Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 20, 2019

Book Giveaway: NO BEARS ALLOWED by Lydia Lukidis

Lydia Lukidis has a new picture book, NO BEARS ALLOWED, illustrated by Tara J. Hannon. Lydia has agreed to share a book with 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Lydia!


Rabbit is afraid of many things, but most of all he’s afraid of gigantic, monstery, BEARS! The very nervous Rabbit is soon confronted by his worst fear who appears to be far more interested in making new friends than causing Rabbit any real harm. Despite his apprehension, Rabbit agrees to join his jovial new acquaintance for dinner, but wait a minute . . . is Bear planning to “have” Rabbit for dinner? In this tender story about a very nervous rabbit and a lovable bear, Rabbit discovers that things aren’t always as scary as they seem, and sometimes you may just have more in common with others than you think.

“Tara J. Hannon’s whimsical, fun, colorful drawings enhance a fine picture book story highly recommended for either independent pursuit by ages 4-7, or read-aloud pleasure.” — D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“This adventure offers an effective brain exercise in graphic storytelling for young readers. . .” — Kirkus Reviews


The idea for NO BEARS ALLOWED came to me several years ago. I knew I wanted to write about a big bear who looked menacing on the outside, but was sweet and naïve on the inside. Bear kept popping up in my consciousness. He was earnest, silly and comical all at once. Then I started to imagine a rabbit who was petrified of bears. And what if…they somehow realized they had more in common than they thought and wound up developing an unlikely friendship?

Once I developed the characters and plot, I wrote the first draft back in 2016. I learned three valuable lessons in the process, lessons that I take forward on my writing journey:

  1. The Real Magic Happens in the Editing

Writing the first draft of a picture book is easy enough. The difficulty comes with the revision process, and making sure your words elicit an emotional response from the readers. I learned that I had to let go of some of my ideas and certain parts of the story that I had grown attached to. I had to look at the text objectively and do what’s right for the book. I hacked away at the text for many months, and then it went through rigorous edits with the help of my critique partners. That’s when the magic began to emerge. It was further enhanced through the editing process at Blue Whale Press, and I finally felt Bear and Rabbit were ready to be released into the world.

  1. Trust your Writing

I admit that in my early days, I was guilty of telling rather than showing (despite the fact that writers and editors are always warning against this.) I began to study more mentor texts and research writing strategies. Through writing this book, I learned how crucial it is to paint a vivid picture for the readers without giving everything away. I also learned how to TRUST my words. Somehow, I had previously felt the need to hammer certain concepts over the poor readers’ heads just to make sure they got it. In time, I learned to trust my writing, and say more with fewer words.

  1. The Illustrator Plays a Big Role

I was always open to collaborating with an illustrator. When I met Tara J. Hannon, the talented illustrator for No Bears Allowed, I was excited to get started. Tara quickly blew me away with her concepts. Alayne Christian (my editor at Blue Whale Press) and I were careful to give her space and artistic leeway so she could put her own spin on things. I was amazed by her illustrations, and the magical elements that emerged. But the most important lesson was allowing space for the book to evolve. For example, when I first created Rabbit, I imagined him as an older critter, adorned with large spectacles. But Alayne and Tara proposed a younger version of Rabbit, one that children could connect with. After I saw his illustration, I fell in love with him even more. I realized that’s who Rabbit truly was.

Indeed, it takes a whole village to create a book. And, every step is an opportunity to learn and grow. I’m grateful that Blue Whale Press fell in love with my story, and that I was matched with such a wonderful illustrator who brought so much to the table.


Lydia Lukidis is an author, creator and conceptual artist. Her passion for reading and writing began at a very young age when she composed poem after poem in her journals. She later acquired her Bachelor degree in English Literature from McGill University and her love for the written word continued to grow.

Lydia fuses her creativity and skills to educate, inspire and entertain children. Her mandate as an artist is to provoke thought and feeling while having a positive impact on children. She has published over 40 children’s books including picture books, educational books and eBooks. She has experience with both fiction and non-fiction. In addition to her creative work, she also composes lesson plans, activities and curriculum based texts for children.

Lydia’s background is multi-disciplinary and spans the fields of literature, theater and puppetry. She has co-written and co-produced five plays for Panadream Theater, a company she co-founded in 2007. These plays for young audiences were told through the eyes of string marionettes. Her award winning play Yorgo & the World was selected to be part of the prestigious 2012 World Puppetry Festival in China. Her plays were presented at many international festivals and she collaborated with companies like Cirque du Soleil for several special events.

Lydia also does school visits and gives writing workshops for children aged 5-12. Her aim is to help children cultivate their imagination, sharpen their writing skills and develop self-confidence while improving their literacy. She is currently part of the Culture in the Schools Program organized by the Ministre de Culture et Communications Québec. These workshops are subsidized by the Quebec Government.

In addition to her work with children, Lydia writes articles and blogs for magazines and websites that target adults. She also does conceptual work for creative companies such as Moment Factory, where her latest project was to collaborate on a family show for Royal Caribbean International.


Tara’s passion for picture books began early and still fuels each piece that I create today. She’s the owner and artist of Meant for a Moment Designs, and work happily from my home studio, in Crownsville, MD. Her office assistants include one overly excited dog and two beautiful little girls.

She is a member of 12×12 and SCBWI and has illustrated over 20 books for self-publishing authors. She is excited to be working with Blue Whale Press on illustrations for one of their upcoming titles to be released in 2019. ​

Her illustrations have been described as whimsical, playful, and quirky. Tara is rep’d by Jordan Hamessley of New Leaf Literary.

Thank you, Lydia for sharing your book and its’ journey with us. It looks like a fun relatable story for children. Best of luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I find it reassuring reading the amount of revisions, how long they can take, and how often they are sent to CPs. It makes me feel better about sending off something I’m working knowing it will be a process. Thank you for sharing your book’s journey. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the inspiration, Lydia. So pleased to be on your path! Wishing you and bear and rabbit all the best! XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks adorable! Thanks for sharing the tips. Congratulations to both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the introduction to another excellent book and such an accomplished author/illustrator team. I’d love to have a copy of the new book, thanks for the chance to win it.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image on Pinterest with a link:
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!


  5. I’m looking forward to reading NO BEARS ALLOWED! Congratulations to Lydia and Tara!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This looks like a charming book. Thanks for sharing your publication story!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Perfectly enchanting. Thanks for an interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This looks like an adorable tale. A perfect lesson for todays little readers! Congratulations Lydia and Tara!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you Lydia for your generosity in sharing how you spend time editing. Yes, the dreaded work cut out our favorite parts and spend time thinking. I look forward to reading this book. I will post on FB too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The magic DOES happen in the editing and it really does take a village 🙂 This book looks adorable!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It looks like you use a lot of fun words in your writing! I especially like “monstery bear.”


  12. That is a very fun and funny cover!


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