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We Interview James Jubran of Smile Outside

What inspired you to create the Smile Outside line of books?

I read to my son every day, it seems as though other writers of children’s books are under the impression that in order to appeal to little kids that they must anthropomorphize animals.  The books I read to him were of animals in clothing, drawn in cartoon character and acting like humans.  Although this too is entertaining to kids, we want them to be able to love animals for being the beautiful and majestic creatures that they are.  One day while reading a particular book to my son Adam, who was 2 at the time the book was attributing a sound effect to an animal it didn’t belong to.  I made a frustrated complaint to my brother Luke who was  over at the time about it.  He responded by saying that I could write better books than this.  I thought about it for a moment and responded to him something to the effect of, do you want to help?  Later that day we began the difficult process of writing what would turn out to be our Conservation Series, a 5 book series that introduces 38 species along with conservation ethic to very young kiddos.

Tell our readers about the upbringing you both had has brothers?

Luke and I along with our 2 sisters were introduced to the outdoors from birth.  Fishing, camping, hiking, and hunting were a part of our lives always.  Our parents would take us all fishing quite often, and our father took he and I hunting.  We grew up with a passion for the outdoors.  When we were younger, it wasn’t uncommon for the two of us to get into tussles as I think is common between brothers, especially when we are so close in age, only 16 months separates us.  As we got older we continued hunting and fishing with our father and enjoyed amazing scenery on the public lands of California, which we moved to, from Texas when I was 5 and he was 4, then a decade after that we moved to Florida where we spent a lot of time in completely different yet equally amazing public lands, hunting and fishing.  After college we both found our way back to Texas were we now reside in and enjoy the out of doors.  Each of us have careers that enable us to venture out of our home state to hunt the public lands of other states now, I teach high School Environmental and Aquatic Science and Luke works as an Environmental, Health and Safety coordinator for an international company.  

What do you think it is about nature and hunting that brings you back outdoors to carry that tradition to your children?

The time spent with family and friends in the out of doors is very special.  It’s a time when you are able to let go of everything else that’s going on in your life and enables us to focus on the beauty of nature and those you share it with.   It fosters a different type of bonding to take place.  When you spend time with someone in the out of doors, be it hunting, fishing, camping hiking or a multitude of other activities, you learn about those people and see those people differently.  The bonds that you build there are different in some way, most of our best memories in life and certainly of each other are memories etched in our minds while in the out of doors.  

Tell us about working with Ana Laura Ortiz, it looks like she has just as strong of a passion for the outdoors and hunting as the two of you?

Ana Laura Ortiz
Ana Laura Ortiz

Ana loves the outdoors as well, however until this year she had never been hunting. I work with her at the high school I teach at, she is one of our Art teachers. I approached her about doing our illustrations and she was excited about the project. She’s very good at what she does, and she really enjoys doing it. The process of illustrating a book takes time and we work together to ensure accurate portrayals of the animals. It’s been interesting watching her work and watching her learn things about animals she didn’t know, some things I think are more inherent if you are a hunter. We’ve become very good friends over the course of the last year and look forward to our next pieces of work we are collaborating on.

Ana loves the outdoors as well, however until this year she had never been hunting.  I work with her at the high school I teach at, she is one of our Art teachers.  I approached her about doing our illustrations and she was excited about the project.  She’s very good at what she does, and she really enjoys doing it.   The process of illustrating a book takes time and we work together to ensure accurate portrayals of the animals.  It’s been interesting watching her work and watching her learn things about animals she didn’t know, some things I think are more inherent if you are a hunter.   We’ve become very good friends over the course of the last year and look forward to our next pieces of work we are collaborating on. 

You current Conservation Series has 5 books and you are raising money for conservation, what causes are you donating to currently?

It was one of the first things we discussed when Luke and I started writing up our business plan.  Our goal was not to get wealthy, but rather create a way that we could contribute back to the lands, waters and wildlife that we have taken from for so many years.  We wanted to be able to contribute to Conservation Organizations that help create, protect and manage healthy lands, waters and wildlife.  So on this series of books we decided that at least  $.50 from each of the 5 books sold will go to Conservation. At a retail price of $34.99 that equates to over 7% of our gross revenue.    We have started by partnering with Pheasants and Quail forever and the Texas Chapter Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.  As we continue to build the company and are able to, we will be adding to the list of organizations we are able to help support.  

Smile Outside recently qualified for 2% for Conservation, tell us why that was important.

It was very important to us to become a 2% for Conservation certified Business Member and we receive their seal of approval.  What that Organization does is certify that businesses like ourselves who are conservation minded and are committed to giving back, do in fact give back at least 1% Time + 1% Money = 2%.  It’s a org. that give the seal of approval that businesses are putting their money and time where their mouth is, and we love them for it!  Not only is the Organization a great asset to conservation but the Executive Director Jared Frasier and his Wife Elyse are great and supportive people with two amazing kiddos of their own.  

What is coming next from the team at Smile Outside?

The books have been doing well, and we are comfortable moving forward to produce more material.  Our first Series focused on land animals primarily so we plan on trying to balance that out with some fish.  Be on the lookout in the near future!

How can people buy your books and follow you on social media?

People can buy directly from our website www.SmileOutside.com and we will give your readers a $5.00 off promo code if they enter CONSERVE at checkout in the box that asks for a promo code.  

Our Instagram is where we are most active @_smile_outside

Why is your mission, Educate, Engage, Conserve?

We feel that with the growing pressures of urban sprawl and the increased disconnect from our natural world that it is important to have our youngsters grow up with an appreciation and affinity toward the outdoors, wildlife, clean air, clean water and wild places.  We strive to not only Educate kids but also the adults who may be reading to or with them about these ideas which will help get them to Engage in activities in the outdoors as well as help Conserve these resources for future generations.  

Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of HuntingLife.com. His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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