Kids are natural scientists because their hearts and minds are open to all possibilities. They love to explore, ask questions and hunt for things. They also love a good adventure story. I wrote SCAVENGER SCOUT: ROCK HOUND to fuel kids’ curiosity about the natural world, whether it’s rocks, the ocean or the mountains. I want to encourage kids to get outside and explore.
The character of Scavenger Scout lives for the thrill of the hunt and is partially inspired by this tongue-in-cheek definition of "rock hound":
Scout may only be 7 years old, but she is passionate about rocks and will climb a mountain, go deep-sea diving or spelunking–whatever she has to do to take home her treasured specimens. She’s not only in it for the gorgeous rocks, she is also drawn to the thrill of the hunt.
I love seek-and-find books that are a story first and a seek-and-find second. The story of SCAVENGER SCOUT will appeal to kids who love to hunt and who love adventure, so why not give them the opportunity to help Scout find the rock on every page? In each vignette, Scout hunts for a different rock and kids get to hunt with her!
STEM-inspired Story with a Female Main Character
The world is changing, but there are still very few picture books with female main characters that use science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) to solve problems. It's important that we read books like SCAVENGER SCOUT to our kids (both boys and girls) to show that any child can follow their dreams, regardless of gender.
Scout uses physics and engineering principals to get very large rocks into her magic backpack. Kids will delight in the real-life rock hounding tools Scout uses such as a crack hammer, chisel or a rock pick.
I reviewed hundreds of illustrators' portfolios (257 to be exact) before I found one that could bring my vision of Scout to life and also had the technical skill to illustrate the rocks. It was important to me that the illustrations of the rocks be faithful to the real thing. When I saw Yana Popova's portfolio, I knew that she was the one. Her style is endearing and whimsical, with a touch of realism--perfect for children's picture books.
Yana visited her local natural history museum in order to observe the play of light on the actual rocks that she would be recreating for the book.
My daughter is a pebble pup (someone who is new to collecting rocks) and she inspired the adventures of Scavenger Scout. One day, she sat me down and went through each rock in her collection, telling me fantastic stories about how she acquired each rock. Her stories involved dealing with dragons, matching wits with mermaids and debating with aliens. She is just like any other child: she loves to blend reality with fantasy. And that's why I think kids will love SCAVENGER SCOUT: ROCK HOUND.
Scavenger Scout: The Sequel
A sequel is in the works and will feature all new rocks for Scout to track down, such as agate, bornite and labradorite. The manuscript is written and is currently with an editor to refine the text. Also, illustrator Yana Popova has signed on to illustrate the second book!
Scavenger Scout Hard Cover Book with Dust Jacket
Scavenger Scout Sticker (Kickstarter Exclusive)
Scavenger Scout Activity Book/Place Mat (Kickstarter Exclusive)
It’s a two-fer! The printed activity book includes two coloring pages, two pages of rock-themed puzzles and one page of cut-out puppets of characters from the book. And, you can bring it with you to a restaurant and unfold it to use it as a place mat!
Signed Art Prints
Cartoon Me (ALL GONE!)
What would you look like as a character in a children's book? If you are lucky enough to grab this reward, you'll get to find out. All you have to do is send Illustrator Yana Popova a photo and she'll turn you into a cartoon. You will receive a high-res digital file. Great for profile pics or a gift for someone special.
Name that Ship
In one scene in the story, Scout encounters some mermaids and has to persuade them to let her take something valuable. A sunken ship lies nearby. You get to name that ship! Name it after your favorite vacation spot, someone special or your first dog. Just don't name it "Boaty McBoatface."
Name Scout's Elementary School (ALL GONE!)
After reading about Scout's adventures, it's easy to forget that she's only 7 years old. She loves school--especially science and art classes. In the first scene of the book, there is a poster on the wall behind Scout with the name of her elementary school. You get to name that school! (Author approval required). This is an important job because her school will be featured in the sequel.
The manuscript and illustrations are 80% complete and we are ready to move into book design (a very important step in the production process). During the book design phase, we will create the cover design (you get to help pick the cover!), incorporate the text into each page, layout the vignette and spot illustrations and layout the end pages. SCAVENGER SCOUT will include an educational end page that lists each of the 3 rocks from the book, a little bit about them and where they can be found (in real life). It will also show illustrations of common rock hounding tools.
The print process takes 7-9 weeks so we anticipate books being delivered to you in October. Just in time for holiday gift giving!
Most of the funds will go to the illustrator and the printer. The printer I have selected produces very high quality hard cover books, of the style you would see in high-end children's boutiques. Early in the process, I worked with a professional developmental editor. The next step is to work with copy editors to ensure the printed product is error free. I have built in a small contingency to account for any remaining variables such as freight shipping costs and fees.
About Author Jaime Untz (aka Shelby Wilde)
I’ve been a writer for my entire professional career, but mostly in the public relations, marketing and non-profit industries. I've always done creative writing in my spare time, but five years ago my passion shifted to children’s stories. There’s nothing better than hearing a child say, “again!” after you finish reading a book to them. That is why I write stories for children. Reading aloud to a child, or teaching them to read for themselves, is one of the best ways you can spend your time.
About Illustrator Yana Popova (aka YaPpy Arts)
My passion is for children's illustration, character and creature design. I enjoy working in both traditional and digital art using vivid and bright color schemes. I gather inspiration from nature, animals, dreams and travel.
Thank you to the following people who helped this Kickstarter campaign come together. Thank you for sharing your talents!
Risks and challenges
This is my first self-published book so I'm learning as I go, but I've spent months and months researching the process, talking to seasoned authors and soliciting advice. I'm mitigating my risk by partnering with a respected printer, professional illustrator and book designer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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