About this project
This Kickstarter Campaign is to help fund this book!
My name is Jerry Zhang, and I am a writer, lawyer and father of two young daughters (a 4 and 1 year-old).
One day, my oldest daughter, Madison, told me she didn't want to be Chinese. It happened during a period when she was obsessed with the book characters Madeline and Eloise. She kept asking me why she was Chinese and they weren't, and whether she can have blonde or red hair like they do.
This prompted me to look for books with Asian characters for Madison to be exposed to; the few I managed to find were heavily cultural, and Madison didn't connect with any of the characters in them. That's when she told me she didn't want to be Chinese anymore, and it broke my heart.
While it's important for children to learn about their cultures through books, it's equally important for Asian children to see themselves represented in books as interesting and smart individuals rather than just products of their cultures.
So I created the character Pepper Zhang, initially as a cool and fun character for Madison to identify with. I then quickly realized that other children can benefit from Pepper just as much as Madison did, and a character like Pepper currently doesn't exist in the world of children's books in the U.S.
My goal after this campaign is to turn Pepper Zhang into a book series because there are so many adventures left to tell with Pepper!
My broader mission is to bring Pepper Zhang onto the bookshelves of libraries, book stores, schools and homes of children all across America and beyond!
In 2016, out of 3,200 children's books published in the United States, only 7% featured Asian children - yet there are 17 million Asian Americans in this country.
This is the sad reality of the current homogeneous children's book landscape.
Self-publishing these books will allow the book to stay 100% true to the vision and mission. In order to do so, we'll need your support! This is not just a business venture, but an opportunity to provide a platform for Asian American children. Crowdfunding will allow this project to be made as a direct result of everyone who supports it! The success of this campaign will help dispel the notion that "Diverse books don't sell."
Please join us in making the changes we want to see happen by supporting this campaign and contributing to the mission!
Pepper Zhang: Artist Extraordinaire! is the first book of the Pepper Zhang series - inspired by both the Eloise and Fancy Nancy series
... because isn't it about time for an illustrated books series starring a quirky and imaginative Asian girl?
This inaugural book introduces you to the force of nature that is Pepper! Hardly the shy and quiet type, you'll be introduced to Pepper as she's waging a winning battle against going to bed...
...which unexpectedly leads her to uncover a love for painting and art!
From there, you'll follow Pepper's journey from being a normal toddler to world-famous painter as she learns to express her emotions through painting. However, there's an unexpected twist! (sorry - you'll have to read the book to find out!)
All the illustrations in Pepper Zhang: Artist Extraordinaire! are hand-created by the extremely talented artist, Trisha Hautea.
We wanted to make the illustrations of in this book as dynamic as Pepper's personality, through a combination of paper cut-outs, acrylic paint, penciling, and water colors!
1. The Book!
"Pepper Zhang: Artist Extraordinaire!" will be a beautiful hardbound book, 10"x 10," printed on heavy matte paper with a book jacket. It will make a wonderful addition to your child's bookshelf!
2. Exclusive Coloring Book!
10 PDFs of the most beautiful illustrations in the book in black and white. Print from the digital files as often as you'd like so your child can re-create the scenes in his/her own color scheme!
3. Be a Part of the Book!
Imagine reading Pepper Zhang to your child for the first time and pointing out a picture on Pepper's wall that your child drew. Now look at your child and the expression on his/her face: mind blown!
Pepper will also write a personalized note to your child about how much she loves his/her drawing so much, she wanted it on her wall!
*Jerry & Trisha will also sign and write a personalized note in the book.
4. Personalized Illustration in Pepper's style!
Transform into a character out of the page out of Pepper Zhang: Artist Extraordinaire! If you've never seen yourself or your family members/friends as cut-out figures on an illustrated background, then you are missing out!
5. Pepper's VIP Club!
We expect Pepper to be around for a long time! In return for your amazing support, you will be inducted into Pepper's VIP club and receive 5 signed physical copies of all future books in the Pepper Zhang series in addition to
- 15 signed hardcover copies of Pepper Zhang: Artist Extraordinaire!
- illustration of you in the style of Pepper
- having an item of your choice incorporated in the this book
- personalized thank you note from Pepper
We have bootstrapped this entire project ourselves so far!
However, we need your help to print the first 1,000 copies and pay for storage and editing!
We would greatly appreciate if you can help spread the word about this campaign! It will bring us one step closer to bringing Pepper into the households of children across the country.
- If you know a parent who is looking for books like these, let them know about this campaign!
- If you have a contact in the media - we'd love to hear from them!
If you have words of encouragement or believe in our mission - we'd love to hear from you! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Even when the campaign ends, you can still keep updated on Pepper Zhang by signing up for our updates below:
Risks and challenges
This book has been in development for over 6 months prior to the launch of this campaign, where Pepper evolved from being an idea I had while I was putting my youngest daughter to sleep, to being 90% completed with the book by the date of the campaign. We have found a great printer/editor we plan to work with after comparing costs, experience and quality. The only thing left to do now is turn Pepper Zhang into a reality for millions of children!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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