MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Lisa Manzione, 50
As these Chihuahua siblings visit Dublin, Harry begs Bella to locate a leprechaun.
“Bella, are you sure we won’t meet any leprechauns? I’d like to meet a leprechaun and make a wish,” Harry says on page 10 of Let’s visit Dublin.
The dog duo’s traveling escapades have been nothing but luck for Delray Beach accountant-by-day and author-by-night Lisa Manzione, who’s published 10 books in the series since 2011. She sold her 100,000th copy of “The Adventures of Bella & Harry,” illustrated by Boca Raton’s Kristine Lucco, in August.
“I try not to talk down to children in my books, and write the book like I’m having a conversation which makes the books fun,” said Manzione, 50, who’s visited each foreign country her characters visit. “I want them to learn about all these places without realizing they’re learning.”
The first 10 books take the tiny canines through Paris; Venice, Italy; London; Cairo; Athens, Greece; Barcelona, Spain; Edinburgh, Scotland; Rome; Istanbul; and Jerusalem. Scheduled for release in 2014 are stories Dublin; Maui, Hawaii; St. Petersburg, Russia, and Vancouver, Canada.
Her style of making learning fun in her traveling books helped land her on the cover of Publishers Weekly this past January, which ultimately got her noticed by QVC. Bella and Harry were showcased on the shopping network in August, live on the air with host Carolyn Gracie during the Gifts for Grandkids show.
“The Adventures of Bella & Harry” also recently won a fifth Silver Award in the Moms Choice Awards.
As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Manzione’s emergence onto the field of literature is one she eagerly anticipated (it was 2005 when she first developed the idea).
As the daughter of a single parent who worked for a major airline, Manzione’s interest in travel and animals began at an early age. She has seven dogs and one cat, and based Bella and Harry on her daughter Michelle’s Chihuahua. Manzione’s son, Michael, a graphic designer, helps design some of the advertising for mom. A percentage of net proceeds from the series goes to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Through the comedic and informative adventures of Bella and Harry Manzione hopes to stimulate children’s imaginations and foster a thirst for understanding the world in which they live.
“When I go on trips, I notice kids in foreign countries know so much about the United States, but kids in the U.S. don’t know much about other countries,” she said. “I hope to change that.”
For more information, visit www.bellaandharry.com.
Who is your hero?
My daughter, Michelle. When she was young, she overcame being bitten by a dog and needing 120 stitches.
What is your favorite movie?
“Golden Eye” (James Bond)
What are your hobbies?
Traveling, writing, spending time with my puppies (she has seven dogs)
What do you do to get away?