Lulu the Beaver by Bethany Gano
I have a very special guest joining my blog today! Debut author Bethany Gano has teamed up with The Children’s Book Review for a book tour and I’m thrilled to have her share a guest post with you all. Be sure to look at the bottom of the post for ways to connect with Bethany and a giveaway.
About the book:
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.
STORY BEHIND THE STORY
Hello new friends — Sheri, thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest and to share about my book, Lulu the Beaver!
I should probably say one thing right up front — Lulu is me. Lulu dreams of being an artist, but she’s a little beaver stuck in a loop — suppressing her dreams, destroying her artwork, and resigning herself to blending in. Lulu is bursting at the seams with dreams and ideas, and (like all of us) what's inside of her needs to be shared. More on that in a minute.
A few years ago, when my initial thoughts of Lulu hit the page, I was feeling stuck. I’d been working in the commercial arts for over 20 years and had let fear and self-doubt get the best of me. I had never publicly shared my artwork. Not only that, but while it was a joy to help clients launch and achieve their dreams, I knew I wouldn’t realize any of my own if I didn't make space for them — including creating a book to share with our kids.
So, one morning over a cup of coffee, I storyboarded a rough version of Lulu’s entire story. I was thrilled! And then I panicked — I had no idea how to create a children’s book! So, I started right away learning something new. I became best friends with my local librarian and checked out pile after pile of books. I sketched and sketched some more. I plotted out scenes, lighting and props, and began fleshing out what I hoped would be memorable characters. I experimented with watercolor, acrylic, and ink, and took in loads of feedback. And then I realized that was all just the beginning — I needed to face my fears and get this in front of people — and decided to start a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter.
My first campaign, a hardcover book, failed. Yay.
Looking back, it was way too ambitious for a first campaign, but still not a very glamorous part of my story (especially for someone like me who was ready to tuck tail and run before I had even started)!
But, I dusted off, got back up, and a few months later took a shot at a smaller, softcover campaign. This time, my project was funded the day after it launched! And, most importantly, I also had a group of amazing people who were encouraging me and helping me along my journey. I couldn't have made it without them, and I still look back on this with wonder and thankfulness.
There’s more to the backstory, but when I share Lulu’s story with kids, I share my journey too. I talk about what it looks like to flip the “gloomy thinking” that holds us back. Gloomy thoughts can often start 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. I talk about the importance of facing our fears, the value of perseverance, and the reality that practice makes pathways — all of which start with self-acceptance. If I hadn't confronted my own gloomy thinking, this book would not exist.
I don’t want to spoil the story, but I think it’s sufficient to say that through her friends’ encouragement, and an unexpected encounter, Lulu changes. She embraces her creativity, starts to see herself in a completely new light, and ultimately lets her friends and family in on her exciting creative secret! I hope that Lulu's story might just be a fresh wind in the sails of a kiddo who needs some encouragement to reframe their thinking — that who they are and what they have to share matters. A lot.
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, and One “Lulu Blast” bookmark
Three (3) winners receive:
A signed, hardcover copy of Lulu the Beaver
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.
Keep in touch on social media:
Post a Comment