Xieng Mieng: A Sticky Mess is the comedic origin story of one of the most beloved folk heroes of Laos. A young monk keeps getting in trouble with the head of the monastery who think the boy can't do anything right. Finally, the young boy decides to turn the tables with the help of a chicken and a little bit of a sticky snack called mieng. What happens next has become the stuff of legend for over 600 years! This is the hilarious tale of cleverness and ingenuity for children aged four and up. This will be the first of 5 stories in the making. The stories will be in English with some Lao words in English phonetics. I might include some glossary in the back with Lao words and their meaning if we get enough funding to print more pages.
Here's a clip of an animation I did awhile ago, when I was going to make this story into a 10 minute animated short. I will revisit it once the books are completed and if there is enough interest to get it done.
About This Project
This project will fund the print publication of the children's book Xieng Mieng: A Sticky Mess. Initially, the book will be a softcover, 6" x 9", 32 pages in black and white. We're looking at printing between 500 to 1,000 if we're successfully funded, ideally at $3,000 to bring you the highest quality edition possible in this format. We'd really like to make it to $10,000 because then we can present this favorite children's tale in gorgeous full-color.
Additional funds raised during this kicksarter would go to increasing the print run, expanding the page count and providing additional content for our backers.
I already have a finished script and 10 pages of finished art, while the remaining pages are at varying stages of pencils.
Because I think it's important for Asian Americans to gain experience as publishers, I chose to self-publish and make this as a Kickstarter project to keep creative control and publish the story I really wanted to tell, and I think kids will love.
I'm an established and successful artist and designer, but this is my first foray into the world of children's books, and I really want to do it right with your support.
About Laos & The Heritage of Xieng Mieng
With a population of over 6 million people, modern Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th century. Traditional Lao arts include dance, music, word play and folk tales. Many of these uphold traditional Lao values of education, compassion and community. One of the most enduring characters in Lao literature is Xieng Mieng, a young man who lives by his wits and intelligence.
Xieng Mieng tales are particularly beloved by the Lao because of the message that one doesn't have to be famous or wealthy to be successful in life. Anyone who's willing to be smart can find ways to laugh and prosper, whether in ancient Laos or America.
Over time, I hope to turn this into an ongoing, regular series, with each book exploring different aspects and elements of Lao culture, and to ask "What are the timeless values of our society we'd like to pass on from one generation to the next?"
This project is very important to me because there aren't many books for Lao children, especially the 100,000 Lao American children growing up in the US today, who have few opportunities to read stories reflecting their own heritage. This book is a positive step to address this.
Ultimately, I don't just want this to be a book for our youth, but an experience. Your support during this kickstarter will be an important part of that journey!
$3,000 Fully funds our project. First achievement unlocked! Everyone gets a Xieng Mieng bookmark.
$4,000 We include a postcard of all the six main characters from Kiwi the Green Koala universe. Kiwi the Green Koala was created by Nor Sanavongsay & Dr. Poe Phetthongsy.
$5,000 We'll include a limited run of the Lao Alphabet 11x17 poster featuring unique characters from the Xieng Mieng story.
$6,000 Everyone gets the mieng recipe of how to make the sticky snack from the story.
$10,000 Full-color Achievement Unlocked. We can print the books in full-color. As of 2/1/2013, we're still looking for the best possible color printer to give us awesome deal.
$12,000 We can add additional pages.
$15,000 We can include study guides for teachers and book groups.
About the Author
ສະບາຍດີ (Hello), I'm Nor Sanavongsay. I am a Lao-American illustrator and writer living and working in San Francisco area. I am trained in both design and programming of interactive media. I've created award winning projects for reference giants such as Encyclopædia Britannica, huge retailers like Sears, and designing interfaces for Barnes & Noble NOOK. I am currently working on the Xieng Mieng children's book series and am also behind Kiwi the Green Koala. I've also designed and developed Full-time and Chord Finder iOS apps.
Risks and challenges
After our printing costs are funded, the biggest challenge we will face is to getting the printed version to truly represent the original legend and Lao culture. The story must also be properly edited to meet the current standards of the children's story-telling market. I discovered there are many challenges and details involved in producing a children's book. I interviewed many printers and I am confident I have finally found one that prints many children's book every year and will do an amazing job.
There has been a great interest in this book already but it has been in development for almost 10 years. But after many discussions and extensive research, and new changes in technology and publishing I am now in a position to bring our community the story they've been looking for for years.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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