The Kickstarter Blog

Tech Weekly: Pop and Lock

  1. Celebrating Great Children's Books

    Every week, we see great children's books get funded on Kickstarter. In honor of Publishing Month, we though we'd share a few of our favorites, past and present, with you.

    Hello Ruby by Linda Liukas

    Linda Liukas connected with more than nine thousand backers to make Hello Ruby, a gorgeous illustrated children's book about technology. Ruby has adventures, makes friends with Snow Leopard and a cute penguin, and helps teach kids basic programming skills along the way. The book will be published by Macmillan in October.

    Horace the Eighth and the Great Marvellos by Helena Marlinspike

    Horace is the youngest member in a circus family, and he's looking for his hidden talents. He's small, and shy, and not the most coordinated, but it turns out he's rather special after all. The illustrations are rich and the story is one of personal triumph — what's not to love? 

    Furqan's First Flat Top by Robert Catalino Trujillo

    An Image from Furqan's First Flat Top
    An Image from Furqan's First Flat Top

    Furqan's First Flat Top is a bilingual picture book about a boy getting his first haircut. The author/illustrator, Robert Catalino Trujillo, says "I want to reflect some of the children and families I see; I love children’s books and think diverse stories like this one need to be seen. As a parent, I understand the importance of encouraging reading at an early age, and this book will be in both Spanish and English, as I know the positive impact it can have when children are exposed to more than one language."

    Wee Beasties by Andi Smith

    The Wee Dragon
    The Wee Dragon

    Dreamscarred Press published Andi Smith's Wee Beasties, a must-have book for any hardcore geek with kids (or nieces and nephews!) It's a bedtime story about baby versions of the monsters that typically populate dungeons and maul adventurers in Dungeons & Dragons, such as the Wee Cyclops and the Wee Troll. If you look carefully, there's a D20 on each page.

    Wollstonecraft by Jordan Stratford

    Jordan Stratford wrote Wollstonecraft, an illustrated steampunk book for kids 8-12, in which he invents an alternate history where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency. It was just published under the title The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Random House Kids this month.

    Grandmother Fish by Jonathan Tweet

    Jonathan Tweet rallied over 1000 backers to help him make Grandmother Fish, a beautifully illustrated book about evolution for pre-schoolers. The interactive text encourages kids to get involved, asking them if they can wiggle like a fish or hoot like an owl.

    Peter Pan and Wendy by Allen Morris

    Sometimes an old story deserves new illustrations to bring it to life for another generation. Allen Morris created 50 new images for this well-loved story. 

    This is just a small sample of the wonderful children's book projects that have been made with the help of our community. There are over one hundred children's book projects live on the site now, so maybe you'll find your next favorite kids' book here!

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  2. 20 Questions with Children's Book Author Laura Numeroff

    If you were a child born in 1985 or later, you probably learned about the idea of cause and effect by reading a little book called If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. With four million copies in circulation, it's safe to say that it's a children's book classic. Now the book's author, Laura Numeroff, is now working on a new series all about dogs with jobs, called Work for Biscuits. The first book in the series, Raising a Herohas one day left to go.  

    In order to get to know a bit more about her world, we asked Laura to answer 20 questions. In the process we started to really want a soda, learned about an amazing arts day in NC, and realized that the trees in Los Angeles actually do turn colors in the fall.

    Tell us about the last great meal you had: 

    Cheeseburger, french fries, and a diet Coke! Perfection! Burger was grilled, fries were slightly crispy, and the Diet Coke had just the right amount of syrup and fizz!

    First movie you saw in the theater: 

    Snow White! Scared the crap out of me!

    How do you start each morning? 

    Wishing I didn’t have to get out of bed!

    Music you loved as a teenager:

    Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Phil Ochs, Richie Havens, The Beatles, Sonny and Cher, and The Rolling Stones, any sixties British band, including Gerry and the Pacemakers!

    What do you carry with you every day? 

    My phone, (although I often forget to charge it! Aaargh), a little Moleskin notepad and a Flair pen and Orbit Cinnamon gum.

    Favorite place to eat: 

    My sister Emily’s house! She’s a great cook, plus I’m eating with my best friend! It’s a “two-fer”!

    Place you wish everyone could visit: 

    Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

    Last idea or factoid you came across that stayed in your brain: 

    I know this isn’t exactly an idea or factoid, but this quote has stayed in my brain. “Dogs aren’t our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.”

    Person in your field whose career/life/work you admire: 

    Hilary Thompson, illustrator of Eloise.

    Favorite thing about the place you live: 

    Even though I’m in Los Angeles, the trees around me turn red and yellow in the fall, so I feel like I’m not in Los Angeles! (Another “two-fer”!)

    Favorite time of day and why: 

    Whenever I don’t have writer’s block, is my favorite time of day!

    What’s your computer desktop/phone lock screen?

    Michelle Obama, and her daughters, reading an oversized copy of IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE at the White House Easter Roll!

    Last thing you made: 

    Bookmarks with kids at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

    An experience you’ll never forget:

    Two art teachers in North Carolina created Very Special Arts Day, for kids with disabilities. Every year they based creative activities on children’s books — Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are — and had them spread all over a high school football field. They asked me if they could use my If You Give series for the upcoming event! The day of the event, over 600 kids with disabilities arrived and sat with 400 high school volunteers in the bleachers waiting for the activities to begin. They were all wearing a t-shirt that had a drawing of my characters that were drawn by a young boy with cerebral palsy. The volunteers wore red, and the kids wore blue ones.

    A marching band paraded around the field. Following the band was a person in the mouse costume, another person in the pig costume, high school girls wearing chocolate chip cookie costumes, and then me in a tricked out red Camaro, bringing up the rear, like the Little Red Caboose!

    Driving slowly past the bleachers, waving to the crowd, who waved and cheered back, got me seriously choked up. To start off the official events, a little boy with Downs Syndrome sang, “I’ll Fly Away”. He was so excited to be on stage and applauded that we couldn’t get him offstage! Then the boy with cerebral palsy, who designed the t-shirts, sang “This Land is Your Land,” and that moment was when I was sorry I had worn mascara!

    Afterwards, the kids and volunteers poured onto the field, visiting various booths to play games and do craft activities based on my books. There was ‘Make a Mouse Macaroni Necklace’, ‘Moose Muffin Toss’, ‘Pig Paper Planes’, and so many more brilliantly inventive games and activities. It was truly the best day of my life.

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