About Bright Bear Books
Our goal is to publish and market children’s books that entertain, educate and inspire young readers. Our stories emphasize positive values, thought process and character formation. We also aim to create a gratifying visual experience for both children and adults by using full-color, highly detailed and realistically rendered illustrations.
Now partners in publishing as well as in life, Tony and Diana Kizlauskas officially joined creative forces in 2015 to form Bright Bear Books. Though over the years they have each built long resumes in their respective fields, today the Chicago-area couple blends art, technology and their love for children to produce charming picture books for young readers.
Growing up, Diana was never far from a Crayola or colored pencil, drawing everything from farm animals to rock stars. Her formal education includes BA degrees in Art Education (UIC), Illustration (Ray College of Design/Illinois Institute of Art) and Advanced Drawing Workshops at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her career began with illustrating advertising brochures, newspaper features, and greeting cards. But Diana’s real passion was illustrating for children. She moved on to illustrate over a dozen leveled readers and other educational materials for major educational publishers, including Harcourt Achieve; Macmillan McGraw-Hill; Pearson/Scott Foresman; Compass/Seed Media; and EDCO/Ireland. Her work also caught the eye of trade and independent publishers and led to working for Pauline Books and Media (My Friend magazine; Jorge from Argentina) and Libros Publishing (Howl of the Mission Owl). Her classroom experience includes school presentations and teaching PreK-2 extracurricular classes.
Now Diana has let loose characters and stories that have lived in her own head for years. The deliciously tall tale, LETTUCE! was her debut as both an author and illustrator. Next came Christmas Best — and there’s more to come!
Right from the start, Tony had an interest in finding out how things worked and how to adapt or improve them. He earned BS and MS degrees in Information Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and became a pioneer in personal computer applications. Tony brought his talents to the United States Environmental Protection Agency where he programmed computer models and developed automated data exchange programs for environmental data. He served on national and international committees developing policies for pollution monitoring and prevention. He then served as head of the Chicago office of Science Applications International Corporation. After seven years, he returned to the EPA, transitioning to communications and public outreach. In this position, he tapped his language and writing skills to author and edit speeches, reports, press releases and newsletters. He oversaw the creation of software, website content, displays, presentations and promotional materials.
Tony now applies his extensive experience to independent publishing in electronic and print media. He is editor, webmaster, IT specialist, and manager of sales and marketing at Bright Bear Books.
You can contact Tony thru Bright Bear Books.
Love of children and families has been at the core of this team’s personal and professional life. From keeping the public safe from pollutants, educating young minds through pictures and classroom teaching, to raising their own children and grandchildren, Tony and Diana have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of future generations. Faith, family, community and nature inform their message.
Bright Bear Books is not accepting submissions from other writers and illustrators at this time. However, it is our hope that, with continued success, we will at some time expand our operation to include new talent and ideas.