
While the initial purpose of the books was to honor the past, I am rewarded each time I share the stories at my author visits at area schools. The students find ways of interacting with the characters that surprise and remind me of the way reading together allows us to really see one another and connect in an authentic way, and that is extraordinary.
by Nikki Maloney
Thank you Nikki for staring your story! AND, here are some photos from our Wild Mantle model shoot of you in the SNOW QUEEN mantle your amazing dog Grizzly :)
"Our Rhoads Team discussed highlights from the year yesterday and we agreed that our author visit was the Break Through we wanted to highlight. Rhoads welcomed back The Peppermints author Nikki Maloney this Spring. Nikki was able to meet with each of our K-3 classes, sharing an instructional and motivational message. She charmed our students, recounting each of the adventures that make up her published stories of The Peppermints series, and shared her plans for upcoming story lines. The program was a highlight because the lesson communicated that everyone has stories to tell and we are all capable of exploring our experiences, highs/lows, and creating something new.
Nikki has visited Rhoads for several years. Her commitment to the students plays a big part in their increasing trust of her and respect for her teaching."
Thank you Students and Faculty at Sellersville Elementary School for an incredible visit on May 26, 2015. What a great way to kick off summer! Congratulations to all the artist and writer contest winners!
I loved sharing The Peppermints: Thanksgiving Day Parade with the students and faculty at St. Katharine of Siena School in Wayne, PA
The Peppermints featured in
The Main Line Times March 5, 2017
PROFILE Reading specialist, author wants to encourage bedtime stories Nikki Maloney brings stories from her father to today’s children
By Linda Stein @lsteinreporter on Twitter LOWER MERION >>
Nikki Maloney writes in a sunny corner of her kitchen or a coffee shop in nearby Bryn Mawr. When not writing children’s books, Maloney, 46, works part time as a reading specialist at The Shipley School, tutors at Holy Child School at Rosemont, offers help with college essays and SAP prep, and, as if that weren’t enough, she’s the mother of two teenage sons and a daughter in middle school.
Her series of children’s books grew from tales that Maloney’s father, Frank Schanne, would tell to Maloney and her three siblings when they were children. Maloney decided to write these stories and share them in books after hearing her dad tell one of the tales to her three children.
“I overheard him telling the story and the kids were just transfixed,” she said. “It was vaguely familiar.” That story became the basis of her first book, “The Peppermints: A Ski Vacation,” that she published in 2014. Over the next four years her dad would tell the kids a different Peppermints story when they visited their grandparents, now retired in Jupiter, Fla.
Maloney started writing the stories down to preserve them but realized by the way her children were reacting, that these stories could be books. She asked her father to be her co-author but he declined, telling her it was her “gig,” she recounted during an interview at her Villanova home.
The characters are loosely based on herself and her siblings and parents — she is the youngest of four — and some of the events in her childhood. But she set the adventures of the children in “The Peppermints” books further back in time, into the 1950s, the era her parents grew up in, and has researched the various settings to ensure accuracy.
“He made up this family that happened to have two girls and two boys just like us,” said Maloney. For example, one character liked to swim like she did. Another one played baseball like her brother.
She asked her dad where he got the name, the Peppermints, for the family in his stories but he doesn’t remember. However, his grandchildren call him “Goodie” because he’s always giving them sweets.
The illustrated books are at a 5th grade reading level are meant to be read to children or for children to read to themselves.
Maloney believes it’s very important for parents or grandparents to tell or read stories to their children at bedtime.
“I know we’re all exhausted but it’s so beautiful to end your day like that, to give the gift of that (reading),” she said.
“When I first started doing the books I thought about doing a collection but when I met my first illustrator, he said, ‘Each one of them stands alone,’” she said. That artist, Ted Layton, suggested that she release the books one at a time and possibly compile a collection later. She met him “serendipitously” because both her mother, Nancy Schanne, and his mother are artists and shared a gallery exhibit.
“He loved mid-century and all these books take place in the 1950s,” she said. In addition to honoring her dad, also “the world was very different back then.
“One the one hand, it was very sheltered in way, but on the other hand, kids solved a lot of their own problems. There wasn’t as much parental involvement, for better or for worse. I know that when I read books when I was younger, I appreciated when kids figured things out themselves.”
“The whole family is in these books, but the kids kind of do their own thing,” Maloney said.
When she visits schools as a guest author and talks with students, Maloney shows them the illustrations of a “Woodie” station wagon and a split level house and asks, “Does this look it’s in the present day?” And they tell her no but they don’t know when it is, she said.
Sometimes her young fans have trouble understanding that although the characters are based on real people, they are fictional.
“They are real to me,” she tells them. “I hope they remind you of things you do as a family.”
“I try to throw in some ’50s slang, too,” she said. She calls her books, “Vintage Modern.” They are realistic, include some tall tale-type plot points but also reassuringly depict a warm family life.
“Kids are growing up so fast you want to give them a chance to read something that’s not post-apocalyptic,” she said.
In the most recent book, “The Peppermints: Big Sur,” Maloney recounts the story of her parents bringing home the family’s first puppy, a “runt of the litter” who grew up to be “taller than my father when he stood up,” she said.
“It’s really fun! I’ve been in touch with the Big Sur librarian and she wants me to come and do a reading,” said Maloney. Her own dogs, Grizzly and Bear, make guest appearances, too.
Because Layton “got too busy” to continue, Maloney ran an ad and found another illustrator, Christian Ridder, an architectural student at Temple University, who has brought his own touch to the characters, she said.
“Christian brought them back to life, he re-imagined them,” she said. “The fun thing about each of the books, there are hidden peppermint sticks in each illustration,” she said.
When Maloney was working on a book set in the Vermont camp her father went to as a boy, Camp Brebeuf, she managed through talking with her former babysitter to reconnect her dad with his best friend from that camp and also to speak with the man who founded that camp through a chance meeting at a luncheon. It was an opportunity to garner authentic details for the book.
The next book, coming out this summer, will feature the Peppermints on a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo. She hopes to have a launch party at the zoo and also offer the book at the zoo’s store. Once all 10 Peppermint books are completed, Maloney plans to go back to writing another book that she began earlier, a memoir of vignettes from her own childhood.
As a child, Maloney had a picture book, “My Name is Nicole” by Maud Frere that she dearly loved and also was fond of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” When she was 8 years old she happened upon a poetry workshop at her town’s library that showed her the beauty of words.
“I fell in love with books,” she said. But she missed some school due to an illness and when she returned Maloney was put into a lower reading group. She lost interest in reading until she rediscovered the pleasure in college, she said. That experience provided a strong feeling of empathy with the kids she teaches as a reading specialist, she said.
Born in Boston, and raised in Connecticut and Nebraska, Maloney attended Rosemont College, where she majored in English. She met her husband, Steve Maloney, a life sciences software engineer, at the shore in Stone Harbor, N.J.
After finishing college, she went into advertising but “felt a little bit of a void” and happened upon a master’s degree program in reading and it “clicked.” In addition to writing, Maloney enjoys walking with her dogs, swimming, yoga and getting together with friends.
She and her husband are the parents to Alec, 17, a senior at Harriton High School, Sean, 16, a sophomore at Harriton, and Tatum, 13, a student at Welsh Valley Middle School. So far Maloney has published: “The Peppermints: A Ski Vacation;” “The Peppermints: Summer Camp Treasury;” “The Peppermints: Thanksgiving Day Parade;” “The Peppermints: Be Careful What You Wish For;” and “The Peppermints: Big Sur.”
For more information go to: www.thepeppermints. org
Thank you AIM ACADEMY for having me. I loved sharing The Peppermints! and all things Minty with you on Monday, November 28th, 2016.
Thank you, Holy Child School at Rosemont, for helping ring in Spring on April 13, 2016. Get ready for The Peppermints: Big Sur. I am excited to see your beautiful artwork and interesting stories.
Thank you Sellersville Elementary!
It was so nice to share
The Peppermints: Be Careful What You Wish For
on Tuesday, May 26th 2015
It was wonderful to kick of the winter Holiday Season with a visit to St. Katharine of Siena in Wayne, PA on Monday, November 24th, 2014 . SharingThe Peppermints: Thanksgiving Day Parade was tremendous!
I had so much fun visiting The Gladwyne Library in Gladwyne, PA on Saturday, November 15th at 11:00 am to share the latest installment of The Peppermints: Thanksgiving Day Parade.
A special thank you to The James Rhoads School in Philadelphia for having me on Thursday, November 20th, 2014 to shareThe Peppermints: Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Thank you students and faculty at St. Katharine of Siena School in Wayne, PA for having me and letting me share
The Peppermints: Thanksgiving Day Parade. What a great way to start the winter holiday season. Thank you to all the expert peppermint hunters for locating all the hidden peppermints!
Thank you to The Gladwyne Library and the kiddos who came out to listen to the latest Peppermint escapades in
The Peppermints: Thanksgiving Day Parade. What a great way to kick off the winter holiday season. And a special thank you to Mike and Luke. Luke, thank you for suggesting that Peggy's story come next. Your WISH has some true...as we anticipate a May 2015 release of the latest book,
The Peppermints: Be Careful What You Wish For!
Thank you James Rhoads School in Philadelphia for having me on April 24th!! I look forward to seeing you soon to share
The Peppermints: Summer Camp Treasury
Thank you Gladwyne Elementary School in Gladwyne, PA for having me on June 9th to share The Peppermints: A Ski Vacation and Summer Camp Treasury!!
A “Fresh Start” at Rosemont Provides a Legacy with a Legacy of Her Own
Traveling the country since youth, Nikki Maloney’s family has been the one thing in her life that has remained constant over the years. The Rosemont Class of 1992 graduate has since utilized her family’s bond as she authors her hit children’s book series, The Peppermints.
Maloney was born in Boston and raised between Connecticut and Nebraska. She eventually found her way to Rosemont’s campus and settled in neighboring Villanova after graduating though going to college on the Main Line wasn’t originally on the English alumna's agenda.
“My heart was set on attending the University of Nebraska with many of my high school friends,” Maloney said.
“But I do remember living in Connelly and feeling as though I lived in a treehouse because I was on the top floor with a view directly onto the front patio, where the branches of the large tree extend across the building,” she added.
Maloney recalls the rustling of the wind through that tree bringing her comfort. “It reminded me of growing up on the East Coast,” she said. “I had spent five years living in the Midwest and didn't realize how much I had missed the tall trees. I feel that the small and gorgeous setting allowed me to regain my footing and to start fresh.”
After starting fresh, she began to see what so many in her family had seen before. She “adored” the intimate relationships she had with her professors as well as the fact that there were so many colleges and universities that were accessible. Maloney was a triple legacy at Rosemont: Her grandmother, aunt, and mother all attended Rosemont. However, she claims that is not what drew her to the College.
Maloney played on the basketball team and was also involved in Campus Ministry initiatives which helped her meet good friends and understand that she wasn't the only one uncertain of their niche at Rosemont.
Now she is “eternally grateful” that she learned the “invaluable” lesson that you often end up where you are meant to be. Interestingly enough, she is currently trying to teach her children this lesson.
After graduating from Rosemont, Maloney went into advertising. She then decided to pursue a master’s degree in reading and that’s when she discovered her current career. When Maloney was a little girl, her father told her and her siblings bedtime stories about a family called the Peppermints. Years later, the stories were almost forgotten, but were brought back to life again as her father (now a grandfather) shared the stories with his grandchildren.
Maloney started writing the stories down to preserve them but realized by the way the children were responding that these stories could be something more. “I recall him telling the story and realizing there was something special there,” she said. Over the next four years, her father would tell the grandchildren a different Peppermints story each time they visited him in Florida. This resulted in her father providing the root stories (which she would expand on) for five of the books while Maloney crafted an additional five stories entirely from her own perspective.
“When I first started writing the books I thought about doing a collection but when I met my first illustrator, he claimed each one of them stands alone.” Maloney continued. Now the adventures of the Peppermint family are captured for posterity in 10 Peppermint books that will be released one at a time. The books are written for a fifth-grade reading level and are intended to be read aloud or on their own.
Maloney believes the power of a good bedtime story can do wonderful things for those growing up. “I know we’re all exhausted, but it’s so beautiful to end your day like that; to give the gift of reading,” she said.
Now having published six out of 10 books, the most recent (published in July 2017) features the Peppermints on a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo. She is working to offer the book at the Zoo’s gift shop. Once all 10 books are completed, Maloney plans to return to writing another book that she began earlier.
In addition to authoring the “vintage modern” series, Maloney works part-time as a reading specialist, a tutor, and assists with college preparatory methods, all while raising her two sons and daughter with her husband.
Reflecting on her experiences, Maloney had a lot to share. She explained that as an author and English alumna, writing has taught her the power of story, the blessing of connection, and the importance of revision.
Ultimately, Maloney is content with her choice to become a “Rosemonster” as she regularly attends Forum classes and walks her two dogs through campus.
“I came reluctantly,” Maloney said. “I left completely satisfied.”