Children’s Book, Best Friends Forest, Bets on Reforesting with Playgrounds

Sept. 6, 2017 – The new children’s book, Best Friends Forest, and its Best Friends Forest Foundation, announced a partnership with preeminent South Florida playground designerLeathers & Associates to create eco-friendly accessible playgrounds for at risk youth.

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Jupiter, FL resident, Melissa Pellicci wrote Best Friends Forestto focus on the wonder of nature and the power of play. In her work as a life coach and yoga therapist, she saw children losing trust in the positivity of nature and the universe, which frequently induces anxiety, illness, and personal difficulty in teens and adults. She sees the book, filled with brilliant colors, smiling trees and happy creatures, as a way to rebuild trust in nature and each other.

The dream of bringing the imagery of Best Friends Forest to life in real playgrounds came true in a meeting with Marc Leathers, the second generation of the company that creates playgrounds based on the ideas and dreams of children. Leathers envisioned the Best Friends Forest Playground as illustrated by Romanian artist, Alexandra Zgondea, filled with the book’s vibrant trees, flowers, cuddly creatures and embraceable Mother Earth. He enthusiastically committed to design and help build the playgrounds that can improve our neighborhoods—and world.

Leathers & Associates, located in Jupiter, FL and Ithaca, NY, for over 45 years, has created over 3,400 well-recognized playgrounds in 50 U.S. states and seven countries, including Tatum’s Garden, Salinas, CA, Sugar Sands Park, Boca Raton, FL and Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street TV sets. The company also traveled to tsunami-torn India to build playgrounds for its children.

The Best Friends Forest Foundation, funded by book proceeds, grants, corporate and personal donors who support the goal of bringing the power of play to neighborhoods, plans to debut its first playground in a South Florida needy neighborhood.

Best Friends Forest Playgrounds will be inclusive for children and adults with disabilities and will provide a template for others. Features may vary, depending on climate, budget and size, but all will revolve around the theme of Best Friends Forest. “Often, children, caretakers or grandparents have disabilities, so playgrounds need to be equally accessible and engaging,” Leathers explains.

Best Friends Forest also partnered with non-profit, One Tree Planted$1 from each book purchased will plant a tree and help in reforesting.

Find Best Friends Forest in hardcover ($19.99) on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or direct download at

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