Globetrotting OHS alum pens new book

CEO and author; Lauren Streifer unveils "This Small King"


If not for a call made by her father in 2002, there is a chance that Oceanside native Lauren Streifer would not have become the CEO of her own company and founder of her own publishing house.

The call led her on an adventure from Long Island to Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans and eventually to Australia, where she now resides. It also inspired her to share her love of literature with the world, as Streifer released her new children’s book “This Small King.”

Streifer, 37, spent the first 17 years of her life in Oceanside growing up on Woods Avenue. While she attended Oceanside High School, she entered foster care. “My parents were both supportive emotionally and academically, but they had personal challenges,” Streifer said. “It just made living there unworkable.” Despite that challenging time, Streifer held on to special memories of reading together with her parents before bedtime.

When Streifer became a godparent to her friend’s children in just before the pandemic, she wanted to bond with them over literature, as well. Streifer looked for children’s stories about the “sense of safety and love” that she felt during those moments before bedtime as a child. When she couldn’t find the perfect books for that, she decided to write them herself and created her own publishing house to provide that feeling of togetherness and love for children around the globe.

A member of the OHS class of 2002, Streifer ran the Op-Ed section of the school newspaper. “I felt really accepted and supported by Oceanside High School and by my friends which is how I think I survived some of the challenges I had,” Streifer said. “I was given every opportunity to be myself. Even though my life was so tumultuous I had that sense of safety and support.”

In 2002, Streifer applied to colleges while still in foster care. Being conservative with her spending because of her situation, she applied to just four schools. At that point she was living in East Rockaway with her father who decided to call Tulane’s admissions office because Streifer was offered a full scholarship from Penn State, but not the New Orleans university. That’s when Streifer and her father found out that she had received a full ride offer from Tulane, but it had been sent to the old address in Oceanside. “If my father hadn’t made that phone call, I would have gone to Penn State and been cold,” Streifer joked.

Streifer was excited to get the opportunity to get away from home and experience more of the world. At Tulane, Streifer studied international relations and English, looking for a chance to see more of the world outside of the states. She studied abroad in Melbourne, Australia, in her junior year, which was perfect since she had an internship at the country’s consulate in New York while at Tulane.

When Hurricane Katrina hit during her senior year, it led to a life-altering decision for Streifer. “We had two weeks to decide where we wanted to go to school because our school was closed,” Streifer explained. “Every school in America offered free study, but we had a very short window to decide and I heard about a university in Florence, Italy, giving free school to affected students.” With the help of the East Rockaway and Oceanside communities, Streifer was able to move to Florence and attend school there. “Living in Italy definitely showed me what amazing, magical things you can do with your life if you look outside of where you normally are,” Streifer said. “That set me on the course of being this kind of global explorer.”

Streifer moved to Australia after graduating Tulane, obtaining her masters’ degree in management diplomacy and trade from Monash University in 2006. She spent the next 13 years ingrained in Australian trade and commerce with time at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), talent relations at Nova Australia and executive director of Roads Australia – the nation’s body for transportation infrastructure. In 2019, Streifer started and became the chief executive of Streifer & Co., which fosters relations between CEOs across different industries and governments.

In early 2019, Streifer left her job as an executive at Roads Australia to return to her English background, writing stories for her friends’ children while on a yearlong excursion through about 40 countries. One of those stories was inspired by one of Streifer’s friends from Atlanta whose child was being a little too bossy around the house. So, Streifer decided to write a story about a king who governs rudely and terrorizes the town until he realizes that he can achieve more through kindness. That is how “This Small King” and the “This Big” series was born.

“I never thought that I would be an author. It was purely and accident and now we have one book finished and another three in the pipeline,” Streifer said. “This is a big part of my life now, but I never expected it.”

The huge leap of faith by Streifer, though scary at the time, has proved to be an important moment for her both professionally and creatively. “Making that jump was really hard, but it’s the best thing that I ever did,” Streifer said. “It set off kind of the next series of my life.”

Through late 2019 and early 2020, Streifer met with several large publishing companies like Penguin and Random House. After a pessimistic meeting in Brooklyn in 2020, Streifer was approached by another author who told her he thought her book was beautiful and advised her to start her own publishing house. And in May 2020, Streifer founded One in a Million Publishing. Now, with the first book in the series released, Streifer and One in a Million have started looking into turning the stories into animated films.

The series, inspired by Streifer’s travels, will see a diverse cast of children from all over the world learning important lessons about growing up when it is fully released. ‘This Small King” is available now on independent books platform Oakie Bees, and the second book in the series – “This Big World” – will arrive in November 2022.