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A Boy and his dog teach kids language and model service. Illustrated by a Cuban artist in the first collaboration of its kind!
A Boy and his dog teach kids language and model service. Illustrated by a Cuban artist in the first collaboration of its kind!
84 backers pledged $18,748 to help bring this project to life.

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Baby ¡Babas!: A Bilingual Storybook

$18,748

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1st of its Kind Cross-Cultural Collaboration with a Cuban Creative Team

During my travels in Cuba I met Clarky and as soon as I saw his work I knew immediately that I'd found our illustrator. 

With works like these... 

Davíd V Goliath
Davíd V Goliath

 

Solo Quiero Pintar en Paz (I Just Want to Paint in Peace)
Solo Quiero Pintar en Paz (I Just Want to Paint in Peace)

 

Invierno en Havana (Winter in Havana)
Invierno en Havana (Winter in Havana)

The World Needs His Illustrations in a Children's Book!

Since the loosening of the Cuban Embargo a few brazen travelers have been forging connections and, while the Embargo is still in effect, one of the first doors opened to cross-cultural collaborations is the exchange of art and ideas. It's these first steps taken by goverments and individuals that make this project possible. Now let me tell you what it means to us...

 Clarky

Clarky (3rd from left) in a book '10 Best Living Cuban Artists'
Clarky (3rd from left) in a book '10 Best Living Cuban Artists'

Clarky was born in Havana, Cuba, lives there still in a neighborhood called Playa. He lives in a small apartment, just big enough to cook, sleep and work and sometimes he ignores the need to eat and sleep to obsess over his work. 

Clarky will not work for the government and does not have access to a market for his art work. Therefore he struggles to get by and sometimes he goes hungry. This success of this project will provide him with an income and could even launch his international career. 

Check out the concept art he as done for our book and even come with me to meet him at his home in Havana!

What About the Book?

Baby ¡Babas! is a lovely story about a dog and her Boy that teaches reading in English and Spanish as and serves as a model of service and companionship. 

The Story

The story of Baby ¡Babas! has three parts - the beginning and end of the book take place in present day Austin, TX as old lady Babas and her Boy take the reader on a reading dog visit to tell their story to a group of children...

After Babas and her Boy settle in and her Boy begins reading, Babas drifts off to sleep... 

Throughout the middle of the book she dreams of a time when she was 6 weeks old and she and Boy first met... little black ball of wiry fur. She was sad and scared and missing her mother, brothers and sisters...

When Boy appears...

 

 

 She barely has time to sniff him before being swept up and carried away - and that was the beginning of a very long day.

I'm not going to tell the whole story here. You'll have to read the book to find out more!

Mother and Child Team Up

Mon and her Boy working on their book
Mon and her Boy working on their book

My mother is a retired teacher with two and a half decades of experience as a teacher, literacy coach, and curriculum writer. She has an advanced degree in teaching reading and a massive collection of children's books. My mother also works with me on this project as a consultant, an editor and a curriculum writer for the lesson plans being developed to compliment our book. 

She is a master teacher and this is a labor of love for her!

Aunt Jan (left), my mother (right) and me (center) on a recent trip to Cuba
Aunt Jan (left), my mother (right) and me (center) on a recent trip to Cuba

 Baby ¡Babas! the Teaching Tool

  • Co-authored by a native Spanish speaker, not just translated from English, our work addresses a need for high quality bilingual and bi-literate children's books.
  • Through careful sentence construction and word choice, the two different settings of the book; the beginning/end is aimed at the fluent end-of-2nd-grade reader, and the middle is aimed at the beginning kindergarten reader. 
  • Employing a bunch of tricks and devices that only experts in children's literature know, we've created a trade book perfect for teaching story structure - that's characters, setting, beginning, middle and end - a very important concept for new readers to learn and experienced readers to master.

Companion Curriculum and Lesson Plans

As a bonus we are developing a complete curricular suite of lesson plans to accompany the book. There will be a set of lessons for each of the two parts of the book teaching the mechanics of reading through:

Language Comprehension

  • Background Knowledge
  • Vocabulary
  • Language Structure
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Literacy Knowledge
Word Recognition
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Decoding
  • Sight Words

Language Arts

  • Global Comprehension: Story Structure

Social Studies

  • Map reading (Yes, there will be maps!)
  • Geographical features/landforms

That's enough mini-lessons for 20 re-reads!

The Rest of The Creative Team?

I have just enough experience as an educator and enough as a tour operator to pull together the all star team that makes this project possible. Who's with me?

Babas

Babas is a 10 year old lady German Shepherd who has lived a life full of adventure - we met in Guatemala where I was an aid worker, an English professor and a tour guide. For the first two years of her life she never left my side. As soon as she was grown enough we were climbing volcanoes and not long after that she was shepherding in support of my tour groups - running the trail, sprinting beside my mountain bike, sharing my canoe. We've been all over North America together in planes, boats, buses and cars.  

She's getting older (about 60 in dog years) but it isn't time to put her out to pasture yet. Instead she's enjoying semi-retirement through service in the elementary schools, children's libraries and assisted living facilities near our home in Austin, TX. Babas is a gentle, clever, beautiful beast and the hairy heroine of our story.

Babas on a Bow Wow Reading Dog visit
Babas on a Bow Wow Reading Dog visit

Bianca

I met Bianca as the guide for my company's first trip to Cuba this January and we've quickly become dear friends. Mother and breadwinner for her family, she is working as a tour guide now so that she can return to the psychology practice that she is passionate about. As a tourism professional and fluent English speaker she takes care of her family as well as some friends and neighbors in Havana where she lives with the tips she earns. 

She is a highly educated, native Spanish speaker with an appreciation for art and poetry and as such serves as my Spanish language co-author. She also introduced me to our artist.

Me Again

I don't like talking about myself and this story is going to get long enough without me droning on so just click on over to the 'About Me' section if you want to know more.

Where Did the Idea Come From?

This book has been writing itself in the back of my mind for sometime - the iterating idea to teach kids values through Babas in Spanish and English. But, I'm no artist and, if you don't have brilliant illustrations then you don't have a children's book. Since I met Clarky though and we've been generating concept art for the project I'm on my fourth edit of the manuscript.

With the success of this campaign I will be able not only to finish the project, take it to a publisher and launch a sophisticated marketing and publicity campaign around it.

How Long Will It Take?

The best case scenario is that I enter into a relationship with a progressive, Austin local publisher that uses a hybrid model between traditional and self-publishing. The time line below represents that best case...

 Where Will the Money Go?

Budgeting this project has been challenging due to the many possible outcomes and unkowns. I have plans A through Z in place. Below is a possible budget based on a very conservative minimum viable product estimate. 

The various costs fall into the following categories:

Platform Fees

  • Kickstarter fee
  • Funds transfer fees

Creative Team

  • payments to the creative team
  • bonuses to the creative team

Products

  • book publication
  • merchandise rewards

Professional services

  • marketing
  • design
  • web hosting

Other Rewards

  • Babas visits
  • small group trips

 Why Is This Project Important?

The success of this project will bring a beautiful and useful piece of children's literature into the world. 

It will honor and ensure the continued relevance of the life of a good dog. 

The creative process will strengthen the bonds between mother and son. 

The financial success of the book will empower a handful of Cubans to pull themselves out of poverty.

What Do You Say?

I've been accused of being 'overly detail oriented' in my storytelling, which is a nice way of saying 'long-winded'. I'll stop here even though I have sooo much more to say about virtually every piece of information I've given so far. So, I'll be releasing a steady stream of updates for those of you who want to know more. 

If you have a burning question please message me and I'll build out the FAQ.

If not, what do you say?

Are You In?

Risks and challenges

I live a very risk tolerant life, always have, but I'm not interested in taking risks with your money. What I am interested in is bringing something beautiful into the world and leaving it a better place for my having been.

This project IS funded and WILL happen. Now it's just a matter of how well I can put the book together. My Mother and I have drafted 4 manuscripts now and I have one more revision in mind before reaching back out to my preferred publishers. Clarky has produced about half of the concept art for the book and there is only one more piece that I want to work through before I take his portfolio to the publishers. All that WILL happen!

The challenges of this project lie in the communication and exchange of information between the US and Cuban sides of the creative team. These are challenges that have solutions and whose solutions have been built into the budget of the project.

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns please comment and I'll write them into the FAQ.

Thanks again!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    ¡Muchas Gracias Amigo!

    Babas wants to make as many friends as possible. If you'd like to follow along but aren't interested in any of the more tangible rewards then this pledge is for you!

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    Pledge US$ 9 or more About US$ 9

    ¡Babas! Stickers, Postcards and Poster

    Babas wants into as many places as she can get! You can bring her into your home, work or classroom with stickers, a postcard and a poster based on the concept art of Baby ¡Babas! We'll even send you one of those postcards from Cuba!

    Includes:
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Postcards
    • Poster
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    Pledge US$ 11 or more About US$ 11

    Baby ¡Babas! e-book

    The world is moving to more screens in classrooms, workplaces and homes and if you're already there then the Baby ¡Babas! e-book is for you.

    Includes:
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
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    Early Bird Hardcover Special!

    There's nothing like a quality hardcover children's book! Except perhaps knowing you got in early and saved some money?

    Includes:
    • Baby ¡Babas! Hardcover Book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Hardcover

    There's nothing like a quality hardcover children's book! I'll also include a complete set of lesson plans so that you can make the most out of each reading!

    Includes:
    • Baby ¡Babas! Hardcover Book
    • Lesson Plans
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    Hardcover package

    Here's everything up to this point - the hardcover book, e-book, lesson plans, stickers, poster and postcards - as a package.

    Includes:
    • Baby ¡Babas! Hardcover Book
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Postcards
    • Poster
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
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    Prints of Baby ¡Babas! Concept Art

    Love Clarky's art? Here are two prints from the book and I'll even include a copy of the e-book and lesson plans!

    Includes:
    • Concept Art Prints
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
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    Pledge US$ 61 or more About US$ 61

    Team ¡Babas! virtual visit

    Babas and I would love to meet you, even if only virtually! You can meet our hairy heroine and her Boy by video chat. We can present a lesson on the themes of our book - service and companionship - in English and/or Spanish as well as go through as much of the book as is ready by that point, update you on the progress of the project, talk to you about its creators and answer any questions you might have. We'll also send you stickers, postcards, a poster and the e-book.

    Includes:
    • Team ¡Babas! Virtual Visit
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Postcards
    • Poster
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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    Pledge US$ 83 or more About US$ 83

    Small Group Set of Hardcover Books

    My Mother and I were interventionists for small groups of children that extra help learning to read. If you are a teacher, specialist, administrator, librarian or would like to give a small group set of the hardcover books to someone you know who is, then this is the way to go. It includes four copies of the hardcover (three copies to be shared by two students each plus one for the teacher) as well as the e-book and lesson plans. Plus, I'll throw in some sticker sheets for reading incentives!

    Includes:
    • Baby ¡Babas! Hardcover Book
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
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    Pledge US$ 97 or more About US$ 97

    Custom Clarky Pet Portrait

    Clarky drew Babas beautifully and he's willing to go to work on your pet too! One of our project goals is to find new sources of revenue for our Cuban partners Clarky would be glad to work from photos to illustrate your pets!

    Includes:
    • Custom Clarky Original Pet Portrait
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
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    Pledge US$ 101 or more About US$ 101

    ¡Babas! Visit (Austin area)

    Austin is where Babas and I call home and we'd love to see you there! There's nothing like a hairy handshake and if you're lucky you might even get a Babas kiss!

    We'll come to your school, workplace or home and deliver a lesson on service and companionship in English and/or Spanish, go through as much of the book as is ready by that point, update you on the progress of the project, talk to you about its creators and answer all of your questions. We'll also bring you stickers, postcards, and a poster.

    We'll work with you to plan a unique visit!

    Includes:
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Postcards
    • Poster
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
    Less
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    Pledge US$ 251 or more About US$ 251

    ¡Babas! Visit (within 500mi of Austin)

    ¡Babas! and I have traveled 1000s of miles together in planes, boats, cars and even a motorcycle once (though that didn't last long). Babas maybe getting older but she is willing and able to hit the road again!

    We'll visit your school, workplace or home so that you can meet our hairy heroine and her Boy. We'll deliver a lesson on our book's themes of service and companionship in English and/or Spanish, go through as much of the book as is ready by that point, update you on the progress of the project, talk to you about its creators and answer all your questions. We'll also bring you stickers, postcards, a poster, and a hardcover copy of the book.

    We'll work with you to plan a unique visit!

    Includes:
    • Team ¡Babas! Actual Visit
    • Baby ¡Babas! Hardcover Book
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Postcards
    • Poster
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
    Less
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    Limited 1 backer
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 503 or more About US$ 503

    ¡Babas! visit (in North America)

    ¡Babas! and I have traveled 1000s of miles together in planes, boats, cars and even a motorcycle once (though that didn't last long). Babas maybe getting older but she is willing and able to hit the road again!

    We'll visit your school, workplace or home so that you can meet our hairy heroine and her Boy. We'll deliver a lesson on our book's themes of service and companionship in English and/or Spanish, go through as much of the book as is ready by that point, update you on the progress of the project, talk to you about its creators and answer all your questions. We'll also bring you stickers, postcards, a poster, and a hardcover copy of the book.

    We'll work with you to plan a unique visit!

    Includes:
    • Team ¡Babas! Actual Visit
    • Baby ¡Babas! Hardcover Book
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Postcards
    • Poster
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 2,477 or more About US$ 2,477

    Small Group Trip to Guatemala

    My 'real job' is in international travel and I'll build a custom small group trip to Guatemala to retrace the steps Babas and I took during our adventure years. This highly customizeable trip has a flexible start date sometime between November 2016 and July 2017.

    For more info visit this trip page on my website at: www.southernstartravel.com/Babas-Guate

    All group members will receive Baby ¡Babas! souvenirs - stickers, postcards, poster, prints - and a copy of the hardcover book.

    Includes:
    • Trip to Guatemala
    • Baby ¡Babas! Hardcover Book
    • Concept Art Prints
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Postcards
    • Poster
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge US$ 3,989 or more About US$ 3,989

    Small Group Trip to Cuba

    My 'real job' is in international travel and I'll build a custom small group trip to Cuba to meet Clarky and Bianca - the Cubans on our creative team. While we're there I'll show you around Havana and some of the other destinations I know and love.

    This will be a 'People to People' educational trip allowable under OFAC regulations for US travel to Cuba. It's a highly customizeable trip with flexible starting date sometime between November 2016 and July 2017.

    For more info visit this trip page on my website at: www.southernstartravel.com/Babas-Cuba

    All group members will receive Baby ¡Babas! souvenirs - stickers, postcards, poster, prints - and a copy of the hardback book.

    Includes:
    • Trip to Cuba
    • Baby ¡Babas! Hardcover Book
    • Concept Art Prints
    • Sticker Sheets
    • Postcards
    • Poster
    • Baby ¡Babas! e-book
    • Lesson Plans
    • Backer Exclusive Updates
    Less
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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge US$ 10,000 About US$ 10,000

    Baby ¡Babas! Dedication Page

    At this paramount level of support I, and the rest of the Baby ¡Babas! creative team would be honored to dedicate our work to you!

    Includes:
    • Baby ¡Babas! Dedication Page
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Funding period

- (44 days)