About Our Organization

Our Mission: Promote Children’s Focused Learning by Supporting Their Mental Health Needs

The CDC released their findings in March of 2020 that 7.1% of American children have medical diagnoses of anxiety. That translates to 4.4 million children. This report does not include children with anxiety who are not yet diagnosed, and precluded the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic and the racial inequity protests. Current times are now even more anxiety-inducing for children and their families.

Many children struggle with anxiety on a daily basis, whether diagnosed or not, and go through life without the guidance they need to appropriately manage their emotions. Even with a medical diagnosis, they may not have access to professional counseling or therapy that could bring them the knowledge of tools they need to bring them relief.

Trauma, neglect, over-stimulated environments, and changes in their expectations and safety structures can make it difficult for children to cope with every day stresses. They are always listening and take on the concerns of the adults and media that surround them. We believe it is our community responsibility to give these children the tools to learn how to self-regulate their own emotions. IMAGINE is the first step in offering our children calmer, happier life experiences that will benefit their learning journey.


Our Initiatives:

IMAGINE: An Inspirational Story of Calming Strategies for Children

IMAGINE is our initial project! It is the first children’s book written by our founder, Elisa Holton Odegard. Providing practical models and calming strategies that promote mindfulness in early learners, this children’s book is highly valued by parents, professional educators, and counselors.

In the News! Read more about the background story of IMAGINE in the Sun This Week: Burnsville newspaper, as well as the Savage Pacer newpaper….

Sun This Week: Burnsville

Savage Pacer

Read with Carylee! Watch our founder/author’s interview and book reading of IMAGINE on this wonderful YouTube show about diverse children’s books and authors…

Read with Carylee

“IMAGINE, Pivot & Soar” Dance Film

In collaboration with the Dance and Music Academy of Chicago, and their Trifecta Dance Collective Youth Company, our IMAGINE story and strategies were shared with the world through a feature film connected with the beautiful expression of the arts, released on March 27th, 2021! See the official 40 minute dance film and photos on “Our Partnerships” page!

IMAGINE School Curriculum

In collaboration with Trifecta Dance Collective Youth Company and Expand Community, we are supporting the creation of a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) elementary school curriculum that will foster teaching the calming strategies through a wide variety of the arts! After a pilot residency program in Chicago (when it is safe to return from COVID-19), we hope to make the curriculum available to many others. Look for updates to come!


DREAM! is another book in progress to encourage children to surround themselves with people of strength, integrity and perseverance, and to look within for the same characteristics, while proving to themselves that they can do anything they put their minds to. Stay tuned for more in the coming months!

Mindfulness Support

Mindfulness is an important aspect for all children in their education journey. Handprint On My Heart promotes healthy learning through both the books we author and the programs that we support. Look for future programs to help support and access mental health assistance for children and their families.

Our Inspiration:

My son had trouble focusing in school. He would make poor choices to gain attention from his teacher and from other students. The book IMAGINE has helped him to recognize that other kids have similar struggles, and that there are ways that he can use his mind, his imagination, to cope with disappointments.

― Abdul, Parent of a Kindergartner

You did a great job! I would love to see more children’s books about emotional strategies like you did here. As parents, (we) tried to break the cycle (of) generations of how we were raised culturally very different. Love this book!!

— Falis, Parent of a 4th Grader

The young clients that I work with need intentional tools to use before they reach the fight or flight level. IMAGINE is a beautifully illustrated story that not only captures their attention but gives them strategies that are developmentally appropriate and fun to use. They almost forget why they were upset to begin with!

― Dominic, Children’s Mental Health Therapist

We just read your book! As soon as I finished, (my first grader) said, “I would take deep breaths and IMAGINE myself on a hover board.” (My third grader) said, “I would IMAGINE I am a baseball pitcher.” You know its a perfect children’s book when they do the ending activity unprompted!!

— Beth, Kindergarten Teacher & Parent of a 1st Grader and a 3rd Grader

Learning Success Starts Early

Our Impact:


We just launched IMAGINE in June 2020! Our hope is to get this into the hands of every student, family, teacher, counselor, and therapist who could help a child self-regulate in order to lead a happier life and become a stronger, focused learner.


Every single penny received through the sale of our books and the donations of our supporters fund our projects. Handprint On My Heart is the epitome of the non-profit organization. The founder, author and board receive no compensation.


We currently have four new projects underway. Each of these initiatives take a unique approach to promoting a happier mindset and healthy learning for young children, while assisting them in accessing their education.

Interested in supporting Handprint On My Heart?

Do you have an idea for a project or program that aligns with our mission and values? Whether it’s a concept for a new book or an existing or new initiative that is focused on the explicit purpose of promoting healthy learning for children, we’d love to hear from you.

We also welcome and appreciate financial support. Whether it’s in purchasing one or more of our books, or in donating to our organization, thank you for considering our purpose a cause worthy of your support.

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