About this project
New Goal: Spanish Translation—Your contribution in the next few hours will still make a difference!
Yes, we've met our initial target, now our goal is to exceed that by 15% (or more) to fund a translation of the text into Spanish. Please make a donation of $12 or more, or pick your favorite premium and back us today!
The project funding closes at 4pm today!
It all started…
I was telling stories in Newport at a camp for kids with handicaps, and that same summer I was up in Boston sharing stories with inner-city young people. What story could connect these urban and handicapped listeners?
There aren't very many classic stories that feature kids in wheelchairs, and most fairy tales don't play out in the urban streets. Little Red Riding Chair and Jack and the Beanchair almost worked, but it was a challenge getting the chair through the woods or up the beanstalk…
How about Cinderella, but with a spin…? The story was familiar, but had a nice urban grit to it. And over the years, I was always impressed that it never mattered to listeners that Cinderella was in a wheel chair!
Why an ebook?
Even though I tour the US and and give more than 100 shows a year, I can't tell the story to everybody. So we considered doing a traditional printed book. But there was a problem.
When I perform, I never described Cinderella. Listeners were allowed to paint their own pictures of her and the Prince. Usually, they imagine themselves. But as soon as we began looking at drawing her we had a challenge: what is Cinderella's ethnic background?
By making Cinderella Spinderella an ebook, readers can choose from four "seasons."
As a parent, I know that my daughter would love to hear the same story, but look at different Cinderellas in different dresses. As a teacher, this edition offers the chance to discuss issues of race and class and disability. As an author, it allows me to share a great story with a variety of audiences. And as a storyteller, it allows me to narrate and "read along."
Each season will have a different Cinderella and a different Prince, and other details will change as well. (For instance, why would Cinderella have a pumpkin in the middle of winter? She wouldn't, but she might have a giant potato…)
What other features will the ebook have?
- It will be available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad (iBooks) and Droid. If you have another suggestion, please let us know.
- There will be an audio narration track.
- There will be four seasons with four different versions of Cinderella and the Prince. We are currently planning on limiting ourselves to Black, White, Hispanic and Asian.
- It will be full-color and fun to read!
What age(s) is this ebook for?
Mark likes to say he writes and tells stories for all ages, and that's certainly true of Cinderella Spinderella. That said, the story is appropriate for and can be read-aloud by a parent (or narrated by the author) to PK and K, it can be read with children grades 1-2, and can be read alone by children grades 3 and up.
What premiums are we offering?
Kind people who back our project will be able to choose from…
- Advance copy of the ebook (for whatever platform you use)
- AUTOGRAPHED LIMITED EDITION copy of the ebook
- Thank you postcards
- Autographed posters
- A printout of one season of the book
- A Skype bedtime story
- An interpretation of your face in the ballroom scene
- Your portrait on the wall of the Royal Portrait Hall of Fame
- A command performance of Cinderella Spinderella
- And many more (as we come up with them)
Are there differences between the spoken story and an ebook?
Absolutely. For one thing, when I perform a story, I haven't memorized a script. I'm telling you what happened, and that may change. Also, stories adjust based on the audience. In the video below, I'm telling what is supposed to be a story for little kids at an urban high school. It's amazing how the familiarity of the story allows everyone to connect and relate.
About the team
Mark Binder is an award-winning author and storyteller. He has published more than a dozen books, hundreds of short stories, and recorded six albums. His collection, The Bed Time Story Book has sold more than 60,000 copies in seven editions. He tours the United States sharing his books and spoken-word stories with audiences of all ages.
Steve Mardo is an illustrator from Rhode Island who has studied at the SVA in New York and has B.F.A. in illustration from MassArt in Boston. His work has been shown at various galleries in the New England area and his prints have a current home at 13 Forest Gallery in Arlington, MA. Steve has also been commissioned to to do work for organizations like the American Breast Cancer Society and magazines like the Northeastern University Alumni Magazine as well as local Rhode Island publications. He also has a graphic novel in the works and currently lives in the woods of South County with his wife Tanya.
Risks and challenges
We are currently working full-steam on the project. Your funding will help us devote as much time as possible to meet our deadlines—and keep our families happy, warm and well-fed. We anticipate that the illustrations will be completed by the end of May, with advance copies available in August for a September Release.
The biggest challenge will be getting the word out about the book, and this campaign is one way that we are starting to spread that word. We intend to use whatever funds raised beyond our operating costs to publicize and promote the ebook. Our goals? New York Times, Today Show, O Network, World Tour and more...
Finally, some people could find the multicultural tone of this work upsetting or offensive. Even in the 21st Century, some people will find the idea of a black Cinderella and a white Prince or a Hispanic Cinderella and an Asian Prince offensive.
The purpose of this book is to literally show that these lines are invisible. Just as Cinderella is not limited by her wheelchair, she is not limited by the color of her skin. And the Prince is able to see her for the beauty that she is, regardless of whether or not she is wearing a ball gown and glass slippers, or dressed in rags.
When we are confronted with people who are offended, our challenge will be to keep the conversation open and to cross those boundaries.
If we excessively exceed our funding we plan on adding the following as the budget expands:
- Audio recording of the story as spoken (in contrast to an audio book).
- Multiple choices for Cinderella and the Prince, (up to 16 options!) so you could have a White Cinderella with an Asian Prince or a Hispanic Cinderella with a Black prince. This is, we'll admit, a long shot and will very much depend on support beyond the $5,000 we've asked for.
- More seasons and shades. We know that we've limited this to four very broad groups. We'd like to add other Cinderellas, and will be taking suggestions.
All of them -- and your computer, too. At this point, we plan on releasing in color and black and white for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Droid, and iPad. The ebook will be available in epub format, which should let anyone read it on any platform.
I always like to think that my stories are for all ages. That said, Cinderella Spinderella is written to be read to ages four and up. Older children will be able read it themselves or use the narration to have it read to them. The live version of the story shown in the video was told to an urban high school audience.
We've chosen to blend our story with the seasons, so four seemed like a natural number. We realize that there are many ethnic groups we've left out, and there is aways the possibility of a sequel down the road.
At this time we don't know. The cost of printing a 4-in-1 book would be high. The logistics of managing four different print editions would be challenging.
I began my career as a professional storyteller in Boston, touring the city with the Read Boston Bookmobile program. Every day I'd visit three sites and tell stories. The audiences varied from preschoolers to high schoolers and every group in between. One of the secrets to capturing a group's attention is to invite them to share an experience that they are already familiar with. Then you can take them anywhere. So I'd often start with a classic story like Jack and the Beanstalk or The Three Pigs. Cinderella -- the urban version, turned out to be a favorite and crowd pleaser.
For several years I was also telling stories in Newport, Rhode Island at the "Confidence is Cool" camp for kids with severe physical handicaps. Again, I wanted something familiar that they could identify with. First I tried out Little Red Riding Chair, then Jack and the Bean Chair. Neither were elegant. Turns out, however, that Cinderella in a wheelchair works perfectly!
Please note your reward level and send a check payable to:
Cinderella Spinderella Kickstarter
PO Box 2462
Providence, RI 02906
Include your contact information, email address and phone number in case we have any questions.
Our plan is to release it in September 2013. Backers will receive their copies earlier.
If you are visiting this page and the project is closed, please sign up for the free mailing list at either http://lightpublications.com to receive updates and news about this and other projects. You may also sign up for a free story every month at http://storyamonth.com
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