Cautious Fred: Teaching Kids How to Be Safe Around Strangers
A children’s book that teaches kids how to interact safely with strangers, recognize dangerous situations, and be safe on their own.
Cautious Fred is a rhyming story of a little green frog walking home from school through a thick, eerie bog. Along the way, he meets several shifty characters – a crafty croc, a sneaky snake, a beautiful but sharp-clawed lizard, and other suspicious creatures. With his mother’s advice ringing in his ears, Freddy must remember to keep safe on his own.
The story is designed to teach elementary-aged children how to be cautious when they are by themselves – whether walking to and from school, going to the park or their friend’s houses, or even when they join us for errands. We can’t keep our eyes on our children 100% of the time, and as they get older, we want them to become more independent – and that includes knowing how to be aware of their surroundings and the people around them.
This isn’t a “Stranger Danger” book. Numerous studies and countless experts have repeatedly said that “Stranger Danger” is a message that often confuses children: should they talk to police officers, who are also strangers? Do they say hi to an adult who says hi to them?
We don’t want to discourage children’s friendliness, nor teach them to be afraid of people who can help them. That’s why Cautious Fred shows kids not only how to be aware of suspicious people, but more importantly, suspicious situations, which are a bit harder to detect and can occur with both strangers and people they know.
Freddy runs into several different situations, all with very different characters – some are beautiful, some are friendly; some look like they are hurt and need help. Throughout the story, Freddy follows his intuition and acts wisely, teaching kids to do the same.
As a mom of two, I care about my children’s safety, a feeling I’m sure all parents share. So, I wrote this book out of a passion to assist parents and all caregivers in their efforts to teach children how to be safe on their own. What also fueled me to write Cautious Fred was my husband’s experience as a child. While walking home from school with his older sister, a woman in a station wagon pulled up and asked them if they wanted some candy.
He headed towards the car, but his sister pulled him away and shouted, “Let’s get out of here!” and the woman quickly drove off. While it’s great nothing worse happened to them, the thing that always stuck out in my mind was: what if his sister wasn’t there that day? I’ve heard similar stories from others, who have had close calls themselves. Cautious Fred empowers children with the knowledge of what to do in such situations.
This book is a labor of love with lots of patience mixed in. After completing the manuscript, my husband and two children joined in helping me with the layout and sketches. Most nights we sat at the table determining the characters’ look, placement, and roughly sketching the scene for each page. Then we sent our rough sketches to our South African illustrator, Katlego Kgabale, also known as Kady. Kady turned those rough sketches into our vision and brought each page to life with beautiful living colors.
In order to put Cautious Fred into the hands of children, I need your help to reach my goal, which will cover the printing and shipping costs. Once I reach my goal, I will announce some cool stretch goals!
What You'll Get
Risks and challenges
I’ve met four of my biggest challenges: I’ve completed the writing, editing, illustrations and formatting. Now, I’m focused on printing and distributing a 42-page, first edition hardcover book, complete with a dust-cover jacket. I’ve selected a great, professional printing company who will make this book into a beautiful reality. And to further minimize risks, I’m working with a fulfillment company to keep shipping problems at a minimum and to control costs.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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