Monday, March 10, 2014

Grambo: From Idea to Printed page

Beth Navarro
by Beth Navarro

The Management is privileged to participate in Beth Navarro's blog tour for new her picture book, Grambo.

My education in children’s books (besides my ancient memories of Corduroy and The Rainbow Goblins) began at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, California. I worked in the kid’s section where I read my weight in books daily. I fell in love with picture books. Hard. And young adult books and middle grade books and… well you get the idea. At that time money was a bit tight and for Christmas I decided instead of traditional gifts to write my family members children’s stories instead. Some were odd. My parent’s story transformed them into windows each longing for each other’s life, one on top of the Sears Tower and one in a country barn. Grambo I wrote for Grandma Jean. Grambo was her nickname for reasons I didn’t really know (Maybe she really was a secret agent???). Her story came very easily. Instantly I pictured granny kicking bootie in combat boots. Grandma as a spy. What could be cooler then that? The stories were a hit. Christmas was over and I left the stories in a random writing file on my computer. I didn’t think too much more about them.

But I couldn’t get that image of Granny the Crime Stopper and her grandson, who discovers her secret, out of my mind.

Eventually, I dusted Grambo off and did some rewriting and more rewriting.

As I fine tuned Grambo, a friend of mine introduced to the wonderful creator and publishers at Be There Bedtime Stories and encouraged me to show them Grambo. They loved Grambo as much as I did. It felt like kismet. Away we go!

Working with Be There Bedtime Stories has been amazing. I love how they believe in connecting people through storytelling. All of their books are online in format. Grambo is their first printed book. I am beyond honored. The fact that I can get the message of Grambo out to kids makes me so happy. The relationship between grandchild and grandmother is a special one and it should be celebrated.

Betsy Hamilton, the illustrator, couldn’t have been more perfectly chosen. Betsy’s style fit Grambo’s adventures like Grambo’s night vision goggles fit in her giant handbag. I had a bit of a unique experience. From what I know if you work with a large publisher, an author really has nothing to do with the illustrating part of it. I feel lucky to have been included and asked suggestions. I saw the drawings along the way. It was absolutely amazing to see what had only existed in my head appear in my email inbox. One thing I do get a lot from people who have seen the book and who knew Grandma Jean: “Did you show your illustrator pictures of Jean? It looks just like her!” I didn’t. Must be fate.

Holding Grambo, the picture book I wrote, in my hands has been a dream come true. I hope for this for any writer or illustrator. The feeling is incomparable.

I dedicated the book to Grandma Jean and my Grandma Nette because they both embody the Grambo spirit to me. Amazing, loving and capable of anything. I do wish Grandma Jean was here to see Grambo in print. I think she’d be proud.

Grambo will be available on Amazon starting March 26th. Help get Grambo on the Amazon bestseller list on launch day!

Here are prizes when you buy on launch day March 26:
Buy 4 or more books: You get one more book free! Plus the prizes below.
Buy three books: You get an 8X10 Grambo illustration print autographed by the illustrator plus the prizes below.
Buy two books: You get a gift certificate for one Be There Bedtime Stories online book plus the prize below.
Buy one book: You get a discount! (It will already be shown on the amazon link.)

To receive your prize email your amazon receipt to by April 15th with the address where you’d like your prize. You will receive it by June 1st 2014.

Beth Navarro lives and writes in Sierra Madre, California. She is proud to be a member of SCBWI and is the co-editor for the Southern California tri-region newsletter, Kite Tales.  http://www.bethnavarro.c
To get all the up to date information about Grambo:


  1. As I am a Grandma, it is my duty to my grandchild to purchase this book. Thank you!
    I set a calendar reminder to buy it.

  2. Grambo is a great hook! (And so perfect for parents who know the Rambo-riff!) Congrats, Beth! - and thanks to Pen and Ink for sharing!

  3. Congratulations! I enjoyed reading about your writing and publishing journey!

  4. Lovely to see our very own Kite Tales editor here! Congratulations Beth! I loooove the idea behind Grambo. It reminds me of that grandma in Happily Never After. :)

  5. Hi Susan and Beth, sounds like a cute book. I love to write about Grandmas, too.


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