Hey, y’all! I’m Raven Roxanne, and I’m an artist in Charleston, SC. I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida where the beauty of the land, my parents' gallery, and the captivating imagery I saw in children’s books inspired me to make art.
One of my favorite things to paint is an abstract bird nest. To me, the nests represent the messy, imperfect nature of love. I painted the first of my Nest Series when my husband and I got engaged. I wanted to create an image for our wedding invitations that represented the imperfect perfection of our home and relationship. Never did I imagine that others would find the same comfort and realness in these Nests.
When parents and teachers started sending me Nests that their children and students were creating, it was so unexpected and exciting. While painting the Nests, I think about emotion and which color represents each feeling. I’ve discovered that children really connect with this way of thinking and feeling through color.
This incredible feedback I’ve received has inspired me to start working on my first children’s book, A Raven’s Nest. There are so many stories I treasured as a little girl, and I’d love to create a book that sparks in others the same kinds of feelings I experienced flipping through colorful pages of my favorite books as a kid.
A Raven’s Nest
My children’s storybook will be loosely autobiographical, the tale of a young girl (Raven) and her mischievous dog (Willie) on a journey to create their own nest. Using color to represent emotion, this book will teach children that it’s not only ok to experience a full range of feelings—from joy to sadness to fear—it is an ESSENTIAL, wonderful part of life.
My dream is for every child to read this book and walk away feeling safer expressing and processing their emotions. I want them to relate to Raven’s nervousness at the beginning of the journey, and feel joy as she and Willie come across a starfish and streaks of yellow and orange are added to their emerging nest. This lesson is part of what I wish I had known as a child: that it’s important to feel, and that things that are imperfect can be truly beautiful.
Once the book is complete, I plan to connect with my young readers face-to-face around the country. I want to talk to kids about how I’ve learned to use color and art to express myself, and I would love to work with children to create their own color- and emotion-filled nests.
Lil Bit Lit Publishing
I'm publishing A Raven's Nest as part of a larger art book series from a new company called Lil Bit Lit, which I’m so excited to tell you about.
Lil Bit Lit is a different type of children’s publishing house, founded in Charleston by two like-minded friends (Jenny DiBenedetto, Molly Fienning) and me. All three of us are profoundly inspired by the creative talent we see emerging in the South, artists who seek to make a difference in the world by reaching kids. We want Lil Bit Lit to give these artists and writers a modern and collaborative platform to do so.
Our mission is to create beautiful art-forward children’s books—written and illustrated by the most exciting emerging artists—that children delight in having on their bookshelves and parents delight in having on their coffee tables. The art will be beautiful, but just as importantly, the content will have the focused purpose of helping kids understand and process emotion, build empathy, appreciate the natural world, and experience a sense of wonder. Lil Bit Lit wants to switch children on—their brains, their hearts—so they can experience moments of real connection with their family and world.
Beautiful, Artful Rewards for Supporting A Raven's Nest Kickstarter
Where Your Support Will Go
To create A Raven’s Nest will require time and money, and we would love and appreciate any support from you! Contributions to this campaign will go toward:
+ Printing: This money will largely be used to order our initial print run of A Raven's Nest. Lil Bit Lit is committed to making beautiful books—pieces of elevated art in themselves that children will get lost in and adults will want to showcase. We will achieve this with high-quality paper, a larger trim book, and beautiful cover material. Certainly not your standard kid’s book.
+ Talented experts: We will hire a few experts to do this project right, including: a part-time designer and production coordinator to help layout the book and communicate with the printer; a videographer and photographer to promote A Raven’s Nest on- and off-line; and a legal and accounting team to make sure we do it all by the book! We are committed to making sure all of our artists, writers, and contributors are receiving above-average compensation. Their incredible talent and interest in brightening young minds are inspiring.
Risks and challenges
Lil Bit Lit’s mission to teach young kids how to process a wide range of emotion is even more imperative in today’s largely digital age. Children eight and younger spend, on average, 2 hours and 19 minutes a day staring at a screen—which means less time with their own thoughts and feelings. This is a problem because studies show that young people with higher emotional intelligence scores (a person's ability to identify, understand and express emotion) are happier, fare better in school and make healthier life choices. And this has a big effect on their future: Research shows that people strong emotional intelligence (a.k.a. EQ) are more likely to succeed than those with high IQs or extensive experience.
Please support today! If you believe in Lil Bit Lit’s mission to bring A Raven’s Nest to life for kids, I’m hoping that you’ll support us, spread the word and (fingers crossed!) buy an advance copy of A Raven’s Nest (or perhaps even a cool print of the art that inspired me to make this book)! Thank y’all much for everything. You are the best!
To watch Raven’s book come to life in the studio, follow Lil Bit Lit on Instagram @lilbitlitstudio, and sign up for book updates at lilbitlit.com.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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