|This article reads like a news release, or is otherwise written in an overly promotional tone. (October 2011)|
Vicki Lansky (née Rogosin; born January 6, 1942) is an American author and publisher. Vicki is known for her practical, common sense approach to parenting and household management. Her books, early Practical Parenting newsletter, media appearances, magazine and newspaper articles and reviews, have made her one of America's most popular and visible parenting figures. According to one parenting newspaper "If you have young children and don't use Vicki Lansky's books as a reference, you are working too hard."
Feed Me I'm Yours was an accidental bestseller. It began as a local fund raising cookbook for the Minneapolis Chapter of the Childbirth Education Association (CEA) in 1974. Vicki, a new mother and recent New York City transplant to suburban Minneapolis, had not been familiar with local group 'favorite-recipe' fund raising cookbooks. Vicki, then a stay-at-home mom and CEA volunteer suggested this idea at a meeting. CEA said, "Sure. Do it and we'll see." Vicki rounded up five friends (Jill Jacobson, Stephanie Keane, Norine Larson, Mary Popehn & Lois Parker)—some from CEA and some not. She presented an outline of a cookbook that would be of interest to new moms, beginning with making baby food. With only two group working meetings and one name ever suggested for the cookbook, the project was presented to CEA who agreed to fund its first printing. In the Sunday food section of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, (December 1, 1974), food editor Mary Hart featured Vicki Lansky and the cookbook. The next day Vicki's mailbox was full of orders. She saw that those who ordered the book, reordered additional copies. This inspired Vicki and and her husband, Bruce Lansky, who had worked in sales and marketing to start a publishing company. Meadowbrook Press (as they lived on Meadowbrook Lane) was created to sell Feed Me I'm Yours nationally. When their marriage ended in the early 1980s, so did their business partnership. In many ways, the handling of their divorce was as pragmatically unconventional as her parenting tips. He got the business; she got the lake-front home.
Vicki Lansky's first book is still one of the most popular baby/toddler food cookbooks in the country, selling over 3 million copies. It was followed by Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. (Continuously Advertised Nutritionally Deficient Yummies) Monster, which landed as #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list on April 30, 1978 after an appearance on the Phil Donahue show. Her parenting newsletter was recommended by Ann Landers (December 17, 1981) and was described by the New York Times as 'the most original' of its kind. The newsletter's parenting tips were incorporated into her book Practical Parenting Tips for the First Five Years which has sold over 700,000 copies.
In the 1980s Bantam Books published Vicki's first single topic parenting titles after she left Meadowbrook Press. This list includes: Toilet Training: A Practical Guide to Daytime and Nighttime Training (1993, 2003), Birthday Parties, Best Party Tips & Ideas For Ages 1-8 (1986, 1995), Dear Babysitter Handbook (1992, 2001), Welcoming Your Second Baby (1984, 2005), Getting Your Child to Sleep...and Back to Sleep (1985, 2004), Trouble-Free Travel with Children (1991, 2004), and Baby Proofing Basics (1991, 2002). Her children/parent read-together are books are KoKo Bear's New Potty, A New Baby at KoKo Bear's House, KoKo Bear and the New Babysitter, and KoKo Bear's Big Earache, which helps children prepare for ear tube surgery. Later she published these titles herself through Book Peddlers which she established to distribute her own titles as well as those by others.
"I read what was available on divorce but no one book had all I needed in one place so I wrote the one I wished I could have found for myself," says Lansky. "... I wrote a book to help other parents get through that tough time." On the sixth anniversary of her divorce NAL/Signet published Vicki Lansky's Divorce Book for Parents: Helping Children Cope with Divorce and Its Aftermath. It was reprinted in 1996 by her own press, Book Peddlers. It received a Parent's Choice Book award. It has been lauded by therapists, judges and attorneys across the country. According to the New York Times review, "It's the one to read through your fears and tears."
Her companion children's book, It's Not Your Fault, KoKo Bear, (also available in Spanish) is intended for children 3–7 years coping with divorce. In the Beanie Baby frenzy of that time, Vicki created KoKo Bear: the Divorce Doll for Kids. Vicki was interviewed by Meredith Vieira on The View, introducing the KoKo Bear doll to a national audience. KoKo Bear comes with a small backpack which encourages children to write down their worries and stuff them into the backpack so that KoKo Bear can carry them—not the children.
In 1988 Vicki received a call from the new editor at Family Circle magazine. They were looking for a new household hints columnist. That opportunity allowed Vicki to go from writing tips for young children to tips for adults. Vicki Lansky has since written and published several household hints books including the bestsellers, Baking Soda: Over 500 Fabulous, Fun and Frugal Uses, with over 500,000 copies and Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile and Very Good Uses (2004) with over 350,000 copies sold.
To date, Vicki has written over 3 dozen parenting and household hints books.
Vicki was a Sunday columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune (1985-1987), was a contributing editor to Family Circle magazine for over 8 years and wrote a monthly column for Sesame Street Parents magazine from 1987 to 1997. Vicki's media appearances over the years have included The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The View, CBS This Morning, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Phil Donahue Show, CNN, PM Magazine, Attitudes (Lifetime Cable), Hour Magazine, Smart Solutions (HGTV), The 700 Club, and The Today Show. She has been featured in several major national magazines and held a parenting spot for a year on AP Radio in 1983. She taped TV segments for Help! Around the House, Home Matters, and has appeared on QVC. Two of her divorce articles can be found on the Huffington Post.
She worked as a spokesperson for Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (January 2001/BSMG), Dole Family Advisory Board (March 2000/Londre Company), Mead Johnson's Enfamil (December 1999/BSMG) and P&G's Bounce fabric softener sheets (July 1997/Marina Mahr). In 2005 she worked with 3M as part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the invention of Scotch Tape. She was part of the National Parenting Center's group of advisers. She is on the advisory board of HousekeepingChannel.com
In 2002, Lansky was named Minnesota publisher of the year by the Midwest Independent Publisher's Association.
Vicki was born in Louisville, KY. At age 13 her family moved to Mount Vernon, NY. She graduated from A. B. Davis High School. After receiving a B.A. from Connecticut College, she worked in New York City in the retail clothing industry. She married S. Bruce Lansky in 1967. In 1971 they moved with their first child to Minneapolis where he had taken a new job. When they divorced in 1983 Vicki and Bruce co-parented their children with the kids living one week with each parent – a relatively new custodial arrangement at the time. Today most of her books are published by Book Peddlers and are distributed by Publishers Group West (PGW) to book outlets and in eBook format, and by mail or online through Practical Parenting.
Vicki's son Douglas, born 1970, is a travel writer, author and speaker; daughter-in-law Signe Lansky, is a Swedish medical doctor. They have three daughters, Sienna, India, and Belize and live in Stockholm, Sweden. Vicki's daughter, Dana, born 1973, is a law school graduate and lives in Minneapolis.
Vicki married Stephen M. Schaefer in 2008 just as she was updating 101 Ways to Tell Your Sweetheart 'I Love You'. "A very easy project" she says "as he is a wonderfully romantic husband."
- "Vicky Lansky bio". HousekeepingChannel.com.
- Washington Post. February 7, 1985.
- Indie Book Publishers: Bestselling Books Hall of Fame
- National Examiner. June 13, 2004.
- "Bed-Wetting Children". Oprah.com.
- Lansky, Vicki (January 24, 2011). "At What Age is Your Divorce Easiest on Your Children? (Did You Guess the Older Ones?)". HuffingtonPost.com.
- "What Did We Do Before Clear Tape?". Daily Press. September 25, 2005.
- Seanbaby (November 11, 2010). "11,201 More Pieces of Terrible Advice". Cracked.com.