Welcome to our campaign! We're glad you found your way to our page. We're Lisa Travis and Janelle Diller, and we're excited to share our Pack-n-Go Girls passion for changing the world one reader at a time.
The idea started several years ago when I (Lisa) was heading out on a long cross-country trip with my young daughter. I realized very few engaging travel toys existed for girls. There were Bratz, Barbies, and princesses. And yes, American Girl dolls. But have you tried to stuff an American Girl in your carryon? Not going to happen. While a little girl play is fun—combing hair and dressing up—I wanted my daughter to think beyond just looking pretty. I wanted something that taught my child about the world and fit into my suitcase. The dilemma inspired me to come up with an alternative. That's when I partnered with my long-time friend, Janelle, to create a travel toy for girls 6-9 that inspires curiosity, adventure, and a global mindset: a book, purse, and doll concept that you can "Pack-n-Go" to dinner or "Pack-n-Go" in the car or on a plane or in a train.
Thus began our journey.
We launched the first Pack-n-Go Girls book in December of 2013 and worked our tails off to launch four more books in 2014. Our Pack-n-Go Girls early chapter book adventures are packed with spooky mysteries, international friendships, and lots of fun and easy multicultural learning. This year, we're hoping to market the heck out of these books, take the next steps to get our purse and dolls to market, and launch three more books. This is where we hope to get your help.
1. Inspire little girls you know to go global!
In our global adventure series, girls from different parts of the United States travel to other countries, meet new friends, learn about diverse cultures, and solve mysteries.
Every place in the world has its own unique foods, customs, celebrations, and language. Piquing kids' interest about other countries makes them more curious about their own. A curious child is a learning child who becomes a curious and learning adult.
How cool is it to start that snowball rolling?
2. Feed a child's reading appetite
Our Pack-n-Go Girls books combine an age-appropriate balance between text and illustrations, which builds confidence in early chapter book readers. The richly woven plots and could-be-me believable characters easily pull young readers along. Our illustrator's pencil line drawings deftly capture both the tension of the mysteries and characters' emotions. Young readers love a book series because they develop a familiarity with the characters and settings. These stories build on each other so that by the last book in each country series, young readers will truly feel like they're spending time with old friends.
The books are Lexile rated as high second grade reading. They're already listed with Sylvan Learning's Book Adventure. We're working to get on the Accelerated Reader list as well so kids can get credit in their school reading programs if they read a Pack-n-Go Girls book.
We've created robust cross-curriculum teaching resources so busy teachers (who already knock themselves out every single day, thank you very much) can easily use the books in the classroom.
The only thing we can't do is sit down with every child and read together. Maybe that will be a stretch goal. In the meantime, we're depending on people like you to do that with your own favorite child.
3. Increase diversity in books for young readers.
A 1965 article in The Saturday Review noted that fewer than seven percent of children’s books had one or more African American characters in them. Today? The number is less than three percent. Three. Only ten percent of children’s books have a multicultural component, and yet the US population is 37 percent people of color. How ironic that the more diverse our country and the more connected the world has become, the fewer the number of books that reflect that.
From the beginning of our Pack-n-Go Girls days, we knew we’d have an eclectic bunch of characters. You can’t write stories about international friendships without ethnic diversity. We realized early on, too, that we needed to reflect the US population. Our mission has been and always will be to expand the world for young readers so they can better understand the diversity of cultures and the richness each one contributes to the world.
Where will the money go?
We're so glad you asked.
So far, we've introduced books set in Austria, Mexico, and Thailand. We need your support to help launch our next country series - Brazil! We've set our goal to help cover the illustration and graphic design costs of the books. Our experience has shown us that each book takes about $5,000 to illustrate and design.
We believe in our mission. We want to inspire little girls everywhere to dream of going places and not just to the mall. We want to engage their imaginations and empower them. We want them to be intrigued by the diversity of people and cultures all around the world. We want them to love reading. We hope you do too!
Meet Brooke and Eva
Brooke Mason lives with her mom and dad and two brothers on their ranch near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Brooke has always loved horses! When she was really, really little (before she knew any better!), her grandma asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Brooke said, “A horse.” At the time, she couldn’t understand why everyone laughed at her. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a horse? Eva Mueller is from Kitzbuhel, Austria. She has studied ballet for four years, and she loves it more than double dark chocolate. Together in Austria, they solve the Mystery of the Ballerina Ghost and the Mystery of the Secret Room.
Meet Izzy and Patti
Izzy Bennett has lived all her life on a boat in Seattle, Washington. Most of the time, Izzy loves the sailing life. She’s seen all kinds of cool things—whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and (her favorite) luminescence, which is stuff in the water that glows in the dark. Patti Cruz Delgado lives in Barra de Navidad, Mexico, and gets a kick out of helping her mom and dad in their restaurant and hotel. It’s pretty cool that her grandfather built the hotel and it has stayed in the family. The whole family is proud of that history. Together in Mexico, they solve Mystery of the Thief in the Night and Mystery of the Disappearing Dolphin.
Meet Jess and Nong May
Jess Johnson loves playing soccer almost as much as mysterious adventures in faraway places. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson work as school teachers in Boston, Massachusetts, during the school year, but on school breaks and summers, they volunteer to help build and support schools in other countries. So Jess has traveled to Nicaragua, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Haiti. Nong May Wattana likes to sing, dance, and make new friends. She grew up right outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand, in the Mae Sa Valley on an orchid farm. The orchid farm has been in her family since her grandfather was little. She loves the beautiful flowers that the farm grows. She knows they spread happiness to all the places around the world where they're sold. Together in Thailand, they solve Mystery of the Golden Temple. And we hear they are currently working on solving a new mystery . . . Mystery of the Naga at Night.
Meet Sofia and Júlia
And coming soon, with your support, meet Sofia and Júlia. Sofia Diaz loves to swim and play in the warm waters of Miami, Florida. Some days, though, she's too busy with school and gymnastics to get to the beach. But you can catch her practicing cartwheels and front walkovers anywhere there's space, like the park, the beach, the sidewalk, or even the airport. (Well, not so much the airport after her dad gave her The Look. Sigh.) Júlia Santos lives in Manaus, Brazil, with her five brothers and sisters: Paulo, Vitoria, Amanda, Mariana, and Bruno. A big time animal lover, she has her heart set on being a ranger when she grows up. Since she lives in a city right smack in the Amazon, she uses every opportunity to learn more about the jungle on each adventure she takes. Together in Brazil and with the help of a toucan they befriend, Sofia and Júlia solve a mystery in the jungles of the Amazon.
Pack-n-Go Girls received the Gold Medal for Best Children's Chapter Book Series from the 2014 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards.
Midwest Book Review reviewed our first book, Mystery of the Ballerina Ghost: "The Mystery of the Ballerina Ghost is the first in this innovative new series of illustrated chapter mysteries . . . Swift moving chapters embellished with black and white illustrations make fun reading and excellent armchair exploration adventures . . . Mystery of the Ballerina Ghost offers an appealing invitation to celebrate and explore diverse cultures and countries with just a tantalizing touch of mysterious spice, the unknown horizon to entice further exploration and growth."
And here's what Chapter Book Chat had to say about the first book: "Mystery of the Ballerina Ghost, the first in the new Pack-n-Go series, is a cool travel/mystery adventure that's dialed into the older-girl, chapter-book set. Travel is such an important component in this story. It's not just a backdrop, it's an essential character. Readers feel the jet lag, experience the landscape of Austria and taste the strange, delicious foods. With a smattering of German vocabulary thrown in, Mystery of the Ballerina Ghost is akin to cultural immersion. Young girls will feel as if they have packed their own bags on this adventure. And how cool is that? Passport not required. . . Each chapter ends at just the right moment, leaving tension and conflict at a high point. The pencil drawings are particularly adept, with both bold strokes and soft lines. They enhance the exotic land and foreign characters while still remaining familiar enough to be comfortable."
The Colorado Springs Gazette also featured Pack-n-Go Girls:
We've had numerous successful book signings and author days. People love the concept and the books!
Finally, check out our books on Amazon. We're seeing great reviews, which encourages us to keep going. With your support to launch our next country, we can keep bringing the world to little girls right here at home.
We've got some awesome rewards for supporters. Along with the descriptions to the right, we've added some pictures below.
MORE ABOUT THE KICKSTARTER PROCESS:
Kickstarter is a unique experience, differing from the usual online buying process. It is not simply a matter of choosing an item and buying a speedy arrival - you are joining us in the adventure of creating and completing this project. The result, in this case: a book that can be enjoyed, shared, or gifted, and would hopefully help replace misinformation and fear, with curiosity, knowledge, and appreciation for people around the world.
Get Started Now!
1. Decide which Rewards you like.
2. Create a Kickstarter account and determine payment method. It doesn't take long!
3. Wait and see what happens! If our campaign is successful, in 30 days, your account will be charged and your reward is secured. If our campaign is unsuccessful, then you will NOT be charged.
4. If you would like to see this project succeed, become a Pack-n-Go Girls advocate and help us spread the word. We welcome Tweets, Facebook shares, blog posts, emails, sharing with your friends, etc. Any and all efforts will help reach more and more people, and potentially inspire more girls to be adventurous, be curious, and go global!
We are girls who love to travel, read, and play.
Pack-n-Go Girls books are written by co-founders Janelle Diller and Lisa Travis. You can find out more about us by checking out our profiles.
Pack-n-Go Girls books are illustrated by Adam Turner. Adam has illustrated coloring books, puzzle books, magazine articles, game packaging, and children’s books. He’s loved to draw ever since he picked up his first pencil as a toddler. Instead of doing the usual two-year old thing of chewing on it or poking his eye out with it, he actually put it on paper and thus began the journey. Adam also loves to travel and has had some crazy adventures. He’s swum with crocodiles in the Zambizi, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and even fished for piranha in the Amazon.
And we'd like to give a huge shoutout and special thanks to our friends, Joe Johnson and Ben Pierson at BookFuel, who were amazing to work with in producing our Kickstarter video.
We've already introduced you to the Pack-n-Go Girls so far, and - with your support - we can't wait to introduce you to more girls around the world.
Risks and challenges
Don't worry. This is going to happen. We've already written and published five books in our series. We aren't stopping now!
While we have certainly encountered many "learning experiences" along the way, we have overcome them each time. Our only caveat is that we don't have control over everything in the process such as printing and shipping. But we relish figuring things out, making things happen, and seeing the Pack-n-Go Girls concept come to life. And we are excited to do so with you!
Your rewards will be packing-n-going to you on time. And we promise to update every supporter often on all progress with the project. We believe communication is key.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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