Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 11, 2018

Book Giveaway: BunnyBear by Andrea J. Loney

Andrea J. Loney has agreed to give away a copy of her picture book BUNNYBEAR to one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


Although Bunnybear was born a bear, he feels more like a bunny. He prefers bouncing in the thicket to tramping in the forest, and in his heart he’s fluffy and tiny, like a rabbit, instead of burly and loud, like a bear. The other bears don’t understand him, and neither do the bunnies. Will Bunnybear ever find a friend who likes him just the way he is?


My friend Sarah Kay and I used to get together once a month for a “crafty” date where we’d knit, crochet, and chat. One December day in 2013, I was knitting a scarf, she was speed-crocheting a blanket, and we were sharing silly ideas back and forth. At one point I said, “Or a bear who believes deep in his heart that he’s really a bunny!” We laughed and I added the name BUNNYBEAR to my list of story ideas.

And then I forgot about it.

Well, I didn’t completely forget about the story. As I worked on several other stories for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge (writing 12 picture book drafts in 12 months), the story of a sweet bear who just wanted to be himself bounced in and out of my subconscious for months. And the story grew deeper and more resonant every time I thought about it.

In October of 2014 I finally sat down and wrote the story. Well, I didn’t actually sit down… back when I was a stand-up comedian, my friends and I would create routines and jokes by pacing around the room and improvising different scenarios. There was something about Bunnybear’s plight that made me want to act out the story in order to find the right words.  So there I was, bouncing around my office, and making loud bear noises and tiny bunny noises until the entire world of the story started to come together.

While I was writing and acting out the story, I thought of all the Bunnybear situations in my own life. I remembered how it felt to grow up as one of the few black children in a mostly white school. I remembered how it felt, as a little girl who loved science and computers, to not be taken seriously by some of my classmates and teachers.

There were the Bunnybear situations in my friends’ lives as well –I knew a wildly creative aspiring filmmaker whose parents just wanted him to go to medical school like everyone else in his family. And then there was a dear friend whose family kicked him out when he came out of the closet– he passed away tragically young, still yearning for his mother’s acceptance.

In its own way, the BUNNYBEAR story allowed me to address all of these heartbreaks by retelling a universal story of rejection and ending the tale with the acceptance that we all yearn for.

When I took the story to different critique groups, my partners really connected with the story. The BUNNYBEAR manuscript was the first piece that caught the eye of my ever-awesome agent Jill Corcoran. Ultimately, editor Kelly Barrales-Saylor at Albert Whitman & Company decided to publish the book, and when she moved on, Wendy McClure ushered the book through to publication.

Now BUNNYBEAR is in bookstores and libraries all over the country. Some librarians have said that they can’t keep it on the shelf as children are constantly taking it home. BUNNYBEAR was even used in a narrative therapy training for mental health clinicians to help their clients cope with life by changing the stories they tell themselves.

But my favorite part of this whole experience is sharing the book with children and watching them take the entire journey along with Bunnybear — sharing their own bear roars, their own bunny whispers, and, best of all, their own bear hugs.


Andrea J Loney received the 2014 Lee & Low New Voices Award for her picture book biography TAKE A PICTURE OF ME, JAMES VAN DERZEE!, published in July 2017 as a Junior Library Guild Fall 2017 selection, and earning a starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness as well as an NAACP Image Award nomination. Her picture book BUNNYBEAR was published Albert Whitman in January of 2017, and DOUBLE BASS BLUES will be published by Random House Knopf in 2019. Andrea is a proud member of The Brown Bookshelf, SCBWI, and Picture the Books 2017. She also volunteers for Reading to Kids and the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Andrea lives in Los Angeles with her towering stacks of children’s books, her devoted family, and their incredibly spoiled pets.

Andrea J. Loney received her MFA in dramatic writing from New York University. Since then, she has worked various jobs, from screenwriter to teacher of computer skills, and she even ran away to live with a circus. Today Andrea spends most of her time writing the kind of books that she would have enjoyed as a child—stories that celebrate the humanity of all children. Visit her online at

Andrea is one of the mentors at Writing with the Stars. The application window closes midnight January 13, 2018 EST. Each contestant is allowed three applications. It is free to enter.

Thank you Andrea for sharing your book and journey with us. Bear is so cute, trying to act like a bunny. Wishing you the best with the book. I know someone will be very happy to win a copy.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Such cute illustrations and I love the idea of being true to yourself no matter what the world believes you should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this book, and love your backstory even more! I’m a fellow 12 x 12 member. Way to go big!!! – bonnie fireUrchin Lambourn

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a beautiful book, opening discussion about children’s identities. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fun book! Enjoyed the story behind the story!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the theme of this story and always enjoy hearing the backstory.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing your inspiration for Bunny Bear and the process of writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree, the theme is wonderful and loved reading about how Andrea brainstormed “Bunnybear” situations from real life.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. BUNNYBEAR is the book I wish I’d had as a kid, when I always felt a little different from everyone else. I often still do 🙂 Thanks, Andrea, for a beautiful story.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful story that encourages readers to be who they are. I would love a copy. I’m tweeting, posting on FB and will reblog tomorrow. Thanks for sharing Andrea’s story with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this post, Andrea …timely and relatable for today’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This book is too cute!! Thank you, Andrea!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Such a fun way to approach this concept!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a fun idea for a story and the illustrations are adorable. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image with a link on Pinterest: Thanks again, have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for a beautiful story, and for sharing the story of how you created it. I love the idea of acting this out!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I live in Australia so may not qualify for a prize, but I love Bunnybear and Andrea sounds like such a fun person with great ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love to hear how they are using your book. That has to be so rewarding. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This looks like a great book! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This book is amazing and so is Andrea 😀 LOVE there’s a giveaway!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Awww…BunnyBear sounds like a sweet tender tale. No wonder you couldn’t let go of the idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    Enter for a chance to win this enchanting book.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I absolutely love that you acted it out! So much better than outlining!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This looks lovely and very original! I’m not sure I’d want bears running around in the garden!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I love Bunnybear, and I love our crafties. So grateful to have been part of the process. I love to share the book and look forward to our next crafty! So proud of you, Andrea! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Yay, BunnyBear! It was great hearing your story at the Westside Mingle.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. So Adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Our whole family loves ‘Bunnybear.’ Thank you for this wonderful book!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Yes! It worked!


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