This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, November 30 2018 9:04 AM UTC +00:00.
Stretch Goals - We've almost met our minimum goal, but the Starkville/Oktibbeha Minority Business Alliance is challenging us to create BOOK 2!
25K - Produce Book 2: Big Monty and the Psycho Substitute
30K - Produce and Distribute 1000 copies of Book 2: Big Monty and the Psycho Substitute
70K - Produce and Distribute 1000 copies of Book 3: Big Monty and a Pumped-Up Principal
Where are the books that look like me?
“Characters in children’s books are almost always white, and it’s a big problem.” Washington Post, 2014. The problem is not new. In 1965 Nancy Larrick’s article in the Saturday Review, “The All-White World of Children’s Books” documented that just 0.8 percent of the children’s books told contemporary stories about African-Americans. Things aren’t much better today. When we asked African American children who their favorite black book characters were, they didn't have an answer.
Why is this a problem? When children can relate to the characters, they are motivated to read. This is not a hard problem to address with a solution-minded team. Big Monty and the Lunatic Lunch Lady is a book that children ages 7-11 love, according to our field tests in public school settings. We are distributing 1000 copies of Big Monty to schools, libraries, and Boys & Girls Clubs all over Mississippi. Let’s give all our children heroes and role models that inspire them to read. This project requires and deserves financial support. Become part of the Matt Maxx team by pledging your support today.
Who Are We?
Matt Maxx is a team of educators, kids, writers, parents, and illustrators developing the Big Monty chapter book series. Alison Buehler was a published author, but she knew this was not her story to tell. "I couldn't put black characters in my books and give them authentic voices and experiences."
It wasn't until she reconnected with college friend, Lenora Winn, that a solution emerged. Lenora is a fantastic storyteller. The two women combined their skills to create the series and then added illustrator Chris Miller to bring the stories to life.
But, this team is growing and filled with community members and educators like this dad who explains why the project is so important.
What Are The Books About?
These laugh-out-loud adventures feature fifth-grader Merlin Montgomery, a sensitive kid who navigates between his love of the great astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and his desire to be accepted by A’lo Jenkins, the school champion of yo’ mama jokes. Merlin hates his name and tries unsuccessfully to get everyone to adopt his self-given nickname, Big Monty.
Complete with accompanying science experiments, the series is designed to entice all children into the world of books, increase vocabulary and comprehension, and connect with diverse readers.
Share the Story
We need your help to get the word out! Please take 30 seconds and paste this link to your social media with a note about WHY you think this project is important: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/booksthatlooklikeme/where-are-the-books-that-look-like-me
Barbershop Saturdays - Barbershops are unique social centers in the black community. We want to celebrate the function they serve in mentoring young boys by providing a shop-copy of a book for young clients. Share the campaign with a picture of your favorite barber or barbershop and enter the drawing each week! Make sure to include the hashtag #BooksLikeMe and a link to the campaign.
Why is this Project Important?
Only 15% of African American 4th graders in Mississippi scored at the proficient reading level on the National Literacy Exam last year. That number is unacceptable.
Children become fluent readers by DEVOURING early chapter book series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, or Magic Tree House.
There are virtually NO popular chapter book series written by African American authors. Only 7% of all children's books are authored by African American, Native American, and Hispanic Americans combined.
How likely are kids to love reading if they never encounter a character they can relate to?
Funding & Timing
Match Sponsors - Please Support the Businesses who are Supporting This Project!
Risks and challenges
Risks are low. We have a lot of experience in creating publishing projects. Alison has published three books that hit #1 in their Amazon categories and several children's books. She runs a writing and publishing retreat each year to share her experience with authors. Chris has a resume of professional work that proves he never misses a deadline.
To further minimize risks, the final draft of book one and the rough drafts of books two and three were written and edited over the last eighteen months. Lenora and her son went over the characters and dialog for months to get it just right. As we said in our story, one of the biggest children's book agents in the country was interested in this series. We know it is good.
We will do our part to produce a quality product, and with your help, we can pay for printing and distribution through credible printers that we have used before.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter