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We're creating a series of early reader educational books about humanitarian issues, destined for Mozambican schools.

Be part of something BIG this year! 

Thin Cats Early Reader Story Books will be the first educational books of their kind written specifically for Mozambican kids.  

A world without books

Can you imagine a world without books? Without stories? Without images and text conjuring up mythical legends and providing new ways of learning?

Well... Mozambican school kids don't have access to story books and  odds are, they'll grow up without the ability to read or write.

Once a war-torn nation, Mozambique has a staggering adult illiteracy rate that's estimated to be between 60 and 70 per cent. What's worse; few Mozambicans even speak the official language - Portuguese - so getting by in life must be awfully hard!

What's it all about?

This historic project intends to produce a series of 15 Early Reader titles that have been written so that they appeal to Mozambican kids.

Each book will be peppered with colourful photographs of village life and accompanied by localised, issues-based stories.

Let's get one thing clear up front though: This project is NOT charity! It's objectives are wholesome and well-intentioned, but all funds raised will be directed to the production and publication of 15 Thin Cats Early Reader Story Books for kids.

Why do we want to do this?

It's dead simple really... 

Books are the portal to the world. They spark creativity, expand the brain and provide welcome escapes from reality. They are also essential tools for learning. 

We believe that it'd be awfully hard to learn too read without books. We also believe that kids books should be fun, engaging and locally relevant. 

Kids in Mozambique don't have something that we - in the developed world - take for granted. They lack Early Reader books and so we want to create the very first such books for the nation!

Local content

You may have read all about Spot the Dog when you first started school. But Mozambican kids are more likely to spot an elephant or a monkey. 

Thin Cats Early Reader Story Books will include embedded messaging about important local issues, traditions, culture, and heritage. 

They'll feature imagery of village life, wild critters and locals; making stories more engaging and fun for readers. 

Most importantly; the kids will be the real-life heroes!

What the books WON'T be

These books WON'T have a religious agenda.

They won't be political.

They won't preach values.

They won't be glum or boring. 

Lingo

As I said; although Portuguese is the official language of Mozambique, few adults or kids actually speak it. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to economic opportunities or participating in their community's development.

English is also an important language;especially when it comes to Mozambique's fledgeling tourism industry.

So to help people learn these two important languages, we've decided the stories should be presented in a bi-lingual manner.

Growing with the reader

Each book will vary in level of difficulty; ensuring the resource remains relevant as skills increase. Ultimately, we hope to produce 30 titles in all, but that will depend on how much funding we are able to secure. (Hint! Hint!)

Distribution

Initially, 16 village schools in Northern Mozambique will be provided with free copies of each title. That will make the books available to 2400 school children immediately.

We're really hoping that the series will be taken up by other villages in Mozambique  too. With luck, the Mozambican government will buy them as an educational resource and that money will then help us print even more! 

Guests at my resort - Guludo Beach Lodge - will be given the chance to buy books for giving to other schools and to children they meet during their travels (MUCH better than giving sweeties!).

Books will also be made available for sale via the Net and it is hoped that schools in Brazil and Portugal will also find them of value.

Talented resources 

I first met best-selling Australian author Chantal Dunbar in 2011. She was judging the Conde Nast World Savers Awards in Singapore. 

Chantal is a prolific writer; having 10 books to her name already. She is also an environmental scientist, a social advocate and an award-winning photo-journalist.  

Her children's stories remind me of Bad Jelly the Witch or a Dr Seuss story. Here's a sample of a short story that she wrote for her daughter on night:

The bone crunching snot flower 

Deep in the jungle where nobody ventures,

Grows a bone crunching snot flower wearing gold dentures.

Purple and orange and yellow and blue,

The bone crunching snot flower is covered in goo. 

Smelling so foul that head-hunters they faint,

Its petals pong terribly and even peel paint!

Hogs, toads and beetles flip on their backs,

Curling up legs or retreating in packs. 

The bone crunching snot flower is old as can be,

Its lived for more years than Aunt Mildred or me.

Its favourite meal is small children so smelly,

The kind who don't wash behind ears, knees or belly. 

Escape is no option, as girls are too tasty,

But boys are the best treat; all sweaty and pasty.

So beware when exploring and take lots of soap,

Or the bone crunching snot flower will leave you no hope.

See what I mean? FUN!

Chantal has always wanted to do something meaningful with her work so she came up with the idea of producing Early Reader books for Mozambique (and now she's bending my ear about doing them for lots and lots of other countries as well). 

She hopes to visit Mozambique in February 2013 to photograph village life and write the stories. The design and printing process will be managed by her also, as she ran her own publishing company for six years and knows the ropes. 

My husband Neal will oversee the financial management of the project and I will ensure the books get in to the hands of the children. I'll also promote the books globally via my media contacts and at speaking engagements.  

Benefit 

Initially, 16 local schools will each receive copies of the books. More than 2,400 local kids will gain immediate benefit. Add to this number their parents and elders who are also learning to read. 

Format 

The format of the books will be small (approx 12.5cm x 25cm) so that they appeal to children and are cost effective to produce and ship. They will be printed on gloss art stock with soft covers that are laminated to make them more durable. The spine will be saddle stitched. 

School libraries

Local carpenters will be shown how to build portable, lockable library cabinets for the safekeeping of the books. These cabinets will become school libraries that tourists will be encouraged to add to with more books they visit Mozambique. 

What a simple and practical way to engage kids!

Oversubscribing 

We're really hoping this project will be oversubscribed as it will enable us to use any additional funds to increase the print run and produce additional stories so that we have a series of 30 titles in total. 

Print run 

We are planning to print a minimum of 200 copies of each book, making 3000 books in total. . 

Your pledge counts! 

The bottom line is that these books are important. They're not just some flight of fancy or self indulgence. These books WILL change lives. Lots of lives. 

Deadline

We only have until Christmas Day to raise the funds required. 

If we fall short, we won't receive anything and the project will not go ahead. If that happens, 2,400 children will miss out. Their families will miss out. Those who have yet to enter school will miss out. 

 That would be REALLY tragic and unnecessary as it really doesn't take that much money to make an enormous difference in lots of people's lives. 

Act now!

We need YOUR investment and we need YOUR help in spreading the word quickly.  

Our mums have already offered their help - as mums tend to do - but we need the help of LOTS of mums...and dads...and brothers, sisters, friends, colleagues, companies, governments...EVERYONE! 

Please use Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, email, everything, to encourage people you know to get involved. Challenge your friends to out-pledge you, and get the whole family involved. Make it a Christmas project! 

The rewards are many and varied. We've made lots of goodies to give you in return and they're all made by people who are involved in this project.

Thank you 

Last but not least, thank you for taking the time to support this amazing initiative. You have my personal pledge that your investment will be used wisely and that every pledge - whether large or small - will make an enormous difference. 

Ongoing updates and background information can be seen at our dedicated Facebook page: 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thin-Cats-Early-Reader-Books/447779311952692?ref=hl

Amy Carter-James 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The author of this series has more than 25 years of media and publishing experience. As such, any risk relating to the creation and production of the series is minimal.

Community buy-in has been gained and they are very supportive and excited.

Distribution will be undertaken by Amy and by locally-based Guludo Beach Lodge and Nema Foundation staff.

What can't be controlled or predicted is the level of revenue that future sales will generate, nor how much/ little the government of Mozambique will encourage other villages to utilize this exciting new resource.

We also cant guarantee we can double the size of the titles to 30, but we'll have a damned good shot at it and Chantal will write 30 stories and take sufficient images on location so that we have all the content ready to go.

We will print sufficient copies to provide for replacement of books when they become worn and tattered. The aim is to print as many copies as the money will allow.

There is a risk that the shipment may be lost, damaged or stolen during transport from the printer. So it will be insured accordingly and babysat by us every step of the way.

Without a doubt, the greatest risk we face is insufficient pledges.

So please invest in this amazing project and be part of a team that will bring the first series of Early Reader books to the children of Mozambique.

Thank you.

FAQ

  • Currently, Kickstarter is only available for use by residents in the UK or USA. As Am is a UK resident, funds will be transferred into her account at the end of the project and the currency used is GBP.

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  • The simplest way to calculate how much your pledge equates to in British Pounds is to use www.xe.com

    This online calculator is simple, fast and free.

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  • The easiest way is to Google us (Amy Carter-James and Chantal Dunbar). This shows you that we are who we say we are and that we actually have the skills to deliver. you are also welcome to send us a message through this site and we'll respond to you person-to-person.

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  • Amy has dedicated the past decade of her young life to making an immense difference to people in the nation's war-torn north. As they say...grow what you know...and as there is already resource in place through Amy's Nema Foundation, we are 100% certain the books WILL reach their intended recipients and not a single dollar will go astray.

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  • Absolutely! Proof of concept with Mozambique and the plan is we will then be able to look at other nations that lack basic educational tools (books).

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  • Sure does! Check out: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thin-Cats-Early-Reader-Books/447779311952692…

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  • Pipi Unapokuwa Mbali Isn't she incredible! And here's the lady's video!http://www.youtube.com/watch…

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  • Yep! The Facebook page tells you all about it. We had a Village Market at Chantal's daughter's school and we're applying for philanthropic grants and we're asking corporates that have interests in Mozambique to buy additional books to donate to schools in other parts of Mozambique. So if you work for a company who can help or are in charge of the purse strings for a Foundation... please sing out and let us know!

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  • Pledge £2 or more
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    For budget armchair travellers, with this pledge you'll receive: *A downloadable screensaver featuring stunning photographs from Mozambique.

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    For those who can't wait for the hard copy, you'll receive the above plus: * Access to a digital copy of one of the Early Reader books.

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    4 backers

    This amount enables us to produce one book. Perfect for those who want to be a fly on the wall, you'll receive the above plus: * Access to the Author's Production Blog; * A certificate of appreciation and * Access to behind the scenes images.

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    4 backers

    This amount enables us to produce TWO books! Ideal for those who want a souvenir, you'll receive all of the above plus: * An original photograph from the Early Reader series; * Access to the Author via Internet Chat.

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    5 backers

    This amount enables us to produce FOUR books! A deal for those who want a copy, you'll receive all of the above plus: * A signed copy of one of the Early Reader books; * A letter of thanks from the Guludo school teacher and; * A palm woven fortune bracelet made by one of the Guludo villagers.

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    1 backer

    This amount enables us to produce SEVEN books! For those who want to have the personal touch, you'll receive all of the above plus: * A beautiful palm woven fortune necklace made by one of the villagers; * An original painting made by one of the village orphans and; * A letter of thanks from the Author.

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  • Pledge £150 or more
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    1 backer

    Wow! We'll be able to produce 15 books thanks to you! This is a deal for the fashionably generous. In thanks you'll receive ALL OF THE ABOVE PLUS: * A stunning, Capulana Nema Tote Bag (as featured on the Sunday Time Magazine HOT LIST.

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  • Pledge £600 or more
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    NOW WE'RE TALKING! This pledge will result in the creation of 60 books! Your generosity will be rewarded with lasting recognition. You'll receive ALL of the above goodies plus: * A Capulana necklace made by the orphans; * Online credit as a major donor; * A phone call of thanks from Amy Carter-James; and * A letter of thanks from the recipient of your scholarship. Talk about giving and receiving!

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    To us; you're a Super hero! Your pledge will enable us to produce 120 books. Because you like to wear your undies on the outside, you'll receive everything above PLUS: * We'll dedicate one of the books to you! That's right! Your name will be seen by every reader, along with a photo your beautiful face or family! * You'll also receive a full set of printed Early Reader books for showing off to your friends; * You'll get an exclusive, limited edition Early Reader hero t-shirt (large size), identifying you as part of an elite team of poverty busters; AND.... WAIT FOR IT..... Further recognition of your generosity will come in the form of the lady herself! Highly sought-after keynote speaker Amy Carter-James will make you a hero among your workmates and in front of your boss! Amy will visit your company or organisation and speak to the team about the importance of ethics and creativity in corporate social responsibility. (Special note: Unless otherwise arranged with Amy, she can only attend offices/ organisations based in the UK, Italy or Mozambique. Timing is dependent on Amy's availability and should the speaking location be more than two hours away from her location by car or train, then agreed travel/accommodation costs will need to be covered). CONGRATULATIONS! You'll finally get the acknowledgement you deserve!

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    OK. You've really outdone yourself now! You deserve a medal for supporting this project so generously. So here's what we'd like to do: For the Early Reader's Super Hero Leader who wants to be part of the action, you'll receive everything we've listed above PLUS the mother of all pledges: (Drum roll please............) * You'll be treated to a two-night stay at Amy's multi-award-winning Guludo Lodge in stunning Mozambique! Yes! That's right! A HOLIDAY!!! * All meals during your stay are included in your reward; * You can visit Guludo School; * Enjoy a day-excursion elephant spotting at the waterhole; * Have craft lessons with the village ladies, and; * Go snorkelling on the reef where you may well see dolphins, scalloped hammerhead sharks and turtles; That's an adventure that's sure to turn your friends green with envy! BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!!!! * As an extra display of our immense appreciation, we'll include your photo in one of the Early Reader books and build you into the story! You'll be FAMOUS! And... wait for it..... (more drum rolls please)... * You'll receive the one and only Super Hero t-shirt with Capulana cloth cape; presented to you in Guludo Village and made by a bona fide Guludo tailor! (The fine print: Airfares, transfers, insurance, alcoholic beverages, visa and vaccine costs are not included. Dates of stay subject to availability. Extensions of stay and additional guests permitted at a sweetheart's rate to be agreed with Amy Carter-James).

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Funding period

- (33 days)