The Story Begins...I see you. Do you see me?
When my daughter was just 15 months old, doctors at Boston Children's Hospital determined Emma needed glasses. The diagnosis was challenging for Emma and for both my husband and me as we struggled with the notion of Emma keeping something on her face all day, and for more than five minutes given the attention span of babies and toddlers! I immediately asked the doctor for tips and tricks to encourage Emma to wear her glasses. I also went online to search for any books that addressed this topic. After a lot of research and trips to many different bookstores, I discovered there isn't a book on the market today geared toward this very young age. There are books for school-age kids that address self-esteem challenges...a concept that toddlers wouldn't be able to grasp. There are also books geared toward preschoolers. One in particular is called "Arlo Wears Glasses". It's a great book about a dog who needs glasses, but it's pop-up type format with somewhat advanced vocabulary and paper pages, and is not a fit for toddlers. While Emma enjoyed Arlo's story, I found that she had literally ripped the book to shreds in a matter of days.
Seeing the Story
The board book I've co-authored with my father (Emma's grandfather) is geared towards little ones ages 1-3. The laminate board book format will ensure that the youngest little four eyes can't rip it. The book will encourage and reinforce toddlers to wear their glasses. It begins at the start of a new day and follows "Emma" and her brother "Jack" around as they get ready to play outside, but something is "missing". "The sun is shining bright and it's a beautiful day, but something is missing." Next page: "Is Emma missing her socks? No! Here are Emma's socks." Next page: "Where are Emma's shoes?" "Here they are!" "What's missing?" The following pages walk through other pieces of clothing (Coat, hat, mittens, etc.) until the final two pages when Emma discovers what has been missing. "Her glasses! Now Emma can see the beautiful day ahead of her." This type of repetition in the story writing is important to this age group as toddlers expand their vocabulary and assign words to everyday objects. Jack is Emma's older brother and wears glasses throughout the book.
Looking at the Logistics
A recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Amanda Beard (BFA, Illustration 2012), will illustrate the book with colorful, cartoon like and simplistic images (i.e. a shoe, a sock, a coat) that will resonate with babies and toddlers. Here is a link to her web site: http://www.amandabeardart.com/ The cost of the illustrations plus web design for where to buy the book will cost about $4,500.
The biggest challenge in creating this book is the cost of printing the board book. Board books can be quite costly to produce especially given the fact that the books need to be sold at a relatively low price point. These books will be printed at Pint Size Productions, the only U.S. board book printer, based in Upstate New York. Pint Size prints the popular Sandra Boynton books. The minimum print run is 1,000 copies which will cost $4,750 plus shipping. If the funding is secured by mid-October, the illustrations will be completed by the end of November and the print time will be 4-6 weeks. The book launch target date is January 15, 2014.
Visibility as the Goal
I'm not looking to make money from this project. The reason I am doing this is to fill a void as there are no books out there to reach this young audience of little ones with glasses. How wonderful would it be to have these books in the offices of pediatric eye doctors as they are diagnosing babies and toddlers with glasses as a way to help them and their parents deal with this somewhat difficult transition at such a young age. I also plan to donate copies to libraries so this is available as a resource to parents and toddlers.
Risks and challenges
I have discussed my timeframe with the illustrator. I've also discussed the timing with the CEO of Pint Size Productions. Both are aware of my timeframe for completing this project. I have budgeted extra time into the project completion date should the illustrator or printing company need more time. I am confident that this book will be published by mid-January at the very latest.
I understand that babies and toddlers in glasses is somewhat of a niche audience. That being said, I am confident there is interest in this. For example, I'm a member of a Facebook group called "Little Four Eyes" for parents of little ones with glasses. That group has more than 3,300 members.
Once published, I plan to reach out to Emma's doctors at Boston Children's Hospital about how we can collaborate to use this book as a resource to parents. I've already discussed this book idea with Emma's eye doctor who thought it was a great idea to pursue.
My day job is as a publicist, so I have a lot of great media contacts and I'm confident I can bring attention to this effort in additional ways. Beyond donating copies of this book to pediatric eye doctors, I also plan to approach independent book stores which may be interested in selling the book and I will offer to do book readings at these stores with my daughter, Emma.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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