Empower and Encourage Through Stories of Friendship

1. How did you come about your passion/profession?

      Blanca discovered her love of the world early on while listening to stories of exotic locals from her grandmothers. After going on to become a globe trotter herself, she settled into life in Southern California as a preschool teacher and daycare owner. She discovered her passion when she brought different cultures into her daycare in the form of multicultural foods, music, and art projects to share with the children she cared for. When she was ready to retire, she created Joy Sun Bear and teamed up with Shearin and John Lee to be able to continue sharing the world with kids. She is one of the co-authors and founder of Joy Sun Bear.
      John’s passion was always creating, either in the form of stories or art. Though his career led him through the military into the technical world of data analysis, art and fiction remained his steadfast companions. When the opportunity to join Joy Sun Bear came along, John was all in, excited to see what years of drawing and writing could become. As a passionate father and husband, John was pleased to find a chance to show his daughter that hard work and dedication can create amazing things. John is the co-author and illustrator for Joy Sun Bear.
      Shearin graduated with a degree in Public Relations from USC. Immediately after, however, she found herself in a new town with new priorities. Fast forward several years to her and John’s partnership with Blanca, and she now finds herself thrust into the world of social media management, networking, and brand development as the Creative Director for Joy Sun Bear, Inc. Though she never expected to find herself in this role, she’s found that learning the ins and outs of managing a young startup has brought more opportunity to learn and grow than she ever thought it would. In addition to building the JSB brand, Shearin’s other passion is being an involved Mom for her and John’s eight year old daughter. She loves volunteering at school and working with kids.

2. Tell us about your family.

      Blanca was born in New York, but moved back to Colombia and grew up there. She has visited fifteen countries across four continents. She has two kids who are all grown up and living on their own. She lives in Southern California with her husband after living on both coasts of the US and even across the pond in London, England.
      John has lived most of his life in California, with brief stays in other states – and a year long stay in South Korea – during his time in the U.S. Army. He now lives in Southern California with Shearin and their daughter.
    Shearin grew up in Utah, moved to Maryland and then to California. Though they have both spent the vast majority of their life in the U.S., Shearin’s parents were born in Iran, and she was raised with significant Persian cultural influence. For John and Shearin, merging their lives also meant learning how to blend two different cultures together. Both have found the process of learning what culture is and how it affects their lives enlightening and inspiring.
3. What do you think are three biggest struggles of parents today?
      1. Teaching your child empathy for not only others, but for themselves as well.
      2. Teaching children to respect rules and authority while teaching them to push beyond their limitations and the boundaries placed on them by others (emotionally or legally).
      3. Explaining some of the actions of world leaders and the fallout caused in ways that inspire them to make positive changes, rather than just using bleak summaries.

4. Please tell us about your vision for the world.

      Our vision for the world is one where children can feel free to be themselves without feeling fear or judgement. We wish for children to feel empowered from a young age to make positive changes around them, and motivated to continue to do so well into adulthood. We want children, and adults, to remain aware of themselves. Finally, we imagine a world where everyone makes daily decisions with consideration for the planet that we all share, its ecology and ability to support human life. We have created a philosophy called Our Three “E” Philosophy for our brand and products that expresses the following:

5.  Do you have anything exciting for our readers?

     We sure do! Our first book, The Adventures of Joy Sun Bear: The Blue Amber of Sumatra, is a wonderful bestselling chapter book out now on Amazon.com. Packed with diverse, entertaining and charming characters, your child will be sure to get absorbed by the story as the main character, Joy, set’s out on a magical quest. His story is filled with adventure, but also teaches about friendship, compassion, respect, empathy, and responsibility. The story also introduces some important global issues (deforestation and refugees) in a kid-friendly narrative to empower and inspire kids. We also include resources in the back of the book that share different ways children can help with these global issues starting with their own community, also promoting kindness and giving back. We want children, no matter how young or small, to feel that they can make a difference in the world, starting in their own backyard.
      We’re already working on book two, but also making time for digital and in-person school visits. Our book has already been read in classrooms across the globe and our website has been used in classrooms as far away as Australia! You can follow our journey on any of our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube), and stay up to date on Joy’s adventures!
BOOK DESCRIPTION

Can one sun bear change the world?

Joy Sun Bear spends his days running through the rain forest, eating figs and honey, and teasing his sister. But everything changes when animals escaping the destruction of another forest arrive near his home.

If adjusting to new strangers wasn’t challenging enough, sacred figs go missing and chaos erupts when rumors of a curse begin to spread. To help restore peace in the rainforest, Joy sets out on an adventure filled with illusions, danger, and a mystical stone.

Can Joy discover his inner magic, help his new friends, and accept a mission that will alter his destiny forever?

Freebies for Readers:

      *Get our ebook with colored illustrations for $.99 when you purchase the paperback. Great for holidays to get your own copy and gift the other for someone you love!

*Free Character Coloring Sheets and Reading Comprehension Crossword Puzzle for Download: http://joysunbear.com/blue-amber/

*Learn more about Sumatra with Joy:  Joy shares his travel journal about Sumatra for kids to learn about his home. This includes information about Sumatra, geography, country facts, food, culture, animals and more with a craft, recipe and coloring activity for kids: http://joysunbear.com/explore-with-joy/west-sumatra/

 

AUTHOR BIOS

Blanca Carranza: Co-Author

Blanca Carranza is a former preschool teacher and globetrotter. Born in New York to Colombian parents, she spent her early life traveling around the world and listening to her grandmothers’ stories. She has visited fifteen countries across four continents. Her passion for exploring the world, combined with her study of child development, created a unique atmosphere in each of the daycares and preschools she has owned and operated.

From international music, to food, to art, she brought the world to the children she cared for. Before retiring from childcare, she was inspired to create Joy Sun Bear and his adventures so she could continue to help children be happier and learn more about the world. She has two kids of her own, both all grown up, and lives in Southern California with her husband.

John Lee: Co-Author/Illustrator

From driving tanks in the U.S. Army, to problem solving in the IT world, to writing and drawing cute and cuddly animals on magical adventures, John’s life has been fun and diverse.

Drawing and storytelling have always been important hobbies for John. Fueled by books, video games, and copious amounts of coffee, he is always excited to read, watch, or create some adventure-filled fiction.

John adores time with his wife and daughter, who provide a limitless supply of love, inspiration, and motivation. Together they live in sunny Southern California.

Shearin Lee: Creative Director
Shearin was born in the U.S.A and grew up in a multicultural environment with parents of Iranian descent. As a first-generation Iranian-American, Shearin can speak both Farsi and English and loves infusing both heritages into her family’s culture. She values giving back by helping charities raise money and volunteering at her daughter’s elementary school.

Her goal for Joy Sun Bear is to help kids feel comfortable with who they are, explore new friendships with others who are different, and help the world connect and create a sense of unity by learning about each other’s cultures.

      Visit the Website: www.joysunbear.com

7 Replies to “Empower and Encourage Through Stories of Friendship

  1. I always like to have insight into the backstory of authors’ lives. Then I am able to analyse the extent to which art imitates life. parallels it, or merely informs the life captured in the pages of their work.

  2. Thank you for featuring us and letting us share our story with your lovely community, Aditi! We appreciate your support and hope we can continue doing what we love and making a difference in the world. I am reading the comments above and it really warms my heart! Thank you to you all and to anyone that reads, reviews and share our book, know you are making a HUGE difference in our lives. Thank you and Happy New Year!

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