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Media Reactions

2019- Phoebe Comes Home #1 on GoodReads Best Eco-Fiction Listopia.
2019 - Phoebe Breaks Through is #3 on GoodReads Best Eco-Fiction Listopia.
2019 - Protectors of the Wood Book Series has 84,752 Followers on Facebook.
2018 - The Protectors of the Wood podcast has over 525 daily RSS subscribers.
2019 - Protectors of the Wood Web Series over 30.2K views on YouTube


John Kixmiller

Tamara Kachelmeier

Maritza Pabon

Olivia Rosane


Product Info


TITLE: Phoebe Comes Home
AUTHOR: John Kixmiller
PUBLISHER: Protectors of the Wood LLC through Ingram Spark
RETAIL PRICE: $16.00 US (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0692900659 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0692914724 (E-Book)
PAGES: 212

TITLE: Phoebe Breaks Through
AUTHOR: John Kixmiller
PUBLISHER: Protectors of the Wood LLC through Ingram Spark
DATE OF PUBLICATION: April 15th, 2017
RETAIL PRICE: $16.00 US (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0692859339 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0692914755 (E-Book)
PAGES: 256

TITLE: The Ghost Girl
AUTHOR: John Kixmiller
PUBLISHER: Protectors of the Wood LLC through Ingram Spark
DATE OF PUBLICATION: February 1st, 2019
RETAIL PRICE: $20.00 US (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0578450162 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 9780578469533 (E-Book)
PAGES: 256

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John KixMiller is the author of the Protectors of the Wood Adventure Novel Series, a six volume saga about a group of misfit teenagers destined to wave the world from climate change.  Books 1 & 2, Phoebe Comes Home and Phoebe Breaks Through, have been completed so far. He is at work on Book 3, The Ghost Girl, and performs regularly as a part of the Protectors of The Wood Band, a musical group that presents songs and readings from the novel series.

John KixMiller worked for thirty years for the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, serving in a variety of positions at the Beacon Program at PS 503/506, including Beacon Director and Neighborhood Center Director. Over the past five years he developed a gardening program for children as a part of the after school program.  He is a graduate of Princeton University, the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and Farm School NYC.  He is the author of A Schoolyard in Brooklyn (The New School, Institure for Urban Affairs), and coauthor with Helene Onserud of "A Community Center Model for Current Urban Needs" (included in Group Work Practice in a Troubled Society).

A songwriter, acoustic guitarist, harmonica and woodwind player, John lends his instrumental skills and voice narrative to The Protectors of The Wood Bands', SPOKEN WORD...UNPLUGGED! 

He is married, the father of two children, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

John's favorite quote is, "Remember The Kids." -Babe Ruth  

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Interview Resources

The Background of the Protectors of the Wood

The Protectors of the Wood Adventure Novel Series is the fully illustrated story of a group of misfit teenagers who save the world from climate change. Book #1, Phoebe Comes Home, begins as Phoebe arrives back in Middletown after a year away at college. That night she dreams that a strange green man comes out of a thunderstorm to her window and says, “Everything is at stake!” The following day, she discovers shocking changes taking place in her familiar childhood home. An immense corporation already owns many local businesses and is buying up property at an alarming rate. The local minister preaches a sermon about climate change and an angry crowd walks out in protest. And a valuable gem called Dreamstone is attracting extraordinary interest and many unanswered questions. Phoebe sets out to make new friends and save the world she knew and loved as a child.

In 1988, my nearly 5 year old daughter and I invented a game with just about anything we could find from her toy box that could help create an imaginary town and forest, and people who lived there. Gradually this game became a story, and we began telling an episode each night. After a few months, at my wife’s great suggestion, we began taping the episodes. But we decided that we would have to start again at the beginning. The story already existed, and we were trying to recall it, not in the exact words used before, but in an ideal form, what we really wanted to say. It was a joint project, something we did together, trying to recall a magical moment.

During this time I was shocked by the environmental crisis of the ozone hole in the earth’s atmosphere caused by the CFC chemicals used in many common products and appliances. Emergency efforts led to a global agreement that began to resolve this problem, but for me the shock of this learning experience only grew more profound. I could see beyond any doubt that our civilization was capable of accidentally destroying nature as we know it. Memories of my father telling me in the early 70s that greenhouse effect was real, and even earlier memories of bringing a blanket to elementary school so that my classmates and I could sleep in the school basement in case of nuclear war – all these astonishing revelations made it clear that our civilization needs major redirection. Humans must become stewards of our planet and all life, handing on this precious gift to the children and life forms of the future.

These themes rose up in the background of our bedtime stories. Many months went by. And then my children grew up, climate change became a growing menace, and my job working with young people in a New York City school occupied an enormous share of my time. In 2002 my daughter prepared to leave for college. She handed me a shoebox containing about thirty ninety-minute tapes of what we then called the Middletown Story. I began to transcribe it. By about 2006, I realized that I wanted to focus more on the teenagers in the story, but still include the pre-school characters. I began to dream of creating a book series that could exist for the teenagers and young adults that I knew, and for all those facing a confusing, frightening future. I began to write songs into the story, in the same way that we wrote songs into plays at work.

As a part of my job as a community center director, we created three large performances each year. One of the features of our school building was a six hundred-seat auditorium. We sometimes wrote original musicals complete with songs and stories. In teen center a few of us began to teach guitar. Some of our members formed a band. We also created a soccer league, and regular children’s activities in our local community garden.

I enrolled in Farm School NYC to learn more about agriculture and creating gardening activities for all ages. Farm School offered me an internship at Taqwa Community Farm, run by the outstanding founder and teacher, Abu Talib. There I met Ceci Charles-King, who took an interest in the book series and joined our team as an editor. She shared her experiences in agriculture, advocacy, global politics, and cultural traditions. Taqwa Community Farm was a model of neighborhood community building and generosity, where we were encouraged to experiment with composting, seed-saving, winter gardening with a hoop house, and growing plants shared from many different cultures.

Meanwhile my son used his design skills and computer knowledge to turn the Middletown Stories into home made publications. My son’s roommate, Gideon Chase, began to create illustrations. My close friend Carlos Uribe, who worked nearby running art activities for children, began the first of a long series of illustrations that is still going full speed today. One feature of the plot was a charitable foundation called the Protectors of the Wood. This complex organization had a secret identity as a league of allies formed to save the world from climate change and species extinction. The teenagers created their own group, the Junior Protectors of the Wood. This aspect of the story became so important that I changed the name of the book series from the Middletown Story to the Protectors of the Wood.


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REVIEWS Author Spotlight

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Author & Narrator - John Kixmiller
Illustrators - Carlos Uribe, Lawrence Tate, Gideon Chase
Graphics/Motion Graphic Artists - Lawrence Tate, Tamara Kachelmeier
Sound Design/Audio Mixer & Engineers -Tamara Kachelmeier, Garbriela Baez, Edward Guzman
Voice Actors - Gabriela Baez, Edward Guzman, Tamara Kachelmeier, John Kixmiller, Tom E. Morgan, Maritza Pabon, Lawrence Tate