"My children know him as the wonderful man who wrote,
The True Sunbeam, which is not only a book you read about peace, it's a book that you do about peace."
~ Shelly Walker, LSP and mother of four ~
About "Uncle Mark"
“Uncle Mark” Olmstead is a singer, songwriter and children’s author whose mission is making a positive difference one song and one story at a time. His coloring book, story book, and inter-generational family keepsake, The Adventures of The True Sunbeam, won the international Best Indie Book Award!
Mark’s gift of poetry and music has been cultivated his entire life. He grew up in the foothills of the Blue Mountains in Eastern Oregon. One summer, Hollywood came to the nearby town of Sumpter, where they filmed the movie “Paint Your Wagon.” The same bus used by the crew was purchased and converted to a motor home by Mark’s dad. Mark cherished family trips listening to his Mom’s favorite music including Jim Reeves, Elvis, Dean Martin, Glen Campbell, and Englebert Humperdinck.
His love of music took on another dimension as a young teen when Mark was given John Denver’s “Farewell Andromeda” as a Christmas present. Having been an avid camper throughout his youth, Mark was most influenced by how Denver’s music reminded him of nights under the stars, the environment and the importance of taking an active role in caring for the planet.
Like Denver, Mark loved flying. He got his pilot’s license in 1983 while serving in the Air Force. In ‘84, Mark won a talent show with his first original song at Zweibrucken Air Base in Germany. Back in the States after his service, Mark rode a motorcycle across the country stopping in Nashville for Fan Fair, where he met several of his musical influences of the time including Reba McIntyre, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and many others.
With his wanderlust still unsatisfied, Mark grabbed his guitar and a backpack, waved goodbye to his folks and hopped aboard a freight ship to New Zealand. In Auckland he started busking in the town square, performing for tips. He’d take requests for songs, and if he didn’t know them, he’d learn them. After a few months exploring the North Island, he caught his first ride on a sailboat, the 43’ foot sloop “Colibri,” bound for Sydney, Australia. As a crew member, he learned to navigate by the stars and survived a three-day gale in the middle of the Tasman Sea. On that 11-day passage, surrounded by ocean, stars, and sky, nature’s brilliance inspired The True Sunbeam.
That inspiration is now a powerful coloring book, story book and family keepsake that brings children and families together, reminding readers that no matter what life brings, within each new moment is another invitation to shine.