I am the author of the children's book, When I Fly With Papa, and I would like you to support my effort to publish and sell 1,000 copies of my book for its first printing. My hope is that we can exceed my primary goal and raise $4,000 more to produce 2,000 copies of my book.
It would be a dream if we could raise $8,000 above my initial Kickstart goal to print 4,000 copies of my book. An added $12,000 above my initial goal will enable me to cover storage and distribution costs. When I Fly With Papa will be released in August 2018.
My character Winnie teaches us how to feel without apology. As she does so, she dares to live a life of outrageous love and bravery. She feels without inhibition. Her relationship with Papa liberates her from the expectations to limit her feelings to a set of emotions. He embraces her emotions without hesitation. Winnie is free because she is fully herself with Papa. Her imagination and human emotions fly with the Papa whose presence, love, power, and image is not confined by any time, space, feeling, or image.
This book is the first in a series that explores Winnie's embodiment of emotional freedom through her relationship with God and others.
Trim Size: 11” x 8.5” – landscape. Pages: 40pp are 4c/4c on 100lb matte text. Ends: Ends are 0c/0c on 80lb white offset Case: Covers are 4c + matte lamination/0c on 80lb C1S, wrapped over 88pt board Binding: Side sewn with concealed and reinforced ends, and cased into square-back cases
Reading Audience: For ages 3-7, and for the child in us all.
I have always been a dreamer. As a child, the world of imagination fascinated me. It still does.
My brother and I played in our small garden for hours as children. We clutched the washing line pole in our garden and walked around it until we landed in a new world. As adventurers, we explored this new and strange landscape with abandon. We dug holes in the dirt as we searched for new 'species.' We turned snails and worms into beings from another planet. We did not care if the earth covered our legs or our skin scraped the nettles of a branch. We marveled at butterflies. We talked to our cat. We watched the clouds move like snails across the sky.
Our lives as a working class family did not impoverish our minds or dull our curiosity. The world lived on my street. My neighbors hailed from regions such as Jamaica, Ireland, England, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Dominica. The smells of food and the sounds of music and languages nurtured my curious mind.
I was a sensitive child. I felt my emotions deeply in a world that did not encourage me to do so. It was only as an adult that I sensed a nudging to share my feelings with the God I call Papa. At first, I did not take this nudging seriously. Why would Papa care if I was hurt, sad, angry, or afraid?
Somehow, and over time, I learned to share my imagination and experiences with God. From there, my relationship with Papa deepened and soared. I felt listened to, cared for, valued, seen, and loved. I could be fully myself with God. I did not have to pretend to be something I was not. At no time did Papa belittle my feelings or dismiss my emotions. I could be real and raw and playful and silly and smart and everything in between. The quest to be emotionally free captivates me, frustrates me, dazzles me, and makes me feel safe. Papa shows me daily how I can share my emotions with those I encounter.
I think it is especially important that children be allowed to dream and feel their emotions and develop a curiosity about why they feel what they feel. Our emotions marry with our first breath. We are born crying. We are born with the ability to feel. We have to unlearn the message that encourages us to numb ourselves to our emotions. Studies are finding that children as young as kindergarten experience anxiety. Fears shadow us, abide in us, and consume us. But children's curiosity, imagination, playfulness, and ability to express emotions in liberating ways is not lost.
I was around five when I encountered racism for the first time. Until we moved to a diverse urban neighborhood, my brother and I were the only black children who attended our school. We did not know how to process the racism we experienced. My brother and I were confused and afraid. We did not want to worry our parents and so we told no one about the racial slurs children hurled at us as we walked home from school. Our church and school failed to create spaces where we could talk about our encounters with racism.
I do not want children to hide their feelings and experiences from God when they do not know what to do. I do not want children to lose sight of their imagination and their ability to dream as they encounter trauma.
As an adult, I began to wonder how children can learn to experience emotions at an early age with the God of love that liberates us to be fully ourselves. I don't recall anyone in Sunday school ever telling me that I could be mad at God or share my doubts with God or have fun with God or ask God questions. I want children to be free enough to speak their minds and listen radically to God in ways that make sense to them.
I purposefully do not explain the reasons behind Winnie's emotions because I do not want her feelings to be fixed to one experience. I want her and children and adults alike to be free to experience their emotions without inhibition. I also want them to be able to identify why they feel what they feel.
In step with the spirit of freedom, I wanted Winnie to explore her emotions on her own terms. Winnie dares to live a life of outrageous emotional bravery without shame or embarrassment. As a smart, witty, gorgeous, curious, fun, serious, and artistic seven-year-old black girl, Winnie refuses to rein in her feelings to a set of emotions as she joins this sacred relational dance with Papa. I love that Winnie does not have to be nice or smile when she communicates with Papa.
I love that Winnie can be goofy and revel in holy silliness with Papa. I love that Winnie can be sad and angry and have questions and not look to others to rubber stamp her emotions as legitimate. I love that Winnie and Papa can wallow in introvert heaven and be silent and content just to be.
Some may relate to Winnie's experiences and others will not. Winnie does not speak for every child, gender, or individual. She is unburdened by having to shoulder the responsibility of representing all peoples. Still, there will be many who will be inspired by her journey with Papa.
I am a storyteller, poet, spiritual director, consultant, and professor. I believe children can teach us how to cultivate a meaningful relationship with Papa, a.k.a. God. Children of all hues can show us that Papa journeys with us through every emotion and season of our lives. God embraces all our feelings and acknowledges all our experiences. God is not as stuffy as we often make God out to be. Papa knows how to play with us, laugh with us, be silly with us, and fly with us.
I believe we can follow the example of Papa and allow him to help us revel in unfathomable joys, heal our hurts, and redress inequity. May children discover the God who will stand by them and nurse them through the lessons of life when they make mistakes.
I believe we can experience our communal lives together with a Papa who knows us intimately — warts and all. It amazes me that we can be co-partners with the God who loves to be known and loved. “I hope that children of all ages can learn to love themselves, Papa, and others for the greater good of humanity.”
I love to spend time with Papa. He is my best friend, confidant, and the essence of love in my life. Alongside my readers, I soar with the possibilities available to all when I choose to fly with Papa again, and again, and again . . .
I am surrounded by an extraordinary team at WiseInk, a company who places the art and vision of an author at the center of its mission. This company is co-owned by women I absolutely love and support. To have a seasoned African American businesswoman and entrepreneur shepherd the publication of my book has been a dream. The WiseInk team is made up of consummate professionals. They are kind, hard working, and not so business driven that they lose sight of the personal touch. Though I could have published my book with the publishing houses, I decided to publish with a company willing to invest time and energy into holistically nurturing my life as a black female author. As writer, I feel seen, heard, cherished, and valued by the staff at WiseInk and that is a new experience for me in the publishing world.
My incredible illustrator, Jena Holliday, is a storyteller in her own right. Her creative mind astounds me. She is a fierce African American female artist whose love for humanity abounds in her illustrations. I consider it a privilege to work with such a talented and young visionary artist.
The manuscript has been proofed, the illustrations are completed, and the format and cover design of my book are set.
- Thirty Day Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for the printing and distribution of When I Fly With Papa.
- For four weeks, I will post a weekly video blog that gives further insight into the character of Winnie.
- During my campaign, I will post daily inspirational observations on my twitter page @ClaudiaMayPhD.
- The success of the Kickstarter campaign will enable me to know how many copies can be printed for the first run. If we raise $4,000, we will produce 1,000 copies of my book. If we raise $8,000, we will produce 2,000 copies. If we raise $12,000, we can print 4,000 copies which would be fantastic.
- Proof sample copy of printed book before multiple copies are published.
- Bulk copies of book printed in June 2018. A printing company has been selected and a contract has been signed with them to handle the printing of my book. The team at my publisher, WiseInk, will handle the processes related to the printing of my book.
- My new website, which is under construction, will provide an outlet for the selling of my book and will be up and running by June 2018.
- Play time for Claudia. We all need a break once in a while!
- Distribute When I Fly With Papa to various outlets. Online sites and select local Minnesota bookstores will carry my book. WiseInk has arranged for an experienced distribution company to handle the storage of my book. They will receive orders and mail books to customers starting in September 2018.
Dr. Claudia May takes us on a journey of sacred experience and promise where a child comes to know the presence of Papa, who is available, intimate, and tender. No observation, thought, or emotion escapes the loving attention of our heavenly Papa, who is always ready to fly with us. Luther E. Smith Jr., PhD Professor Emeritus of Church and Community, Candler School of Theology, Emory University Author of Howard Thurman: The Mystic as Prophet
An enchanting and captivating poem . . . it is a love song in which the melodies soar and dip, prance and somersault, cry and cradle-and, even in anger, ride the wind with joy to the drumbeat of our lives.
Rev. Helen Bruch Pearson Professor Emerita of Theology Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA Author of Do What You Have The Power To Do: Studies Of Six New Testament Women
A delightful, engaging, and evocative book that will capture the imaginations of young readers–and older ones as well! Michael W. Holmes, PhD University Professor of Biblical Studies and Early Christianity Emeritus, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN
Claudia May's When I Fly with Papa captures not only a soaring, lyrical poeticism, but a visceral experience of what it means to be authentically present in our whole beings before God-unfiltered, unhindered, embodied-and to still be met by an abiding love and grace.
Naisa Wong Soul Care Practitioner – Spiritual Direction and Trauma Care Certified Director, Producer, Dramaturg & Consultant - Professional Theatre, Film and Television
Through her descriptive and carefully chosen words, Dr. Claudia May paints a picture of a healthy, secure relationship developing between a young child and Papa. . . . Beyond implications for earthly relationships, When I Fly with Papa is a reminder that our heavenly Papa is always ready to fly with us. Jolene Pearson, PhD Associate Professor and Director of Early Childhood, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN Author of Pathways to Positive Parenting: Helping Parents Nurture Health Development in the Earliest Months published by Zero to Three
Not every learned, university-trained scholar can enter into the world of children and correctly use their language in communicating mature ideas about their lives from a Christian context. Finding such a gifted and creative writer is a rare discovery. But I am serendipitously happy to say that such a person exists in Claudia May of the Bethel University faculty.
Pastor Emeritus, J. Alfred Smith, Sr., DMin Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, Ca. Professor Emeritus, American Baptist Seminary of The West, Berkeley, Ca.
©2018 Claudia May. All Rights Reserved.
Risks and challenges
We are ready to launch! "When I Fly with Papa" has been written, edited, and proofread. The illustrations by Jena Holliday are completed and gorgeous. The book is already designed and ready to go to prepress. I have partnered with the book publishing talents of Wise Ink Publishing in Minneapolis and don't see any issues on the horizon. Should any complications arise, we are equipped with the team to handle the challenge and we will be in constant contact should any issue arise that would delay our fulfillment of rewards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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