B IN THE WORLD is a new kind of chapter book for children 5 and up and the people who love them. It's about a child who is different, and it helps children understand that different doesn't have to be wrong or scary. It can just be different—and that's okay.
With 16 hours we're in the home stretch! Reaching our stretch-stretch goal of $5000 seems so doable. We only need an additional $69! It feels great—a little bit like being picked for the part of the mermaid in the spring play!
And the best part is by this time tomorrow, it's time to shift into production mode.There's still lots of work to do to bring "B in the World" to life, but now we know it will happen.
Thank you all! B's website will be the place to keep up on our progress and we'll be keeping our Kickstarter backers informed along the way as well.
36 hour countdown! Only $189 to go to reach $5000 stretch-stretch goal and some Great News! Partners West in Renton, WA has accepted "B in the World" and agreed to be our west coast distribution partner. This means that, in addition to direct sales and online orders, independent bookstores in the Northwest and West will find it a snap to order copies of our book. Partners West has their own dedicated small press buyer who loved the book, and their outreach and marketing is substantial. This is a huge step forward for an indie book and it's all because of your support! Yaah!!
Working with Partners West means we potentially will also be able to contribute totheir blog which will give us even more exposure. Take a look to see all of their offerings and new releases.
Special thanks to Susan Scott and Secret Garden Books in Seattle, where we hope to host a book launch, for her encouragement and nudging.
We've exceeded our initial goal by $500! That means we can send additional review copies of the book to up to TWENTY library systems. In addition to journal reviews, submitting 2 copies of a book to a library system with a request for review is one of the primary ways that libraries make decisions for purchase acquisition.
Make a pledge and nominate YOUR library!
4 Days to Go—a HUGE thank you to everyone who has helped us reach our goal. We are very grateful and look forward to hearing from each and every one of you when you receive your books. Our stretch-stretch goal is reaching the nice round number of $5,000.
That's an additional $660—we think we can do it! And if we do, stay tuned for a special announcement. These additional funds will help us to print, more books, do even more extensive outreach, and pay for time to contact schools and libraries across the country to market and promote the book to help all children feel welcome and accepted.
A Special Thank you Perk!
As a special thank you to all who helped us reach our initial goal, anyone who has contributed as of October 24 will have their name included not just on B's website but on an Acknowledgement page in the actual paperback books! If you would prefer to be listed as anonymous, there will be a chance to let us know that at a future date.
$100–$300 Stretch Goal : More Books!
With additional funding of up to $300, we will be able to increase our print run significantly with the goal of providing copies of the book to a few of our partner organizations. Right now, we are discussing this outreach goal with the following folks:
• Camp Ten Trees
• Seattle Public Library Collection Services (Local Authors)
• Washington Center for the Book
• Welcoming Schools
• National Bullying Prevention Center
$300–$500 Stretch Goal : More Press! If we meet this stretch goal, we'll use these additional funds to increase outreach and publicity for getting the word out about the book. This might include fees for additional review journals, book launch events at one or two bookstores and potentially even more donations to selected libraries beyond the Seattle area.
Again, a huge thank you to all of you, and our sincere appreciation to all of you who have emailed me privately to share your stories and experiences. Your commitment to our shared goals is inspiring.
Why Do We Need This Book?
We need your help to tell B's story because a chapter book about a gender non-conforming boy like B is missing in our HOMES, our SCHOOLS. and our LIBRARIES. Take a look at B's website for some of the the individuals and organizations in the education and LGBTQ community who support our project. Or check out OUR TEAM listed below. With your help, we can bring B to life!
The book will be a 70+ page perfect bound PAPERBACK CHAPTER BOOK, 5.5" x 8.5", printed in FULL-COLOR with over a dozen ILLUSTRATIONS inside just like the ones you loved to pour over again and again when you were a kid.
Why a Paperback Chapter Book? We want to put these books into the hands of children so we decided on a traditional paperback chapter book format. Children devour chapter books at this age that are written at their reading level at home, in schools and in libraries. It's also a great story for parents to read aloud to younger children (4+) and then pass on to them when they begin to read alone.
Who's the Audience? We want B's story to reach lots and lots of children and their parents. The book will include a RESOURCE SECTION at the back for parents with guidelines and contact information about organizations that can help support families with gender non-conforming children, or for any family needing help with any kind of bullying.
What Will the Funds Be Used For? The story is all written and has been vetted by early readers from the education, library and LGBTQ communities. But we need your support to fund the project to pay for: • ISBN number • final editing of the text • final illustrations (cover and interior) • book layout and typesetting • printing a limited first run of books (70+ pages) • placement fees for journal reviews
Our REWARDS also include the opportunity for you to pay it forward by providing funding for additional copies of the book for classrooms, libraries, parenting groups, and our COMMUNITY PARTNERS who have pledged their early support. It's an incredible group, so be sure to see our full list below.
Our Team Sharon Mentyka, writer Stephen Schlott, illustrator Karen Hirsch, project coach Sam Phillips-Corwin, videographer
TESTIMONIALS from Early Readers and Community Supporters—
“As the parent of a gender non-conforming son, I am delighted to welcome B into our library and our family. Until now, there simply have not been any gender fluid male characters in children’s literature. B is a sweet, happy boy with a brave heart and the determination to live his truth at home and at school, whatever the difficulties. I give B an A!!” ~ Pam Privett, Parent
“Encouraging children like B to
live authentically is the core
message of this book, and the key to growing up happy and healthy.”
~ Michael Poling, President,
Gay Fathers Association of Seattle
“My library families are always looking for books where there is diversity in characters and kids can celebrate who they are.” ~ Lupine Miller, children’s librarian, Seattle Public Library
TESTIMONIALS from Kids! —
“I think it should be okay for a boy to play with a doll if he wants one because girls are not the only ones who will grow up to have to take care of babies, so will boys. I really liked it that B liked Mia's doll, at least at first. I think he'll grow up to be a great parent! ” ~ Riley, age 7
"I liked that B wanted to play the part of the mermaid in the play and he didn't give up on his dream. I didn't like Mia so much." ~ Callie, age 6
"Ms. Hitchings wasn't very nice to B and I'm glad she doesn't teach in my school. I really wish Mr. J was my teacher. I think he helped all the kids at Horizons School be better friends to each other, even Mia." ~Andrew, age 7
How B Was Born
When we meet a new baby, most of us automatically ask the same question: is it a boy or a girl? Easy answer, right?
Then someone like B walks into the room—a “boy” with long, curly red hair, wearing pink sneakers and yellow sweatpants, talking excitedly about the cupcakes he just baked for his teacher—and everything we thought we knew about gender flies out the window.
For most children, birth sex and gender identity match. But sometimes, how children feel about themselves differs from their biology. Some feel the mismatch almost as soon as they begin to talk. Others know somehow that simply talking about how they feel falls far outside the cultural norm.
But B IN THE WORLD goes beyond the one child's story. Many children, especially once they start school, struggle with being somehow perceived as “different”—either because of how they like to dress, or how they look, or simply because of what they like to do. Some of the challenges B faces in this story are gender-connected, but some are just kid-related bullying.
Written in a fun, engaging voice, B IN THE WORLD was inspired by my experience as a member of a non-traditional family. It is a story about being yourself and being proud of it, so that we can grow up being the people we were meant to be. It is a story for kids who are different, about kids who are different with the ultimate message that it’s okay to be different.
Seven-year old B Browning isn’t really sure why one day he feels like wearing overalls and a flannel shirt and the next he wakes up wishing he could dress like his sister Patti-Anne. What he does know is that the way he looks and the things he likes to do, like cook and play dress-up, sometimes bother and confuse people, even the people who love him. But it feels just right to B.
B and his friends Rudy and Grace are super excited to be starting second grade, with Mr. J as their teacher, who's famous for running his classroom according to his own set of "Kid Civil Rights." But when they find out that Ms. Hitchings will be their new teacher, everything changes. Then to make things worse, Mia arrives—the meanest, bossiest girl that New Horizons School has ever known. When B and Mia both decide to try out for the leading part of the Mermaid in the spring play, B wonders how he'll ever make it through the year.
Read an Excerpt! Chapter 1: The House on Lemon Street
B and Patti-Anne lived
with their mother and father in a comfy, old house on Lemon Street. B liked
nearly everything about the house. He liked that there were enough sidewalks
and roads nearby that he could roller skate and run races, but not too many
sidewalks and roads that birds wouldn’t nest in the trees. Roller-skating,
running races, and watching birds and butterflies were some of the things B
liked to do best.
B liked that his street
was named “Lemon” and not “3rd” or “4th” Street. Whoever named it had made a
good decision because lots and lots of lemon trees grew there. It made living
on Lemon Street feel very special. If he had lived on 3rd or 4th Street, what
would he have found there? Threes and fours?
B liked the lemon trees
that grew on Lemon Street. Sometimes, when his bedroom windows were open, the
air smelled sweet and almost sugary. Anytime he wanted, he could simply go
outside and pluck a lemon from any one of those lemon trees and squeeze the
juice out to make lemonade. And whenever he picked a lemon, he was always sure
to wear something yellow. Wearing yellow just seemed to make sense, and yellow
was one of his favorite colors anyway. Pink was his other favorite color, but
wearing pink was tricky and it sometimes caused trouble. Lemony-yellow was
Living on Lemon Street, B
knew everything about lemons.
He knew that lemons should
be a little bit green when you picked them. He knew that an ordinary lemon
contained about three tablespoons of juice, and that to get the most juice, you
should roll the lemon on a counter to burst its tiny juice-filled cells.
He even knew that the
white part of the peel just under the top yellow layer, called the zest,
was very, very bitter and should never be used in cooking. This was an
important thing to know, because B also liked to cook, especially with lemons.
Last month, for Patti
Anne’s birthday, B had wanted to make a special lemon cake four layers high
with lemony butter icing. He imagined pouring icy glasses of lemonade and
serving them up with a thin slice of lemon perched perfectly on the rim of each
glass. B thought it would all be very fancy and might even distract Patti-Anne
from the memory of the ordinary name she had been given on her birthday eleven
But when he told his
sister his special idea, her eyes had narrowed.
“Just stay out of the
way,” she’d growled. “I don’t want my friends to see you prancing around
cooking like some kind of top chef in Mom’s apron.”
Patti-Anne hadn’t always
been so mean. But after graduating from fifth grade last June, Patti-Anne had
announced to the whole family how “incredibly relieved” she was to be “getting
on with my life.” It seemed to B that the only thing Patti-Anne was getting
was meaner and bossier. All she seemed to care about now was what her friends
did, said, and thought, mostly about each other and especially
B missed the old
Patti-Anne who used to let him spend time in her room, flipping through movie
magazines. Together they would ooh and ahh at the fabulous
outfits the movie stars and models were wearing in the pictures. Sometimes
Patti-Anne would let B hunt around in her closet and put together his own
B wasn’t really sure why
one day he felt like wearing overalls and a flannel shirt, and the next day
he’d wake up wishing he could dress like Patti-Anne. What he did know
was that the way he looked and the things he liked to do sometimes bothered and
confused people. Even the people who lobved him.
Lately, B could hardly
step across the threshold to Patti-Anne’s room without setting off her bossy
alarm. And the last time he asked if he could borrow one of her scarves, she
had whirled around to face him.
“You know Mom
doesn’t like it when you do that,” she said, frightening him with her scowl.
B had slumped down on the
floor in the hallway and stayed there for a long time. What Patti-Anne said
wasn’t even exactly true. His mother really didn’t mind if he wore his sister’s
clothes in the house. She just wasn’t okay with him wearing them outside…or to school.
Besides, it just felt
right to B, so what was he supposed to do?
After that, for the whole
summer, while Patti-Anne was getting on with her life, B had stayed out of
Patti-Anne’s way. But starting tomorrow he wouldn’t have to worry about his
sister so much anymore. Tomorrow, he would officially be a second grader in Mr.
J’s class, and everything would change. He was all ready. He’d even made
a big batch of lemony cupcakes to bring along. Second grade was going to be
awesome, he was sure of it.
After all, Mr. J had
a one-letter name. Just like B.
About the Project Creators Sharon Mentyka, Writer. Sharon divides her time between design, teaching and writing for children. Her stories grow from small kernels of truth that explore common themes: fairness (or unfairness), transitions and helping the less powerful find their voice. Her experience as a member of a non-traditional family helped inspire “B IN THE WORLD.”
Sharon has an MFA in Creative Writing from the Whidbey Writers Workshop and is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger Agency Inc., New York. In 2012 she was awarded the Astra Zarina Fellowship from the Civita Institute where she created a series of storytelling maps and a picture book “Qui, Qua and Quo” about the ancient Italian hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio.
She has over twenty years of experience as a graphic designer and marketing professional at Partners in Design, Seattle with a for a wide client list in the cultural and nonprofit community.
Stephen Schlott, Illustrator. Stephen has run a graphic design studio for over 20 years, with clients in both the private and non-profit sectors. He has illustrated projects for children, naturalists, communities, and museum visitors and embellishes many projects with his original photography and art.
A proud gay father who embraces a non-traditional family, Stephen has been a Seattle LGBTQ leader serving gay fathers and their families for nearly 10 years. It’s been a colorful venture.
Risks and challenges
Most risks and challenges in publishing a book come from a lack of planning or experience. Fortunately, this is not the case with our design/illustration team. We have been working in graphic design and publishing for over 15 years and for this project, we know we can call on all of our contacts in the industry. My experience as a designer means that I understand the language of design and printing (pagination, fonts and typesetting, binding and more) and with an MFA in writing and teaching, I understand how to write, edit and proofread content that is appropriate for young audiences.
But I also know that there are a million little things that come up with any project that you have not anticipated. The biggest challenges for "B IN THE WORLD" is reaching our funding level so that we can print a substantial number of books for the first print run; and making sure that we can get the word out to schools, libraries and community organizations.
There will inevitably be some people who do not like the idea of a boy like B, and that is an additional challenge we may face, but it is in fact the whole point of why we are doing this project.
Thank you in advance for considering funding B IN THE WORLD.
A shiny "B Yourself" button to proudly wear + a bookmark to remind you of your generous support (and where to find B's book should you wish to purchase it at some future date) PLUS a shout-out on social media and so much gratitude!
1 brand-spanking new signed copy of the 70+ page full-color book + a shiny button and bookmark. (We'll trust you to share it with a child) PLUS a thank-you shout-out on social media AND a listing on B's website! Free shipping in U.S.
1 signed copy of the book + a downloadable e-book (so you won't have to always share) PLUS a shiny button and bookmark, a thank-you shout-out on social media AND a listing on B's website! Free shipping in U.S.
2 signed copies of the book! One for you to keep and a second to give to a friend, your favorite teacher, kids' center or we'll deliver it to any school, parenting group, library, LGBTQ center or anywhere else you tell us (or if you're not sure we'll help you choose). Free shipping in U.S. included. PLUS the e-book and a thank-you on social media and your name on B's website!
2 signed copies of the book! One to keep and the second to share wherever you like, and the e-book. Free shipping in U.S. PLUS a beautiful, full-color 12" x 18" POSTER illsutrating Mr. J's "Kids' Civil Rights"—perfect to keep or share with a teacher or class. AND of course, our thanks on social media and your name in lights on B's website!
2 signed copies of the book! One to keep and two to share or delivered wherever you tell us (or we'll help you choose), the "Kids' Civil Rights" poster, the e-book and a set of 6 POSTCARDS featuring beautiful illustrations from the book (cupcakes, cockroaches, mermaids and more!) PLUS a thank-you on social media and your name in bright lights on B's website!
3 signed copies of the book! One for you and two to share or delivered to your favorite places or ours. PLUS the e-book, the "Kids' Civil Rights" poster AND 12 POSTCARDS featuring illustrations and messages of acceptance from the book! PLUS a thank-you on social media and a shiny star next to your name on B's website!
3 signed copies of the book! To keep or delivered wherever you tell us. PLUS the e-book, the "Kids' Civil Rights" poster, the set of 12 illustrated postcards and best of all, you get to NAME A CHARACTER in the book! Just imagine how much fun your child or whomever you want to honor will have seeing their name in print! PLUS a thank-you on social media and top-of-the line listing of your name on B's website!
Let us bring B to you! This top-of-the-line pledge gets you a VISIT and READING by the author to your class, party, kids' book group, or you-name-it gathering for up to 25 kids/people! Everybody receives the e-book, a copy of the "Kids' Civil Rights" poster and other goodies. PLUS we'll throw in 5 signed paperback copies of the book AND bring the cupcakes! (Limited to the Seattle/Western Washington area.)