In a time where big data and its application is considered fundamental to most industries, we want to give kids a head start by teaching them how to interpret and analyze that data early on.
This is the story of Penelope Pie and her friends, Laney Line, Barnaby Bar, and Bertie Boxplot. All of our characters have a singular spirit and set of skills, and we follow their adventures as they each solve a problem. For instance, when Penelope Pie throws a party for her birthday, someone needs to figure out how to divvy up the pizza so each guest can have their favorite topping. Fortunately, Penelope is just the girl for the job!
Through solving these problems, the stories of Penelope and her friends illustrate the basic concepts of data visualization. A pie chart best portrays parts of a whole in context, line graphs – a trend over time, bar charts (often underestimated) allow for easy comparison, and box plots give us a great sense of how data is distributed.
Meet Penelope Pie. She's a little bit shy, but she is terribly clever. She loves puzzles, and pizza, and all kinds of pie. And then there is her friend Laney Line. Sure, she's a little bit wacky and talks a mile a minute – but she has a big heart, a quick mind, and loves to connect the dots!
The thing about Barnaby Barchart – he's a wee bit of a braggart, but that's just because he wants everyone to see how special he really is. His pal, ol' Bertie Boxplot is definitely an eternal curmudgeon, but he always does his very best to make sure everybody is included!
We are Liv Buli and Abigail Ricarte. We are a data journalist and a designer who have worked together in the music, tech, and analytics space for many years. We are definitely nerds, but like to think we are borderline cool nerds. Somewhere along the road we became good friends, and somewhere along the road we decided to work on this project together.
We spend every day thinking about how to best visualize and communicate data to a world of users that don't necessarily know too much about it. This experience and background is what leads us to believe that teaching data visualization to kids in a fun and engaging way could be really valuable.
It occurred to us that it would have been pretty sweet to learn this stuff a lot earlier in life. And when Liv found out she would be having a little girl, it was clear that that now was the time to get cracking. We want her to have her very own copy.
Together we have been working on the series in our spare time, and it's been a lot of work, but crazy fun. We've been developing our characters, drafting and re-drafting story lines, grappling with illustrations, and thinking through our business strategy. We're in a place where we are ready to put the final touches on book #1, and send it off to print.
We have chosen to run a Kickstarter campaign because this community is the just the right audience for our project. We need your help to raise funds to cover the cost of production, publication, promotion, and distribution of the first book in our Vizkidz series: "Penelope Pie Throws A Pizza Party."
Through Kickstarter, we think we can find others who share our passion for thoughtful design and captivating stories with a useful message. Others who believe complex concepts are best communicated in a simple way. Others who think kids are super smart little sponges that soak up a bunch of knowledge, and can benefit a bunch from learning the fundamentals of data.
We hope you'll lend your support and help us bring the world of Vizkidz to life!
Risks and challenges
There are always risks and challenges associated with something as ambitious as running and completing a kickstarted campaign, and we've tried our best to think of and account for these potential obstacles.
The most important thing we can do is get your books to you on time.
We are relying on external vendors for everything from printing the hardcovers, to making our cool swag like lunch boxes, tote bags, and stickers.
There can always be delays and we are on a tight deadline, but we have thoroughly researched our providers to make sure we are working with high-quality vendors that deliver when they say they will. We are making sure that we have everything ready to go to vendors the second we fully fund this campaign.
We are working with local vendors whenever we can, and are building a great network of awesome teams that are contributing to making Vizkidz happen. With great people that we trust on our side, we're confident we can overcome any obstacles and challenges we encounter along the way.
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