Leadership Profile

What's Happening at Cedar Crest College

College Administrator Puts Fantasy World at Pre-Teens’ Fingertips

Ned Rauch-Mannino works hard for the College as manager of foundation and government relations, and when he leaves the office he typically retreats to an island of his own making. Fingertip Island, that is. Rauch-Mannino is currently putting the finishing touches on book three in a series of fantasy novels for middle school children titled, “FingerTip Island: The Vincenzos’ Missing Sister,” which is tentatively slated for release at the end of this year.

Ned Rauch-Mannino signs a copy of his book for a fan at Barnes & Noble

The books, published by Better Karma Publishing, take young readers on a journey to FingerTip Island, a supernatural place where the slightest thought becomes reality and his best daydreams come alive—courtesy of the runaway imagination of main character Rudolph Vincenzo. The books—which are intended to build self-esteem and teach lessons about the dangers of bullying—are a lifelong labor of love for the author.

“Moonlighting as an author has afforded me the opportunity to apply my creative side and penchant for story-telling to a completely separate audience from the world of government affairs,” he said. I’ve been playing with the idea for the series since grade school, and the story has appeared in several versions for school projects and other writings “In 2009, I approached it again with a better vision for the storyline. I gave the characters more personality and created a mythology, and in April, 2010 I signed on with Better Karma to publish the series.”

Rauch-Mannino participated in a well-attended book signing for the recently published second book in the series, The Vincenzos’ Bully Problem, at the Barnes & Noble at The Promenade Shops in Center Valley on March 31.

“We had a great response. More than 100 people came out, and between feedback and sales it was a very successful day,” he said of the book signing. “Teachers who I’ve worked with in the past encouraged current and former students to attend, and the afternoon also saw a number of new readers. I was able to discuss past school events and lesson plans with interested teachers, who look to use the book in their classrooms.”

In addition to writing the fourth and final book in the series, which is tentatively slated for publication in spring of 2013, Rauch-Mannino is working on a novel for young adults, and he and his brother, comedian Justice Mannino, have also completed a joke book they hope to get published.

For more information on Ned Rauch-Mannino and the FingerTip Island series, go to www.nedrauch.com.