Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway 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 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.
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.
“I got an e-mail back from Warren saying it was too laudatory, they will lampoon him in the news,” she added. “And I wrote a whole new proposal: A is for Acme [brick], B is for Borsheim’s [jewelry], C is for Clayton Homes, D is for Dairy Queen. I got an e-mail 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.”
Berkshire vice chairman Charlie Munger is shown under “Q,” stamping boxes of “quality” merchandise.
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 said.
“Yep,” Kerr said. “She had me change that.”