Note: all rewards will ship by Nov 15, 2014 (not 2015!). Sorry for the typo in the rewards section, Kickstarter won't let us change that :)
Parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents.
Do the kids in your life love to read? How about secret writing? How about Goethe's Faust? Okay, let's just leave it at loving to read and secret writing. Because if they love reading and secret writing, they are going to love New Kid, the latest middle grade fiction from Jody Baxter.
The book has been marked-up by its last owner, a budding writer, who adds comments about the story, his own life, and then tries to help the book's main character, Morgan, by writing to her in the margins. Ultimately, he becomes more involved in the book than he ever imagined.
Morgan has just moved to a new middle school and is facing the normal uncertainties and problems of trying to fit in. She has a chance to be accepted into the circle of the cool girl, Gina. What Morgan doesn't realize is that Gina has attained her position with a Faustian bargain and payment will soon come due!
Morgan will need more than her normal self-reliance and judgement to protect herself. Fortunately, extra assistance is provided by the person who has defaced the book with comments. Morgan, together with some good friends she has made at her new school and the book vandal, ultimately team together to redeem Gina.
The book and more
New Kid is a 230 page perfect bound paperback (5.5 x 8.5 trim) with two-color interior and full color cover with a target reader age of 10-14. Each copy of "New Kid" includes a special blue LED flashlight for bringing out the hidden writing, and we've located (and provide) a high-quality Prismacolor® color art pencil that duplicates the effect that we've achieved through printing so you can vandalize your own books or just make cool secret writing. We have a guide for the former (as long as it's your book) as a creative writing exercise.
We believe we have created the perfect book to read by yourself (under the covers with the included flashlight) or to read out loud to a child who can hold the flashlight to help decode the secondary storyline.
Here is a sample page from the book
“So tell me about it,” said Parker without looking at her sister. “Tell me about your day.”
“I think I need some new rules,” replied Morgan.
“What kind of rules?”
Morgan stopped and shook her head at her sister. “You know, the rules about going to a new school. The ones you told me about before our first day.”
“Oh, yeah. Um, I hate to say this but I don’t remember the old rules.”
Parker started walking again and Morgan hesitated then ran to catch up. “What do you mean you don’t remember? Do you mean you just made them up? On the spot?”
“What does it matter if I just made them up? They were pretty good, weren’t they?”
“How do you know they were good if you don’t remember them?”
“Just tell me what they were so I don’t duplicate the old ones and then I can make up some new ones for you.”
Morgan shook her head in disbelief. But then her sister had a point—what did it matter if she had invented them while they talked. They had helped with that first day—they had diverted her fear, given her something to focus on other than her self-consciousness.
“Okay,” Morgan said, “the first one was don’t appear needy.”
“How’d you do on that one?”
“Excellent. Not only did I not appear needy, I didn't even feel needy.”
“Good. What was number two?”
“I think it was don’t glue yourself to the first person who’s nice to you.”
“So? What about that one?”
Morgan had to think a minute. Helen was really the first person who was nice to her. Even though she hadn't wanted Morgan as a lab partner, they still ended up having a pretty good time working together. And she definitely didn't glue herself to Helen. But Gina was a different matter.
“Technically I did okay on that one,” Morgan said.
“What do you mean by technically?”
“Well I kind of got glued to the second person who was nice to me.” But then Morgan remembered Michael at the hardware store. He was nice to her. “No, it was the third person who was nice to me that I've kind of gotten stuck with.”
“You don’t sound too happy about it.”
“Well, I’m confused about her. Gina, her name is Gina and she lives on our street.”
“Tell me more about Gina.”
Morgan decided to tell her sister everything. “She smokes.”
Parker gave a short laugh. “And…?”
“And she sits at this table at lunch with a bunch of girls who seem pretty popular. She invited me to sit with them but then she kind of bullied another girl off the table so I could sit there because there wasn't room for both of us.”
Parker just nodded but didn't say anything, so Morgan went on. “It was really weird, but no one got mad or anything. It was like they all just did what Gina told them to do.”
Morgan hesitated, then told her sister about the copied homework that she never turned in and the conversation afterward with Gina and Chelsea. “I wish you could meet her,” Morgan said. “I think you’d see that there’s something about her that makes me want to be glued to her. But I wish there weren't.”
Parker nodded again. “Okay. I've got a new rule for you. Let me know if it’s not a new one, but I don’t think I said this before.”
Read the first six chapters with secret writing revealed at: http://jodybaxter.com/samples.html
After extensive research and the purchasing of multiple Prismacolor art pencils, we have figured out a way to create two distinctly different types of hidden writing both revealed under the blue LED flashlight. The original pencil darkens from a bright yellow under the blue light and the new pencil glows with an iridescent green under the blue light.
If we reach the stretch goal of $1500 we will provide a second high-quality Prismacolor art pencil that will let you vandalize a book with two separate and visually distinctive supplemental authors! The mind boggles.
Potentially frequently asked questions
What is the suggested age range? This book should be suitable for children ages 10 to 14, or to be read aloud to children as young as eight years old. The story makes references to smoking (not glamorized) and includes a Mephistophelean demon.
Is the flashlight ultraviolet? No. The hidden writing is revealed with a blue light LED of the same type that you find on appliances like a stereo. The blue light LED has lower energy and is visible, avoiding the safety risks of blacklight.
What else is cool about the book? The book provides a secondary narrator close in age to the intended reader who, by offering comments and observations, provides a mini book group-type experience, promoting questions about and analysis of the story.The secondary narrator is not simply a commentator, however, but is also a character who is developed and transformed by the story. The principal narrator and the secondary narrator are written by separate authors adding another dimension to the storytelling process.
What are the other books about? This link www.jodybaxter.com takes you to Jody Baxter's site where you can read more about Finding Susan and Simulacrum.
Where did this idea come from? Okay, so years ago, while sitting in the air-conditioned library of a university trying to escape the heat, I noticed a book on a table in front of me. When I opened it and started reading, I discovered that someone had annotated the margins with comments about the story, and that the comments were nearly as entertaining as the story itself. Not to stop there, it turned out that there was a second set of comments by a later reader commenting about the first set of comments. I don't condone writing in library books, but I was fascinated by the multiple levels that this created. We wanted to capture that experience for others and in particular for younger readers.
What Do I Get? See the rewards (up and to the right) for the particular rewards at each pledge level. What we hope to provide is some reading excitement in a form that can't be reproduced in a movie or video game. .
What Else Needs to Be Done/ What are the Funds For? The book is fully written and a printer has been selected who can print the two color interior with the necessary ink in a two week turnaround. We would expect to be able to ship rewards within 3 to 4 weeks after completion of the campaign. The funds from this Kickstarter will be used to purchase a sufficient number of books to lower the printing costs.
Risks and challenges
We don't foresee any substantial risks at this point. We have tested the printing process and lights and have a proof copy of the book in hand. Further, to be safe on our delivery goals as we move into the holidays, we have pre-ordered a starter set of flashlights and pencils (which is a minor risk to us if we don't hit our goals!) to eliminate supply issue for our goal amount.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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