Good & True Media was one of the first Literacy Partners in the Moms for Libraries program. Brian Gallagher, the head of the publishing house, is a father of five who saw the need for high quality children’s literature, particularly in schools, and rose to meet the occasion. Together, we are working to bring engaging books with literary and educational value to school libraries and classrooms across the U.S.
We love working with Brian, and we thought our members would appreciate getting to know him and his company better!
Can you tell our members a little more about you and your background?
I am Brian Gallagher. I have five kids and have been happily married to my wife, Alyssa, for 12 years. I have a bit of an unorthodox background. I have a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Economics from Christendom College, a Master’s in Accountancy from Virginia Tech and a Master’s in Business Analytics from Villanova. I am technically a CPA, even though I still use Turbo Tax for my taxes. I did a 2 year stint at Deloitte but all throughout this period of time I was writing. I have always been a writer since I was in Middle School, whether it was a screenplay, poem, short story or novel. I love writing and I have been fortunate enough to have authored 8 books under my pen name B.B. Gallagher. I am the publisher of Good & True Media, which is the most recent venture of our 85-year-old family-owned business, Good Will Publishers. I work with the other companies here and there, but the majority of my time is spent building this publishing house and the Bible Crate, which is our monthly subscription box service.
What made you decide to publish Good & True Media books? What need seemed unfulfilled?
The story of why I started Good & True Media is actually an unfortunate one. My son, Charlie, went to a public school in the sticks. We lived out in the country with some land in South Carolina and thought were well hidden from the woke culture of the nearby city (Charlotte). The new year started and I am standing at Field Day. The kids are running around and having fun and a parent pointed a child out to me and said, “Do you see him? That’s Max. Last year, she was McKenna.” McKenna was in Charlie’s 2nd grade class. 2nd Grade. The Administrators told us nothing and couldn’t, out of the right of privacy. I was confused and angry. What about my right as a parent? It didn’t matter. It is my opinion that McKenna is being abused by her parents and she was not at fault at all. She is a child after all. Her brain isn’t even close to being fully formed. But I wasn’t going to let my child grow up being confused by this. I took Charlie out of the school the next and we moved our family to another city, literally within 2 months.
I opened my eyes and saw the garbage that was being sold on Target’s bookshelves. Anti-Racist Baby, Gender Queer, you name it… The big publishing houses are trying to make our children activists. Even the books that are not as much on the nose feed subliminal messages to our children and I am fed up. I am sick of the blatant assault on traditional values.
So I started looking at Christian books, and I felt like not many of them were good. It’s almost like since they are about Jesus they feel like they can make a lesser quality book. It’s like really bad Christian rock. You have the praise and worship, but the song isn’t any good. I wanted something that could be both. I wanted to make something that could infiltrate public schools and find McKenna where she is, because she is surrounded by woke.
This is a long answer, I know, but I didn’t just start Good & True for Charlie, I started it for McKenna.
What is the creative process like for you as an author and as a publisher? How does a book go from an idea to a completed book?
I’ll break this into two shorter answers.
As an Author: People sometimes ask if I carry a notebook. And my answer is simply ‘No, because it’s not a good idea if I have to write it down.” I consider a lot of my writing time to be just thinking. Whether I’m running or driving, my brain wanders off to fairy tales. I guess the real world is so revolting, I escape it in stories. The idea becomes a book for me between the hours of 9pm and 2am. I work probably 50-60 hours a week on the business, so I don’t have much time for writing and it is important for me to be present father and husband. So I have to wait till everyone goes to sleep.
As a Publisher: We actively seek out our authors. We don’t take submissions. We go to people who seem to live out the good Christian life and that have a story to tell. When we build the story with them, we ensure virtue runs throughout it. Then we hire an illustrator, and we spare no expense here. For children’s books at least, that is why so many books fall short. The quality of artwork has to be incredible. We live in a visual world after all. After artwork and editing, it goes to layout and then press. Our fantastic team here at Good & True know what we are doing, so we usher the book throughout the process until publication!
One of your books in our program is Jack & The Fantastical Circus. What inspired this book?
It actually started as an idea called “Virtue Circus”. I don’t know how it came to me, I was probably changing a diaper or something but circus performers are fun and kids love the circus so why not link the different acts of the circus to different virtues. So as soon as we started doing this it quickly began to make sense. The lion tamer needs courage to get in the cage with the lion. The tightrope walker needs patience or she will fall. The strong man needs perseverance because he doesn’t get buff in one day. It’s a beautiful book by Ariel and Michael Tyson and illustrated Mary Manning.
A recurring theme in your books seems to be teaching universal and timeless virtues like courage, perseverance, responsibility, etc. What are the overarching lessons you hope young readers take away from your books?
The overarching lesson is simple. It takes work to be a good person. A virtue is a habit. It’s like a muscle that needs to development. In today’s world people live according to “their truth”, which is simply code for “I can’t be wrong.” But you can’t grow if you think like that. You have to screw up and be corrected by an authority that demands your respect. Then you get to learn your lesson and go forth trying to do better. It really is that simple. The modern world has complicated everything by dismantling truth. I want our books to be simple with a gem of wisdom that they can take with them.
Tell us about the retelling of classics like The Odyssey. What value do these stories offer children in 2023?
We have this new series called the Poetic Primers and it essentially turns the classics into fun poetry. They are PG Rated and a child’s first introduction to the classics. We have the Odyssey and Aesop’s Fables and we have coming out this year King Arthur and the Quest for the Holy Grail. These stories are filled with so much wisdom that they are certainly applicable to today.
It is important for children to know that there are dragons prowling about this world. And they will have to slay them. Evil exists. Our children need to know that the dragon can be slayed. Because when they encounter evil in their lives they won’t cower in fear, they will stand up for the principles on which they were raised and they will fight to defend them.
You have created multimedia / narrated videos for some your books, like The American Dream of Braven Young. Why did you choose to expand into this format? How can parents and teachers access these videos?
We want our books to be available for everyone at as little cost as possible. We have used two multimedia forms to capture the imagination of the reader: audio dramas and animated books. Audio dramas are not just audio books. They have music and sound effects and a cast of characters. With so many children being audio learners, we felt like it was important to create something that they could best benefit from. Our books can be put on during car rides around town. They can hear the elephants getting on the Ark and the rocket ship blasting off from the Air and Space Museum.
The animated books add spread animation on top of the audio drama. It is not a cartoon but the illustrations do move a bit making the story come to life visually. Many of our books come with QR codes with free access to these, while others you can pay for them separately. You can see the Odyssey for example here: https://www.goodandtruemedia.com/the-odyssey-digital Free of charge!
Who is your favorite figure in American history and why?
This is such a great question. I think my favorite is John Adams. He was a difficult guy, but if you read up on his life you see he was at every major point of our history. In fact, many people don’t realize this, but he defended the British troops on trial for the Boston Massacre and he won the trial. Now imagine a country boiling with revolution and here you have a court case where the enemy is on trial. But he stood for the Rule of Law. He led the efforts of the Constitutional Conventions and was one of the first editors of the Declaration of Independence, not to mention he was the first Vice President and the second President. We wouldn’t have a rule of law without John Adams. This is so very important, because the rule of man so often leads to tyranny – in governments and in our own hearts.
What is your favorite book (fiction and/or nonfiction), or what are you reading right now?
I get asked this a lot and I consider myself a bit of an evangelist here. I believe that the best fantasy author is writing right now and not many people know about him (outside of the fans of the genre). His name is Brandon Sanderson. He writes huge books and a lot of them. He builds worlds and magic systems and delivers incredible stories in this world. I think that the fantasy genre is the modern day fairy tales. You have to suspend reality to get enveloped in their world, but there are so many reflections of this world within the stories. In many ways you can see our world better by escaping to another. My favorite book is the Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.
A fun note about Sanderson, he recently did something pretty incredible. Kickstarter’s largest funded project was 20 million dollars for a smartwatch. Sanderson released four secret novels that he wrote during CoVid on Kickstarter and doubled that number. He raised 42 million dollars in 30 days, which is by any standard of book sales incredible. He truly is a master of his craft and I wish more people would know about him, because I think if people read him, they would fall in love with fantasy. They would see the beauty of fairy tales and let’s not forget the Einstein quote “if you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales, if you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Is there a book you read as a child that really sparked something in you, either a love for reading, imagination, history, etc., and if so what was it?
I feel like everyone has a “book”. What I mean by that is a book that found you at the right time that hit you in all the right places. That book for me was “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I reread it as an adult actually and I was baffled by how much wisdom was packed into such a short book. Narnia is amazing and I do like returning to Hogwarts from time to time, but The Little Prince had all of the right things for me at that time.
Why did you choose to donate your books to Moms for Libraries?
Moms for Libraries is fighting the good fight. I just make stuff up and hope it reaches children like McKenna, but I can’t do that without people like Moms for Libraries. I just evangelized about some fantasy author above, and it is my hope that people can evangelize about Good & True Media, because I am very proud of what we have made but if it doesn’t reach those kids in the school libraries then what good was it? I think we have donated a thousand books to Moms for Libraries and have an incredible deal for Moms for Library volunteers.
In this culture war, we have to make meaningful alliances. Moms for Libraries is one of our greatest allies in this fight. We have their back and we know they have ours. The dragons of the modern world loom too large for us to take them on ourselves. We must band together and restore Christ’s place in our society.