The Coolest Children's Book Ever

by Mikel Samaniego

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    1. Laura Gorcester on November 13, 2013

      So, I took a better look at the kickstarter campaign. There are a few grammatical errors like starting a sentence with and. Also, one of my biggest pet peeves, some spaces between sentences are double spaced and some are single. I much prefer single spaces. It's really good, those are just my subtle adjustments, things I would change when I am editing professional documents. With the rewards, I would just make sure you are completely thorough with the large awards, such as, with $250, do you get the personal painting and a book or two? Do any kids in Africa get a book? Same as the higher donations. You might also consider making a note that people can opt to donate both books to the children in Africa, say if they don't have children of their own but want to help the cause. They could purchase the $25 deal but instead of one for one, donate both. You could also just make this a separate reward, $25 sends two books to two separate kids in Africa.

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About this project

Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree Cover
Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree Cover

About Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree

Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree is an empowering story that teaches kids to believe in themselves and work hard  to achieve their dreams. And with each purchase, one book will be sent to you and one book will be sent to a child in East Africa. The story takes place in a rural African village, where Joseph lives with his father, sister, and brother.

Joseph's father gives him and his siblings papaya (paw paw) seeds to plant and tells them that for these seeds to turn into trees that bear fruit, "it takes hard work everyday, and no matter what, you have to believe in yourself."

Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree, pg. 8
Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree, pg. 8

While Joseph's siblings stop watering their trees because they stop believing, Joseph never loses sight of his goal: a swing.  He keeps believing and keeps watering his tree even when his brother and sister call him foolish.  And eventually his persistence pays off!

Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree, pg. 20
Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree, pg. 20

The story teaches kids the importance of hard work everyday, and also to believe in themselves.

To see and read the whole story, please click on the "story" section of our website: www.a4abooks.com

Why we're doing this

We think that the best way to create the future we want is to empower our children, the future leaders of tomorrow.  The message of a good children's book can be profound and last a lifetime, especially in remote villages in East Africa where kids aren't exposed to many books, let alone anything relevant to their circumstances.

We wanted to create a book that kids in villages can identify with and teach them about cultures far away.  And we also wanted to create a book that could educate our children here about a distant place and culture that they're taught very little about in school or home. This project was born from our desire to create something for our dear friends in the village of Matoso, Kenya, while also teaching our nieces and nephews here about places far, far away.  

A school in western Kenya
A school in western Kenya

How we're doing this

We wrote a children's story, and are selling it using a one-for-one model, sending one book to you and one book to a child in East Africa for every book purchased.

We wrote this story for our young friends we met in East Africa, and after working through many drafts, we've finally perfected it.  The name was changed from Joseph and the Papaya Tree to Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree because kids didn't know what a papaya was! They use the word paw paw instead of papaya.  And we had to change some drawings as well, as we found out that a papaya tree wasn't strong enough to support a swing.

We took a few copies of the first iteration of the book to East Africa on our last trip and really learned from that experience just how needed these books are.  It really strengthened our commitment to this endeavor seeing the look on the kids' faces when they got a book.  

New Hope Primary in Kampala, Uganda
New Hope Primary in Kampala, Uganda

What we've learned

During that trip to Africa we discovered a way to really make a difference to these kids.  For the lucky few who got a copy of the book it was the first and only book they owned. After seeing how appreciative those students and their parents were for the simple gift of a children’s book, we then committed to bringing them more, a lot more.

But we also learned some other things.  We took a soft copy of the book, and within an hour it was all messed up.  To live a long life in a rural setting, our children's books need to be hardcover.  And most importantly, to actually logistically do this, we need to order books in enough bulk to drive down the cost per book to actually make this doable.

Ongora Primary in western Kenya
Ongora Primary in western Kenya

 Why We're Raising Money

We are raising money so we can order our first shipment of these books in bulk, and to get them made with a hard, durable cover so that these books last for many years to come.

Risks and challenges

The biggest potential obstacle will be delivering the books to the rural schools. To overcome this challenge we will ship the books in bulk to a partner in the region who will then, in conjunction with our Board Member in Uganda, either ship or personally deliver the books to each school (depending on whether there is reliable mail service to the location).

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About

    Thank you! A virtual high 5! We'll know that you supported us, and you'll know that you are a part of changing the world!

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    A downloadable (ebook) version of the book. You can read this wherever and whenever on your phone, tablet or computer.

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    Pledge $25 or more About

    "One-for-One" -

    Your own copy of Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree sent to you, and one copy of the book sent to a child in East Africa.

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    "Two-for-Two" -

    Two copies of Joseph and the Paw Paw Tree sent to you, and two copies of the book sent to two different kids in East Africa.

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    Pledge $100 or more About

    "One-for-One Special" - Personalized books, from both of us: We’ll send you two books, one with a personalized thank you from us, and you write a note on the inside cover of the other, and send that back to us. We'll then send your personalized note to a child in East Africa.

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    Pledge $250 or more About

    An 8X8 Personalized Painting by the artist of the book, depicting you/your family (send us a photo) standing next to Joseph and his family in front of their home.

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    Pledge $500 or more About

    Your name inside the book, printed on our dedicated sponsor page.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About

    Your name inside the book, printed in LARGE font on our dedicated sponsor page.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About

    A 5-7 day trip to Uganda to accompany the books and personally deliver them to schools. There you will read the book to either a classroom or an entire school (your choice), with a professional photographer.there to capture the whole thing!

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