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Different Is Awesome! shows children that being different isn't something to fear, but is actually what makes us awesome!
Different Is Awesome! shows children that being different isn't something to fear, but is actually what makes us awesome!
532 backers pledged $29,537 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$29,537

532

***MINI-STRETCH GOAL!

I'd love to see the project end over $30,000, so as an extra incentive, if we do end over that amount ALL backers will receive a copy of the eBook I'm writing! The book will answer questions like:

  • How do you handle it when people stare at you? 
  • How do you answer the "What happened to you?" question? 
  • What if I just want to be left alone? 
  • How should I respond when people offer to help me and I don't need or want it? 
  • Is it ok for me to joke about my difference? 

I get these questions all the time and am excited to share my experiences with you. I'm confident this is going to be a helpful resource for kids and for adults/parents.

**WEEEEEEEEEEEE DID IT!!! We hit the $25,000! THANK YOU! 

So...if you just got here and you're like, "This is super rad, but why should I pledge when they already made it?" let me tell you why you should still pledge: First of all, you'll get a first printing of the book! Signed even, if you pledge at that level. There are still some AMAZING one-of-a-kind pieces of original artwork left, too! Every pledge through Friday means this project gets to be bigger and better because of YOU! We're in talks for an iPhone/iPad app, lesson plans and other cool things that we'll keep you updated on as they become more solidified.

Ultimately, though, the reason I'd love for you to pledge is because it means this message gets to go to where YOU are. Your family, your school, your church, your neighborhood...and that's what this is really about. Let's band together and change the world by telling kids that Different Is Awesome!**

Being different is awesome!

I was born with one hand and, until recently, never really thought about how it affected my life. My family and friends treated me just like anybody else as I was growing-up, so it was never an issue. It never even crossed my mind that there were other people out there "like me" or that they didn't have the same positive experience that I did.

The fact is, being different isn't always easy; especially for kids. I've had the opportunity to speak to groups of kids and I love how curious and uninhibited they are! That's one of the reasons I think this book is so important. When kids are little, they are open to new ideas. Their perspectives about what's "normal" are still being shaped and my goal with Different Is Awesome! is to help them see three things:

1. Being different isn't something to be afraid of. It's important for us to teach this truth to kids early and often so that they don't miss out on awesome friends who might look different than them!

2. Even though some differences are more noticeable than others, we are all different in one way or another!

3. Our differences, rather than something to hide or be embarrassed by, should be celebrated!

The Book

The story itself is about a little boy who brings his older brother for show-and-tell. Not to it, but for it. The little boy's classmates get to ask his brother all of the things they're wondering, like, how does he tie his shoes? And, can he ride a bike?! The story helps kids to see that even though someone might be shaped differently, they can still do all kinds of cool stuff! In a broader sense, the story helps kids see that we are all different, or unique, in one way or another and that's what makes us awesome!

I've been blessed to receive input from many, many amazing friends, authors, editors and parents and their feedback has been invaluable. It's resulted in a story that is fun and funny and engaging. Several families said the story prompted a long discussion about what their kids' differences were and how awesome they made them! I can see this happening in homes and classrooms and libraries around the world!

Here are a few excerpts:

Yesterday it was my turn to bring something to class for show and tell. 

I didn’t bring a stuffed animal. Or a remote control car. Or the picture I drew of an alien.

I brought my older brother, Ryan!

When Ryan was born, his left hand was missing.  He learned to do everything anybody else could do, though.  He just did it a little bit differently.

...

“Can you jump rope?” asked Noah, who wore glasses.

“It’s tricky,” said Ryan, “but I can do it if I try really hard!”

June, who was the shortest kid in class, had been sitting off to the side. “Does your arm hurt?” she asked quietly.

“Actually, no,” Ryan said. “It doesn’t hurt at all. Since I was born this way, it feels just like any other part of my body. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

...

“Ith there anything you CAN’T do?” asked Billy, who was missing his two front teeth.

”Sure,” said Ryan. “There are a few things I can’t do, but all of us have a hard time doing some things, right?  Usually, if I can’t do something one way, I just keep trying different ways until I figure it out!”

The physical book is going to be amazing. Hard cover, dust jacket, full color...the whole nine yards. I've been speaking with a distributor who's been assisting with the details and I cannot WAIT for you to hold it and to read it to your kids! Or your friends' kids. Or your grandparents. Or your dog. Yeah, especially your dog.

I think what I'm most excited about, though, are the illustrations.

Wes Molebash is an incredible artist and I'm beyond excited to see how he brings the story to life! His style is perfect; bright and bold and fun and ADORABLE. If you read my blog or follow me on Twitter, you're already familiar with Wes's work as he's the one who designed my logo! Wes is amazing at sharing his process, so you'll see the book in progress as he works on it. Here are a couple character designs he's already done:

What People Are Saying Already

"Confession, I am a huge Ryan Haack fan. Long before reading this book, I have admired all he has done to help people see past perceived disabilities and limitations. With Different is Awesome!, Ryan beautifully captures his amazing spirit in the form of questions asked by children in a classroom. Simply written, but with a very powerful message, I was reminded of many similar experiences and questions from my youth. I hope you can read this book with members of your family. There are inspirational lessons for people of any ability." - Jim Abbott, former MLB pitcher, threw a no-hitter with the New York Yankees in 1993, co-author of Imperfect: An Improbable Life

"One of our favorite ways to explain a limb difference to a group of kids is with a book. Different Is Awesome! is written to help frame that conversation. With a large group or a single child, this story helps make sense of how we can celebrate differences." - Jen Reeves, founder of Born Just Right and mom to Jordan

"I wish someone would've told me 20 years ago that the things that make you different now are the things that will one day make you awesome. This book does just that. Thanks, Ryan, for writing it." - Jeff Goins, Author, The In-Between

I Don't Have A Kid, Though. Why Should I Pledge?

Different Is Awesome! is going to be great for readers of any age! And here are some ideas of who to get it for, if not for yourself: Your future children, your friends' kids, your nieces and nephews, your cousins, your cousins' kids, your grandkids, your local elementary school, your local library...get creative! Have fun with it!

Where's The Money Going?

The bulk of the funding will go toward paying the illustrator, printing and shipping. Then there's the digital e-book, the reward fulfillment, the amazing videographer, purchasing the ISBN (the barcode thing) and LLC, etc. If you're interested in more specifics about the project, please see the FAQ below.

If you're interested in supporting the project, but you're not comfortable giving online, please contact me and we'll work something out! And if you're like, "I'd like to support the project, but I don't really need all the stuff," fear not! When you pledge you can totally select not to receive...the stuff. Also, if you have an idea for a different reward option, please let me know!

Lastly...Thank you for being awesome!

Seriously, you're making a dream come true. I also truly believe you're making the world a better place. Maybe that's idealistic and too big of a dream, but I don't care; I believe it.

And I hope you do, too.

Let's change the world, friends!

Risks and challenges

What are the risks and challenges?

Well, money is one. That's where you come in. I'm confident, though, that if we band together and spread the word like crazy people, we'll be able to fund this project, no problem!

Speaking of spreading the word...I'm hoping not to lose any friends during this 30 day stretch, but I'm going to be sharing this project as often and as far and as wide as I can! I hope you'll join me! I can't do this alone and I'm SO proud to have such amazing friends who are willing to get behind this project and promote the bejeepers out of it!

The other challenge here is that the physical book won't be shipped for several months and I know it stinks to not have the book in your hand right away, but seriously...it's going to be SO worth it! As soon as the project is funded, Wes is going to get to work on the illustrations full-time until it's done. Then it's time for formatting and printing and THEN shipping! Wes and I will provide updates on the progress weekly (sometimes daily, I'm sure!) and will reply to any questions you have as quickly as possible. Right now the target for shipping is somewhere between September and November.

I've partnered with a TON of people who know what they're doing here (professional artists, editors, authors, etc.), so please feel confident that this is going to be done well. You have my word!

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    This sounds awesome and I just want to be a part of spreading the message!

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    You'll get an AMAZING digital copy of the book AND a sweet sticker!

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    You'll get one physical copy of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND a bookmark AND a sticker!

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    You'll get one AUTOGRAPHED physical copy of the book (author only) AND the sweet digital copy AND the bookmark AND a sticker!

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    You'll get TWO physical copies of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND the bookmark AND a sticker!

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    You'll get one physical copy of the book AUTOGRAPHED BY BOTH THE AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR AND the sweet digital copy AND the bookmark AND a sticker!

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    You'll get TWO physical copies of the book AUTOGRAPHED by the author AND a SIGNED color print of your favorite page of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND two bookmarks AND two stickers!

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    Up to FIVE AUTOGRAPHED physical copies of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND FIVE bookmarks AND FIVE stickers!

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    You'll get up to TEN AUTOGRAPHED physical copies of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND TEN bookmarks AND TEN stickers! Perfect for schools!

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    1 piece of original artwork (single page), signed by the artist and a color print of the page + You'll get one physical copy of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND the bookmark AND a sticker!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You get to pick something (child's favorite toy, name on a chalkboard, etc.) to be worked into one of the illustrations! + up to TEN physical copies of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND TEN bookmarks AND TEN stickers!

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    1 piece of original artwork (two-page spread), signed by the artist and a color print of the spread + You'll get FIVE SIGNED physical copies of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND FIVE bookmarks and FIVE stickers!

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    SCHOOL PACKAGE! I'll come and speak at the school where you teach/your child attends! Check with your PTO or get a bunch of parents together to chip in! (Travel costs not included - at most would be gas/plane ticket/transportation/hotel if overnight) + You'll get TEN physical copies of the book AND the sweet digital copy AND TEN bookmarks AND TEN stickers!

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Have a non-speaking character modeled after your child! You'll also get an autographed 8X10 of Wes's drawing of your child in addition to however many AUTOGRAPHED copies of the book you want (up to 10) AND the sweet digital copy AND the bookmarks AND stickers (up to 10 each)!

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Have a SPEAKING character in the book modeled after your child! Immortalized for all time! You'll also get a special acknowledgment in the book and AUTOGRAPHED physical copies of the book (up to 10) AND the sweet digital copy AND the bookmarks AND stickers (up to 10 each)!

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    I will fly to wherever you are and spend the day with you doing awesome one-handed stuff. I will also write you a song and hug you until you tell me to let you go. Or, you know...whatever you want. Seriously, I would love to spend the day with you talking about my experiences, getting to know you and giving insight in any way I can. You'll also get a VERY special acknowledgment in the book and physical copies of the book (ANY AMOUNT UP TO 10) AND the sweet digital copy AND bookmarks AND stickers!

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Funding period

- (30 days)