Lunchtime tourist

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December 20, 2004 // UPDATED 5:00 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky

Free Spirit Publishing

Alternative holiday shopping destination

217 5th Ave. N., Ste. 200

Hours: weekdays 8 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Friday December 24.

Are you wondering what to give a creative kid on your list? Or one with too much energy?

Just blocks from your office is a renowned international publisher of children's books. Free Spirit has published over 150 award-winning books that have been so popular they've been translated into 19 languages. And all their books are available to see and buy in their comfortable lobby.

Free Spiriti's mission is to provide tools for kids to make a positive difference in the world. Judy Galbraith, a former classroom teacher, founded the press in 1983 as the first self-help publisher for kids. Her inaugural book, "The Gifted Kids' Survival Guide," is still in print. Galbraith has been a guest on "Oprah."

Now, if you're thinking all this sounds a little too academic for gift giving, hold on. Nearly every day, Free Spirit receives fan mail from kids inspired by their books. Whether it's "Friendship and Dating Manners for Teens" ($9.95), "Making Every Day Count" ($10.95) or "Life Lists for Teens" ($11.95), these are entertaining and thought-provoking gifts that'll delight both the gift-giver and lucky recipient.

"Write Where You Are" ($14.95) helps teens explore their creativity and address life's questions through guided journal writing. Add a blank book or a trendy pen and you'll be a great gift-giver.

Free Spirit also has plenty of books for parents and teachers, so you can also make a difference in an adult's life.

LUNCH TIP: The building's first-floor restaurant, Sapor, has a seasonal menu featuring flavors from around the world Mondays-Fridays, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Send your tips to thelunchtimetourist@hotmail.com.