When a child is inspired to reach "higher on the bookshelf," we believe habits are begun that shape an entire life. We also believe these habits should begin early, in-step with other kid influences.
Bax Classics takes a unique angle in revealing the big ideas, beautiful language and deep hearts of our greatest books. They're not adaptations, but expeditions into wondrous, novel-esque worlds, led by an ornery-but-lovable pal and his oddball obsession with literature! (More below... and please visit Bax Classics on Facebook!)
How do Bax Classics Work?
Bax comes in three volumes. Each volume opens with a fun kid dilemma, whereupon Bax's wiley imagination pushes things off the rails, whisking everyone into the wondrous world of a classic! Kids get right up close to the novel's unfolding, fueled by Bax's eccentric love of that author's work! (Think Calvin & Hobbes, with a nod to Jumanji, but traversing the world of a classic!)
When Bax's best friend, Marla, tricks Bax into being the Fairy Godmother in her home production of Cinderella, Bax thinks fast, declaring what Cinderella really needs is a Magwitch! This sets the kids off on a flight of fancy that becomes momentous for the two pals and takes us into to the heart of Dickens' tender and mysterious novel.
The Theme: Kindness; and if we can let go of our assumptions, we can help almost anyone make their way.
It's "Tell me a Scary Story Night" at Bax's house, and Bax's sitter, Hattie, is giving him the works. Refusing to be out-ghosted, Bax dials up "Jane Eyre" with the specters of Gateshead and Thornfield! Everything goes as planned until Bax crashes into the realization that Jane is actually a story of LOVE! (Eeeek! Now that's scary!)
The Theme: Sometimes, what appears to be the scariest of circumstances is actually our greatest dreams trying to break through.
When things get a little too predictable in Mr. Carbunkel's reading class, Bax makes an impassioned plea for some high adventure taken from the teacher's personal bookshelf. Carbunkel is tempted, but dare he open the enormous leather-bound book that "hasn't un-seized an honest reader in over 150 years?" Here, Bax takes the helm and the class is swept away... right into Melville's brilliance.
The Theme: The stuff we think we need can become an obsession -- in which case it may be more powerful to simply "let go."
Curriculum... our Secret Sauce!
In the video, we shared an excerpt from our first learning module, Parallel Translations. After kids enjoy Bax's whimsical excursion through a novel, kids can experience the same scenes beautifully described by the original author, creating exciting juxtapositions and explorations of this thing called language!
Claptrap & Bibble Babble (module 2) is an educational romp through long-forgotten, silly-sounding words and phrases. And should Webster fail us, teachers can introduce other ways to understand what-on-Earth the author was bibble-babbling about!
Pressing Pause (module 3). Here we slow down, sit with our kids and ponder some themes within the Bax Classic. Even at the Kindergarten level we've enjoyed some very lively discussions.... which only deepen at each grade level.
A note on age: Just as the stories can be enjoyed as a Read-to-Me or Read-it-Myself experience for kids ranging from 3 to 8, the curriculum has been conscientiously designed to scale with a child's understanding. See FAQ's for more information!
*The curriculum comes as printable PDF's, however the "Educator's Bundle" also includes downloadable AUDIO-VISUAL enhancements (which will eventually become our APP!)
The Bigger Picture
Our LONG TERM GOAL is to grow Bax Classics until it can become our family-run publishing business... one that helps appetize readers with big fat books (and sprinkles of tasty language) helping prevent some resistances to "literature" later in school.
Also on our Vision Board is an outreach to rural schools, temporary children's shelters and prisons with literacy programs that would welcome picture book intros to deeper reading experiences.
Oh-- and someday we want a Baxmobile!
Project Deliverables / Dates
Teaming up with outstanding Disney/Pixar artists like Marco Bucci and Kim Gilbert, we've been able to chug along pretty happily. At the start of the campaign, here's where each book stands:
MOBY DICK (Vol I): Complete and undergoing final preparations for print! Curriculum is complete with new modules being added. Book to be printed and released in Oct/Nov in time for Holiday shipment.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (Vol II): Artwork complete except for title and end pages. Curriculum in-progress. Looking at a Feb/March deliverable!
JANE EYRE (Vol III): Artwork over half complete! If Jane continues to move well, we'll print and ship her alongside Great Expectations, otherwise shortly thereafter. (Please Like/Follow us for continual updates!)
It's been quite a journey getting ready for this campaign. That said, we recognize our work is just beginning, and we promise we will do our best to exceed your expectations with this series.
It is our hope and intention that this venture creates opportunities and enjoyment not just for ourselves, but for EVERYONE in the village-- from the writers and artists to the parents and teachers of the littlest readers. We anticipate there will be EXCITING NEWS at every turn and we'd love to have you a part of it!
Our very best,
A Very Special Thanks goes out to Sylvia at SchoolExpress... Gary Brown at Koru Inc... Ryan and Anna at Ribbow Media... Carla Cushman and Nina Morel (check out their book!)... Richard Eddinger (our Herman Melville)... and Jessica Wolstenholm, whose blog and curricular work on many cool projects has been an inspiration. :)
Risks and challenges
With all our accumulated wisdom, we decided NOT to do a Kickstarter until we had most of the work completed, focusing on PRINTING needs only. We've also been pretty meticulous about budget and time requirements.
The main variable is probably our overseas printer who's in high demand (but for good reason). Busy or not, we love our rep (a 30-year veteran in publishing top notch kids books) and he believes we're gonna be A-okay with our calendar as planned.
If anything else gets hairy, we promise to reach out to mentors and allies -- which we've done several times already :) But all in all, we're in very, very good shape to execute as planned.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)