Kevin and Danielle Jonas, THERE'S A BEACH IN MY BEDROOM

Kevin and Danielle Jonas, THERE'S A BEACH IN MY BEDROOM

Zibby speaks to international rockstar Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle Jonas, both repeat guests on MDHTTRB, about There’s a Beach in My Bedroom, a colorful new picture book about turning a disappointing canceled beach day into an even more fun day at home. Kevin and Danielle talk about their collaboration with each other and their illustrator, their exciting summer book tour, and typical beach days in their family (they are big Jersey Shore-ers!). Kevin also talks about his upcoming tour (with back-to-back shows at Yankee Stadium!) and juggling fatherhood with his busy schedule.


Zibby Owens: Welcome back to “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books,” Kevin and Danielle. Thanks for coming on and showing us how to have a beach in our bedroom.

Kevin Jonas: Everything but the sand, as it were. It’s really good that we’re doing another one. We’re so excited to work together, obviously, on it. The first one went over so well. They asked us to do another one. We’re really excited about it. Truthfully, this one’s actually more my favorite. This one deals with disappointment and what happens when plans don’t go the way they were supposed to and things change. That happens a lot in our life and, I’m sure, so many other parents’ and families’ lives. Hopefully, it’s something that everyone can relate to.

Zibby: We can’t relate to that, right? Can we? Things not going your way?

Child: No, I can’t. Well, I could.

Kevin: Could, exactly.

Zibby: I love in the book how even though — why don’t you say what the book is about?

Kevin: The book is about dealing with disappointment. In the book, we actually set up where everyone was planning on a huge beach day and a family day on the day off, which is something we all look forward to during the summer. Living on the East Coast, we know probably better than most, it can rain. Thunderstorms can happen. When that happens, you’re not going to the beach. If someone’s looking forward to it so much — in the book, the character is so excited to go, but she can’t now because it’s raining, so they make a beach in the bedroom. They have a whole picnic set up, the games, the activities. There’s a nod to Danielle’s jewelry business in there with the beads and the bracelets. It’s really cool.

Zibby: I loved the seashell jewelry. That was a nice touch. That was awesome. Are there more collaborations in the works with the jewelry and the book? Is there going to be a box set or some way to sell the bracelet with the book?

Kevin: No. We talked about it. We’re trying to work it out. We wanted to do something like that. We’ll see. Maybe we can figure it out in time. We’ll try to do what we can.

Zibby: You should definitely do some beach towels. The illustrations in this book are so fun and colorful and happy and summery and everything. Tell me about working with your illustrator and how that all has gone down.

Danielle Jonas: That was super important to us, doing the pictures, because that’s going to get the attention of the kids. It gets my attention too if it’s cute, colorful. That was a big part of it going into it. Courtney, of course, she nailed it totally right away.

Kevin: She definitely got our voice in art form right away. The minute we saw her drawings of Bella and Emma, we were like, yep, this is it. It just felt right to us. It felt like this is what we wanted to say.

Zibby: Excellent. Some of the disappointment from not being able to go to the beach brings the parents to their knees, as it were, throwing different suggestions as we often do when we’re trying to solve a problem. Let’s do that. How about that? No, how about this? Of course, most parents can’t say, do you want to have a jam session with Dad? That was one of the things. Do you actually do that?

Kevin: We definitely goof around. We definitely have some fun. We actually just found an old video today of our daughters with some guitars jamming out in the house and singing their own songs. They were younger. It broke our hearts. Our youngest just lost her first tooth last night. It’s starting to happen. She’s starting to no longer be our baby. She’ll always be our baby.

Zibby: I feel like there’s a book in that. Tooth fairy, got to use that.

Danielle: You’re right.

Kevin: Next up.

Danielle: Next one.

Zibby: Do you already have a next children’s book, or you just focus on one at a time?

Kevin: I think we’re just focusing on one at a time right now, but you never know. We really enjoy doing this. Our girls love doing it with us. We’ll see what happens.

Zibby: Do they come to events? I have my here.

Kevin: Yes, they definitely come to events. We’re going to be going on a big tour starting in August. We’re going to try to travel as much as we can as a family before school starts. We try to be together as much as we possibly can.

Zibby: That’s amazing. When you all go to the beach as a family, what does a typical beach day look like? Do you go all day? Where do you like to go? Do you pack the cooler? What does it look like?

Kevin: We are traditional Jersey Shore-ers. We really are.

Danielle: We like to stay down there at least the night because I hate getting in the car all sandy and all of that.

Kevin: We’ll deal with it.

Danielle: It’s so hard. I also felt bad for the kids. I don’t care, but to sit in the stickiness and everything, it drives me crazy.

Kevin: It drives me nuts. Then you’re always in traffic, so it’s always a long drive home.

Danielle: They love the boogie boarding. They’re very into the water. He builds great sandcastles.

Kevin: I’m a big believer that everyone should have bagels at the beach because what else is best a bathing suit than tons of carbs? We always hit the bagel shop on the way to the beach, load up with as many things as we can bring. Then we go to the beach.

Zibby: Interesting. I actually have never had bagels on the beach. I don’t know why.

Kevin: They last all day.

Zibby: I’ve been missing out. Next time. That’s funny. The good thing, though, about a day at the beach is they’re so tired afterward.

Kevin: I know. It’s amazing. You fight all year long to get them in bed on time. Then you go to the beach, and then they can’t keep their eyes open past dinner. It’s the greatest thing ever.

Zibby: I’m like, should I not have said that was so great?

Kevin: I think every parent listening is probably going to be like, yeah, of course.

Zibby: I know. Our bedtimes have stretched to two hours at this point.

Kevin: There’s a bedtime, and then there’s the hour-long, trying to figure out why we’re not in bed bedtime.

Zibby: Very true. Danielle, do you have any bedtime tricks?

Danielle: Do I? No, I don’t. They do listen to me more than you.

Kevin: Of course, they do.

Danielle: The biggest thing that really does work — parents have always said this to me. Give them a race. I bet you can’t get up those steps before me. They always buy it. They always do. It’s great.

Zibby: That’s true. Timing you. How long does it take? I’ll time you. Go! My brother says that when we were kids, back when the world was a little bit safer, I guess, I don’t know, I told him that I would time him to go to the — this is really dating me. I don’t even know why I’m telling this story. I would time him to go to the local movie theater, which was two blocks away in New York City, to buy tickets and then come back. He went and ran and got all these tickets. He was ten or something. Then he came back and — this is going to make me sound terrible. I promise I was a nice older sister, but not in that moment. I was like, “What do you mean? I didn’t tell you I would time you.”

Kevin: Oh, man. Wow.

Zibby: Is that the worst?

Kevin: That’s not that bad. We played hide and go seek one time with my brother. He went up into the attic, and we forgot we were playing hide and seek.

Danielle: That’s awful.

Zibby: Yet somehow, we all grow up. It’s okay. My brother’s fine.

Kevin: We have therapy. It’s great.

Zibby: It’s great. We’ve worked through it, obviously. It still comes up now. We’re in our forties, but it’s fine.

Kevin: Thanksgiving is weird. It’s fun.

Zibby: Oh, my gosh. Tell me about how you two write these books together. What does it look like? Are you sitting at your dining room table coming up with — tell me the whole thing.

Kevin: It really is a collaborative effort. We went through a bunch of ideas of topics and themes we’d love to cover. Then we worked with our publishers and obviously, Courtney. We just really worked through it and got the ideas and put it on paper. Pretty straightforward. It’s a little bit of a churn, and then it was there. It was pretty awesome.

Zibby: Collaborative effort, that’s great. No fights about any words? Anything like that?

Kevin: Not really. We really spent a lot of time working on the first book with Courtney about the visuals. Once that was locked in, it was pretty straightforward to move it over to this book because the characters were there. It was changing the environments and other things.

Zibby: After your first book came out and you went through the whole publishing journey — I know you’re familiar with the music world. What blew your mind about the whole process in a good or bad way?

Kevin: It’s really not that much different. It’s like any other project. It’s about what you give to it. Also, you get back out of it. I was actually really oddly busy last time we had the book coming out because I was in the middle of filming a season of a TV show in LA. I was flying back and forth on weekends to do the press days. It was a lot of back and forth. Luckily, I won’t be doing that this time.

Danielle: Yeah, but you’re doing the tour stuff this time.

Kevin: Yeah, but I won’t be on tour. Yes, thank god. We have July off. The only thing I have July is this book, which is great.

Zibby: That’s good. It’s fun to tour in the summer because everyone’s traveling. That’ll be great. Is there a stop in particular that has any significance or you’re really excited about?

Kevin: We’re starting the tour at Yankee Stadium on August 12th and 13th. Those two shows are going to be insane.

Danielle: Always wild.

Kevin: I’m really looking forward to it.

Zibby: Wow. Aim low. Yankee Stadium. Why not?

Kevin: Aim low, exactly. If one wasn’t good enough, we’ll do another one.

Zibby: Twice in a row, oh, my gosh. Do you feel like collaborating professionally helps your marriage or hurts your marriage?

Kevin: I think helps.

Danielle: It helps. We’ve liked to work together. I had no idea, at least.

Kevin: I love it.

Danielle: We get to spend more time.

Kevin: We have press days, so we’ll have to go to the city and have a whole day. Then at least we get to go in early the night before and have date night. We turn it into an event. It works out for us.

Zibby: Mandated babysitting because it’s work.

Kevin: Exactly. It’s work. We have to go.

Zibby: That’s nice. If each of you could pick someone else you would like to cowrite a book with, who would it be?

Kevin: I think you and your sister should write a book together.

Danielle: Oh, my gosh, I would love to do that.

Kevin: You should do that. I think that’s what she should do. I can say the same. I’ve written a book with my brother. It’s not out yet. We’re still finishing and working on it. Been working on it for five years. That’s a very interesting journey. We’ve been through many iterations of it. Sometimes it’s fast, like with our books, and sometimes it’s very slow.

Zibby: What would you write about with your sister, Danielle?

Danielle: I never thought of this, actually. What would I write about?

Kevin: .

Danielle: , no.

Kevin: You’re putting us on the spot.

Zibby: I am. I’m sorry. I know.

Danielle: Some kind of family thing.

Kevin: You’re very family oriented, but each one of you has a very different outlook. They’d have a good podcast. I do believe that as well. I do believe the three of them should have their own podcast, but that’s just me. I’ve been saying it for a while now.

Danielle: You have been.

Zibby: You better jump on that before the podcast market gets saturated.

Danielle: I know.

Zibby: I’m kidding. What are you excited about? Aside from the book and the summer, what else is coming up on the horizon? I know you always have all sorts of projects in the works.

Kevin: I have Claim to Fame coming up in a couple weeks. God, it’s so soon. June 26th, our season second. The tour. The album just came out. This book. Very busy. Been very busy for a couple months now. Just happy to be home for a minute. I’m ready for some vacation with the family. We’re going to our own beach for a little while. That’ll be nice.

Zibby: Wonderful. I know in the book, there are disappointing events. Sometimes you do feel like your characters that even though you know it’s upsetting, you just can’t kick that sad feeling, even though you know it’s like, okay, fine, yes, but I still feel so sad about this. I just can’t get rid of it. Tell me about times maybe you’ve felt that way about something.

Kevin: I just recently had to deal with it, honestly. We were on vacation. I finished all the press that we had for everything for our album coming out and everything. We were on vacation for a week. We went to Disney because that’s what you do. the Super Bowl? You go to . I had two shows in the middle. Of course, love doing the shows, but I really wanted to spend time with them because I’ve been away a lot. Things I just really could not move. It was part of the schedule, but it was disappointing that I had to leave. Helping them understand that, she’s such an amazing —

Danielle: — I was sad too. Even though the girls were upset and sad or whatever, I would say, “He’s going to leave, but Mommy’s going to sleep in bed with you.”

Kevin: She’s made the best of it.

Danielle: “It’s going to be girl time. I’ll get to go to dinner with you guys, just me and you.” Then my family was with us. I’ve tried. I love that the book shows that you still can have those feelings. It, necessarily, doesn’t have to go away, but you can deal with it better.

Kevin: Your feelings are never diminished. It’s about how you operate through them.

Zibby: Very true, yes, like when you’re disappointed that your guest host leaves in the middle of the podcast and steals your phone.

Kevin: You have to get more interesting guests.

Zibby: Do you have any questions? I’m striking out with this guy today.

Kevin: It’s summer. Summer has begun.

Zibby: Do you have any advice for aspiring creative types of all kind, children’s book authors, musicians, anyone who’s trying to pursue a dream?

Kevin: I love it, pursue a dream. We got lucky because of our background. I think just write what you love. Write what you know. That’s what we did here. We weren’t trying to do anything more prolific than it was. We just wanted to tell stories that we’ve understood and that we’ve been through.

Zibby: Are you going to ever write a book on marriage? What do you think?

Kevin: I don’t know.

Danielle: That would be pretty awesome.

Kevin: We could. We could start it now. Thirteen years. Here we go.

Danielle: It’s a roller coaster.

Kevin: It’s been good. For us, writing a book about anything together or just working on any project together is fun. She’s my best friend, so it’s more time with her.

Zibby: I feel like there are all these new books coming out about marriage and what regular happy marriages look like, which has previously been so under wraps. All the books are about horrible betrayals and all this stuff. I think it’s also good for people to come out and say, this is what’s working. Yeah, some days we fight and whatever.

Danielle: We also got married young. It could’ve worked, and it could’ve not.

Kevin: Totally backfired.

Danielle: We kind of grew together. Sometimes you grow apart when you’re growing up and you get married so young. We did good.

Zibby: Any last questions from you? No?

Child: What? Huh?

Zibby: Do you have any questions? Come on, ask a question. One question.

Child: I don’t have a question.

Zibby: Fired. You’re fired. I think the book is great. I think I am going to make a beach party in the kids’ room next time it is raining. You’ve given parents some tools, not just to read the book, but read the book, and then have the party. There we go. It’s a twofer. It’s amazing.

Kevin: Thank you so much.

Danielle: Thank you.

Zibby: Thanks for coming on. Good luck. Bye.

Danielle: Bye.

Kevin: Bye.

Kevin and Danielle Jonas, THERE'S A BEACH IN MY BEDROOM

THERE’S A BEACH IN MY BEDROOM by Kevin and Danielle Jonas

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