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Relatable Chapter Book Series for Diverse Developing Readers
Relatable Chapter Book Series for Diverse Developing Readers
264 backers pledged $25,001 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Where are the Books that Look Like Me?

$25,001

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Stretch Goals - We 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

45K - 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!

Dr. Rachel Waldrop
Dr. Rachel Waldrop
Melanie Busby
Melanie Busby
Shannon Voges-Haupt
Shannon Voges-Haupt
Birthdays, Art, Events & Popcorn!
Birthdays, Art, Events & Popcorn!
Harveys, Sweet Peppers, The Grill, Bulldog Burger
Harveys, Sweet Peppers, The Grill, Bulldog Burger
(662) 323-0102
(662) 323-0102
Rebecca Tabb
Rebecca Tabb
Polly Briggs
Polly Briggs
Rachel Potts
Rachel Potts
Brandi Street, Hairstylist
Brandi Street, Hairstylist
Lydia Quarles, Attorney at Law
Lydia Quarles, Attorney at Law

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.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    MEET THE CHARACTERS COLORING BOOK

    For a $10 pledge, you'll meet the characters that make The Big Monty Series memorable!
    Print as many copies as you like and share with friends. This ten-page coloring book is designed by our award-winning illustrator, Chris Montgomery exclusively for this Kickstarter Campaign.

    Includes:
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
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    Pledge US$ 16 or more About US$ 16

    E-BOOK VERSION

    For a pledge of $16, you'll receive an E-book version of Book One in the series: Big Monty and the Lunatic Lunch. Read on any device!

    Includes:
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
    • E-BOOK OF BOOK ONE
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    AUDIO BOOK, E-BOOK, COLORING BOOK

    For a pledge of $25, you’ll receive exclusive access to an author-read Audio Book, the E-book, and the Coloring Book. Big Monty and his friends come to life when author Lenora Winn reads the book out loud in this exclusive audio version!

    Includes:
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
    • E-BOOK OF BOOK ONE
    • EXCLUSIVE AUDIOBOOK READ BY AUTHOR
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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    PHYSICAL COPY OF BOOK + DIGITAL VERSIONS

    There's nothing like the smell and feel of a new book. Get your early release copy of Book One in addtion to all the digital formats.

    Includes:
    • E-BOOK OF BOOK ONE
    • EXCLUSIVE AUDIOBOOK READ BY AUTHOR
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
    • PHYSICAL COPY OF BOOK 1
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    Pledge US$ 45 or more About US$ 45

    GET ONE GIVE ONE PHYSICAL COPY

    Get an early release copy of Big Month and the Lunatic Lunch Lady for yourself and surprise a special child or teacher in your life!

    Includes:
    • 2 PHYSICAL COPIES OF THE BOOK
    • E-BOOK OF BOOK ONE
    • EXCLUSIVE AUDIOBOOK READ BY AUTHOR
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 65 or more About US$ 65

    Pajama and Book Goodnight Set

    Snuggle up with a book and your farvorite characters at bedtime! Perfect gift for any budding reader.

    Includes:
    • PAJAMA SET
    • PHYSICAL COPY OF BOOK 1
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
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    5 backers
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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    CLASSROOM 5-PACK

    With a $75 pledge, you can give 5 copies of Book One to a teacher + a lesson plan to go with the book and the coloring book download. Tell us what teacher and school you want to support so we can mark it on the map!

    Includes:
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
    • E-BOOK OF BOOK ONE
    • CLASSROOM 5-PACK
    • LESSON PLAN
    • EXCLUSIVE AUDIOBOOK READ BY AUTHOR
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    30 backers
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    Pledge US$ 225 or more About US$ 225

    SKYPE CLASSROOM OR BIRTHDAY APPEARANCE

    Bring the Big Monty Series to Life with an exclusive live appearance with a Matt Maxx Team Member. There is no better way to get kids excited about reading than providing a sneak peak behind the scenes. Perfect for classrooms or birthday partties full of budding readers.

    Includes:
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
    • E-BOOK OF BOOK ONE
    • LESSON PLAN
    • EXCLUSIVE AUDIOBOOK READ BY AUTHOR
    • SKYPE APPEARANCE
    • 10 Physical Books
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    Pledge US$ 350 or more About US$ 350

    Sponsor a School

    With a $350 pledge, you can give 30 copies of Book One to teachers in a school, a lesson plan to go with the books, and the coloring book download for each teacher. Tell us which school you want to sponsor! We are mapping what schools are covered!

    Includes:
    • 30 PHYSICAL COPIES OF BOOK 1
    • COLORING BOOK PDF
    • LESSON PLAN
    • E-BOOK OF BOOK ONE
    • EXCLUSIVE AUDIOBOOK READ BY AUTHOR
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Patron School Sponsorship

    Show a special school you are serious about supporting all readers. This package includes a copy of the book for 30 teachers in the school AND an exclusive visit to the school by a Matt Maxx Team Member. *Does not include travel outside of Mississippi or Memphis.

    Includes:
    • 30 PHYSICAL COPIES OF BOOK 1
    • SPECIAL VISIT FROM MATT MAXX TEAM MEMBER
    • EVERYTHING IN THE CLASSROOM PACK
    • Acknowledgement of Donor in the Book
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    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    Creative Sponsor

    Are you as passionate about this project as we are? Join the Matt Maxx Team for Book 4 and help us come up with the next villain, map out the story, and find complementary science activities, jokes, and vocabulary buildiers!

    Includes:
    • Creative Sponsor
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Funding period

- (30 days)