I practice, practice, practice ...
This was the happy day that publisher Nancy Paulsen's lovely assistant sent me the first proof of the book cover.
See how the print proofs of the inside pages haven't yet been stitched or protected by a hard bookcover?
American Cast Iron Money Banks
Last summer, I visited a Toy Museum in London that had a collection of American cast iron money banks made during the middle of the 19th century. That's almost 200 years ago. A lot of them were unkind portrayals of people and animals so I couldn't post many on my blog. I would like to design a Moneybunny bank. What kind of bank would you design?
This bank shows a scary man accepting a bribe. If you don't know what bribe means, ask a parent. I think you either put your coin in the man's right arm and it disappears into his jacket, or you put your coin in the man's left arm, and then pull down on his right arm, then, POOFFFF! The coin disappears! The man is modelled after a corrupt politician named William M. Tweed, nicknamed Boss Tweed, who ruled New York City in the late 1800s.
More antique banks, most of them box shaped. I like the glass house bank. Would the owner save money to pay for their house in that bank? I guess houses cost less money in those days! The bank on the top left looks like s an architectural copy of an old-style, life-size bank. Can you spot the three mailbox banks? Can you spot the fireplace bank? I don't understand why one would want to put money in a place that burns things. Another bank looks like a stove, but I think it's probably a safe. A safe is a strong box with a lock to put your important things in. That's why it's called a safe: It's supposed to keep things safe. Can you see it? It's halfway down on the right. Which of these banks would you like to keep your money in? But you don't have to buy a bank. If you go to the FREE STUFF page, you can print out some labels for an EARN IT! jar, and keep your money in that.
The happy day the advance copy arrived via post. My publisher's assistant enclosed a note: "Hi Cinders - Congratulations - it's a book!"
Designing the Booklaunch Invite on the Paperless Post site. Costs a lot less than postal invites and is kinder to trees. I lucked out on the carrot envelope lining and the bunny stamp!
My first book review!
MCLEOD, Cinders. Earn It!: A Moneybunny Book. illus. by Cinders McLeod. 32p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399544446.
PreS-Gr 1–Carrots are money in Bunnyland. Bun, a young rabbit, earns carrots for helping her mother with household responsibilities and wants to become rich and famous by singing. But Bun’s mother reminds her that bunnies don’t get rich and famous overnight. It takes time and money, and the more you work at it, the better you will do. And after all that work, you will have earned your success, which is even better than being rich or famous. The cheery pencil and ink illustrations depict characters with large eyes and bursts of activity. Bun’s obsession with being rich and famous is a bit unsettling, but her mother’s gentle message about working hard is sound. VERDICT A sweetly simplistic introduction to financial literacy and taking personal responsibility for one’s success that should find a welcome home in most collections.–Jessica Marie, Salem Public Library, OR
Big Day! My ten author copies of EARN IT! arrive in the post. Pete has a sniff at the American package!
The night before the book launch!
August 15! The Birthday of EARN IT! The Book Launch!
Queen Books, Toronto. EARN IT!'S birthplace!
Where am I? Clue: I have a white t-shirt and long hair ...
Three women cartoonist friends who came to the launch. Do you know how there are names for groups animals? A pack of wolves, a pride of lions, a gaggle of geese? Well, I have a collective (another way of saying group word) for a group of women cartoonists: a LAFF of women cartoonists! Where am I? I am the one wearing the t-shirt with Bun on it!
My daughter Anya did a lot of special things for me on the book launch day. She introduced me when I gave a speech, she made the food for the party at the house after we launched the book at the bookshop, and she made this terrific banner with the words from the book! She worked very hard to help me make the day special. She didn't have to but she did. She's a terrific person!
I’m happy to see Bun jumping all over the top banner of the iBooks Canada!
Bun also makes it onto the list of NEW AND NOTABLE! Yay!
A great review from SHE DOES THE CITY
My booklaunch speech
Isn’t this a brilliant bookshop? David and I have always said that the one thing that was missing in our neighbourhood was a bookshop and La Voila! Thank you Alex and Liz! I promised Alex my speech wouldn’t be long so she didn’t have to put chairs out … so if your legs get weary, blame me!
As many of you know, I have two children of my own. When they were young, I tried my best to teach them about money. Whenever a commercial came on TV that had them hooked, I'd shout "What do they want?!" And they’d shout back "Our money!” It was our little joke. Diarmid says, during moments of consumer temptation, he still hears my voice. Anya says she was too young to remember … but I know it’s in there!
And as many of you know, I don’t come from a background of economics, personal finance, or anything well paid like that. I've had to be careful with money all my life because, first, I was an art and film student, then a musician, then a cartoonist, and then a single mum. But that’s ok because I taught myself how to collaborate with money and how to build my home with songs and cartoons.
Still, money wasn’t an easy path for me. Math was something I couldn’t master at school no matter how hard I tried. But when I started my own business and had to do my own accounts, I realized to my surprise, I could do them: I just had to think harder than most people. And if I imagined the ledger pages as diary pages, accounts could be a little tiny bit, well, fun. But don’t tell my accounts that. They take themselves are very seriously, you know.
Financial literacy for children was a subject that caught my imagination a number of years ago. I wanted to create a series of books that helped children understand not only basic money concepts like earning and spending, saving and giving, but also more abstract concepts, like why some children's parents had more money than others, or why some parents have to work. I went to school with children from the wealthy side of the tracks, and I could have done with a book that reassured me that having less money didn't make me less valuable. Helping kids understand what money is, and does … and how to see it as a friend … is the driving force behind the Moneybunnies series.
BUT, first books first! EARN IT! (or, for my Gaelic family in the audience, COISINN E!) features a little bunny named Bun, whose natural exuberance and excellent singing voice is inspired by my dear daughter Anya, whose nickname, coincidentally, is also Bun. Bun wants to be rich and famous overnight but her calm, gentle, fabulous mother reminds her that most good things, like the garden they are growing together, take time and work. Bun is at first disappointed but as she does the math and daydreams about her future singing career, Bun starts to like the idea of earning her way to stardom, a path that comes with its own satisfaction.
SPEND IT! is the next book in the Moneybunnies series and proving to be a little less Scottish work-ethic (I can say that because my background is Scottish!) and a wee bit more silly. SPEND IT! features wee, excitable Sonny, who, when his mother suggests he not spend his allowance without giving it some thought first, indignantly replies, “I don’t want to THINK! I want to SPEND!”
And now I’ve come to the thanks bit. David says that competitions are a loser’s game, and likewise, thank you's are a loser’s game, for how can you count everything your friends and family and strangers and even foes do to help make an idea a solid thing? I am of course grateful to my Penguin Publisher Nancy Paulsen, and my agent Samantha Haywood and Queen Books for letting us drink on empty stomachs in their bookshop, and my parents and Anya, Ceilidh, Diarmid and Dylan for their inspiration, and David for his constant support. But I am also grateful to everyone of you in this room tonight – for coming out and celebrating this moment, and for being my friends and family.
The cartoon in the back of EARN IT! is inspired by a lovely quote that is probably closest to something William Bruce Cameron once wrote, and is often wrongly attributed to Einstein: “Not everything that can be counted, counts. And not everything that counts can be counted.” Even more lovely is Oscar Wilde’s quote: “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” I value you all. You are all rich and famous to me.
My daughter Anya gives me away on the night (introduces me!)
I believe this is the first time she ever spoke to such a large crowd. And she touched all our hearts with her words. She is a brave young woman.
I was touched by her words. Can you see the tears of happiness in my eyes?
I bow to my rich and famous crowd
Thanks to my dear friend and fabulous photographer, Carrie Cockburn, for the sequence of photos above
The book launch party in question was for the picture book “Earn It!”, the book one in a series called “The Moneybunnies”, by Cinders McLeod. This book is about Bun, a little bunny, who wants to be rich and famous (ain’t we all) but doesn’t understand that she needs to work hard for it. This series of books is intended to teach young children financial literacy, about spending and earning money, and why some families have more money than others.
I found the atmosphere at the party very welcoming and relaxing, even though I personally does not know Cinders, it was nice to see so many people come to celebrate the launch. The book was sold out, and everyone who was lucky to get a copy was able to get it signed by the author on spot
A Mysterious Blogger (http://foxclouds.com/2017/08/16/blog-earn-it-by-cinders-mcleod-book-launch-queen-books/) came to my book launch .... here is her opening and a few of her candid photos ...
You know, you are friends with the right people when instead of going out for dinner, your friend invites you to a book launch party. So, this is how yesterday, August 15, I found myself at a new independent bookstore called “Queen Books”, located on (obviously) 914 Queen Street East. I had never heard of this bookstore before and learned that it just opened in April of this year ...The book launch party in question was for the picture book “Earn It!”, the book one in a series called “The Moneybunnies”, by Cinders McLeod. This book is about Bun, a little bunny, who wants to be rich and famous (ain’t we all) but doesn’t understand that she needs to work hard for it. This series of books is intended to teach young children financial literacy, about spending and earning money, and why some families have more money than others.I found the atmosphere at the party very welcoming and relaxing, even though I personally does not know Cinders, it was nice to see so many people come to celebrate the launch. The book was sold out, and everyone who was lucky to get a copy was able to get it signed by the author on spot
My friends line up and wait patiently as I scribble too-long messages in everyone of their books ... Just about half-way through the book launch, Queen Books ran out of books. Does that make me a sell-out?
Top three photos are from Fox Clouds blog. Lovely, candid shots. Thank you Mysterious Blogger!
EARN IT! MAKES CBC'S HOT OFF THE PRESS READING LIST! THIS LIST FEATURES ANTICIPATED BESTSELLERS!
GUEST CHILDREN'S SPEAKER
I’ve been asked to be guest children’s author at “Words in the Woods,” Dunedin Literary Festival, September 9, Dunedin, just west of Creemore.
I will be reading my new book EARN IT! (fin-lit for kids, published by Penguin, N.Y.) and sharing earning tips and activities (a money diary, a money jar and colouring in).
“Words in the Woods” is an all inclusive, all-ages, one-day family affair that celebrates Canadian arts and literature, music, food, and community in the hopes of inspiring and educating readers of all ages.
This year’s line up includes Nino Ricci, Claire Cameron, Cecily Ross, Alison Pick, Brent Preston and Antanas Silieka.
For more information about the day, visit http://www.wordsinthewoods.com/
I'm at my drawing desk, working on a Moneybunnies carrot diary, a Moneybunnies EARN IT! jar and colouring in pages. After Dunedin, classrooms and bookshops and the world!
Developing the Moneybunnies Private Carrot Diary (a workbook that accompanies EARN IT!) & Money Jar
Dunedin Literary Festival: Guest Children's Author
Father and daughters reading The Carrot Diary EARN IT!'s companion workbook)
My mother and I take a tea break
It was a cold September day!
The Private Carrot Diary, money jars and colouring in pages
It's more important to put money in your EARN IT! bank than to spend money on a fancy bank. These are jam jars with labels that you can write your name on
Instagram's great site, Cracking The Cover, features EARN IT!'S cover!
I drop in Ella Minnow's, the beautiful bookshop on Kingston Road, Toronto, and meet the staff and sign some books
Indigo displays EARN IT! on the NEW & HOT table!
Bayview Village Indigo places EARN IT! in the New & Hot, 3-5 table, and Bun rubs shoulders with Hillary Clinton and Lemony Snicket!!!
FUTURE INDIGO SIGNINGS: IT WOULD BE GREAT TO SEE YOU!
First signing at Indigo (Indigospirit), First Canadian Place, Bay & King, Toronto and the books sold out again! Wonderful staff and such amazing conversations with the customers.
Saturday November 4th, Coles (signing and reading)
2169 Queen Street East, Beaches (SW corner of Queen and Lee Ave, just east of Woodbine Ave and the park). 11- 12 noon
Sunday November 19, Chapters, Bayview Village
2901 Bayview Ave, Unit 132. Noon - 2pm (and possibly later).
... while all this is going on, I'm working on Moneybunny book Number 2: SPEND IT!, featuring Sonny Moneybunny ...
View and inspiration from my studio window
It takes me a long time to find the character in my drawings - but I think I'm finally friends with Sonny!
Storytime & signing at Coles, Beaches, Saturday November 4
Coles, Beaches, just ordered another batch of EARN IT!'S
If you're looking, you can get them here!
If anyone is looking for copies of EARN IT!, I'm told that Coles, Beaches, just ordered another batch...
EARN IT! READING AND MONEY CHATTING WITH GRADE 1 & 2 CLASSES AT BEDFORD PARK PUBLIC SCHOOL
Wonderful day at Bedford Park Public School last week. Extra special day as this was my beloved primary school. I told the children that I had gone here when I was their age, and my grade 1 teacher was Miss Heeney. My first impression of Miss Heeney was that she looked older than anyone I had ever known. She was a great teacher, but I remember getting into trouble for drawing doodles in my math book. About 20 years later, I met her on Yonge Street just outside of Locke Library. She looked just as old as when she was my teacher. It was a very warm reunion. She remembered that I use to be a great artist and wasn't surprised that I had become a cartoonist. I had a laugh to myself, thinking "But you use to get mad at me for drawing!" I like to think Miss Heeney was sitting in a chair beside me, turning the pages of EARN IT! as I read to the Bedford Parkers, and chuckling at the fact that I was still drawing in my math (financial literacy) books!
The conversations I had with the children after each reading truly blew me away. I love how children view the world. They had so many great thoughts about what they wanted to be when they grew up and what they thought about money, earning, work, love and happiness. I love my job.
Chapters, Bayview Village Signing, Nov 19 2017
Two beautiful wee Moneybunnies, spotted at my table
When children wait for big people to do mysterious things at banks...
The top bank notes and entry are from my four year old son's "Funny Things" diary. He would watch me write out my withdrawals and then when I was at the teller's booth, draw or write out his own. The kind teller was smart enough to treat my son's efforts with respect and a bank stamp. I don't know who Big spender Daisy Cow is but her withdrawal slip was something left behind in the bank and too precious not to save. I especially love the "Name of Branch" entry (Tree Branch).
Why are banks Piggy Banks? Why not Bunny Banks?
So with a little googling I discovered people once stored their money at home in kitchen jars. But during the Middle Ages (5th to 15th century, about 9 to 27 very old grannies ago), when metal was expensive, dishes and pots were made of an afforable orange clay called pygg. Can you see where this is going? Yep! Words often change over time and thus is was with pygg. Pygg became pigge became pig. So in England in the 1800s (2 hundred years ago, that’s about two and a half grannies ago), potters began making pig banks and eventually the piggie bank could be made from any material and more often than not, resembled a pig. But you can make your own jar bank, just like your grannies did, by downloading labels from the Moneybunnies FREE STUFF page and glueing them to a clean jar. Jam jars or kilner jars are good sizes for jar banks. And the best thing about these banks – they they won’t cost as much as the children's banks in the stores, and, bonus, YOU MADE IT!
A bunny bank I found in a shop in Toronto's distillery district
I was so excited when I saw this super sweet soft bunny bank from the Korea Design Challenge in a shop in the distillery district. I thought maybe I could sew my own Moneybunnies banks. But when I showed this to my grown up children and their partners, they all told me if they had one when they were little and were really mad at a brother or a sister, they would have taken the heavily-coined bunny bag by the ears and given their siblings a thwack. Why didn't I think of that? Would you have thought of that?
Last week, my grown-up child Diarmid and partner Dylan dragged me out of the house (it has been so cold that I’ve mostly stayed indoors) to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for a mosey around the regular exhibits. When we were in the Sumerian, Mesopotamia (Iraq) sections, Diarmid impressed me with his knowledge of the beginning of writing which was based on – well – money. I never knew. We’re looking at about 4,000 years ago (or 60 grannies ago. I find thinking in grannies a lot easier to get my head around). So it went something like this: Ms. Sumerian traded her cow with Mr. Sumerian for 100 loaves of bread. But she didn’t want to take the bread all at once, so Mr. Sumerian gave her 100 little clay tablets with a sun scratched on it to represent one loaf of bread each. But this all got a bit silly because each time she gave him a token, he’d have to scratch something on it to show she couldn’t use it again or something about seals proving it was a genuine representation of his bread and, well, it was got more complicated than it needed to be (obviously pretty complicated cause I can’t remember exactly what Diarmid said). Then some smart Sumerian thought he’d record all the deliveries, transfers and exchanges of goods on one single clay tablet. And all those symbols of cows and bread and such were a language – a money language. Today people call them accounts and they don’t look as pretty. The photograph is a Sumerian tablet recording 300 clothing items given to workmen.
Coins started being used by the Romans about 2600 years ago (40 grannies). But that’s not the only way people traded things. Another way is bartering – trading something for something else with no money involved. That’s coming back in a big way.
I am very honoured to become a member of Author’s Booking Service. They link up schools and libraries with authors. If any schools or libraries would like me to have anywhere from one to a day’s sessions, contact them.
I am trying to create a soft Bun toy. I’m still working on it! It’s a hard job.
Reading & Signing at the lovely Moonbeam Books
The owner of Moonbeam Books, a young woman, always dreamed of having her own bookshop. And guess what? She worked at it and saved for it and made it happen. Happy story.
Brantford Public Library reading through Author’s Booking Service
Bunny’s Private Carrot Diary up on the BIG SCREEN!
Apparently my young friend is really a sports person. But his left-handed intelligence lends itself proudly to art too!
Back to my studio to work on my next Moneybunny book: SPEND IT!
This is my favourite line in SPEND IT!
And then we get to the final art…
…and then, at Christmas, I receive a copy of the book in the post. Happy, happy me!
A friend sent this delightful picture to me. I’m not sure of it’s origin so if it does belong to someone out there, please let me know and I can either credit you or take it down.
Penguin Random House’s party for OLA (Ontario Librarian Association)
On moment, over 6 months, I’m sitting at my drawing desk or in front of the computer, in comfy clothes, hardly going out or seeing anyone at all, the next, I’m up on the big screen and signing copies of SPEND IT! at a fantastic party with Ontarian-Librarians (the best!) and Toronto Penguin and Random Housers.
Monica Kulling, the author of the wonderful book Dr. Jo,, is my table signing chum. It was the first time we had met, but we got along famously. I told my dad that Monica is my new BFF. He said “What did you do with the old one?” Dad jokes!
I love Librarians. Their mission is to share their knowledge. That’s pretty amazing. And bonus: they are very funny human beings.
ONE OF MY FIRST SPEND IT! REVIEWS!!!
THE BOX ARRIVES… (10 author’s copies of SPEND IT!). Pete inspects…
… and a week later I gather the courage to open up THE BOX. It’s a big moment for me.
“According to he Council of Economic Education, more than 1 in 6 students in the U.S. do not reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy. Only 17 states require their students to take a course in personal finance, and this education usually doesn’t begin until the high school level. The Moneybunny series aims to start these lessons early on using humor and fun to teach simple personal finance concepts.”
-Penguin Random House, Penguin Young Readers, Press release
“The lesson goes down smoothly because it presents options for ways to satisfy the urge to spend - it also helps that Sonny is cute as a you-know-what. Financial planning never looks so good.” - Kirkus Reviews
The poster for the book launch of Moneybunny book # 2. It’s going to be at the same bookshop, the EXCEPTIONAL Queen Books, on Queen Street East in Toronto, that the first book EARN IT! launched at August 2017. Happy bunnies, happy me.
Meanwhile… while Sonny is charging off on his carrot to the launch of SPEND IT!, there’s a quieter bunny behind the scenes working on her own adventure and her own book. Her name is Honey and her book is SAVE IT! But we will leave her to get on with her preparations and enjoy Sonny’s moment for now…
According to the Council for Economic Educations, more than 1 in 6 students in the U.S. do not reach the baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy. Only 17 states require their students to take a course in personal finances, and this education doesn’t begin until the high school level. The Moneybunny series aims to start these lessons early on using humor and fun to teach simple personal finance concepts.
Demonstrated by the success of the Baby Loves Science and Girls Who Code board books, parents are eager to introduce these traditionally more advanced topics to their little ones as early as possible. Cinders McLeod’s combination of eye popping artwork, unrelenting humor, and incorporation of STEM concepts make the Moneybunny books a series parents will be proud to add to their storytime shelves
-Penguin Random House, Penguin Young Readers, Press release
SPEND IT! OFFICIAL LAUNCH DATE: MARCH 5, 2019
Today Sonny and I celebrated his birthday with FirstBookCanada, University of Toronto and 40 Rose Ave. School wee wonders. "Almost 25% of Canadian households don't own a single book." Sonny & I couldn't have been in a better place on our special day. Grateful to all
I wore a Melissa-McCarthy-Academy-Awards-attire knockoff, which the children seemed to enjoy, alongside the reading, the private money diaries, and the colouring in sheets. After the reading, one wee boy said I should be a voice actor. Sweetheart! But they all made my heart fly. Thanks to First Book Canada, and Penguin Random House, a copy of SPEND IT! accompanied the bundle of books they each took home with them today.
This is the costume Melissa wore at this year’s Academy Awards (riffing off the film “The Favourite”) which inspired me….
SPEND IT! booklaunch at Queen Books, Toronto,
March 9, 2019
Preparation the nights before: Carrot (cup) cakes, cookies, Sonny cups, food intolerance signs!
Wee sonny cups for the cookies (gluten free, artificial free and vegan gummies!)
CARROT CUPCAKES WITH SONNY’S 3-CARROTS-ALLOWANCE-A-WEEK ICING ART.
FINANCIAL LITERACY NEVER TASTED SO GOOD!