STRETCH GOAL: $15,000
Thanks to so many generous people, the goal was reached! So I've added a new stretch goal: if we can reach $15,000, I'll send an additional hard cover book to everyone who has contributed to this effort.
THE SHORT VERSION:
Okay, you don't have a lot of time, so here's the least you need to know about this project: children's books for and about kids with disabilities usually suck. I mean, they're really pretty bad, mostly because they make the disability the star of the story, further alienating these kids and their families.
I'm going to change that, starting with my first children's book, "Ricky, the Rock that Couldn't Roll" featuring characters and a story that can actually be enjoyed by a broader market, while still being meaningful to kids with developmental challenges and their families (in a much more subtle way).
THE LONG VERSION:
If you have a few extra minutes, let me explain this in a little more detail: I am the proud father of an amazing five-year-old girl named Bria. Bria has cerebral palsy, and although she can't walk or talk yet (she's working hard on both), she's just about the happiest, sweetest little girl you'd ever want to meet. But that doesn't mean her situation doesn't come with a lot of emotional ups and downs - no parent wants to see their child struggle.
One of the most important things I've done with Bria to help her cognitive development, almost since the day she was born, has been to read to her daily. And as a parent of a daughter with special needs, I understand the importance of finding books with positive, hopeful messages.
But sadly, books that are published for or about kids with disabilities are surprisingly cringe-worthy projects that I would never want to read to my child. Books like "Princess Pressley of Palsy," or "Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist" might be well-meaning, but they focus so heavily on the disability that they end up doing the opposite of what they intend to do: they completely alienate readers who are developmentally typical and further segregate kids with disabilities.
This not only limits the market for the books considerably, but it doesn't remotely help its intended audience. And, quite frankly, they're depressing as hell.
I believe that books can be written to appeal to all children. By dealing with issues metaphorically, we can create books that developmentally typical kids and their families can enjoy and take something positive from, while at the same time giving kids with developmental challenges, and their families, a strong yet subtle message of hope without highlighting or even mentioning a disability.
MY FIRST BOOK: "RICKY, THE ROCK THAT COULDN'T ROLL"
"Ricky, the Rock that Couldn't Roll" introduces the full cast of characters, who are all round and play by rolling up and over their favorite hill. All of them, that is, except for Ricky, who can't roll because he's flat on one side.
An excerpt from the book:
But the one trait that seemed to be shared by them all,
was that every rock there was shaped like a ball.
And because they were round, they could easily roll,
through the grass, past the lake, up and over the knoll.
Except for poor Ricky, who quietly sat…
you see, Rick couldn’t roll because one side was flat.
His friends didn't get it. "Come roll!" they would nudge,
and although he would try, Ricky just couldn't budge.
The story follows Ricky's friends as they help him find a new way to play with them, eventually coming up with an innovative way for him to roll.
There is no mention of any disability, and there are no pictures of wheel chairs, crutches or walkers. So for developmentally typical children and their families, "Ricky" is a fun, cute and heart-warming story about the power of friendship and perseverance. But for kids with developmental challenges and their families, it's a very relatable story that provides a sense of hope and positivity, and the encouragement to keep on pushing to achieve more.
Written in verse, this first book will be 32 pages, fully illustrated and hardbound, targeted for children 4-10.
The illustrations for this book are being done by Erin Wozniak, a uniquely talented artist who has ingeniously developed a method of combining line art with crumpled paper to give each rock personality and emotion.
WHAT THE MONEY IS BEING RAISED FOR
The money we raise here will be combined with my own, personal funding, as well as money raised by outside investors. It will go to pay for the following needs:
- Commissioning the illustrator for the first three books in the "You Rock" Group series
- Printing and shipping for an initial run of 2,000 hardcover books
- Marketing and promotion
I sincerely appreciate everybody who helps make this project a reality. I've received a very enthusiastic response by a number of communities that believe in my vision for these books, and I'm excited to make this publishing entity a reality. Thank you in advance for your help and support!
Risks and challenges
Of course, should you choose to back us on this project, your credit card won't get charged unless we reach our goal.
Should we reach our goal, however, the only possible problems that could arise would be a delay in the deliverables by at most a month. Our illustrator is hard at work as we speak, and we have a reputable printer already lined up to handle production. There is no risk - all of our backers will receive their rewards at the giving level that you choose.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)