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Local author wrote THE book on taking chances. Literally

It's storytime at Once Upon a Time, a charming children's store on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.

"Hi you guys! I'm Kobi Yamada and I wrote the book 'What Do You Do With A Chance,'" Yamada smiles. "Thanks for allowing me to share it with you today!"

Little ones are spellbound by the sweet tale of chances - and a child who isn't quite sure what to do with them. And Yamada clearly enjoys reading his book to them.

"But this time I was ready," he read aloud. "As it came by I reached out and I grabbed it. I held on with all my might. So what do you do with a chance? You take it. Cause it just might be the start of something incredible."

The kids clap and smile as the story ends, and hopefully leave feeling empowered to take a chance.

"What Do You Do With A Chance" is the newest book in his "What Would You Do With" series, endearing him to kids and parents alike. It just made New York Times Best Sellers List!

"I feel better about life when I read them," said Ruthie, a young fan and daughter of Once Upon A Time storeowner Liz McQuiston. "They're really encouraging and really inspiring."

His first book was published only five years ago, called "What Do You Do With An Idea." It was a surprise hit; winning awards, landing on the New York Times Best Seller list and being translated into twenty-three languages!

It was followed by "What Do You Do With A Problem," which was another big success.

"It's been really amazing! I think in whole there's been over two million books in print for the three books in the series," says Yamada with a smile. All of the stories feature enchanting illustrations by Mae Besom.

And while it may seem that only a seasoned author could have this much success, Yamada wasn't a writer before penning these books.

"I didn't know if I could write a good book," he said. 'I didn't even know if it was a good book when we published it cause it's a little different."

He had an idea and plenty of inspiration, but just because you believe in something doesn't make it easy.

"You still have all the same fears and insecurities," explains Yamada.

Being an author isn't his day job, though. Yamada is the president of Compendium, a Seattle-based gift and publishing company that opened in 1985.

In fact, he got the idea for his first book at work.

"It was watching our creative team at Compendium and just realizing that ideas are fragile and that they need to be protected when they're just starting off," he said. "An idea can be killed with an eye roll or an exhale when it's first coming in to the world."

The company's first product was a set of pop-open cards that they're still making today.

"There's something magical about the fact that it opens up, [and] you don't know what's inside," Yamada said. "It's like a little fortune cookie, and it feels like this message is meant for me."

For Yamada, it's all about adding a little bit of magic to their different mediums.

Over the years, they've expanded their offerings to include gorgeous greeting cards, journals, gift books and more.

"I've always been in love with words and quotes," he said. "I'd have my face in a book or a cassette tape at the time - anything I could get ahold of that was inspiring or positive."

So what's Yamada's advice for all those people who have an idea, but feel scared to share it?

"That's easy!" he smiled. "You trust your crazy idea. Everything that we have around us started as an idea so believe in that. Know that it's just getting started."

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