Children's book author Jane Lovascio needs a little help writing her third book in a series based on her two dogs and she is holding an essay contest that will get assistance from area school children.
A resident of Hoboken when her first book, "Casey and Bella Go to New York City," was published, Lovascio said school kids were so taken by her novel that they began to suggest places where her fictional dogs should go in subsequent books.
Lovascio based her books on her two pets, Casey, a Jack Russell terrier, and Bella, a Teacup Yorkie, and the personalities they seemed to exhibit.
After a very successful debut of the dog characters visiting New York City, Lovascio subsequently took her dog characters to Hollywood.
Intending to become a teacher after getting her degree, she found herself working in sales.
She said she noticed certain characteristics about her dogs, such as how the Jack Russell tended to protect the Teacup Yorkie. After some work with a rhyming dictionary, she managed to put together a story about their adventures in New York City.
In many ways, the stories are about growing up and the rules of behavior, a kind of morality tale about what to do and not to do and how to behave. These stories are designed to impart “simple life lessons” Lovascio learned growing up, such as how to be kind.
“So many kids suggested so many places to take the dogs, I decided to make a contest of the next story.” – Jane Lovascio
The book tour took her to numerous schools where kids became excited when they discovered the characters were based on real dogs.
“So many kids suggested so many places to take the dogs, I decided to make a contest of the next story,” she said, inviting area third and fourth graders to help come up with the tale, which will be written by Lovascio and illustrated by Aija Jasuna of Latvia.
In 400 words or less, kids should say where Casey and Bella should travel for their next adventure, who they will meet when they get there, and the moral lesson they will learn. Entries must by typed and the essays should not be rhymed. To enter, go to http://www. cuddlybooks.com. The contest ends April 15.
The winner will become a character in the book for helping to create it, and will receive $500. The school will receive a plaque.
So far, Lovascio has received more than 100 contest entries that include alligators and pigeons, and essays that deal with issues surrounding characters with disabilities.
As with her first two books, Lovascio intends to donate $2 from each book sold on the Web site to charity. The New York City book's proceeds went to Loving Paws Assistance Dogs, which finds specially trained dogs for disabled children. The Hollywood book benefits the Jubilee Center in Hoboken, a program that provides after school programs for children living in public housing.
“I want the third book to benefit autism research,” she said.
Meanwhile, Lovascio continues to tour local schools and has recently appeared in schools in Union City. Schools in Jersey City have also contacted her. Two years ago, she appeared at a book store in Hoboken.
“I’ve contacted schools in Bayonne and hope to go to schools there as well,” she said.