The inspiration to write the 578-word picture book While You Are at School was born a few years after I was. When I returned home from kindergarten one day with the sudden awareness that I was no longer spending most of the day with my mother, I asked her what she did all day while I was in school. Her answer provided the impetus, decades later, to offer whimsical and realistic scenarios that may ease a child’s separation anxiety.
It didn’t resolve my anxiety, though. I didn’t see it as a viable book without the right illustrations. When I met Loel Barr, I was immediately impressed with her varied and dynamic artwork. I asked her for a sample illustration and, with that in hand, shopped the book around. With no takers, I let the project gather dust for a few years. Numerous friends recommended various other artists to complete the book, but, when focused at all on the book, I remained wedded to the idea of Loel’s adept, witty mastery.
Once I recently confirmed with Loel that she was still interested in collaborating and her rates hadn’t changed—how often does that happen?!?—I revised and honed this story that has been kid tested and kid approved. I might even try to conjure up a video to prove it.
There is no protagonist or character arc in While You Are at School. Instead, using rhyming couplets, I urge children to imagine, based on serious and silly suggestions, what their caretaker — mother, father, grandparent, aunt or uncle, older sibling, nanny, or whomever — may be doing while s/he is at school. The book ends with a reassuring message for all.
The drawing that Loel provided years ago is visible here. My goal in this campaign is to raise the funds to pay for Loel to illustrate the rest of the book. To check out some of her wonderful work now, please see her website: http://www.loelbarr.com/. With your help, and then Loel’s brilliant artistry, we’ll be ready to self-publish. A thousand thanks for your support!
Risks and challenges
Loel is on board but won't begin work unless our project is funded. I've allowed enough time for her to complete her work and for self-publishing of the book. I will keep backers apprised of the progress and note any unexpected delays.
This book would be a lovely holiday commitment for this year that should be ready for holiday season 2016.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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