Space Baby Virtual Book Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Tuesday, January 31, 2023




ABOUT THE BOOK
Space Baby 
Written by Jay Dee 
 Illustrated by Tom McGrath 
 Ages 3+ | 32 Pages 
Publisher: Kraine Kreative | ISBN-13: 9781777426118 

Publisher’s Book Summary: When Angelic hears that Daddy spread his love for her around the whole universe, she worries she hasn’t done the same for her baby brother. Only one thing to do! Brother and sister rocket into the night sky to explore the universe in search of the most awesome thing there. “Space Baby Salute!” 

Available for purchase here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
Under multiple pen names, Jay Dee is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author behind chart-topping comics, fiction novels, and business books, including THE NIGHT BEFORE THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and GROW THROUGH IT, which was written, illustrated, and published during the CV-19 lockdown with proceeds donated to coronavirus relief efforts. PASS THE PIG: LEADERSHIP BY ATTRACTION was his first non-fiction book, and he made his fiction debut with the multimedia sci-fi/fantasy THE PLAGUE and EZEKIAL, followed by RENEGAYD, all of which became bestsellers. To learn more about Jay Dee and his books, visit www.KraineKreative.com and www.spacebabybook.com/. 

 ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR 
Tom McGrath is based in the North West of England, working as a freelance illustrator since 2012. Despite being repeatedly told that all artists drink too much absinthe, cut their own ears off, and only make money after they’re dead – he has always wanted to be one. In fact, this has only encouraged him. He still has both his ears. To learn more, visit www.SpikedMcGrath.com.


BOOK REVIEW
Space Baby tells a sweet story about sharing love for family members, how it can spread throughout the universe, and always be with you. I felt like this story explains how love can always stay with you no matter the distance or circumstances. The theme is something that all kids can relate to. Kids will find this book fun and enjoy the message behind the story. The story was easy to read and will quickly become a favorite with young children. The illustrations were attractive and eye catching. The illustrator did a great job at capturing the wonders of space and stimulating the readers' imagination with his images. Overall, this is fun and sweet story that kids will enjoy reading.

GIVEAWAY
Enter for the chance to win an autographed copy of Space Baby and a $250 donation to The Planetary Society and its mission to increase discoveries in our Solar System, elevate the search for life beyond our planet, and decrease the risk of Earth being hit by an asteroid.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A signed copy of Space Baby
  • A $250 donation made in your name to The Planetary Society and its mission to increase discoveries in our Solar System

Nine (9) winners receive:

  • A signed copy of Space Baby

Space Baby Book Giveaway

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Kraine Kreative. I also received a free digital pdf to review of the book, however, this is my honest opinion.

Ways to Save on Clothes

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Prices are skyrocketing in this economy from more expensive groceries, clothes, gas and etc. The
less you spend on clothes for you and your family, the more money you have to save or use for bills! Buying clothing doesn't have to be expensive if you're smart about how you're doing it. Here are several ways to save money on clothing purchases for you and your family:

1. Host a Clothing Swap: Get a group of friends together and have everyone bring clothes that they don't need or want anymore and let your friends (and you choose) from the clothes. There's a great tutorial located here.

2. Sign-up for Stores' Email: Some stores send out credit or high value coupons through their email. I would suggest signing up for your favorite stores' email program. Be sure also to list your birthday, if the company asks for it. For example, over J. Crew Factory sent me a $10 off coupon to use for my half-birthday, I was able to use it and get a cardigan sweater for under $3. That's pretty cheap! 

3. Sign-up for Stores' Reward Programs: I am signed up for a couple of stores' reward programs with stores I like. They will often send high-value coupons for birthdays, and you never know when your purchases will accumulate enough to earn you rewards that you can in turn use to purchase clothing. Reward programs will often send "rewards" or coupons out for your birthdays too.

4. Sell/Get Credit for Clothes at Consignment Store: I've gone to consignment stores in the past year and sold excess clothes that my kids didn't wear or outgrew. The store credit can then be used to purchase clothing for your kids in the next size! My favorite online one to use is Thredup. It makes selling adult clothes easy. For kids clothes, I use the local stores.

5. Shop Yard Sales: Yard sales are a great way to get cheap clothing!

6. Shop in the Off Season: Shop for what your kids need for the next year at the end of a season. Stores will sell off end of the season items for a discounted rate and it's best to get it at the end of the season rather than at the beginning and prices are high.

7. Shop Used: Shop at consignment and resell stores for clothing. This option is better for the environment and creating less waste. Just be careful. Just because an item is sell used doesn't mean it's being sold at a lesser cost than what you can find a discount on a clearance rack. Shop around and figure out what price points you're willing to spend.

8. Use Promo Codes and Online Cash Back Programs: When shopping online, I use promo codes and online cash back programs to help me save. My favorite online cash back programs are Ibotta and Rakuten. I get a percentage or coupons back from my purchases and those savings accumulate.

9. Know Price Points: I've heard from friends and family that discount superstores are the cheapest for clothing and malls are expensive, but that's not necessarily the case. I've gotten jeans for $15 from JcPenney on sale that beats out the $30 jeans at a discount superstore. It's really important that you establish price points and watch sales when you need to add something to your closet. Have a limit for what you're willing to spend on a t-shirt, jeans, pants, etc.

10. Buy What You Wear and Not What Sits in Your Closet: No matter how cheap something is or how good of a deal something is, it's a waste of money if it's not something that you will actually wear often and use. Buy what you will wear over and over again. You have to know your personality and understand what you like and your family likes. My son loves zip up hoodies, buying him windbreakers or light jackets is a waste of money even if it's less than a dollar because he won't wear them. Great deals doesn't necessarily mean that it's worth the money if it's not something you would use.

11. Buy Gift Cards: If you know you're going to spend money at a certain clothing store over the course of the year, buy gift cards during the holiday season when they're discounted or buy it at your local grocery store where you can accumulate perks for groceries or gas rewards. Every little bit helps.

12. Only Shop When You Know You're Going to Need Something: If you have enough clothes in your closet and you don't need anything for a certain season, then don't shop. You don't need to shop for new clothes if you don't need it. Buy what you need, and not what you want.


What are some of your tips?

Please note that there are referral links on this post that help support this blog.

Lulu the Beaver Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview and Giveaway

Tuesday, January 17, 2023




ABOUT THE BOOK


Lulu the Beaver

Written by Bethany Gano

Ages 5+ | 48 Pages

Publisher: Bunny Books | ISBN-13: 9781736147269


Publisher’s Book Summary: In a colony full of busy beavers, one bashful beaver is hiding a gigantic secret.

Lulu tries to be a typical beaver, but her dream of being an artist is getting out! Despite her friends’ encouragement, Lulu’s struggle with fear and self-doubt has led her into a pattern of destroying her artwork — until an unexpected encounter changes Lulu, and the forest, for good.

With funny asides, sound effects, and elements of comic-book style, this eye-opening tale urges kids to confront gloomy thinking and gives them the courage to bravely share their gifts.

“The idea of feeling…boxed in by others’ expectations…is a complicated subject to tackle, but Gano handles it deftly. Gano’s evocative text, combined with her dynamic and multihued mixed media illustrations, make for an immersive and atmospheric reading experience.”
—BookLife Review, Editor’s Pick

“[Lulu] loves the rhythms of the world and cherishes her forest neighbors — but she also dreams in color and yearns to chew stumps into shapes. Ebullience ferries this inspiring tale forward, and the revelation of Lulu’s beautiful differences is a triumphant moment for all.”
—Foreword Reviews (Starred Review)

Available for purchase on Amazon and the author's website.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Gano’s first large-scale work of art landed all over her parent’s kitchen floor — despite her witty, four-year-old attempt to give credit for the fine piece to her imaginary friends! She never stopped creating, though, and eventually learned the best places to display her artwork. Bethany has worked in the commercial arts for over twenty years and loves storytelling through art and design. She is extra fond of picture books — a place where art and words can’t survive without each other. Lulu the Beaver is her debut picture book.

Off the clock, you can find Bethany covered in paint, playing board games, swimming, daydreaming at the beach, and attempting to walk her dogs. She, her husband, three kids (and other furry and scaly family members) call Central Florida home.

For more information, visit: bethanygano.com.

https://www.instagram.com/bethanygano/

https://www.facebook.com/bethanyganoarts

https://twitter.com/bethanyganoarts

https://www.luluthebeaver.com/


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Life Is What It's Called - What will children like most about Lulu the Beaver?

Bethany Gano - When I visit classes to share Lulu’s story, kids usually get most excited about three things. First, they enjoy “chomping” along with Lulu during the story. The “chomps” are woven throughout the text, and it creates a rhythmic beat which (when combined with other natural sounds from the forest) whisks Lulu away to colorful, dreamy la-la land where she creates her artwork. (I will be vague about these other two items so that I don’t create any spoilers!) Second, they are thrilled to meet the surprise visitor, and how this character relays her own story. Last, they LOVE the wordless, art- filled scenes toward the end!

Life Is What It's Called - How is this book different from other books about animals?

Bethany Gano - There are so many amazing animal books that orbit around real-life animal environments and behaviors, but Lulu’s story probably nestles itself best next to books dealing with emotions and feelings. With that in mind, Lulu the Beaver is not unlike many children's books featuring animals, in that what she deals with is akin to the struggles we face as humans. She feels boxed in by expectations (most of which are in her head) about what it should look like to fit in with the industrious beavers in her colony. The story has been compared with non-animal books (like Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon), as well as with animal-centric books (such as I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Devorah Petty). In I Don't Want to Be a Frog, the main character wished he wasn’t a frog and wished he was a cute and warm animal instead — until he discovered it wasn’t so bad being a frog after all. In contrast, Lulu knows she's a beaver (and actually loves being a beaver, loves her family and loves the forest) but doesn't realize that being a beaver doesn't have to crush her dream of being an artist. Lulu’s journey is truly about accepting and celebrating what makes each of us unique!

Life Is What It's Called - Why is it important to confront gloomy thinking?

Bethany Gano - I should start by sharing that Lulu is me. A little beaver stuck in a loop — suppressing her dreams, destroying her artwork, and resigning herself to blending in. I'd been working in the commercial arts for over 20 years, but never publicly shared any of my creative work before launching Lulu’s crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter. I had let fear and self-doubt get the best of me for such a long time. We often experience these kinds of gloomy thoughts starting at a very young age — it may be the fear of water, not wanting to share something we drew, or maybe feeling nervous about making a new friend. So, when I share Lulu’s story with kids, I also share mine. I talk about the importance of facing our fears, the value of perseverance, and the reality that practice makes pathways — all of these start with self-acceptance. If I hadn't confronted my own gloomy thinking, this book would not exist.

Life Is What It's Called - Why did you decide to include humor in this book?

Bethany Gano - I absolutely love to laugh — I wish I would have included even more humor in her story! I think reading (especially as a child) should be a highlight of a kid’s day, and content that is fun and funny helps make learning this important skill enjoyable. Humor is also a great way to disarm and entertain, and allows us adults to slide right into important conversations with kids. Also, I should point out that I don’t like taking myself too seriously — I think that shows up in my work!

Life Is What It's Called - Why did you decide to incorporate elements of comic book style?


Bethany Gano - My love for art and drawing started when I was little. I created my own comic characters (two dogs named Willie and Wanda), and faithfully read each comic strip that arrived in the Sunday paper every weekend. I also subscribed to my favorite comic books, and probably watched more than my fair share of Saturday morning cartoons (also, it was the 80s, so I drew more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than I care to admit). There’s such an immediacy and playfulness about comics that I find magnetic. In comics, you often discover important clues or arrive at the joke’s punchline by scouring the artwork. I think this is something that lends itself beautifully to picture books. I hope to lean into these characteristics even more in my future books!


Life Is What It's Called - Do you have any activities to go along with the book?


Bethany Gano - Yes! I created an activity book that’s full of puzzles, mazes, coloring pages, writing and drawing prompts and more — it’s great for keeping 5–8-year-olds busy. Also, for teachers, I have a free teachers guide (to share Lulu in class) and offer free virtual author visits. You can also find info about all of that as well as printable activities at luluthebeaver.com. I think activities are a great way to get kids excited about reading and learning, and hope all of this creates a great tool set for parents and teachers — and, ultimately, kids!


GIVEAWAY 
Enter for a chance to win one of three signed copies of Lulu the Beaver or one of two very awesome Lulu the Beaver prize packs: The Illustration Pack or The Blast-Off Pack. 

One (1) grand prize winner receives: 

THE ILLUSTRATION PACK 
  •  A signed, hardcover copy of Lulu the Beaver 
  •  A blank sketchbook 
  •  A set of four Blackwing Volumes pencils 
  •  A pack of metal pencil caps 
  • One custom-painted illustration by Bethany of a name of your choosing (in Lulu’s forest lettering style shown, but the palette can be customized). 


One (1) grand prize winner receives: 

THE BLAST-OFF PACK 
  •  A signed, hardcover copy of Lulu the Beaver 
  •  A copy of Lulu’s Activity Book One 
  • “Dream On” patch 
  •  One “Lulu Blast” sticker 
  •  One “Lulu Blast” bookmark 
Three (3) winners receive: 
  •  A signed, hardcover copy of Lulu the Beaver 

Lulu the Beaver Book Giveaway 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Bunny Books.
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs