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Press

Please feel free to review the articles below about the author, illustrator and books.

DREAMERS INSPIRE US TO NEVER GIVE UP

                                                        BY JOHN W. FOUNTAIN

                                                                 Chicago Sun-Times

                                                                             Thursday, December 6, 2012

Meet Bobby the Bluebird, Anthony the Alligator, Isaac the Iguana and Paul the Purple Panda. 

If they don’t steal your child’s heart or lead them down a memorable, tongue-twisting path of alphabetic fun, then Ulysses the Unicorn or Veronica the Vulture will.

These are among the creations of Lonzell Cross, 37, a man with a dream.

His characters, 26 in all, are colorful, some of them hip, shades-wearing animals who walk upright. They emerge in a recently released book titled, “Another Alphabet Book Daddy?” with illustrations by LaMar Greer Jr., 30. (Available at www.anotherbookcollection.com)

Writing a children’s book wasn’t exactly in Cross’ career plans, which he says mostly included jobs in telecommunications and real estate sales. But penning his first book seemed a natural fit, born out of hours of reading to his young daughter.

“It just clicked on one day: ‘Hey, I can write a better book than this,” said Cross, who lives in University Park.

So he began research into writing children’s books and publishing. Cross also tapped his friend Greer to help bring the characters to life, handing him a manuscript filled with alliteration, rhyme and fun tongue twisters. (“Walter the Walrus lived in the water, but he knew a Warthog, a Weasel and a Woodpecker named Jim.”)

Cross, married with three children, grew up on the South Side and also in the south suburbs in Dolton and South Holland, where he discovered his first love: music.

He recalls growing up hearing his mother’s favorite Motown sounds drifting through their home. His love for music evolved.

“I fell in love with hip-hop music as a teenager and how hip-hop artists would tell stories in music,” said Cross, who dreamed once of becoming a star music artist.

In a perfect world, where dreams come true, Cross might be performing to sellout crowds on world tour, a household name by now.

But life is what happens when we make other plans. And while the pursuit of dreams or any other lofty visions from childhood may fuel something inside us, dreams won’t necessarily feed families and pay the bills.

It is something that Cross and his friend Greer have come to accept, even as they aspire to leave a legacy for their children.

“I feel like we all are alive because we’re breathing,” Greer told me. “But that doesn’t mean you have to live. You’re not living to the fullest extent unless you’re chasing those dreams that other people say are irrational.”

And herein lies the death of far too many dreamers.

I have borne witness to dreams deferred, to dreams defeated, to the way the suffocating realities of life can choke dreams to eternal sleep.

And this is what impressed me most about Cross – and Greer – whom I met at a suburban coffee shop. That like so many of us, who at times, may have been down – almost out – or have ever suffered the amnesia of hopes and aspirations: They refuse to stop dreaming.

For they understand that to ever stop dreaming is to die.

“If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it,” Cross says.

So he’s off to local libraries, schools, and even shopping malls and the local swap-o-rama with copies of his glossy new alphabet book in tow. He’s even laying plans for a second book with hopes someday of an animated series, staring who else but Anthony the Alligator, Bobby the Bluebird and even Olivia the Octopus.

Voyage Chicago

Meet Lonzell Cross of Another Book Collection

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lonzell Cross.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.

I am a proud father concerned about the education or my children, the disproportionate amount of minority children in crowded schools that read below grade level and the dropout rate of our children at underfunded schools in Chicago, Illinois as well as across our nation. When my daughter was old enough to pay attention to story time I began to read bedtime stories to her. This nightly ritual continues and she is 10 years old now, but these days we read together. However, I noticed during our one on one time that she regularly stopped me to ask questions and share her insight. One day I decided that I could write a better book. I wrote an alphabet book with the help of my friend and illustrator LaMar Greer Jr. who is also a proud and active father. “Another Alphabet Book Daddy?” was created out of the desire to unselfishly share and give of ourselves.

We both had a longing to leave a legacy of helping others and become better men. Our book is full of delightful animal characters, colorful illustrations, easy to read rhyme patterns, tongue-twisting alliteration and most importantly it allows the reader to engage the audience. Since I made the decision to independently publish and not compromise the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

No, not at all. Many times, others are not able to see our vision or understand the hard work and effort required to dare to be different. Every day I have to sell myself and the book. I am met with the word no many times, but when I am able to win over a school director, school principal or a daycare owner it’s amazing. Teachers are our biggest advocates because they understand exactly what we’re doing. Bringing phonics back to schools that have abandoned the process is fun, challenging, thrilling and rewarding.

We are able to win schools over one at a time, but the process is slow.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Another Book Collection – what should we know?

Another Book Collection is the vehicle that will deliver our books, stories and characters to the world. We sell, publish and distribute books to teachers, schools, parents, children and the young at heart. “Another Alphabet Book Daddy?” is the first of many.

The second title will be released within the next several months. It will be a numbers book to compliment the alphabet book. Using the same characters and the same universe our books and stories will grow with our audience and readers. We will continue to create more exciting multi-cultural stories and characters. I am also proud that our high-quality books are made right here in the United State of America. The easiest was to get copies is on Amazon.com or links from our website

www.anotherbookcollection.com.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?

Perseverance is the key to my success. Whenever I am told, “no” that means a “yes” is coming soon. “No” really means not now or I haven’t convinced them of my product or service. I dare to dream every day of my life.

Disney, DC Comics, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Starbucks were not created and successful overnight.

Another Book Collection is going to take more hard work, meetings, calls and knocking on doors to prove it's worth to the general public as well.

Pricing:

  • Another Alphabet Book Daddy? (Paperback) $10.99
  • Another Alphabet Book Daddy? (Kindle Edition) $6.99

Contact Info:

Page 14 and 15

University Park Author finds Unique Way to Teach Children to Read

Residents of University Park may not know that there is a first time author in their midst. Meet Lonzell Cross, who understands how important reading is to the future development of our children.He has written a book that is not only functional, it actually makes learning to read fun.

How long did it take you to write “Another Alphabet Book Daddy?”

The entire process took a little over 1 year. Writing the book was easy. The illustrations, editing, and finding the right publishing company to publish the book was time consuming.

How did you come up with the concept?

I was inspired by reading books to my 5 year-old daughter Loni. Although, there are many alphabet books on the market many are missing the fun, and excitement that I have attempted to capture with my book. Using dynamic illustrations, simple rhyme patterns and lots of alliteration this assists with memorizing need to know material, and it helps the learning process.

So, the concept and development of this book is

based mostly on personal experience?

Yes, I have many times thought about my legacy and what type of impact that I want to have on the world. I can not think of a better gift to give to the world than to share the experience of teaching the youth how to read, and enjoy the process of learning. Briefly describe your personal, educational and

professional background. I am currently engaged to the love of my life Joan Loftin. Our wedding is scheduled for November. Together we share 3 children Loni, Shaqira, and Anthony. I am a graduate of Thornridge High School, and attended south suburban college. My professional background is in music as a song writer; telecommunications in sales and training; Licensed Realtor and Licensed Barber (both in Illinois); and now as an author, publisher and editor.

In your opinion what is the ideal age at which children should begin the process of learning how to read?

It is different for each child. But once children have a full understanding of the language, and can identify people and objects by name, then spelling and reading can begin. I believe it is never too early to begin the process of learning and enjoying books. in my opinion, as soon as children are born parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and caregivers should read to them. Learning is a never ending journey. It begins early and should continue.

Your book was just recently published at the end of July; what has been the reaction?

So far, my first book has been received well by parents, educators, and most importantly children. I have donated several copies to day care centers, sold multiple copies, and received orders for more copies to sell.

What would you say to people to encourage them to purchase the book?

This book will entertain your child with colorful and fun characters, as well as educate them in the process.

Why, in your opinion, has learning to read become such a hot button topic in the African American community?

Our children are dropping out of schools and receiving lower than average test scores at an alarming rate. Education must begin at home early, and not on the first day of school. If we as a community take on the responsibility to mentor and teach our children more often, and at earlier ages we prepare them for success. Lastly, we must have higher expectations for our youth.

How can parents support the school system in helping their children learn to read?

Buy my book and help children learn how to read it. Just kidding. Parents need to continue to spend quality reading time with their children, (maybe a bedtime story) visiting their local library, and sometimes have children read to them.

Can you discuss the process of working with an illustrator to create this book?

My illustrator is a good friend; so it was easy for me. I wrote the

book and pitched the idea and concept to LaMar. He completed his work several months after receiving the manuscript. I was amazed at how he brought the stories and characters to life.

Do you have any other similar educational books in the works?

The second book in the series will be a numbers book. We will teach children how to count. Many of the same familiar characters from “Another Alphabet Book Daddy?”will appear in the next several books.

Where can people purchase “Another Alphabet Book Daddy?”

The book is available on Amazon at www.amazon.com and at www.createspace.com/3818562. Anyone can reach us for in store appearances, book signings or book readings at

(708) 808-Read (7323), or on our website www.anotherbookcollection.com.

What else would you like coMMunicate! readers to know about your

book?

I wanted to ensure that children and adults everywhere could enjoy reading

this book. If you are willing to support our first project, you will not be disappointed. Reading really is fun.

University Park Author finds Unique Way to Teach Children to Read

Residents of University Park may not know that there is a first time author in their midst. Meet Lonzell Cross, who understands how important reading is to the future development of our children.He has written a book that is not only functional, it actually makes learning to read fun.

How long did it take you to write “Another Alphabet Book Daddy?”

The entire process took a little over 1 year. Writing the book was easy. The illustrations, editing, and finding the right publishing company to publish the book was time consuming.

How did you come up with the concept?

I was inspired by reading books to my 5 year-old daughter Loni. Although, there are many alphabet books on the market many are missing the fun, and excitement that I have attempted to capture with my book. Using dynamic illustrations, simple rhyme patterns and lots of alliteration this assists with memorizing need to know material, and it helps the learning process.

So, the concept and development of this book is based mostly on personal experience?

Yes, I have many times thought about my legacy and what type of impact that I want to have on the world. I can not think of a better gift to give to the world than to share the experience of teaching the youth how to read, and enjoy the process of learning. Briefly describe your personal, educational and

professional background. I am currently engaged to the love of my life Joan Loftin. Our wedding is scheduled for November. Together we share 3 children Loni, Shaqira, and Anthony. I am a graduate of Thornridge High School, and attended south suburban college. My professional background is in music as a song writer; telecommunications in sales and training; Licensed Realtor and Licensed Barber (both in Illinois); and now as an author, publisher and editor.

In your opinion what is the ideal age at which children should begin the process of learning how to read?

It is different for each child. But once children have a full understanding of the language, and can identify people and objects by name, then spelling and reading can begin. I believe it is never too early to begin the process of learning and enjoying books. in my opinion, as soon as children are born parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and caregivers should read to them. Learning is a never ending journey. It begins early and should continue.

Your book was just recently published at the end of July; what has been the reaction?

So far, my first book has been received well by parents, educators, and most importantly children. I have donated several copies to day care centers, sold multiple copies, and received orders for more copies to sell.

What would you say to people to encourage them to purchase the book?

This book will entertain your child with colorful and fun characters, as well as educate them in the process.

Why, in your opinion, has learning to read become such a hot button topic in the African American community?

Our children are dropping out of schools and receiving lower than average test scores at an alarming rate. Education must begin at home early, and not on the first day of school. If we as a community take on the responsibility to mentor and teach our children more often, and at earlier ages we prepare them for success. Lastly, we must have higher expectations for our youth.

How can parents support the school system in helping their children learn to read?

Buy my book and help children learn how to read it. Just kidding. Parents need to continue to spend quality reading time with their children, (maybe a bedtime story) visiting their local library, and sometimes have children read to them.

Can you discuss the process of working with an illustrator to create this book?

My illustrator is a good friend; so it was easy for me. I wrote the

book and pitched the idea and concept to LaMar. He completed his work several months after receiving the manuscript. I was amazed at how he brought the stories and characters to life.

Do you have any other similar educational books in the works?

The second book in the series will be a numbers book. We will teach children how to count. Many of the same familiar characters from

“Another Alphabet Book Daddy?”will appear in the next several books.

Where can people purchase “Another Alphabet Book Daddy?”
The book is available on Amazon at www.amazon.com and at www.createspace.com/3818562. Anyone can reach us for in store appearances, book signings or book readings at
(708) 808-Read (7323), or on our website www.anotherbookcollection.com.

Do you have any other similar educational books in the works?

The second book in the series will be a numbers book. We will teach children how to count. Many of the same familiar characters from

“Another Alphabet Book Daddy?”will appear in the next several books.

What else would you like coMMunicate! readers to know about your book?

I wanted to ensure that children and adults everywhere could enjoy reading this book. If you are willing to support our first project, you will not be disappointed. Reading really is fun.

Voyage Chicago

http://voyagechicago.com/interview/meet-lamar-greer-aka-ldorado-jonez-gr8er-self-entertainment-south-suburbs/

Meet LaMar Greer aka LDorado Jonez of Gr8er Than Self Entertainment in South Suburbs

Today we’d like to introduce you to LaMar Greer aka LDorado Jonez.

LaMar, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I consider myself a renaissance man. I am an actor, an emcee, an illustrator, and graphic designer. My story began in south suburban Harvey. As a youth, I fell in love with two things that would shape my life and career: cartoons and Hip-Hop. I graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Music Business and Computer Animation.

Professionally, I have done voice-over work for McDonald”s, Coors, ComEd, and Bacardi. I was a featured actor in the Spike Lee film Chiraq, as well as Chicago Med and Empire. Under the moniker LDorado Jonez, my music featured in NBC’s Chicago PD and Chicago Fire. In 2015 my business partner, Erik ‘Sycosis’ Roberts, and I organized and headlined the ‘How The Midwest Was 1 Tour’. The tour traveled from Chicago to Milwaukee to St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver.

As an illustrator, I had the great pleasure of collaborating with my friend, author Lonzell Cross, on the children’s book ‘Another Alphabet Book Daddy. It’s the first book of a four book series, aimed at children from birth to 8 years old. The second, ‘Another Numbers Book Daddy’ is near completion.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

It has absolutely NOT been a smooth road. The first challenge I faced was just being confident in being an artist, professionally. I had to muster the confidence to look at my life and say “I am an artist. I was created to create. I will monetize my passions and everything else has to revolve around that.” I had to find the courage to be comfortable enough in my purpose that when asked ‘what do you do” my answer was “I’m an artist” and not the title of whatever J-O-B I was suffering through at the time. And trust me, there were many.

That brings me to another struggle that is a constant for any type of artist- where’s the money? It’s one thing to create a hobby. It’s a different ball game when you plan on feeding your family of your creations. The path of an artist is a tortuous one; always unpredictable. It’s difficult to support a family while waiting for that next gig or figuring out how to market whatever project you just poured your soul into. There’s frustration in that space. There’s ample room for depression and self-doubt in that space. Art has to be made and bills have to be paid. It’s a balancing act.

Another challenge I faced in every form of art I create is knowing my voice and figuring out how to make that voice stand out from the masses. The internet literally puts the entire world at our fingertips. As a creative AND a businessman I have to find innovative ways to reach my audiences.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Gr8er Than Self Entertainment – what should we know?

I am co-own Gr8er Than Self Entertainment. Alongside my business partner and longtime friend, Erik ‘Sycosis’ Roberts. The company and the name itself comes from our philosophy that a collective victory is more rewarding than an individual win. Through our brand, we look to create synergy between entertainment, technology, and lifestyle. We are positioning ourselves to not only create and control content but also the vehicles by which they reach consumers. We want to innovate the product, the process, and the platform. This dynamic trajectory is what will continue to set us apart from others in the marketplace. Our business currently includes music licensing, photography/videography, graphic design, and merchandising.

Erik and I are both fathers. Honestly, what makes me the proudest as far as our company is that we are setting an example for our sons of what is possible through faith, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?

My personal mantra as well as our company culture rest on 8 points:

SACRIFICE

COMMUNICATION

DETERMINATION

CREATIVITY

INTEGRITY

TRUST

LOYALTY

LOVE

Blogtalkradio.com Interview with "Another Alphabet Book Daddy?" Author Lonzell Cross

IntellectualRadio.com / Royal Radio Interview with "Another Alphabet Book Daddy?" Author Lonzell Cross

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