The Shelly's Adventures book series is an educational tool that incorporates American Sign Language (ASL).
Not only is the Shelly’s Adventures book series a collection that incorporates American Sign Language, it’s also a great interactive tool for both children and adults. Children will be able to read the book alone, listen to the story being read to them, or watch the story being signed and read to them by Shelly. Adults will be able to learn new signs by reading the book to their kids or by watching the instructional DVD for the book. The Shelly’s Adventures series aims to help change the world one SIGN at a time.
Who is Shelly?
Shelly is the main character of the book series. She is a CODA (Child of an Deaf Adult) that teaches her friends ASL so that they can communicate with her father and baby brother, since both of them are Deaf. Each character benefits from learning ASL. Shelly also signs to her baby brother which is where baby signs will be introduced in the books.
WHO AM I?
My name is Kentrell Martin and I am the author of the Shelly’s Adventures book series. I have been working on this project for almost 7 years now and it means a lot to me. I will be releasing the first two books of the 20 book series early this year. My ultimate goal is to turn the Shelly’s Adventures book series into an animated cartoon series that airs on a major network. If my dream comes true, Shelly will be the first cartoon EVER centered around American Sign Language.
WHAT'S MY PURPOSE?
The purpose of my fundraising project is to cover the costs of producing the first two books and DVDs of the Shelly's Adventures series. There will be a DVD for each book, so the costs includes printing, DVD production, DVD distribution, an interpreter and voice over. With your help, we can produce the first ever children’s books series to tell a story while incorporating ASL. If we exceed our fundraising goal, we will use the funds on marketing efforts and to create a custom Shelly mascot so she can accompany me to all my book readings. If I’m blessed enough to top the $30,000 mark, I have a reputable animation studio that will produce a 2-5 minute teaser.
WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM?
Seven years ago, I was at home watching cartoons with my niece. One particular episode featured a Deaf character, and he signed a sign that I never knew. I’ve been signing since I was four because I have a older Deaf brother. I thought that it was amazing that I learned a sign that quick. Because of this, I started searching for other cartoons that focused on ASL, but I found that they didn't exist. I began to research what it would take to start a cartoon. Over time, I noticed a lot of cartoons were derived from childrens books, so I started reading children’s books to brainstorm ideas. One day, I noticed one of the children’s books that my niece had which taught ASL. It was a great instructional book, but it didn’t have a story. So, I did more research on children’s books that teach ASL and after months of searching, I failed to find any publications that taught ASL while telling a story. From that moment on, I started developing Shelly.
WHAT MAKES THIS PROJECT SPECIAL?
The Shelly’s Adventures book series is very unique. I have put countless hours into researching and finding ways to make it different. This will be the first book series to tell a story while incorporating ASL. Shelly has a baby brother that is Deaf, so you will also get to see baby signs used in this series. You will learn signs that you can teach your dog as Shelly signs to the family dog, Bruno. ASL is a visual language, so it’s very hard to draw hand movements; this is why each book will have a DVD that has an interpreter demonstrating how each sign is signed. The DVD will also have the story told in ASL so that Deaf children can enjoy the stories as well. Not only is this book catered to children, but it’s also useful to adults as well. I meet many adults that tell me they wish they knew basic signs. Parents will be able to read these books with their child(ren) and learn at the same time.
MEET THE CHARACTERS
DID YOU KNOW?
ASL is a growing language here in the United States and in North America. It is the 4th most used language in North America and the 3rd most used language in the United States. Many daycares and schools are incorporating ASL into their curriculum because of the benefits that are being discovered from learning ASL at a young age. It’s been proven that children who learn ASL at a young age have a higher IQ and larger vocabulary. Most states allow ASL credits to be used as a foreign language in colleges. Recently, there was a petition that needed 25,000 signatures to formally recognize ASL as an American Language. The goal was reached and now there is hope that President Obama and his administration will begin the steps to formally recognize ASL. There are many celebrities that are now learning ASL or are teaching their children. These include:
- Miley Cyrus
- Eva Langoria
- Lady Gaga
- Davi Becham and his family
- Rachel Shenton
- Kimora Lee Simmons
- Susan Frendlich
- Nene Leaks
- Taylor Swift
FIRST TWO TITLES:
The first two titles of the 20 book series are: Shelly's Outdoor Adventure and Shelly Goes to the Zoo. My goal is to release two books every other year. When the series picks up momentum, I will release two books each year.
In Shelly's Outdoor Adventure, Shelly, Maria and Amber decide to go on a stroll outside one day after school. While on their walk, Shelly teaches them signs for different animals, flowers and objects that they see along the way.
Here is a sample page:
This book is almost complete. The cover is in the final stages.
In Shelly Goes to the Zoo, Shelly, Kasey, Maria and Dad visit the county zoo. While there, Shelly teaches Kasey and Maria signs for the animals that they see on their tour and other facts that pertain to them.
Once I receive the final proofs for the interior of this book, the book will be sent to the book designer. Here are a few sample pages:
As I get updates and final images, I will share my progress with you.
IF I SURPASS MY GOAL....
If I surpass my goal of $5000, money will allocated to different areas. If I reach $10,000, the remaining money will be used towards a marketing campaign for both books. If I reach $15,000, I will have a custom “Shelly” mascot produced and she will accompany me to all of my book readings. If I reach the $20,000, mark everyone will receive an additional CD that has the Shelly Theme song and book reading. If I am blessed enough to top the $30,000, mark, I have found a very reputable animation studio that will produce a three to four minute teaser. With this teaser, Shelly will be one step closer to interacting with your kid(s) on the big screen. If I surpass the $50,000 mark, I will have a full animated episode created and I will pitch this episode to the different networks. If I do make it past the $30,000 mark, I will post behind the scenes action to the making of the teaser or episode.
If I surpass my goal, as a thank you, I will also email you a discount code of 25% that you can use on any additional items on the site.
For every book reading that I do, I plan to have a sign language interpreter in attendence to interpret for me even if there aren't any Deaf children in the audience. I think that it’s important for children to see an interpreter in action so that when they are older, they will understand. I believe that the children are our future and with ASL emerging as another language used in the United States, I think that it’s a great opportunity for them to be a part of it. Also, children are visual learners so having an interpreter with me will only be more intriguing for them.
LET'S MAKE HISTORY
First there was Sesame Street, then there was Barney, then there was Dora; let's make Shelly the next big thing!!! How cool would it be to say that you helped contribute to a hit book and cartoon? What a great feeling it would be to be to see a book or cartoon doing well and you are able to say: "I helped make that possible!!" There's nothing wrong with asking private investors for money for a project, but to see a project blossom because there are many people out there that believe in your project and helped contribute is just amazing!!!!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
If I meet my goal, the only challenge that I face is having the books and DVD complete by March. At this moment, everything is on pace to be finished by March, but we don't live in a perfect world. Therefore, a few delays are possible. As I mentioned earlier, the first book "Shelly's Outdoor Adventures" is 90% complete. Once I get back the illustration for the cover and approve it, it will be sent to my book designer that usually finishes up within a week or two. That book can possibly be complete in the next two weeks. The second book, "Shelly Goes to the Zoo" still has to be given back to me for approval of each page. This is something that can be a set back if I see something that I don't like or would like to be different. If it's something major that needs to be changed, this could add two more weeks to the process. Because I want these books to be of the highest quality, I am very particular on how I would like them to appear. Because of this, I'm in no rush to put out a product if it is not the best that it can be. Once I approve the illustrations from my illustrator, I will then send the book to my book designer and wait until she sends me the final proofs for approval; this shouldn't take long at all. It's going to be very cost-efficient if I can have the voice over and dvd production for both books done at the same time. That way, I won't have to pay double for studio time. These are the last two steps for the production of the DVD's. The person that is doing the voice over is a singer out of Los Angeles, California, by the name of Oya. The individual that is producing the DVDs is an ASL comedian and interpreter, located in St. Petersburg, Florida by the name Windell "Wink" Smith. Both of them are very busy people that do a lot touring; this is another reason that it's best that I get both the voice over and DVDs produced at the same time. Once the books are complete, the voice over work will be done and then the DVD will be produced. Each step is dependent on the other with the biggest step being the completion of the books. Unless there is a major setback for the book, I don't foresee any other reasons why the books and DVDs won't be complete by March. I will continuously send out updates so that you will all be aware of the progression of the project.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.