Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 20, 2012.

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The "Polkadot" Series share the stories of a variety of childhood milestones through the lens of a non-binary gender-identity.

This Kickstarter page has been started to support a project that illustrator Rae Ludwig and myself, author: Talcott Broadhead, are pleased to bring you:

A series of children's books that center the experiences of non-binary and other diverse gender identities.

We are immersed in and inundated with GENDER.  Gendered things, gendered expressions, gendered language, gender interpretations, gender manifestations and above all: gender enforcement/gender-policing!

The perception of what our own gender should be begins at our beginning, sometimes even before...when we are coercively assigned a gender at birth. Our assignment is based upon what our biological sex is perceived to be. Our assignment is most often a binary one (despite biological sex itself not being as simplistic as male/female).  This assignment often locks us into a lifetime of expectations associated with behavior, expression: i.e: clothing, hairstyle, mannerisms, ---romantic and professional expectations, achievement gaps, oppression, privilege, power, targeting and on and on and on. 

This perception of what our gender should be, is heavily enforced at all developmental and social stages of childhood.  This enforcement and compulsive hyper-gendering is reflected substantially in children's literature and board books.

Many parents, teachers and professionals have asked me through the years to recommend children's books that are gender non-conforming or "gender-neutral."  As a Genderqueer professional Social Worker specializing in gender-identity affirming advocacy and education, I  have been hard-pressed to recommend many.  It seems that the time has finally come to create some.

My interest in bringing you the Polkadot series does not come from the wish to "neutralize" gender nor to invalidate the AMAZINGness of being a cisgender girl or cisgender boy--- (cisgender means that your gender identity matches the gender you were assigned at birth). Too often this is the strategy employed to make products appear to be gender diverse. In fact neutralizing gender can be quite invalidating to those who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming or gender non-binary. Our identities are not all "neutral," (read invisible). Our identities deserve to be validated through visibility. All gender identities are valid and amazing and should be celebrated! For this reason, we have chosen to create a series of books that follows one child through the exciting and tender experiences of early childhood and beyond. 

What makes the"Polkadot" series unique is that it centers a non-binary experience of gender identity, rather than a binary one. 

Our series begins when our main character Polkadot; a child who was not assigned a gender, is at an age when their gender identity is still forming and emerging.  The first book in our series is entitled, "Polkadot Goes to Preschool." While Polkadot is the main character of the series, and therefore their gender identity is central, this series of books celebrate the beauty and validity of ALL gender identities.

With each new book in the series, we will invite you to explore more about the diversity of gender, the shininess of Polkadot themself, as well as the brilliance and the challenges that accompany them.  The books are consecutive and grow with Polkadot to reflect the average stages of development in a child and how these are informed by the social construct of gender at each stage.

The talented Rae Ludwig composes bright, child and adult-friendly illustrations that celebrate the mystery and excitement of childhood.  Rae's clever drawings deconstruct gendered toys, spaces, items and activities in a manner that will provide the reader with an adventurous visual story to complement the written word. 

Rae and I hope that you will find interest in supporting this important project. It's time we honored gender diverse experiences in children's literature. With your help this kickstarter will fund our work on a series of 4 Polkadot books, as well as locally-printed prototypes of each book in our series. These will be submitted for publication with socially and environmentally conscious publishing houses. If we exceed our goal we will explore self-publishing the works.

Talcott Broadhead, MSW and Rae Ludwig, Illustrator Extraordinaire

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    95 backers

    POLKA: You will receive a postcard print of an original illustration by Rae Ludwig. Postcard will be delivered to you via postal mail with a personal thank you note from the authors!

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    56 backers

    POLKA-D: You will receive a postcard print of an original illustration by Rae Ludwig, with a thank you from the authors. AS WELL AS a button with an image of Polkadot!

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    43 backers

    POLKA-DO: You will receive a limited, framable art print of an image of Polkadot, illustrated, signed and numbered by Rae Ludwig. You will also receive a couple of postcards with which you can tell others about your support!

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    9 backers

    POLKADOT: You will receive all of the above: signed and numbered framable art print, postcard, button AND a limited edition letterpress print promoting gender justice advocacy and transgender equality.

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    6 backers

    POLKADOT-O'RAMA: You will receive all of the swag + a signed copy of "Polkadot Goes to Preschool" upon publication. Our heartfelt thanks and mention as: a "Friend of Polkadot" on our project blog. Swag will be delivered by August 2012. Book will received upon publication and you can track that at our project blog!

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    POLKADOT CHAMPION! All of the above + artist and illustrator Rae will produce an original pop portrait of the person (or pet) of your choosing (see http://www.rludwigdesign.com/portfolio/section/illustration_fine_art for samples of what your portrait will look like!). You send Rae the image and you’ll get a signed original acrylic on canvas 11"x14" portrait delivered with your copies of Polkadot Books.

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Funding period

- (30 days)