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New book teaches children ABCs of Berkshire Hathaway

Last updated on: May 9, 2013 06:22 IST

New book teaches children ABCs of Berkshire Hathaway

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Jonathan Stempel in Omaha


Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc invests in dozens of businesses, and a new book tries to explain it all to young readers, from A to Z.

Two Omaha residents, author Nancy Rips and illustrator Tom Kerr, have teamed up on "My First Berkshire ABC" to teach children about one of the world's best-known companies, and a little about the local billionaire behind it.

More than 1,000 copies were sold at Berkshire's annual meeting on Saturday, which draws thousands of people to Omaha, and where Buffett has a say on what gets sold.

"You need something to bring home to your kids and grandkids to explain Berkshire," Rips, who has also written three books about Jewish holidays, said in a joint interview with Kerr.

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Image: Cover of the new book on Berkshire Hathaway.
Photographs: Courtesy, Nancy Rips

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Most pages show companies that Berkshire owns or invests in.

G, for example, is for "Geico," and features the car insurer's talking gecko. And W is for "Wells Fargo", and features the bank's familiar stagecoach.

The book's theme changed at Buffett's suggestion.

"Our first effort was things like, 'S is for sharing. Mr. Buffett believes in sharing. K is for being kind,'" Rips said.

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Image: A stuffed pig featured in Geico insurance advertisements is seen with the Geico lizard marketing mascot (3rd L) at their booth at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters

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"I got an email back from Warren saying, it's too laudatory, they will lampoon him in the news," she continued. "And I wrote a whole new proposal: A is for Acme (Brick), B is for Borsheim's (jewellery), C is for Clayton Homes, D is for Dairy Queen. I got an email back: 'You're in the show.'"

Kerr has worked at many newspapers and drew McGruff, the Crime Dog for the National Crime Prevention Council.

"Part of what Warren talks about is investing in things that you know," he said. "Virtually everything in here is something that somebody can relate to and touch and understand."

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Image: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett wanders the company trade show before his company's annual meeting in Omaha.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters

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Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is shown under "Q," stamping boxes of "quality" merchandise.

Rips and Kerr have not heard from Buffett on whether he likes the book. Buffett's assistant Carrie Sova had no comment on that question.

Kerr depicted Buffett just four times, including on the cover holding his usual Cherry Coke.

"This book is not all about Warren Buffett," Kerr said. "I picked my spots. He's so synonymous with Dairy Queen that I wanted him there, and obviously on the cover with Coca-Cola."

"Cherry Coke," Rips interjected.

"Yep," Kerr said. "She had me change that."


Image: Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation Charlie Munger.
Photographs: Lane Hickenbottom/Reuters

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