By day, Jane Lovascio is a medical sales representative, but by night, the Brooklyn native is a children’s book author.
“The first job I could take was a sales job, but I always wanted to do something charitable for children,” says the current New Jersey resident, who, whether by raising money through her school's charities while an elementary student at Bay Ridge's Visitation Academy or volunteering in soup kitchens while an undergrad at Boston University, always had a desire to give back.
A couple of years ago, Lovascio’s volunteerism just didn’t feel like enough. That led her to develop a children's book series devoted to raising money for charity, and last year, Lovascio saw the release of her first book, Casey and Bella Go To New York City, an urban adventure inspired by her own pets of the same names, with, rich, full-page color illustrations by Aija Jasuna.
The first of what is to be a seven-book series, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of each book will also go towards a chosen charity. For every Casey and Bella Go To New York City book sold on her website, www.CaseyandBella.com, $2 will go toward Loving Paws Assistance Dogs, a charity that trains therapy dogs to help children with disabilities.
On May 17, the writer returns to her roots with a reading and book signing of Casey and Bella Go To New York City at Cazmo Gifts in Dyker Heights, where she will also present a slideshow on her book and her real life dogs, Casey, a Jack Russel Terrier, and Bella, a Tea Cup Yorkie, who have inspired the series.
“I’m excited to be back in Brooklyn and doing something for a good cause,” says the author.
In the kickoff book to the series, the titular dogs escape from New Jersey to New York City, where they encounter a cast of characters that include a squirrel in Greenwich Village, a Chihuahua in Chelsea, a stuck up poodle on the Upper West Side and animals at the Central Park Zoo before returning home to their masters.
Decidedly a Manhattan-based adventure, the Brooklyn native jokes, “Maybe I’ll do Casey and Bella Go To Brooklyn.”
For now, though, the next trip for the duo is Hollywood. About six months from now, Lovascio will see the release of her second book in the series, Casey and Bella Go To Hollywood. The charity of choice for this book will be the Jubilee Center, a Hoboken, N.J.-based organization that runs an after school and summer safe haven for children in Hoboken’s public housing neighborhood and of which the author is also belongs to the board.
“I’ve tried to always do things that felt good in some way,” says Lovasico, who hopes to eventually form a non-profit foundation where she can continue doing charity work, possibly full-time. “I’m no saint, but I absolutely love to help people.”
One book at a time.
Jane Lovascio reads from Casey and Bella Go To New York City on May 17 at Cazmo Gifts (7511 13th Avenue) at noon. For more information, call 718-234-3441.
Casey and Bella Go To New York City is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble bookstores and the Bookmark Shoppe (8415 3rd Avenue) and Cazmo Gifts, as well as online at www.CaseyandBella.com, where $2 for every book sold will be donated to Loving Paws Assistance Dogs.