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$4,058
pledged of $1,000pledged of $1,000 goal
89
backers
11days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, July 30 2019 3:59 AM UTC +00:00.

$4,058
pledged of $1,000pledged of $1,000 goal
89
backers
11days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, July 30 2019 3:59 AM UTC +00:00.

About

As a busy clinician and a mother, the evening hours that I would get to spend with my two young children over the last few years have been very precious.  We developed a delightful habit of spending a half-hour before bedtime to talk about our day. The kids had figured out early on that getting me to expound about something related to medicine was the most effective way to delay lights out. I noticed that their interest would be held despite having to stop and explain complex concepts such as pneumonia and cancer.  I realized that this was because we were telling a story. A story with characters, adventure, drama and lessons learned. And so grew their fascination with human biology and the way disease could impact the lives and feelings of patients. This need to simplify basic human physiology to the understanding of a 5 and 7 year old was how Tales of Soma was born.

What goes on inside a human body? What is blood? What does it do? In Tales of Soma, the basics of hematology (the study of blood) are viewed through the eyes of a young red blood cell who is excited to jump into the rushing canals with his friends and begin his new job delivering "Oxy" to the needy inhabitants of Soma.

RB has heard many tales of what awaits him from his uncle, and he can't wait to get started. He leaves the Marrow woods and joins a host of other Erythros who jump into the rushing canals of Soma to start their new life. He rides through the great pumping station of Cardios, passing through a three-doored gate and the cavern of the Right Ventricle. He enters Respiro Forest, where eventually he must squeeze through a tiny canal all alone. He gets covered with Oxy bubbles and emerges from the forest a shiny brilliant red. He passes through a two-doored gate into the cavern of the Left Ventricle. He speeds to Sententia to visit a neural family. All in a days work. 

Once he gets accustomed to the routine, he starts to think about life, and reflect on everything he has learned about the world he lives in. He recalls the ancestors they call the Stems. He thinks about the Leukos giants who take away old Erythros in the Caves of Splenia. And he takes comfort in the idea that everyone is doing their part in the intricate team effort that keeps Soma humming with life.

Story by Zeeba Mathews. Art by Raul Gonzalez.

Intended for children 4 - 9 yrs old.

Our protagonist is "RB," a member of the Erythros tribe.
Our protagonist is "RB," a member of the Erythros tribe.
RB was as prepared for his big day as anyone could be... He was excited, but he was also nervous. The waters rushed fast! He longed to see the large Respiro Forest, which was lush and dense with its airy canopies, and the great Cardio Station in the twin Heart Cities. Perhaps most of all, RB could not wait to see the beautiful Neural Castle, which stood majestically atop the highest peak of the Sententia mountains.
RB was as prepared for his big day as anyone could be... He was excited, but he was also nervous. The waters rushed fast! He longed to see the large Respiro Forest, which was lush and dense with its airy canopies, and the great Cardio Station in the twin Heart Cities. Perhaps most of all, RB could not wait to see the beautiful Neural Castle, which stood majestically atop the highest peak of the Sententia mountains.

 The ERYTHROS 

RB had never seen so many Erythros! They were thronging by the millions. And they were all a dull, dark red. Like him, they would have to go through the Respiro Forest to get bright and shiny.
RB had never seen so many Erythros! They were thronging by the millions. And they were all a dull, dark red. Like him, they would have to go through the Respiro Forest to get bright and shiny.

The LEUKOS 

The Leukos were a lot bigger than the Erythros, and they didn’t have very much color. But they were a lot more interesting to look at because there were so many different types of them. A few of them could change their shapes and become even bigger. When there was trouble, like an invasion, they had quite a few secret weapons.
The Leukos were a lot bigger than the Erythros, and they didn’t have very much color. But they were a lot more interesting to look at because there were so many different types of them. A few of them could change their shapes and become even bigger. When there was trouble, like an invasion, they had quite a few secret weapons.

The THROMBOS 

The last tribe was that of the Thrombos. They were the smallest of the tribes and were flaky, quadrangular, or disc shaped. They were a sticky bunch. They had gummy little arms with which they could stick to each other and the canals. With this, they could fashion a large net by linking their arms together. They were real handy when it came to plugging leaks in the tunnels and keeping folks safe when there was a broken tunnel.
The last tribe was that of the Thrombos. They were the smallest of the tribes and were flaky, quadrangular, or disc shaped. They were a sticky bunch. They had gummy little arms with which they could stick to each other and the canals. With this, they could fashion a large net by linking their arms together. They were real handy when it came to plugging leaks in the tunnels and keeping folks safe when there was a broken tunnel.

The NEURALS 

He stared curiously at the neurals with their spiky heads. One of them winked at RB just as he started to speed up again, and RB felt a little jolt of electricity go through him.
He stared curiously at the neurals with their spiky heads. One of them winked at RB just as he started to speed up again, and RB felt a little jolt of electricity go through him.

The STEMS

He loved that all the tribes had come from a common ancestor. The next time any of his Erythro buddies made fun of someone from another tribe, he could tell them that they all came from the same ancient Stem.
He loved that all the tribes had come from a common ancestor. The next time any of his Erythro buddies made fun of someone from another tribe, he could tell them that they all came from the same ancient Stem.

OXY

And then he felt something he had never felt before—he was changing shape! His body got long and thin and slowed down, squeezing through the narrowest tunnel he had ever been in. The walls of the tunnel rubbed against him. They were so thin and full of holes that he could see the shadowy branches of the trees in the forest swoop down and slap the tunnel with a thunderous whap! Each time a branch slapped down, it left bubbles of Oxy on his body.
And then he felt something he had never felt before—he was changing shape! His body got long and thin and slowed down, squeezing through the narrowest tunnel he had ever been in. The walls of the tunnel rubbed against him. They were so thin and full of holes that he could see the shadowy branches of the trees in the forest swoop down and slap the tunnel with a thunderous whap! Each time a branch slapped down, it left bubbles of Oxy on his body.
“The bubbles are our job!” he blurted, his eyes beaming. He had learned in school that it was the prime responsibility of the Erythros tribe to carry the bubbles of Oxy. All living things on Soma burned Oxy for fuel; without it, they would crumple and die. “Only the Erythros can earn them by going through the tiniest canals in Respiro Forest.”
“The bubbles are our job!” he blurted, his eyes beaming. He had learned in school that it was the prime responsibility of the Erythros tribe to carry the bubbles of Oxy. All living things on Soma burned Oxy for fuel; without it, they would crumple and die. “Only the Erythros can earn them by going through the tiniest canals in Respiro Forest.”

For each pledge, we will also donate a book to a children's hospital or library.

We especially want children who have personal connections to blood work, blood transfusions, or blood diseases to have access to this book. For every book mailed to a Kickstarter backer we will also donate a copy to a children's hospital. Some books will end up in hospital library collections to be checked out by visiting families. Other books will get sent to child life services specialists who will give them to specific child patients such as children unable to access used library books due to infection control guidelines. If we have more books to give away than the hospitals are willing to receive, we can also donate to public libraries. We've already reached out to the following hospitals:

  • Mary Bridge Children's Hospital (Tacoma, WA)
  • Texas Children's Hospital (Houston)
  • Riley Hospital for Children (Indianapolis)
  • Phoenix Children's Hospital
  • Seattle Children's Hospital
  • Yale New Haven Children's Hospital
  • Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia 
  • Nationwide Children's Hospital (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • Children's Medical Center Dallas

Additional locations we've added to our list:

  • Stony Brook Children’s Hospital
  • Childrens Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx
  • Arlington, MA Public Library

If you have a specific hospital or library in mind, send us a message so we can connect with them as well.

Pledge extras

Under the name Nerdcore Medical, Arun, Zeeba, Raul, and Brandon have launched two previous successful Kickstarter campaigns. We've included tiers that include those items too, at a generous discount! If you are interested in infectious disease and/or fantasy art, consider adding those items to your pledge.

The Bacterionomicon

Our fantasy monster compendium based on infectious diseases
Our fantasy monster compendium based on infectious diseases

Defenders of Soma

The fantasy board game where Apothecary Healers (antibiotics) attempt to keep the Lords of Pestilence (the infectious bacteria) at bay.
The fantasy board game where Apothecary Healers (antibiotics) attempt to keep the Lords of Pestilence (the infectious bacteria) at bay.

Thank you for your support! We're thrilled to finally bring this project to fruition and we hope it sparks some curiosity and wonder about the human body for all the children (and adults) who get to read it!

- Zeeba Mathews, M.D.

Risks and challenges

We (the Nerdcore Medical team) have completed two other Kickstarters: Bacterionomicon, and Defenders of Soma, so we have a good idea now what a Kickstarter involves. As always, there is the possibility of unknown production delays, or shipping hassles, but the book is written and the artwork is already done. This should be one of those rare Kickstarter projects that is delivered ON TIME!

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    Pledge US$ 17 or more About US$ 17

    PDF only

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    The Circulatory System

    1 copy of Tales of Soma plus another copy donated to a children's hospital.

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    The Library of Soma

    Both of our books: Tales of Soma & Bacterionomicon.

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    • Bacterionomicon: The Creatures of the Healing Blade (book)
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    Defenders of Soma Collection

    Everything we've ever Kickstarted!

    Includes:
    • Tales of Soma (book)
    • Tales of Soma (book) donated to a children's hospital
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    The Institution

    Bulk order discount: 10 copies for $200.

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