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To launch lives of joyful reading: a chapter book about pirates, quirky people, and kids searching for a legendary treasure.
To launch lives of joyful reading: a chapter book about pirates, quirky people, and kids searching for a legendary treasure.
136 backers pledged $8,200 to help bring this project to life.

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Treasure Town: A “Bridge into Reading” Book for Kids project video thumbnail
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$8,200

136

We passed our goal, but we're NOT done yet. We still need you!

We have just a few days left in our campaign to fund the publication and promotion of Treasure Town, our “bridge-into-reading” chapter book for grades 1-3. Thanks to the dozens of friends, relatives, colleagues and Kickstarter fans who've already pledged, we recently passed our $5,000 goal.

This is so exciting! But at the same time, our budget is very modest — and we can do a lot with each additional dollar we raise. Our “indie” book will have to compete with titles from big corporate publishers, and we think it has a shot! Treasure Town is a fun and powerful resource for helping kids become confident, joyful readers. Check out the endorsements below that Treasure Town has received from well-known kids'’ authors and a learning-to-read expert ... and please consider joining our backers.

You can donate as little as $10 — or you can pledge a little more and begin selecting from our rewards: first-edition copies of the book, signed copies, original artwork from the project, our Treasure Town t-shirt ... And everyone who pledges at least $10 will be thanked, by name, in the Acknowledgments at the back of our book.

This is our final push! Please consider becoming a Treasure Town backer. Your pledge will matter — and you’'ll be in our book!

Teachers and librarians say primary schoolers need more really good first chapter books — stories that take them one step beyond beginning readers, and that kids love to read on their own. The research shows how much this matters: “Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success,” says the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a nationwide alliance of foundations, nonprofits, states, and communities.

Treasure Town, by a bestselling author of fiction for young readers, is a great story — it has twists, turns, humor and high learning value. Like a picture book, it’s full of fine, fun illustrations that bring the story to life; but it's a true chapter book, that kids can be proud of reading themselves. 

“This is a story that can help give parents and teachers the joy of seeing children become better readers of valuable chapter books. Treasure Town is a fabulous book for second, third, maybe fourth graders — engaging and humorous, with great illustrations.” Sue Biggam, board member, New England Reading Association, and co-author, Literacy Profiles: A Framework to Guide Assessment, Instructional Strategies and Intervention, K-4

“Shovelfuls of gold in this rollicking story of pirate gold in Florida. Great characters, funny events, and big dollops of history and geography. Well done!” R. A. Montgomery, founder of the super-popular Choose Your Own Adventure series

The history and geography in Treasure Town are pirate history, and pirate geography. This is a story about three kids searching for the legendary buried treasure of Jean Lafitte, king of the Gulf Coast pirates — and the beach town full of wacky grownups who get drawn into the search, or try to stop it.

We are an experienced author/illustrator team: we’ve each been doing our work for many years as full-time, self-employed professionals. Your support for this Kickstarter will make it possible for us to publish Treasure Town independently — outside today's mega-corporate publishing world — through Doug’s “indie” imprint, Long Stride Books.

Our $5,000 budget breaks down this way:

  • Page and cover design: $1,000
  • Printing, 1,000 copies: $2,000
  • Basic marketing & promotion: $2,000

Once published, our book will be available to bookstores, libraries, and online vendors through Long Stride's nationwide distributor, the Independent Publishers Group of Chicago. Any support that goes beyond our basic budget will enable us to do more marketing and promotion — to let more people know about Treasure Town.


Treasure Town will be treasured by every reader who loves action, humor, and a rollicking good tale.” Ellen Miles, author of the Puppy Place series

“Doug Wilhelm spins a fun — and very funny — yarn about buried treasure, three brave treasure hunters, the ‘weirdos’ who want to find it too, and the ‘Treasure Town’ that ends up making history. A great read for adventuresome kids!” S. S. Taylor, author of The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon

Treasure Town is about searching for something that matters ... and finding something you never dreamed was there.

Here’s one of our favorite rewards — the official, unique Treasure Town t-shirt! We offer this fine item in soft, ringspun cotton (whatever that means), in all sizes, for men, women and children. In Caribbean blue!

In our video, the traditional Caribbean song "Sloop John B" is played by Sarah-Lee (ukelele), Henry Woodard (Sarah-Lee's son, on bass), and Doug (cajon bongos).

Follow our Kickstarter on Facebook!

Be in our book! For every donation of any kind that’s $10 or more, we will include the donor’s name, as you provide it, in the Acknowledgements section of Treasure Town.

Risks and challenges

The big publishers of children’s books have been absorbed into giant corporations, and they’re increasingly formula-driven — but they also have lots of money to publish and market their books, so it’s risky and challenging to compete with them.

As an experienced, professional author-artist team, we’ve created a book that can make a big difference for kids, and we’ve got an excellent distributor for it. There's a widespread demand for high-quality early chapter books that take a fresh, original approach, and that's exactly what we've got. But on our own we don’t have the resources to print Treasure Town and promote it in the book marketplace.

In 2012, having brought out his first 12 books through major New York publishers, Doug created Long Stride Books, an "indie" imprint that was quickly picked up for national distribution by the Independent Publishers Group of Chicago. This means we’re in the system! We can get Treasure Town out where bookstores, libraries, parents and readers of all ages can find it — but having worked as independent creators for many years, our resources are sorely limited. (This is a nice way of saying we don’t have any money.)

We’ll work way hard to publicize and promote this book, investing our time and energy in tireless amounts. We’re psyched! We believe in Treasure Town — we know it can help children from all backgrounds become confident, lifelong readers. With support from our own networks and the Kickstarter community, we can meet the challenge of publishing and promoting, outside the corporate establishment, this exciting and valuable book for children.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    ARR — YOU GET BOOK! As soon as Treasure Town is published, we'll send you a first-edition copy. It's a steal, matey!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    YO HO HO — WE SIGN BOOK! We'll send you a first-edition copy, signed by both author and illustrator. Fine booty!

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    35 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    AVAST, YE TREASURE TOWN T-SHIRT! Fine quality, soft ringspun cotton, in Caribbean blue! These sizes available: men's M-XXL, women's style in sizes S-L, and kids' S-L

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    SHIVER ME TIMBERS — SIGNED T-SHIRT! Dress up any seadog, with a Treasure Town t-shirt signed by artist and author, in permanent marker.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    BLIMEY — BOOK WITH PERSONALIZED SIGNATURES! We'll send you a hot-off-the-press copy of Treasure Town, signed by us to anyone you'd like.

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    9 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    ONE ORIGINAL PIECE OF ARTWORK FROM THE MAKING OF THE BOOK: SMALLER SIZES. Pen-and-ink drawings from the process of illustrating Treasure Town. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind original, signed by Sarah-Lee in her studio.

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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    FINE SWAG! SIGNED BOOK PLUS A T-SHIRT. Your book will bear our signatures, your t-shirt will come in Caribbean blue, in your choice of sizes: men's M-XXL, women's style in S-L, or kid's S-L

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    13 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    ONE ORIGINAL PIECE OF ARTWORK FROM THE MAKING OF THE BOOK: MEDIUM SIZES. Pen-and-ink drawings from the process of illustrating Treasure Town. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind original, signed by Sarah-Lee in her studio.

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    Reward no longer available 12 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    ONE ORIGINAL PIECE OF ARTWORK FROM THE MAKING OF THE BOOK: LARGER SIZES. Pen-and-ink drawings from the process of illustrating Treasure Town. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind original, signed by Sarah-Lee in her studio.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    ORIGINAL PENCIL DRAWING OF A PERSON OR PET — YOUR FAVORITE SCALAWAG! Sarah-Lee will produce an original drawing of any one person or pet, from a photo you provide.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    PIRATE-THEMED DINNER FOR UP TO FOUR WITH US, AT SARAH-LEE'S STUDIO, PLUS ONE SIGNED BOOK FOR EACH GUEST. See where Treasure Town was born. Eat good food where Treasure Town was born! Talk books, art, kids, have an evening of fun.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PIRATE-THEMED DINNER FOR UP TO FOUR WITH US, AT SARAH-LEE'S STUDIO, PLUS ONE SIGNED BOOK FOR EACH GUEST. And the food will be GOOD. Delicacies from Davey Jones' locker!

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    BLOW ME DOWN — WE'LL DRAW YOU INTO THE BOOK! From a photo you provide, Sarah-Lee will draw you — or one other person of your choosing — into Treasure Town. This drawing will be in the actual published book. You'll be a legend — ARRR!

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Funding period

- (31 days)