Save 40% When You Buy a Custom Children’s Book

We normally don’t write blog posts for shameless self-promotion, but we thought that this sale is worth sharing. All October, we’re offering a huge 40% discount on our personalized Lookio books. Get some holiday shopping done early and save some money! Just enter the code EARLYBIRD at checkout to receive 40% off the price of your book. Use the code as many times as you like. Tell your friends! It’s valid now through October 31.

Visit our website to check out our current titles, and have a look at the sample spreads from each book below.

Kid Lit Odds and Ends

Here and there we’ve collected odds and ends from the Kid Lit world that we find interesting. Here’s what this week brought us:

  • Make mischief and mayhem today! It’s Roald Dahl Day (aka Roald Dahl’s birthday)! He was one of the world’s best storytellers, so go to your library or local bookstore and pick up one of his books. Even better, read his stories aloud to the little ones in your life. We’re willing to bet they will be riveted and thoroughly entertained. On a related note, his grandson, Luke Kelly, just put out a picture book of his own, and Vogue interviewed him about it.
  • We discovered this self portrait by Eric Carle, accompanied by this Carle quote: “Ever since I was very young, as far back as I can remember, I have loved making pictures. I knew even as a child that, when I grew up, I would be an artist of some kind. The lovely feeling of my pencil touching paper, a crayon making a star shape in my sketchbook, or my brush dipping into bright and colorful paints — these things affect me as joyfully today as they did all those years ago.”
  • We already knew author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers was super cool based on his children’s books alone. Now we have another reason to like him–he has Duck Hunt ducks adorning his walls. Last week The Guardian posted a piece about interior design, and they featured Oliver Jeffers’ home in New York. Take a look at the piece; the Duck Hunt ducks aren’t the only cool things about his home/workspace.

What odds and ends have you discovered in the kid lit world this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo credit: Francis Marie Photography

A Video Introduction to Our “Growing Up” Personalized Children’s Photo Book

Pictures are more fun than words, right? Well, not all the time. But we thought it’d be fun to create a quick video introduction to our first personalized, customizable photo book for kids – our “Growing Up” book. Check out the video, and then head to our site to upload a photo and customize yours today.

The Best of 2012, Our Top 21 Favorite Children’s Books from this Past Year

Okay, the blog post title is a bit dramatic. This list is certainly not all-encompassing. There were many other books we loved in 2012, and we probably forgot a few other favorites that we should have included here. Nonetheless…

If you follow Lookio Books on Twitter, for the past few days we’ve been tweeting our 21 favorite children’s picture books from 2012. Here we’ve compiled the list and tweets (with some minor editing) into one nice, neat package. Each has a link to purchase from our favorite bookstore – Book Cellar in Chicago. If you want to buy one of these books, order from  Book Cellar and support an amazing local business.

No, of course we did not include any of our own Lookio books on this list. That would be super lame. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t proud of the work we accomplished with the launch of three books of our own in 2012. So please do check out our personalized, custom books for kids and support another small business who would greatly appreciate your patronage!

Here’s our top 21 favorite children’s books of 2012, in no particular order:

William Joyce's picture book "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" is as good as his Oscar-winning short film. http://goo.gl/wulBh

"Hang Glider & Mud Mask" from @mcsweeneys, with two covers, kept us reading in circles. Awesome! http://goo.gl/kw8wZ

Henry Cole's "Unspoken" doesn't need a single word to tell a powerful and touching Civil War story. http://goo.gl/bUqvg

"Green" by @lauravseeger is a beautiful and cool look at a color. We're hoping for a series. http://goo.gl/TqZ73

A vegetarian sasquatch seeks out a buddy in "Larf" by @ashleyspires. Lots of great wit. http://goo.gl/ezawq

Loved "The Insomniacs" by @wolfandfox and @BrothersHilts. Best work happens after midnight. http://goo.gl/HHdSz

"I, Too, Am America" by Langston Hughes and Bryan Collier. Stunning art + poetic genius = a must see. http://goo.gl/uNB3T

Bobo and Earl are back in Eileen and Marc Rosenthal's "I'll Save You Bobo". Gotta love poor Earl. http://goo.gl/zat5J

Being different is all good in "The Hueys in the New Sweater" by @OliverJeffers. http://goo.gl/yU6Xk

Color flies off the page in "Chloe, Instead" by @MicahPlayer. A sweet story with a sweet ending. http://goo.gl/X1UY1

Our son is obsessed with the moon, just like the girl in Naoko Stoop's "Red Knit Cap Girl". Love this tale! http://goo.gl/VF2R1

No words needed in the gorgeous "The Island" by Marije and Ronald Tolman. Do Polar bears dream? http://goo.gl/1fDRi

Team Emberley is back with another little slice of sweetness in "The Ant and the Grasshopper". http://goo.gl/TQYU4

Kali finds an unexpected use for his bow in "Kali's Song" by Jeanette Winters. http://goo.gl/sxHSP

How great is a boy feeding applesauce to a powered-down robot? "Boy + Bot" = gem. http://goo.gl/BcMWD

Another hat thieved in "This is Not My Hat" by Jon Klassen. Worthy follow-up to his 2011 gem. http://goo.gl/VggL4

Something meta and cool is going on in Kate Banks "The Bear in the Book". Read it, you'll see. http://goo.gl/Flosd

We are thankful for everything from @toddparr, including 2012's "The Thankful Book". http://goo.gl/hI2rd

The limericks pop in @MargaretMahy's charming "The Man from the Land of Fandango". http://goo.gl/rVy6w

A girl comforts Honest Abe's ghost in "Abe Lincoln's Dream". Another Lane Smith gem. http://goo.gl/JaEiH

You can't get much better than "This Moose Belongs to Me" by @OliverJeffers. So awesome. http://goo.gl/Qn2t9

Catching Our Breath

Sheesh, our blog has been a bit of a ghost town for a few weeks now. We apologize for that. It’s no coincidence that the last thing we posted here was the announcement that www.lookiobooks.com was live and we were out of the starting gate! I think you see where this is going. The last month+ has been a bit chaotic around the Lookio offices. We’ve been filling orders, making books, tweaking things that needed to be tweaked, and basically just getting our bearings. It’s been a whirlwind, but a good one so far. We’ve already made dozens of books and have gotten some really wonderful feedback. For example, here’s Ollie talking about his Lookio book:

We could watch that video all day! But, alas, duty calls. We have to get back to work making and launching new books (more on this coming very soon!), and, yes, blogging, tweeting, facebooking (or whatever the verb is for posting on Facebook), and all the other things we’ve been meaning to do but haven’t found time for since the launch.

We’re back in the saddle. Stay tuned!

It’s ALIVE!! … Some thoughts on “commencement” and some thank yous

Lookio customizable children's books

A couple days ago we officially launched Lookio Books and www.lookiobooks.com. Wow, what a journey.

Way back in high school I remember being confused about the word “commencement.” In relation to the ceremony at the end of senior year, I initially thought the word meant “the end.” It seemed to make sense–high school was ending and we were moving on. It was a while before I realized it actually meant “the beginning.” “Commencement” was obviously meant to signify that it’s not the end of something, but the start of everything else.

Our launch reminds me of this confusion I once felt. We’ve been toiling over Lookio, day in and day out, for well over a year. At first, the launch felt like an end–the end of a long, often treacherous road with many obstacles, some of which felt insurmountable at times. (I’m thinking of Sisyphus who was consigned to push a boulder up and down a hill for eternity.) The elation that was supposed to accompany the launch was a bit muted by the exhaustion Christine and I felt as we finally crossed the finish line, just about spent. I think we just needed a good night’s sleep and some perspective.

It wasn’t until tonight, about 36 hours after the launch, when we started to fulfill our first orders and make our first books, that the commencement really started to feel like a beginning. The emotions finally shifted from exhaustion to real, tangible excitement about what’s to come.

Lookio is very much in its infancy. We are starting small, but our hopes for the business are just the opposite. We can’t wait to keep growing, keep adding new books, keep finding ways to get better, keep improving our site, and keep thinking of new products that parents and gift-givers might want to give to little ones. So please stay tuned as we grow–via our newsletter, Twitter, and/or Facebook.

We have to extend heartfelt “thanks” to Chris Halverson (halversoncreative.com) for amazing design work, Jake Elliott for stunning web development (dai5ychain.net), the fantastic artists we’ve used to date (Sarah Sisterson, Pat Bradley, and Shawn Finley (whose book we haven’t launched yet but will soon)), and all the super-generous friends and family who supported us on Kickstarter. We also have to thank everyone who gave us ideas, shared expertise, and offered tons of encouragement. There’s no way we’d have been able to do this without all of you.

With that, please check out www.lookiobooks.com. It’s open for business, or just general perusal. Feedback is always welcome — info@lookiobooks.com.

Much, much love,
-Shawn and Christine

Lookio Books Update – It’s the Final Countdown!!

Now you’ve got that Europe song stuck in your head, right? You’re welcome!

We wanted to give a quick update on where things are at with the launch of Lookio Books. First off – we are crazy-excited!! A year’s worth of blood, sweat, and tears is just days from coming to fruition. Thanks to the generosity of all our amazing Kickstarter backers, we purchased the last pieces of equipment we needed to begin making books. Since then we have been very busy testing, tweaking, and setting things up. A few prototype Lookio books have been printed and bound and we couldn’t be happier with how they are looking. We can’t wait to start getting them out into the world.

The last piece of the puzzle is the Lookio website. If you’ve ever been involved with building a website — and especially one with fairly complex technology involved — these things always take longer than you think they will. But we are very close to being ready to launch. The technology for building the custom character, previewing your book, and placing your order is all up and running. We are just conducting some testing and putting the finishing touches on a few other parts of the site. Despite the fact that we seem to get burned every time we announce a release date, we’re confident that we’re around a week from launching. For those Kickstarter backers waiting for our launch so you can claim your books, we ask you to hang in there a bit longer – we are so close! Thanks for the patience. (By the way, if you were a Kickstarter backer and want to read the “nice things” we wrote about you as part of your reward, you can read them all here.)

Lastly, a few weeks ago we posted a sneak peak at our first Lookio book. We wanted to give you a glimpse at the second Lookio book. This story is about all the things a kid can be when he or she grows up. It’s a “Photo book”, which means you’ll upload an image of a kid and use our tools to crop around the face. That face will be placed on the character in the story (along with the kid’s name and some other custom elements). How ’bout we show you? Hope you dig these spreads! You’ll be able to preview the full book once the site is live. Check it out…