$8,995
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
227
backers
11days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, November 29 2018 3:01 PM UTC +00:00.

$8,995
pledged of $5,000pledged of $5,000 goal
227
backers
11days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, November 29 2018 3:01 PM UTC +00:00.

About

I have written and illustrated my second picture book and am ready to self-publish it. I would love your help to get this book out into the world! 

The story is about a girl named Priya, whose family has immigrated to the United States. She learns about the place that her family comes from through her Ba’s descriptions of India. Together, Priya and Ba make their heritage live on through the traditions that they infuse into their everyday lives.

Left : My sister and me with paternal grandparents in the U.S.; Center: My sister and me with maternal grandparents in India; Right: My niece, Priya, making rotli with my Mom (her Ba)
Left : My sister and me with paternal grandparents in the U.S.; Center: My sister and me with maternal grandparents in India; Right: My niece, Priya, making rotli with my Mom (her Ba)

I’m an Indian-American woman – I was born and raised in the United States but my family is from Gujarat, India. I woke up everyday to the smell of cha brewing on the stove and came home from school to the warm smell of spices from my Mom and Ba cooking a full Indian dinner. I was fortunate to grow up with one set of grandparents in the same home. These everyday moments with my family ingrained our heritage in me. Now I hope my family can pass on our traditions to my nieces.

Left: Storeowner hanging marigold garlands in Delhi, India; Center: Sketching; Right: Book sketches
Left: Storeowner hanging marigold garlands in Delhi, India; Center: Sketching; Right: Book sketches

When I went to India as an adult, I was struck by how it was both foreign and familiar to me. I noticed so many things that were a part of my home growing up that felt so different from others in America but turned out to be so common in India. I kept seeing marigold garlands strung up on storefronts, in doorways, on trucks. Orange marigolds remind me of my Ba. When she lived with us in the United States, she would pick marigolds from our garden every morning to put in our mandir (a place in our house with images of Hindu deities). I recognized the abundance of marigolds in various regions of India as a part of my childhood home in the United States. It was a beautiful piece of India and my family’s identity in my everyday life.

Illustration from book
Illustration from book

I had a wonderful life as a child but I put up a wall between my Indian and American identities because I was afraid of being different. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized how important it was to allow both parts of my identity to mix and to share both parts of me with people. I hope this book inspires kids to take pride in all of their identities – all the unique threads that come together to make them who they are. I hope it inspires them to share their own unique cultures and to be curious about other cultures. 

It is critical for all children to have the opportunity to see themselves and their own experiences in books. And for all children to be exposed to experiences different from their own. The children’s literature industry is improving but there is still a gigantic gap in fully representing the people who make up our population. By funding and/or sharing this project with others, you are helping me add to the movement to diversify children’s literature. 

Work in progress
Work in progress

I self-published a picture book a couple years ago and learned a ton during the process. With those insights, I’m ready to take my new book to the next level. I’m working with Beaver’s Pond Press to ensure all of the new book's details are the best that they can be. They are a hybrid publisher (halfway between self-publishing and traditional publishing). I still need to pay for all of the printing, consulting, marketing and distribution costs, but they will help me make sure all the book’s details are perfected, develop a marketing plan and get into standard distribution channels. 

Your funding will help me pay for the printing of this picture book and hopefully you will also enjoy the rewards! This is what you can expect from the printed book:

  • Hardcover
  • Perfect bound
  • Full Color illustrations 
  • This picture book is great for ages 4-8 (but younger kids will also enjoy hearing the story read to them along with the images) 

Much of the work is done to bring this book to life – it has been written, edited, illustrated and has entered the design process. I will be polishing up the details and prepping final print files in the upcoming weeks. Here’s a work in progress peek at how it’s looking:

Cover work in progress
Cover work in progress

Here’s a peek at some of the reward options that go beyond the book:

CANVAS BOOK BAG:

If you choose a reward tier that includes a book bag, you will get a canvas bag that is screen printed with my illustration that reads "Books help you grow the flowers in your brain."

CHOICE OF PRINT:

If you choose a reward tier that includes a print, you will get to choose from 1 of these 3 options that feature my illustrations. 8x10 inch, high-quality inkjet print, 100% cotton paper, signed.

CUSTOM ILLUSTRATION PRINT: 

If you choose the Custom Illustration Print, I will make you a custom illustration print in a similar style as above with up to 6 people in it. You will get a signed 11x14 inch high-quality inkjet print on 100% cotton paper of the custom illustration. I'm open to using photo references that you provide as inspiration. Note that the depictions of people will not be a complete replica of any photo references but a stylized adaptation. I am happy to do all kinds of family/friend/pet combinations so keep in mind that these are just examples. Feel free to email me if you have questions about this reward!

I'm so excited about the Stretch Goal! If we go above the initial goal of $5,000 and hit $8,000 I will donate 50 books to the 50 States 50 Books project that is helping to close the gap in literacy. They provide diverse books to underprivileged children and underfunded organizations across the US. I would be so thrilled if we could make this happen!

If this project is funded you will have your rewards in May 2019.

I’m an illustrator, graphic designer and children’s book author living in San Francisco (but proudly from Minnesota!). I’m inspired by kids, textures in nature, little joys from everyday life and my Indian-American heritage. I believe in the importance of all people having the opportunity to see themselves reflected in art as well as seeing into other people’s worlds through art. Most especially the young humans in our lives who are so greatly influenced by the imagery that surrounds them. 

Check out my instagram @meenal_land for visual goodies and behind the scenes!

Risks and challenges

I have self-published a children’s picture book before and am confident that I can do it again and even better now that I’m working with Beaver’s Pond Press. I also have background with the print production process and feel confident that I can complete the other rewards.

I am happy to have Beaver’s Pond Press as a second set of eyes and ears during the print production process. There is always a chance for glitches during the printing process. To ensure everything is printed properly, I will have an opportunity to review proofs of the book after I submit files to the printer. If there are elements that need to be adjusted during the proofing period, it could slightly delay the print and ship date of the books. I will make every effort to ensure that the files I submit are as finalized as possible to avoid any changes after I submit them.

I’ve based the timeline off of the printer's lead times for printing and shipping (along with some padding!). However, there can be unforeseen delays. I will stay in close communication with Beaver's Pond Press and the printer to help ensure this stays on track. If any delays do arise, I will be sure to communicate them to my backers.

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    Custom Illustration Print Bundle

    Along with two author/illustrator signed books and two book bags, I will make you a one-of-a-kind custom illustration print with 1-6 people of your choice in it (scroll down to see style examples in the campaign page). You will get one 11x14 inch print of the custom illustration (high-quality inkjet, 100% cotton paper, signed). I am happy to use photos that you provide as inspiration references. Please note that the depictions of people will be stylized and not a complete replica of photo references. Happy to do all kinds of family/friend/pet combinations! Artist retains copyright to artwork and reward does not transfer any reproduction rights. Feel free to email me if you have questions about this reward!

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