Kevin and Danielle Jonas join Zibby to talk about their first picture book, There’s a Rock Concert in My Bedroom, which was inspired by their two daughters. The three discuss their similar dinnertime rituals, why Kevin and Danielle love working together so much, and how they approach their daughters’ growing interest in music. Kevin also shares the small token he takes on stage every night to remind him of his family, and what Alena and Valentina think of their dad being a Jonas Brother.


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Kevin and Danielle. Thanks so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” to discuss your amazing children’s book, There’s a Rock Concert in My Bedroom.

Kevin Jonas: Thank you for having us.

Danielle Jonas: Thank you.

Zibby: It’s my pleasure. Please tell listeners, what is your children’s book about? Why write this book?

Kevin: We wanted to do a children’s book forever. It only made more sense as our kids got a little older, and we had children, which kind of helped the whole story. We started to see the books that they were reading that they liked. We’ve always wanted to encourage them in different ways. One of the things that we deal with a lot is having to be in front of a lot of people. Then we saw what started to happen with our daughters is they were starting to do dance recitals, going to school, performances, and how those nerves could kick in sometimes. For us, this was just a fun way to remind them that it’s about having fun. When our daughter Alena had a dance recital, she actually got super in her head. She practiced every day, even after the rehearsals, and kind of stopped having fun with it. Then we turned off the noise in her head, in a way, and just created a family dance party. It helped her remember to have a good time.

Danielle: It was so fun.

Kevin: This kind of emulates that in a capacity.

Zibby: I think our family dance parties might do the opposite thing. Nobody should see our family dance parties.

Danielle: Ours either.

Kevin: No, but that’s the whole point. That’s the whole thing. It’s completely letting loose and not even caring. I think sometimes you can get in your own way. If I can do it, you can do it. We all can do it. It’s about having a good time.

Danielle: It’s also a good tool to have because both of them are so different that — our oldest, Alena, will tell us how she feels, if she nervous, if things are going on at school, whereas our youngest, Valentina, she doesn’t. Using the books to get that conversation going is good. We’ll read something. Then I’ll be like, “Hey, do you ever feel this way at school? Does anybody make you feel like this?” Then she kind of opens up. If I ask her when she comes home from school, “Hey, are you doing good?” she’s like, “Yeah, Mom.” I’m like, come on.

Zibby: Literally, sometimes I’m like, “Tell me one thing that happened at school. One thing. One thing from school, that’s it. You must have learned something. Something must have happened.”

Kevin: That was one thing. We actually started doing that at dinner, which has been really wonderful. Tell us the worst — not the worst, but tell us the bad part of your day and the best part of your day.

Zibby: Yes, we do that too. We do best and worst and then most challenging and time you laughed the hardest.

Danielle: That’s a good one.

Kevin: Oh, time you laughed the hardest, I like that one.

Danielle: I like that.

Kevin: It really does allow them to really bring out the conversation around dinnertime. For us, it works really well.

Zibby: I don’t know when it shifts. When people ask me, I go on forever. I’m like, here’s what happened in my day. Let me explain. I don’t know when it shifts. Do either of you or do your daughters have the lucky charms? Was that something that was given to you as advice or just, you came up with it?

Kevin: Oh, my gosh, that was definitely something, when we were talking about the book — they always have things that they give to each other. For some reason, they’re always making each other bracelets or necklaces. Our oldest writes cards to everyone in our family. She wanted to make Valentines this year for like a hundred people, including their dogs. She always wants to do something special. I’m not tooting on our horn, but they really do think about others a lot, which makes us really happy.

Danielle: They had their first day of school. They had a necklace that was broken in half. It said big sister/little sister. They both in their backpacks. They do those little things to have those little reminders. He also has a reminder on stage. There’s different things that we like to do.

Zibby: What’s your reminder on stage?

Kevin: It’s funny. My guitar picks — I actually have one because we’re in our old office here — has our initials, like K&D A&V on it. Every night, I’ve got my family with me.

Zibby: That’s so sweet. What if you’re in a fight? You just toss it to the side?

Kevin: I just might be throwing them at the audience. Actually, I really try hard not to be — that’s one thing. People always say, don’t go to bed angry. I try really hard not to go on stage angry.

Zibby: I feel like anytime you’re doing something creative and there’s too much emotion packed in there, it always seeps out, whether you’re cooking or .

Kevin: No matter what. You just can’t get out of your head. You can’t get out of your own way. I understand that feeling big time.

Zibby: Next Valentine’s Day, if your daughter wants to make some extra money, I’m happy to have her help my kids because it was like pulling teeth to do all the Valentines for all the kids in all the classes, each one individually. If she wants to make a hundred Valentines, I’m in.

Kevin: Starting her own little business on the side.

Danielle: That would be amazing.

Zibby: One thing that struck me about your book is just how important family is in helping each member of the family get over their own challenges, whether it’s stage fright or whatever it is. It was so great that in the book, the whole family really bonds together. I feel like that’s so often not the case. There are all these kids who don’t have the luxury of a tight-knit family or just people who totally love them and support them and will do anything. Yet they have to somehow muster up these inner resources to get through situations like this. Maybe they end up not. What do we say to kids like that or people who maybe don’t have parents who have all these incredible tools or the little love note that the mom leaves or something like that?

Kevin: We definitely thought about that while writing this book. Obviously, we wanted to share some of our personal story in that. Not necessarily exactly what you’re saying, but I think for people like that, we definitely grew up where, at a certain point, we were so young in the entertainment business and instantly doing things on our own and kind of had to grow up very fast. I think you take lessons that you learn from a lot of different places with you. One of the first things I learned was not from my parents, about my work career and my life, which was, look at the people that you admire, and learn from their mistakes. That was a huge lesson for me. It’s like, wow, yeah. Sometimes they’ve been through it. They know more. It doesn’t always have to be your parents because parents don’t always have the answers.

Zibby: What do you mean? Of course, they do.

Kevin: We’re always right.

Zibby: Not my parents, but me, I mean. What was it like collaborating to write the book together? Was that really fun? What was that process like for the two of you?

Danielle: I always like doing things with him, down to the TV show and then even working on our homes together and stuff. Doing something like this, when he brought it to me and we started discussing it, it was actually exciting because we get to be together. We had fun.

Kevin: I love projects that we can do together. My life does take me away, and travel. Some time when we can do a little project together, it’s another way for us to connect. It’s just great.

Danielle: All my friends are like, ugh, you like to talk to your husband? Come on. I’m like, oh, my gosh.

Kevin: Turns out, we actually like each other.

Zibby: It’s so convenient when that happens.

Kevin: Oh, I know.

Zibby: That’s great. I have a children’s book coming out, too, actually in April.

Kevin: Congratulations.

Zibby: I feel like people think it’s — thank you — it’s so easy to do, but it’s really not. You have to be really aware of how many pages there are and what goes on what page. Did you find that to be a challenge? Tell me about what that was like.

Kevin: Yeah, there was definitely some things we wanted to put in. Then we did come to — there was a crossroad at one point in the book. Do we need the charm? Do we not need the charm? Is that taking away from the story? We always felt like it wasn’t to take place of the thing you can do by yourself. It was just a reminder of the people that love you. For us, that was always like, it’s important and fun. For us, we have a great team around, so it did make it maybe a touch easier. The book as an overall, I just really loved making.

Danielle: I think the pictures and stuff were hard for me because you want it to be cute enough and draw attention to the younger kids, so I had to —

Kevin: — You were very focused on their eyes. She really was. It was really interesting, how they looked and the eyes. You’re sensitive to those things. When she meets someone, she’ll really connect with them depending on what their voice sounds like.

Zibby: How’s my voice doing? I don’t know. I hope I’m okay.

Danielle: Very good.

Zibby: Oh, good.

Kevin: I could tell, actually, that you would like that.

Zibby: My daughter loved the outfits. I don’t know about the eyes or whatever, but the clothes, you nailed the clothes.

Danielle: That’s awesome.

Kevin: A little extra.

Danielle: There you go.

Zibby: How do you feel — obviously, you’re a performer. The book is about, you’re having your children sort of follow in your footsteps and tread the same path, whether it’s stress-inducing or not. How do you feel about if your daughters did want to be singers and all of that? Would you say no or yes? Have you noticed talent?

Kevin: It’s so funny, I get this question probably the most out of any question.

Zibby: I’m sorry. I’m sorry to ask. I hate asking questions everybody asks.

Kevin: No, it’s interesting. It makes sense that people would be interested in that question. We’ve always talked about it very similar to what my parents did, which was, never pushed us to do this stuff. It was never forced upon us. It was always supported. If this is something that they wanted to do or have a passion, I would make sure they understand what kind of sacrifices it takes and the practice to get there and the work, how hard it is. It would never be pushed upon them or forced in any capacity. I’ve seen too many stage parents to do that.

Zibby: I bet. If they wanted to do it, you wouldn’t be like, no, don’t ever try this?

Kevin: No, but I would definitely push them to understand what it all means and explain to them some of the challenges with it. It might look easy for Dad now, but it wasn’t always that way.

Zibby: How do your kids, now that they’re getting older, how do you feel — I was watching some of your earlier days of your show together and your dad coming over and you dealing with that.

Kevin: That hasn’t changed, but that’s cool. We like it.

Zibby: Oh, my gosh, so funny, planning out the dinner party and the and all that. Do your kids — what do they make of it when they get to watch their parents navigate in-law relationships and all of that on YouTube or whatever? It’s bad enough that we have it on home movie.

Kevin: I don’t think they’ve even seen the show. Have they?

Danielle: They did, but they had no interest in it. It was more of like, okay. We’re finding that they’re getting a little bit more sensitive with going to concerts and being involved in that way, which is kind of funny to watch them through it because they grew up with it and grew up with him being on stage or getting attention in some ways. They got a little weird this tour where they were like, “People are watching us. What do we do? Why are they watching us?” We had to calm their nerves. I’m like, “Everybody loves you and wants to wish you well and wants to see you do things that are great. They want to be a part of our family. You should feel so happy that people are rooting for you,” and things like that and trying to make them feel comfortable about it.

Zibby: I mean this in the nicest way. You seem like totally normal parents.

Kevin: We try.

Zibby: You seem like anybody else who would be at drop-off or pick-up or whatever. Yet you have this whole other life.

Kevin: It is hard to balance sometimes, for sure. You definitely walk into moments where you’re like, cool. Our daughters’ first day of school before the pandemic began, I was finally back on tour. I was in a different state. I actually took our tour bus overnight to get home so I could wake up for her first day of school and then had to leave directly after to get to the show that night. I want to try to be there for the — we both do. We want to try to be there for the moments that are important, but there are definitely times where it’s like, well, I also have to be in two places at once.

Zibby: What are some of the books that you like to read to the girls?

Danielle: A lot of conversational ones like getting angry and what to do, very themed ones just because it does help them connect to their emotions. I find that they have the hardest time with that, right now especially, too, ever since the pandemic and all that.

Kevin: What was it? Pop My Top?

Danielle: That’s what I was just thinking of.

Kevin: I can’t remember exactly the book. That one was great because our daughter did — she didn’t know how to express her emotions at one point. We would remind her about the tools that you learned in that book to calm yourself down. I think that’s the whole reason for these books. Yes, they’re entertaining and they’re fun, but there is a message. There is a learning environment in them. I think that’s what we all get out of books, but specifically with children’s picture books.

Zibby: I was literally just telling someone the other day, I was like, “When I was a little girl, I remember my mom gave me a book that was called Managing Your Ups and Downs because I always had moods.” They were like, “She just gave you a book?” I was like, “I loved to read. It’s okay.”

Kevin: It helped.

Zibby: It helped. They’re managed enough, I guess. Are there more children’s books collaborations between the two of you in your future?

Kevin: I would definitely hope so. Definitely think so. We are just really excited about this one coming out. It’s definitely a project that’s been going on for a long time, three, four years, so it’s nice to see it finally coming to fruition.

Zibby: Did the pandemic set it back?

Kevin: No, it actually kind of helped us get it done because we were home together. It allowed us to focus on getting some of these projects done.

Zibby: Then just one more question on the guitar piece of it. I know in the book, Emma just liked to play. She was strumming and strumming and experimenting. There is such a pressure, I feel like, to get your kids guitar lessons, voice lessons, have everything be very structured. What’s your philosophy on that with your kids or with kids in general who want to grow up to be singers? Should they do those classes? Should you just let them play on the instruments? What do you think?

Kevin: I come from a different place, a little bit. I was actually self-taught. I was home sick from school. I had strep for three weeks. I was so bored of whatever was on TV. My parents had a guitar in the house and a Teach Yourself Guitar book. Literally, that was the name of it. That’s how I started to learn. I just picked that up. After about a week, I faked being sick to stay home and keep working on the guitar. It turned out that paid off. I don’t advise that to children listening. At the same time, our daughter really wants to learn piano right now. Somehow, we let her really play around with the piano for a while just to see if that would break interest, just playing around not really being structured. It has not broken. She’s really interested in it. It’s about finding interesting ways, especially now with technology. There are so many cool programs that you can do that kind of gamify it all a little bit. I think that’s a really cool and special way to start if you’re worried that they’re not going to take it too serious or it’s going to become a burden or they’re going to come and regret it. I do find that the arts and music is super important for child development and growth. It was in our house all the time. My brother was eight years old when he did his first Broadway show. That’s my daughter working in the city every single night. I don’t know if that would work for me in my brain now. At the same time, he loved it. He didn’t go on a family vacation because he wanted to not miss any shows. That was what he loved. If it’s inside you, it’ll come out.

Zibby: I love that. So great. Do you have any advice to aspiring picture book authors?

Kevin: Just find your story and stick with it. Find a community. Our brother-in-law, Danielle’s sister’s husband, has been wanting to write children’s books for so long. I think he just sold his first one, which is incredible. He found these literary groups where they would work on their writing together and get notes from peers — we’re all trying to do the same thing — which I think was really helpful. Maybe communities like that would really help people as they’re starting out.

Zibby: Amazing. Is there anything that you wish you’d known when you were your daughters’ age that, as parents — just any one piece of advice? I know that’s a big question.

Danielle: I knew that everybody went through similar things, like being nervous about public speaking or other things, but I wish that my brain really took that in, that I wasn’t the only one.

Kevin: You were not alone.

Zibby: That’s good advice. That’s good advice for now for grown-ups.

Kevin: A thousand percent. I think that that’s why this is so fun for us. The book is something we can all relate to. Even as parents, as you’re reading it, you’re kind of like, yeah, I’ve been there before, whether it’s a presentation at work, whether it’s literally being on stage like myself.

Zibby: Now you have this book to get you through. Hopefully, that will help you. Thank you so much. It was lovely meeting you guys. Sorry for the interruption with my kids the whole time.

Kevin: No, I loved it. It makes us feel like it’s our house. We totally get it.

Zibby: Best of luck with the book.

Kevin: Thank you. Congratulations on yours as well.

Zibby: Thank you. Buh-bye.

Kevin: Bye.



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