About the Book
For the kids of the Yang family, who have spent most of their lives across the Pacific Ocean in Canada, Nainai’s arrival from China to move in with the family is a big change. From having to turn down the volume of their cartoons to being awakened by the soy milk machine at 7 AM, Jeannie, Ethan, and Cindy have much to get used to. But it’s not just the day-to-day routine that’s different now that Nainai is in their lives — there’s something different in the air, something magical.
Chicken Soup and Goji Berries is a graphic novel by Naomi Cui and Janice Liu exploring the connections across languages, cultures, and generations that can exist within one Chinese-Canadian family. Utilizing some of the unique tool set available in the comics medium, the story code-switches fluidly between English and Chinese, while preserving understanding for readers of both languages. You can read it in English, you can read it in Chinese, or you can feel like a member of the Yang family and read it in both.
Chicken Soup is a story about inter-generational relationships in a Chinese immigrant family, and the role of language and culture in these relationships. Bilingualism is an important theme in the story. Many immigrant families in Canada communicate to each other in a combination of both English and their native language, and we've intentionally decided to show all the dialogue in whatever language the characters are actually speaking in. For example, Ethan might say something in English, and his father might reply in Chinese. This reflects the reality of our family lives, and we want to see this reflected more often in media.
The comic is the first that we’ve seen that integrates both Chinese and English dialogue, and one of the very few that depicts Chinese-Canadian family life specifically (as opposed to Chinese-American) in an all-ages narrative. The fantasy is also a unique element in the comic. Magic is used as a narrative vehicle, to highlight the ways in which Chinese traditions evolve and become reinterpreted through the lens of the three different generations of Chinese-Canadians.
Originally self-published with the help of the Project 40 Collective, Cloudscape Comics is excited to bring this innovative and heartfelt book back into print for audiences everywhere. The reprint will feature a slightly new format, a new cover, and some new art from Janice to flesh out her already beautiful cartooning.
You can read the online, interactive version of Chicken Soup and Goji Berries here: http://chickensoupcomic.com/
About the Artists
Naomi Cui is a coder, creator, and translator who can usually be found at the intersections of art, technology, language, and design. After graduating from University of Toronto, she worked as a programmer for a while before a brief stint in Japan. Born and raised in Toronto to Chinese immigrants, she has Xi'an tastebuds and is regularly frustrated by the TTC.
Naomi has taken care of the writing and technological aspects of Chicken Soup & Goji Berries.
Janice Liu is a children's comic creator, illustrator, and educator. Her comic shorts have appeared in Wayward Sisters: An Anthology of Monstrous Women, Augur magazine, and New Moon Girls magazine. Her work is often about exploring diasporic identity and the inner world through fantasy. When she's not working or drawing, Janice teaches art and comics classes for kids and teens at her studio in Burnaby, BC, as well as in non-profit centres and classrooms across the Greater Vancouver area.
Janice is the illustrator and artist for Chicken Soup & Goji Berries.
Let's Talk About Money
We're seeking to raise $4,400 Canadian to print Chicken Soup and Goji Berries. That's about $3,200 US. Most of that, about 60%, will go towards printing the book. We've also set money aside to pay Naomi and Janice, and to print the extra rewards listed. Shipping takes up about 25% of our budget. Shipping can be expensive, but Cloudscape has an arrangement with a shipping company that will bring prices down as much as possible. We've also set aside 8% of the total to cover Kickstarter and credit card fees.
If the campaign surpasses our goal, we have some ideas for ways to give you a fancier version of the book, but the main stretch goal we'd like to see happen is to give more money to our creators. Of any surplus money we might make, at least a third of that will go to Naomi and Janice.
Chicken Soup and Goji Berries
Chicken Soup and Goji Berries is a 98-page graphic novel, and holding it in your hands is the best way to experience the story and Janice's beautiful art. The 5.5x7 dimensions make it a very cozy read.
Every time Cloudscape runs a Kickstarter, we get a lot of backers asking if they can skip the shipping and pick up the book in person. We're going to try an experiment this time, and have posted a reward for "local pick-up." If you live in Vancouver, Canada, you can choose that option and pick the book up in person at our studio in South Vancouver during times when we're open, or from the Cloudscape table at a local convention such as VanCAF, or at a book launch. This reward is tailored to members or fans who know where to find Cloudscape when it comes time to pick up the book. If that's not you, you might want to play it safe and rely on the post office.
Artist Edition and Other Extras
Every Chicken Soup and Goji Berries reward tier from the Artist Edition up includes a set of five postcards, a set of die-cut stickers, as well as a bookplate signed by Naomi and Janice.
We also have this wonderful Swan Lake print that Janice has done, and a couple of other all-ages books that Cloudscape has published previously. Last Night at Wyrmwood High by Kgros is a graphic novel about a graduation prank gone wrong at a magical high school. Mega Fauna is an anthology of short comics about pets, wild animals, and monsters, by a host of talented, local cartoonists.
Learn to Make Art with Janice Liu
In addition to a copy of Chicken Soup and Goji Berries, this reward tier also includes a spot for a child or teen in a 9-week art course taught by Janice Liu during the Spring 2019 session. She regularly teaches a number of different courses at Young Artists' Place in Vancouver, and has made two spots available to young acquaintances of Kickstarter backers. Since the classes are in Vancouver, this reward is only available to locals.
UPDATE: Unfortunately Janice's schedule has changed slightly between the launch of the Kickstarter and now, and her classes will all be NINE sessions long instead of ten. To make up for it, we will be including a copy of her Swan Lake poster with this reward tier.
FURTHER UPDATE: We now know the courses that will be available for backers at that level to pick from. They are as follows:
Creative Painting 6-9yrs
SATURDAYS 11am-12pm • Apr 6 - Jun 15, 2019 (9 weeks, no class Apr 19 & May 18)
This class covers drawing and painting in a variety of materials. Students learn art fundamentals through projects revolving around observation and stories. ($180 value)
Young Cartoonists 9-13yrs
SUNDAYS 2:15-3:15pm • Apr 7 - Jun 16, 2019 (9 weeks, no class Apr 20 & May 19)
An intro to the process of drawing comics, from scriptwriting to artwork to lettering. ($165 value)
Drawing Manga Characters 9-13yrs
SUNDAYS 1-2pm • Apr 7 - Jun 16, 2019 (9 weeks, no class Apr 20 & May 19)
Students will learn drawing skills, including proportion, anatomy, and expressions, in an anime/manga style. ($165 value)
Writing & Drawing Comics 10-14yrs
SATURDAYS 1-2pm • Apr 6 - Jun 15, 2019 (9 weeks, no class Apr 19 & May 18)
An intermediate comics class delving into both the creative writing and drawing aspects of the comic craft. ($165 value)
Drawing Animals 12-16yrs
SATURDAYS 2:15-3:45pm • Apr 6 - Jun 15, 2019 (9 weeks, no class Apr 19 & May 18)
Teens will learn the principles of drawing animals in this class. ($245 value)
I Want Multiple Books, Or A Different Combination of Rewards, What Do I Do?
If you want more than one copy of Chicken Soup and Goji Berries, or, say, the "Kid's Comics" reward plus the poster, we can accommodate special requests. Send us a message through Kickstarter with your address and what rewards you're hoping to get, and we'll reply with a price that includes a single shipping price. Then you can back the campaign by pledging that amount and either picking no reward, or picking one reward that covers part of your request. Either way, we'll be sure to ship you what you asked for via message when all the rewards go out.
We've added a "Friends and Family Set" as an easy way to get five copies of the book, but for any other number of books or combination of rewards, please send us a message.
Book Stores and Libraries
If you are a book store or library and would like to get multiple copies of Chicken Soup and Goji Berries at a wholesale discount with the best possible shipping price, we've added a reward tier with FIVE copies of the book. If you would rather have some other number of wholesale books, please send us a message with the number you want and your address so we can quote you an exact price.
The maximum number of copies we can deliver on through the Kickstarter campaign is ten, as stipulated by their terms of service.
Risks and challenges
"Chicken Soup and Goji Berries" will be Cloudscape's eighth Kickstarted book, and tenth crowdfunded publishing project. Sometimes there are delays in production or shipping, but so far we have delivered on every project we've promised. There are always risks involved in a new project. The art is done but the book layout is not, so something could go wrong there, or the book printing could be delayed, or something could go wrong with our shipping pipeline. We have an organization full of qualified volunteers who will be doing their best to iron out problems if they develop.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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