Thursday, February 28, 2019

Laini Taylor Teaches Us How to Make a Journal

The beautiful and creative author, Laini Taylor, took over LitJoy Crate this past week! Well, at least she took over their Instagram account. I loved her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, so when I heard about a new series, starting with Strange the Dreamer, I was ecstatic! It was so good and the second book in the series, Muse of Nightmares was too.
Laini was so sweet when LitJoy asked for her to be a part of the LitJoy experience. She was all in. We lucked out too, because she decided to show us the journals that she uses to brainstorm for all of her books. They are fantastic! So fantastic, that she took over LitJoy's Instagram Stories and showed us how she makes them. They are so perfect!
Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
— journals (she uses these cool ones from Clairefontaine)
— collage papers
— exacto knife and straight edge for perfect cutting
— acrylic matte medium
— some pieces of cardboard (or heavy paper will do)
— some craft paint
— big cheap foam stamps
— rub-on transfer designs & letters
Watch Laini Taylor on our @litjoycrate stories here:
If you want some more detailed instructions, you can check out Laini’s blog here
I hope you enjoyed the takeover as much as we did! I really wish LitJoy had more of these crates left to sell because they were so good, but you can still get the Lazlo and Sarai Notebook.

About the Author: Robin M. King is the author of three young adult novels (Remembrandt Series), devourer of books, and lover of brownie batter and cheesy superhero shows.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids (Ages 3-7)

Here’s the deal. You’ve got a child under 8 that you want to get a gift for. It might be yours, a niece or nephew, grandchild, or friend’s birthday party. Either way, you want to get them something different, meaningful, fun, but all get points with the parents. Am I right? In steps a box that includes two hardback picture books (hello, educational item), and 3-5 items that go with those books – little toys, a treat, an activity guide, etc. Now, who’s the best person in this child’s life?!? That’s right. It’s YOU!
LitJoy crate currently has 8 crates that you can get right now here. You can even send it to the child’s home in you don’t live near. How’s that for convenient? Here’s the lowdown on what to expect in each crate:


Get it here!
Losing your first tooth is a big deal! Good thing the Tooth Fairy has a royal helping hand!
In this crate:
  • The picture book: The Tooth Fairy’s Royal Visit by Peter Bently and Garry Parsons. In this adventure through the royal palace the Tooth Fair must collect a royal tooth. When she runs into an unexpected resident, she’s asked to help with a different set of very important teeth! This hilarious and heartwarming tale will have both kids and grownups giggling.
  • A custom designed Tooth Fairy Pillow by Lil’Bag Company
  • A DIY crown kit with jewels
  • Fairy wand
  • Brushing timer
  • A Dr. Seuss print
  • Sugar-free gum
  • A special letter from the author!

The King of Too Many Things Picture Book Crate

Get it here!
Who says you can’t get everything you want?! This crate, packed with two picture books and a bunch of activities, is perfect for teaching little readers about gratitude, sharing, and having a positive attitude!
Included in this crate:
  • New release book: The King of Too Many Things by Laurel Snyder and Aurore Damant
    King Jasper loves being king. A hilarious, modern fairy tale about what can go wrong when a boy king gets everything he wishes for.
  • Second picture book: You Get What You Get by Julie A. Gassman and Sarah Horne
    Melvin throws fit after fit when he doesn’t get what he wants. He must learn how to deal with disappointment. After all, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!
  • A Wizard’s Wand to cast a spell for everything you want!
  • Adjustable Queen or Kings Crown so you can be a proper queen or king!
  • Merry Makers coupon
  • LitJoy-exclusive Activity Packet to keep reading time going!

Creepy Pair of Underwear Picture Book Crate

Get it here!
Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. This crate is perfect all thing silly and spooky!
Included in this crate:
  • New-release book: Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown.
  • Zombelina by Kristyn Crow, Illustrated by Molly Idle
  • LitJoy Activity Book – Solve puzzles, build skeletons, and color in your own Zombelina with this LitJoy exclusive interactive kit!
  • Sticker Friends Halloween book
  • Mummy Trick-or-Treat bag
  • Green Glow Stick Necklace
  • Spider Pop Craft Kit
  • Ghost Ring Pop
  • E.T. temporary tattoos from Quirk Books
  • Glow-in-the-dark underwear postcard

Back to School Bigfoot Picture Book Crate

Get it here!
This crate is perfect for readers who love school or who need a little extra encouragement! 
In this crate:
  • The picture book Back to School with Bigfoot by Samantha Berger and Martha Brockenbrough. starting a new school year can be hard, especially if you’re seven feet tall! But there’s plenty to look forward to . . . like getting a haircut, trying on new clothes, and finding new shoes that fit.
  • The picture book A Tiger Tail: or What Happened to Anya on Her First Day of School by Mike Boldt. Anya wakes up to discover that she has grown a tiger tail. Yes, a striped tiger tail. It also happens to be the first day of school. What will the other kids think? Are girls with tiger tails even allowed to go to school?!
  • A Bigfoot Back to School Activity Kit
  • A school bus Pencil Pouch
  • A sticker, a bookmark, and a temporary tattoo.

We’re All Wonders Picture Book Crate 

From the same author that wrote the unforgettable book Wonder, this crate includes the picture book: We’re All Wonders – a story about our favorite Auggie and his dog Daisy!
In this crate:
  • The picture book We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio. Through rich illustrations these two travel to outer space and teach us the powerful lesson that we are all wonderful and deserve to belong.
  • A hand-stitched pocket alien best friend by Littles by Bella
  • A rocket shooter toy to blast off in to space!
  • “Space Food” snacks from Happy Family
  • A bee eye kaleidoscope to see the world from a different perspective
  • A Wonder quote pocket mirror
  • Extra bookmarks, coloring activities, and sticker sheets!

GOAL! Picture Book Crate

Get it here!
This crate includes the picture book: Hey, Coach! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Kim Smith. Hey, Coach! is all about the fun, teamwork, and challenges that come from being on a team! We loved all the ups and downs of the season and the lessons on sportsmanship, sharing, and friendship! Along with the book, little soccer players can enjoy a half-time snack, an inflatable soccer ball, a coach’s whistle, a winner’s metal, a boo-boo bandage kit, and sports socks! Also included is a parent gift allergy blend essential oil from The Literary Apothecary so parents don’t miss a game!

ABC Board Book Crate

Get it here!
This fun ABC primer crate includes two books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s ABC and M is for Monocle. It also includes custom wooden ABC blocks, an ABC cookie snack, and earrings as a grownup gift. This crate would be suitable for babies (the board book pages can’t be torn!) as well as ages 3-7 years old.

How to be a Super Hero Picture Book Crate

Get it here!
Saving the world is super. But standing up against bullying is just as heroic!
To help your little heroes this crate comes with:
  • The picture book: Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. Super Manny combines the awesomeness of superheroes with the important anti-bullying theme! Like Manny, little readers can put on their cape and be FEARLESS, STRONG, BRAVE, POWERFUL, and INVINCIBLE!
  • A superhero slap bracelet
  • A bookmark
  • Super words tote bag
  • Sticker cityscape set
  • A super eraser pencil
  • Laminated poster
  • Super Jelly Bellys

I hope you enjoy one of these boxes for your loved one!

About the Author: Robin M. King is the author of three young adult novels (Remembrandt Series), devourer of books, and lover of brownie batter and cheesy superhero shows.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Catwoman: Villain or Hero?

I’ve always been fascinated with the character of Catwoman from the DC Comics. Maybe it’s because I had an obsession with Batman when I was younger and loved watching all the movies, cartoons, and seeing her in the comics. As a side note, it might have been Robin that I had a thing for too (have you seen Batman Forever with Chris O’ Donnell?? Yum!).

We loved Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas. We also love our make-up artist friend, @classycozmetics, and her prowess here.
Much of the portrayal of Catwoman has been the woman in leather with a bullwhip, a seductress who does the wrong things for the right reasons (most of the time). I think the main reason many people are drawn to her is because she is strong and seems to have confidence in who she is. She doesn’t play by the rules, but when it’s really important, she *usually* makes the right choice. Now, I’m not saying that every actress that has played her is my favorite or every portrayal of this DC hero/villain is spot on, but I think there is something to be said for some of the recent versions of Catwoman. The latest ones I’m referring to are the release of the book, Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas, Anne Hathaway’s performance in The Dark Knight Rises and the young Catwoman in the 2014 television series Gotham (Camren Bicondova).
If you haven’t read Sarah J. Maas’ Catwoman: Soulstealer, you need to read it! It, along with the other DC Icon’s novels, Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu, Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, and the Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Pena.

Our new heroes: Matt de la Peña, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, and Sarah J. Maas, authors of the new DC Icons series of YA books on our favorite superheroes!
So, back to Catwoman, what do you think? Is she villain or is she hero? According to IGN’s list of the “Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time”, Catwoman is listed as number 11. She is also ranked 51st on Wizard magazine’s “100 Greatest Villains of All Time” list. On the other hand, she made it on IGN’s “Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time”, ranking at number 20. So . . . if the comic book guru’s can’t decide, what about the general public? Honestly, I think it depends on the version of Catwoman you are referring to. But in the three recent versions I mentioned above, I believe that Catwoman falls more on the good side, than the bad side. Does she break the law? For sure. What superhero hasn’t? Ok, there might be a few.
I believe the differences between villain and hero are all about heart. Each of has a little devil and angel on our shoulders. No one does right all the time and then there’s that gray area where I think Catwoman falls. I really think her heart is in the right place, but maybe her background has made her untrusting so if she feels threatened in any way, she falls a little on the dark side. In most of the comics, though, even when she is fighting with Batman, she would never let him die and often protects him.
That being said, I think Selena Kyle, aka Catwoman, of the 1990s and beyond has moved from being a villian to becoming an antihero. She is someone who is willing to break the rules while supporting the downtrodden and underdogs of society. She might not have all the qualities that you would see in the typical hero, and she might steal a few necklaces along the way, but somewhere inside, she wants to help the innocent.

This Catwoman card was created by @gabriella.bujdoso. Litjoy now has trading cards of some of our favorite superheroes and bookish friends.
If you love Catwoman as much as me, or superheroes in general, check out our DC Icons shop. I am in LOVE with their Catwoman Crate (the plate is to-die-for!).  

About the Author: Robin M. King the author of three young adult novels (Remembrandt Series), devourer of books, and lover of brownie batter and cheesy superhero shows.