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The Konscious Kidz Crew is a 5-book series containing 24 stories about a culturally diverse group of six neighborhood friends.
84 backers pledged $13,119 to help bring this project to life.
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$13,119

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About this project

In these books, children, all children will get mirrors and windows. All children will get to see themselves reflected in these stories as the heroes they are. As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, guardians and educators you are getting a closer bond with the children in your life, a great gift for your friends, a better world overall and a greater context around the friendships that your children could create and nurture. As caregivers these books offer you a simple, fun and yet profound way to dialogue with children about participating in their relationships with themselves and their surrounding community. This series is bringing you a path and means to facilitate building a better global community. The mission of this book series is to touch the hearts and minds of children in a way that nurtures both compassion and celebration of how truly diverse our world is.

The Konscious Kidz Crew is a fun and engaging chapter book series about an ethnically and culturally diverse group of six neighborhood friends (three boys and three girls). The series will contain 24 stories told across 5 books, each with a powerful message about character and community. The target audience is 6 to 11 year-olds, but really suitable for any age! While chapter books for this age group normally have black-and-white images, we have chosen vibrantly colorful illustrations so that kids of color can see themselves in the stories. The goal of this campaign is to get the first book, containing 5 stories, to market.

In these stories we follow the Kidz as they face every day personal and community challenges (bullying, grief, guilt, etc). The Konscious Kidz stories are structured to include emotional healing tools through restorative practice (courage, trust, acceptance, mindfulness, etc).They are a vehicle to assist parents and guardians in opening dialogue with children on how to be creative in solving these challenges using various life skills. These stories demonstrate how embracing each other and our diversity fortifies ourselves and our communities.

Woven throughout the series we’ve approached several of the issues we face as a global community (ecology, inclusion, sustainability, etc) by infusing each of the characters with a passion for forward movement and change. 

The characters and the stories 

V-Girl and Belle are African American fraternal twin sisters. As sisters and best friends, they complete each other, yet stand uniquely on their own. 

Belle was born running and V-girl was born dancing. Belle is a natural athlete and has dreams of becoming a rock star/drummer. Belle is an advocate for social justice and strives for things being fair and equitable. She doesn’t hesitate to step up to a cause and rally the Konscious Kidz Crew around a mission for seeking justice in any given situation. 

V-Girl is a nurturer and exudes love and compassion. She is an artist, dancer, and a keen observer of life. V-Girl is always camera ready, viewing life's events through her lens as she grooves and moves to her own beat. V-Girl is passionate about nature, ecology, and the ecosystem. She wants everything to be in harmony and balance.

Flaco is a Puerto Rican boy who loves music and dancing. He has a green thumb like his grandmother; she grows her own food and cooks like no other. Flaco is her protege. Flaco gravitates to the natural sciences; nutrition and health are his passion. He is being raised by his father and older brother since his mom died when he was five. The family moved to the neighborhood four years ago, when he was six years old. Flaco is the youngest of three boys and moved to the Konscious Kidz’s neighborhood from Brooklyn

Lyric an Irish American boy, is the new kid on the block. He more recently moved to the neighborhood from a Midwestern suburb of Detroit. His dad is a college professor and consequently this is Lyric’s third move in a few short years. His grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants from Ireland. He relishes their loving memory and will never forget the bagpipes his grandad played on special occasions. He inherited the gift of the spoken word from his granddaddy; Lyric is a poet, a deep thinker, and a philosopher. 

Pixel is Asian; his father is Korean American and his mother is from Thailand. He is gentle, yet strong; a peaceful warrior. He has an unsuspecting sense of humor that can disarm the craziest fool. He makes all of his friends laugh with his silly jokes in lighter times but when the going gets tough he looks within and becomes steadfast and stalwart. He is unwavering in his commitment to a cause or mission, just say the word and he appears from thin air. He is quite the computer/ techie wizard and problem solver. He is positive and solution-oriented for a youngster. Pixel is studying sound engineering in his after school program. Pixel loves music and plans on pursuing a career in sound engineering and music. He would like to produce cool music videos with a new generation of changemakers.

Ivy is a Native American girl, with Navajo and Cherokee heritage. She was born on her family’s ranch in New Mexico, and moved to the neighborhood with her mom one year ago when her parents separated. Ivy is confident and outspoken, especially for her age. She is grounded and in-tune with herself and the world around her. One of her passions is animal welfare, which explains why she’s a vegan! She loves her Konscious Kidz friends very much, who have been her rock through the difficulty of her parents’ separation, as well as her playmates when she just wants to be a kid.

The first story is about bullying. The Kidz set out to have a fun day at the local skatepark when some bullies target Pixel and try to intimidate him into leaving. It almost works until Belle finds out and comes up with a plan.

In another story, the Kidz favorite hangout, Gio’s Pizza Shop, is faced with a new competitor in the form of a chain restaurant. Feeling unable to compete, Gio fears he may be run out of business. The Kidz rally the community around Gio to upgrade his shop and become relevant in a way that the chain is incapable.

Community Building

Our project has evolved and grown for us since it’s inception. It has inspired opportunities for collaboration with our community of artists and educators.

Street art by Dragon School Oakland,CA
Street art by Dragon School Oakland,CA

 One example of community engagement is our illustrator, Jerl Laws, who is incorporating local street art and murals into several of the illustrations. We search out inspirational street art, contact the artist, and showcase their work. These artists are credited on the resource page in the book with who they are, how to contact them and where their work and websites can be found. 

Character illustration by Jerl Laws/Mural by Chris Granillo
Character illustration by Jerl Laws/Mural by Chris Granillo

Why we want to do this project

As an interracial couple and parents of twin girls, we found a market lacking in books where the hero looked like our girls.

 Further, we couldn’t find any books that mirrored our children’s diverse group of friends.

We want every child to know that they each have something unique to offer every situation. We also want to show how everyone plays an equally important role in resolving the issues their communities face. We were inspired to write The Konscious Kidz series by our desire to see books that not only represent all cultures and genders, but encourage parents and children to build a more conscious and conscientious global community.

Our team

John Casselberry author/co-creator
John Casselberry author/co-creator

 

Madeline Connor-Casselberry co-author/co-creator
Madeline Connor-Casselberry co-author/co-creator

 

Jerl Laws Illustrator
Jerl Laws Illustrator

 

Naomi Tyler Business Consultant
Naomi Tyler Business Consultant

 

STRETCH GOALS!!!!

If we exceed our goal of $10,000 and hit these stretch goals, these are the bonus gifts our backers will receive in addition to their chosen rewards.

$20,000 Every backer will receive an ebook of “Flaco’s Recipes” a collection of healthy recipes and teas to be created by Madeline and Sequoia Chappellet-Volpini nutritionist. This is in addition to the rewards already listed in the tier you chose!

$30,000 Every backer will also receive ebook of the second book in the series when it is completed.

$50,000   Every backer that pledges over $25 also receives a printed copy of “Flaco’s Recipes”

$100,000 Every backer that pledged over $25 also receives a printed copy of the second book in the series when it is completed

What we already have and what we need from you.

We have written the first five stories for the first book. We also are working with a very talented illustrator, Jerl Laws, to create the illustrations for the book series. Some examples of his work are above. 

We will need the funds to pay our illustrator, project manager, a copy editor, a layout artist, pay for promotional materials, web development and design and printing the first 1000 books.

Risks and challenges

We have the stories written; however, we still need them to be illustrated. This campaign will make that financially possible.
Once the book is ready for print, then the only foreseeable risks are delays with approving print quality and book damage during shipping, which would create a delay in getting books to readers.
International orders will require additional shipping costs.

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Funding period

- (30 days)