During the illustration process of publishing my book, “Jellybeans Morning, Noon & Night,” I discovered that the illustrator and I had a different vision of what the mother in the book should look like. To the left is the first draft version of the jellybean mom.
My first reaction was … do my hips look that big?
Having the children in the book to be representative of my kids, seeing this version of their mother gave me a good chuckle (kind-of). The illustrator wanted the mom to be a little “cooky.” I was OK with cooky, but the hips had to go!
After several different versions, we finally agreed on the mom that appears in the book. She wears jewelry (which I do occasionally), has her nails painted (which I don’t have done anymore) and wears glasses a little crooked (which I don’t need YET).
She isn’t me, exactly, but she is a great representation of a mom who loves her kids and plays along with their imagination and “brilliant plan” to eat jellybeans morning, noon and night. It is a brilliant plan, isn’t it?
The characters in the children’s book, “Jellybeans Morning, Noon And Night,” remind me of my own clever kids and here is just one example of how.
I was babysitting my nephew who is 4 years old and trying to reason with my five year old about how we need to SHARE our toys. I explained to him that his cousin was our “guest” and that we let our “guests” do what they “want” to when they visit. That included sharing our toys with our cousin.
Immediately I could see the light bulb come on inside my five year old’s head.
Without skipping a beat he turned to his cousin and asked him, “Do you “want” to go to Chuck-E-Cheese [a pizza and arcade place for kids].”
Well, I don’t have to tell you what his answer was because you know it was, “Yes! I “want” to go to Chuck-E-Cheese!”
I was witnessing what was happening, but I almost couldn’t believe it. Was I really about to be outsmarted by my 5 year old and his 4 year old cousin?
Yes, yes I was.
My five year old son then turned to me and said, “Mom, since my cousin “wants” to go to Chuck-E-Cheese and he is our “guest” I think we should take him!”
OMG! He totally went there! I was outsmarted and outplayed by a five year old!
Touché my son, you clever kid you. Touché!
As the Author of “Jellybeans Morning, Noon and Night,” I have planned a few book signing events. I have also planned more than my share of events as the Director of Marketing/Events for a magazine publishing company for the past 10 plus years.
Aside from reading your book at a book signing, the main goal of any event is making it memorable for your guests. One of my favorite parts of my events is Making Paper Chef Hats.
The kids in the book “Jellybeans Morning, Noon & Night” wear their own chef hats while cooking jellybeans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Inviting guests at my event (kids and adults alike) to make a paper chef hat of their own gets the audience excited and helps them become more connected with these characters.
It is also personally rewarding when I sit back to read the book because I’m usually looking out at a sea of little chefs wearing colorful and personalized paper chef hats. I am also in character wearing my own chef hat and cooking apron.
Another way I try to engage and help make my guests feel welcome at my events is by having them sign my guest book. I place a print out of an empty jellybean jar on a table by the entrance, along with a couple of ink pads. When guests arrive, they are invited to sign the guest book by stamping their finger on the jellybean jar. The fingerprint, no matter the color, looks like a jellybean. I also provide wipes for my guests to clean the ink from their fingers that they all very much appreciate.
The sign in book not only helps makes it memorable for those who attend, but by the end of the event I have created a great memory sheet for myself to look back on … a filled jellybean candy jar!
If you would like the author of “Jellybeans Morning, Noon & Night” to visit your library, school, store or business, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.