Pragmatic Princess: 26 Superb Stories of Self-Sufficiency is an A-Z compilation of 26 short stories (112 pages!) about self-reliance designed for children aged 3 to 8+. Pragmatic Princess changes the narrative away from female characters needing help from a male companion or superpowers and towards one of self-sufficiency.
The fictional characters in childhood stories are some of our earliest teachers. We learn a range of things through the observation of these symbolic models, such as what is right and wrong, a desirable and undesirable behavior, gender roles, norms, stereotypes, and more. The role of models is particularly influential in childhood as it can have a long lasting impact on intellectual, social, emotional, and moral development. This is why it is critical to have stories that move beyond the belief that female characters are best suited as damsels in distress or need superpowers to be successful. Pragmatic Princess is not just changing the narrative, it's doing so with the power of science behind it!
The Science Behind the Writing
I drew on my professional background as a research psychologist when developing these stories to ensure they are easy and fun to read as well as to maximize the transfer of knowledge relating to the lessons and morals within each story. This was done by carefully choosing story length, employing a rhyming scheme, and developing a diverse cast of characters.
The characters of Pragmatic Princess were developed to represent a range of shapes, sizes, abilities and disabilities, and traditional and non-traditional families.
For example, Eliana uses a wheelchair to get around. Ursula uses her hands to communicate. Isabel lives with her grandmother. Ophelia is being raised by a single father, Tabitha by a single mother. Harriet and Jasmine come from mixed-race families. Yuna lives with her adoptive parents and siblings.
It was important to incorporate diverse backgrounds into the characters' lives for them to reflect the diverse world we live in. It was equally important that these details were not the central theme of the stories themselves as our shape, level of ability, and what our family unit looks like are just some of the many parts of who we are and not necessarily the defining feature of our stories.
Each story in the series presents an age-appropriate challenge as well as models various skills that can be used to address these challenges. The real-world situations, combined with a diverse cast, help the readers relate to the characters and experiences, which is critical to fostering successful learning of skills modeled in each of the stories.
Symbolic Modeling and Skill Transfer
The symbolic models we have in our childhood (such as those in our storybooks) can have a long-lasting impact on our development. The role of models is particularly important in childhood as children learn what is desirable and undesirable behavior through observing the behaviors of others. The characters within Pragmatic Princess were designed to be symbolic models for social, intellectual, emotional, and moral development.
Through modeling how to navigate various age-appropriate challenges, readers will be learning a range of skills as they witness the characters successes and failures. The likelihood of learning modeled behaviors through observational learning significantly increases if the model is the same sex, ethnicity, or skill level of any particular activity - this is one of the reasons why it is so important to have a diverse cast of characters!
There are reward levels to meet everyones needs - a parent of one, a parent of ten, a teacher looking to stock their classroom or school library.
In-kind purchases on behalf of Read to a Child can be made at ANY TIER LEVEL. Please note that you will NOT be asked whether your reward was made in-kind until the fulfillment stage of the campaign.
There are also a whole host of amazing stretch goals that will be announced once the initial goal is met!
Production is the largest budget component. The book itself will be printed in the USA. While this is more expensive than overseas publishing, it provides more control over the process and will ensure the highest quality finished product.
Illustration fees include the cost of the initial character creation, Bella the Brave concept art, and the work required to illustrate the remaining 25 of the 26 short stories.
Warehouse fees will cover the cost of shipping and order fulfillment. This process will be overseen by Kickstarter recommended fulfillment service Fulfillrite to ensure that each order is expedited in a quick and efficient manner.
Shipping fees will cover the cost of shipping from the production facility to the distribution center as well as a small subsidy to cover the shipping costs for the orders made in kind to Read to a Child.
The remainder of the funding will cover Kickstarter and BackerKit fees.
All of the stories in Pragmatic Princess have been written. The time from launch to production will be used for copyediting, completing the illustrations, and manufacturing the book and tier rewards. Production is scheduled for early October and shipping Mid-November to ensure that the rewards make it to your doorstep in time for the holidays!
About the Author
Dr. Rachel Kowert is a research psychologist, author, and Mom of two children and one pug. She has previously published several non-fiction books.
About the Illustrator
Randall Hampton is an author, illustrator, husband and father of 3. He is the Creator of "The Little Game Master" series of books and considers himself a story teller above all else. When he is not spending time with family and friends, Randall enjoys reading, video games, music, and table top games of all sorts.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge with this project is to ensure that everything is completed and in hand to be shipped in time for the holiday season. To make sure this important deadline is not missed, I have chosen to produce the book in the United States. Producing the books in the US, while more expensive, will mitigate many of the (time consuming) challenges with overseas production and shipping.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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