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Think...then Jump by Dana Perri

Hartsdale resident and award-winning author Dana Perri has launched her own company to publish her children’s book series and products, www.thinkthenjump.com. Dana had been in the TV production industry for 20 years before turning her business and creative energies to writing children’s books. The fast paced lifestyle of production and NY living prompted her to create Think…then Jump™, a motto for living thoughtfully. She noted that in this ever rapid world of instant message, texting, Twitter and all the rest, we often find ourselves typing in, shouting out, acting out before we think of our behavior, and our children are following in our footsteps. For Dana, Think…then Jump™ is more than a children’s book series. It’s a way of life; a mantra that we can use as a gentle reminder to stop, take a breath and not just react. She acknowledges that it is important for children to learn about taking action, but feels it is equally important for them to learn about being mindful of the things they do and say. The goal behind the Think…then Jump™ concept is to focus on some simple but important things in life – kindness, sharing, thoughtfulness and responsibility for one’s actions. Think first; a simple yet often forgotten concept. Dana’s debut book, The Grumpy Frog, is a celebrated winner of the iParenting Media Award. Her second book, The Careless Frog, received an honorable mention from DIY Book Festival Awards.

Here is an interview with entrepreneur Dana Perri:

Tell us about your children’s book series.

The book series, which is mainly geared toward children 3-9, focuses on a little frog named Rana, who in various situations finds that he often jumps too quickly and doesn’t always make thoughtful decisions. With the help of his wise bird friend, Lulu, Rana the Frog learns that taking the time to think about his words and actions helps him make better choices. That is the basis behind Think…then Jump™, taking action but taking the time to be mindful about the splash we make in life.

What makes these books different?

The books are unique in their simple, direct stories and the vibrant, bold illustrations that children are completely drawn to, especially since they have a playful, child-like quality to them. The illustrator, Juan Carlos Casas, who by the way is my husband, used an interesting technique and was able to deliver the exact visual impact that I was looking for: Big, bold images with a splash of color that is not neatly colored within the lines. There is also another unique aspect to my books. I have included questions at the end in a section I call “Questions to Ponder”. These aid in opening up a dialogue with children, revealing their comprehension of the story as well as helping them to verbalize their feelings. This section has been very well received by the children, and especially the parents and teachers. My goal is to spread kindness and thoughtfulness, one word, one act, one leap at a time.

You were a TV production executive for many years, what spurred your career change?

For several years I had been trying to devise a new career path. Although I had a great deal of success and fun working in the TV industry, I found myself yearning to follow my heart and try to make a meaningful contribution. I suppose in a way I had Oprah’s ‘Live Your Best Life’ proclamation ringing in my head. This became even more pressing after I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. By that time I had already written 5 stories in the series but just hadn’t done anything with them. My diagnosis made me realize that there is no time like the present to strive for and achieve your goals. And so began my glorious journey. The fact is that I have been writing in some form or another most of my life. Television production is a form of storytelling, so in some ways all I did was simply tweak the medium for telling my stories. At first, it was scary leaping into a new career, but mostly it is exciting to find joy in pursuing what makes my heart smile and feel like what I am contributing in a meaningful way.

Why did you choose to use your own company to publish these books?

There are several reasons and these are in no particular order of importance. The world of big business has been changing for some time and that is in part due to all the technology readily available. I first noticed this within the music industry, as that was my main focus in my TV career. I saw a radical change in how people made their music purchases. I think the publishing industry is feeling that same trend. I even noticed that here in Scarsdale, the Barnes and Noble shut down, which in my mind represented a big change. You can now get books downloaded anywhere, anytime through a multitude of devices. It completely alters the usual book buying/selling experience and thus the methodology has shifted. Entrepreneurs with good ideas now have the tools through technology and social media outlets to promote, sell and sustain a complete business entirely through their own efforts. I saw an opportunity to publish my own books and jumped on my lily pad. I did my due diligence. I tested the stories with children and had them reviewed by parents, educators, librarians and copywriters, each giving me excellent feedback, which I incorporated. I felt the product was strong and that I could market it on its merit. Another reason, publishers usually do not allow authors to collaborate with the illustrator. At the time, I didn’t feel I could work in that paradigm. I had a clear vision for the books and simply could not be absent from that part of production.

One other important aspect to publishing myself was to inspire my nieces and nephew. Since my husband and I don’t have children, they are an important part of my life. After years of hearing my stories, they continually questioned why the stories couldn’t be made into books. Their innocent and positive view of a world without obstacles or boundaries made me realize that anything is possible if you put forth the effort. And so, in a way to prove to them and myself that with passion, determination and hard work anything can be accomplished, I took the leap (of course, after a lot of thinking!!)

Where can people buy your books and shirts?

My products can be found on my website, www.thinkthenjump.com. The books can be found on Amazon and locally at the following locations. I would also like to add that I am an approved BOCES artist and available for Author School Visits.

Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Rd?
Scarsdale, NY 10583
www.greenburghnaturecenter.org

Reading, Writing & Wrapping
30 East Parkway
Scarsdale, NY 10583

Stone Barns Center
630 Beford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591
www.stonebarnscenter.org

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