MARLA HAS REACHED THEIR GOAL! We are so ecstatic for the overwhelming support Marla has received and we want to let you know where your dollars will be going now:
Any donations made that bring us closer to $5,000 will be used to:
1. Translate Marla into Spanish! Total: $900
- $900 Production Costs.
2. Outreach event at the Watsonville Public Library. Total: $950
- $350 LGBTQ Speaker Panel: A Q&A panel with LGBTQ identified people. To learn more, please see http://www.diversitycenter.org/triangle-speakers
- $350 Drag Queen Story Time. Family friendly arts and crafts event!
- $250 Refreshments.
Share this with your teachers, friends and family!
This book is for educators, parents, youth, and anyone wanting to learn about sex and gender diversity in nature and gender pronouns in a fun way!
Looking for Marla tells the tale of a curious clownfish in transition as they find their way through fatherhood, and into motherhood! As readers follow along through playful and punny rhymes, they encounter a diverse cast of friendly marine creatures, each with a unique story to tell and a jewel of wisdom. Looking for Marla hopes to inspire readers of all ages on their own journey of gender expression and self-exploration, while they discover the diversity of parental care strategies in the underwater world.
Testimonials in Support of Looking for Marla
"Looking for Marla takes you on an undersea discovery journey through the surprisingly diverse expressions of gender and sexual identity among marine creatures. I have taught sexuality education classes for ages ranging from kindergarten to senior high school, and this wonderfully imaginative book will be a precious addition to the curriculum. Little kids will marvel at the beautiful illustrations and older youths will appreciate the whimsical rhyming text. For all, the variety of parenting styles and gender expressions depicted in these pages are sure to expand their understanding of the many ways to be human. May they find their own inner Marla." - François Bar | Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education facilitator
"Looking for Marla beautifully illustrates how art can help to communicate scientific information and break down social stereotypes. We at the Norris Center for Natural History are proud to have supported this creative and outstanding book." - Karen Holl | Professor of Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz | Faculty Director, Norris Center for Natural History.
"Looking for Marla is joyful, beautiful and informative. If you are curious about: gender identity, the ocean, its inhabitants or parenting then this is the book for you! This is revelatory reading at its best." - Beth Rendeiro, M.Ed | Co-founder, More Than Sex Ed. | Trainer, Our Whole Lives, Lifespan Human Sexuality curricula | Educator, UCLA Lab School
"Looking for Marla speaks for the often overlooked and misunderstood ocean creatures. With gorgeous illustrations and unforgettable facts, this story will warm the hearts of those willing to undertake a new perspective on our underwater world." - Roxanne Beltran, Ph.D. | Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Santa Cruz.
What We Need
We are reaching out to you, our beloved friends, family, and community, to seek support for this project. We are hoping to reach our goal of $3000 to be used toward funding this project.
Your generous donations will be applied in the following ways:
(1) Printing costs: TOTAL = $2,996.07
a. product cost: $2382.33
b. shipping cost: $613.74
(2) Drag Queen book launch event, Santa Cruz: TOTAL = $350
a. Drag Queen: $150
b. refreshments: $100
c. photographer/videographer and post-production: $100
GRAND TOTAL = $ 3346.07
Our book is supported by multiple art and science programs in Santa Cruz County that have gone to pay the illustrator and production costs:
- UCSC Norris Center for Natural History, Art and Science Program
- Santa Cruz Arts Council, Create Grant
- More locations TBA! Contact our team at LookingForMarlaBook@gmail.com if you want to stock these books in your school.
We understand that monetary donations are not always possible. If you would like to support our project in other ways we appreciate all the love we can get! Most importantly, spread the word - sharing our story with your community will help connect our project to its allies!
Non-monetary support opportunities:
- Share the Kickstarter.
- Get others to donate.
- Advertise locally.
- Share with supporting orgs that may want to get involved with the project.
- Talk about it!
Timeline of Events & Purchasing Info
- Printing: Spring 2019
- Arrival of books: Summer 2019
- Norris Center Open House: Fall 2019
- Book Launch: Summer-Fall 2019
In wild clownfish populations, a male member will transition into the role of the dominant female of the community when the female of their family is removed, in a process called sequential hermaphroditism. This biological fact is omitted from the iconic movie Finding Nemo and is a story that our book Looking for Marla helps to share and correct.
People may not be aware of the truly vast diversity of sex and gender expression and parental care strategies which occurs in the natural world. The creators of Looking for Marla have observed that these stories, our stories, are often grossly misrepresented or altogether excluded from popular media of today. Thus, we believe that the sharing of these narratives is absolutely necessary and long overdue.We hope that you enjoy learning about the ways in which animals of the sea change between sexes and showcase diverse gender roles in their ecosystems.
The creators of Looking for Marla worked with the Diversity Center Youth Groups of Santa Cruz and Watsonville to develop the story. We are happy to share their story to uplift the voices of Queer and Trans youth. Our book draws attention to gender pronoun usage and models what pronouns are and how to use them. We hope that this book will provide support and solidarity for those readers whose stories are so often left untold.
In case you wanted to know a little bit more about who we are and how we got here, the creators of Looking for Marla each wrote about their personal journey to this project, what their hopes and intentions are for it’s impact, and what role they played in creating it.
- Paloma (Visionary)
“As a queer Ph.D. student working in a genetics lab, I studied the ways in which sex chromosomes have evolved in different animals. I found that sex chromosomes, just like any part of DNA, changes over time. The idea that sex chromosomes changed over time shifted the way I think about sex from something stagnant to something dynamic and diverse. I feel excited to bring the examples of gender and sex diversity in nature to a broader audience through the story of Looking for Marla.
It was absolutely necessary to center on the voices of queer and trans youth in my community of Santa Cruz to develop the story of a queer clownfish. Working with the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz was an absolute joy, and intimidating as well. Stepping outside of my science + school campus bubble is challenging for me, but it was necessary and fundamental to the process of Looking for Marla.
It is a dream come true to be able to merge ecology and art through the story of Marla. I feel excited and honored to share this story with the queer and trans communities, with scientists, with parents, and with educators."
- Audrey (Writer)
"As a queer artist with a degree in marine biology, this project could not have been a more perfect fit. It started as a silly thought experiment when considering how the story of Finding Nemo would change if aligned with actual biological processes, and now look where we are!
My role in the project was to help bring this beautiful story to life through poetry, and I could not be more excited by how it’s turned out! Working alongside other artists and human beings who share the curiosity and care behind this project’s message has been absolutely beautiful.
My hope is that someone, somewhere, will pick up this book and be healed by it, feel held by the safety and support in its words, learn something about themselves and their connection to the world. Please help us bring community, warmth, and loving connection to those who believe they are the only one."
- Jessie (Illustrator)
“My role in this project was to create illustrations to bring the characters of this story to life. It was lovely to be able to be involved from the beginning at the book's early stages of conception and to participate in workshops with the youth groups at the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz. I am so grateful to have connected with the talented writers and artists involved in this project as well as the LGBTQ community at UCSC and in Santa Cruz.
Although Paloma Medina and I were paired on this project by chance for the Norris Center Art-Science residency, I couldn't have imagined a more perfect project to work on. I grew up going to a Unitarian church, where we were encouraged to discover our own belief system and our own gender and sexuality in a supportive, open-minded, and loving environment. There is a sex-education curriculum called Our Whole Lives, which follows children through their development to teach them about trust and healthy relationships with other people as well as with yourself. Both of my parents were instructors for this course and we would have long discussions about the best way to communicate these topics to young children navigating these issues for the first time. My father still teaches this course to junior high and high school students, and he is excited to incorporate the book in his discussions about sex and gender.
I hope that this book is able to reach those young people searching for themselves, to support those who have found themselves but who are struggling to communicate their identity to their support network, as well as those who can use this book to learn how to support the voyages of their friends and family. I hope this book broadens our minds and our hearts and allows us to be more accepting of the beautiful, vibrant spectrum of identities in our animal kingdom.”
- Sofia (Designer)
"The most rewarding part of being an artist is working on amazing projects with great people! Looking for Marla is a book with a purpose I believe in and advocate for, and I am honored to have been able to help them bring Looking for Marla to life as their book layout artist! As an anthropology undergraduate student at UCSC, I understand the importance of representation in the media. I hope that this book can touch the hearts of children and adults alike, while also providing a fun lesson in biology too!"
Where to buy?
- Here! Now!
- From the Looking for Marla team.
- UCSC Norris Center for Natural History.
- More locations TBA! Contact our team at LookingForMarlaBook@gmail.com if you want to stock these books in your school, library, or local book shop.
Risks and challenges
- By attempting to correct a story previously told by Disney, we may risk legal action by Disney. We made efforts to mitigate this risk by consulting with copyright lawyers and intellectual property lawyers, and adjusted our content to reduce similarity between marks and to reduce the potential of confusing our audience.
- Time! We are busy people and we need help spreading news about the distribution of our book. We look to you, our friends and supporters, for help by communicating to your networks! We love you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)