UPDATE: Stretch Goal
Within the last few hours, we passed our initial funding goal of £7,800! What a wonderful moment. Thank you to everyone who viewed, shared and pledged to make The Wedding Week a reality. As mentioned below, we want to support the many African schools and families going digital by creating The Wedding Week interactive eBook. This will have:
- Audio: listen to the story and perfect pronunciation in your chosen language,
- Extra content, and hopefully
- Animation (who wouldn’t want to see Geko’s moves on the dancefloor?)
The smallest quote I’ve had for this interactive eBook – excluding paying any actors to voice it – is a further £1,500 (taking the total to £9,300). Let’s use the last few days to future-proof this project. Make The Wedding Week a quickly and widely available learning tool.
Hello there, I’m Chimaechi. I love reading, but there were so few images of girls like me in the books I adored growing up in London. My mother tongue, Igbo, was also nowhere to be seen. It was like growing up in a vacuum. And vacuums suck! Recently, on holiday in West Africa, I went into a children’s bookshop. NONE of the books had African children on them. NONE of the books were in African languages. I couldn’t believe it!
After working in editorial at Random House Children’s Books and at Amazon.co.uk, I founded www.KioGlobal.com, a company that distributes multicultural and multilingual children’s books. This year I wrote The Wedding Week: A journey through traditional weddings around the world. I did this because lots of children are still growing up in a vacuum. In a vacuum, the images of success, beauty and opportunity that children see exclude them. It sends these children a message that they are invisible. ‘Invisible children’ are a global problem. The Wedding Week is a multicultural, multilingual picture book that we are creating to change that.
The Wedding Week is the first book I’ve written. I’ve assembled a great team to help me publish it:
Our graphic designer, Zoe Waring, has worked
with global publishers such as Random House and Bloomsbury (home of Harry Potter),
- Our illustrator, collage artist Amber Cooper-Davies, graduated last year. Amber cuts and layers various kinds of paper to create vibrant images and animations,
- Our Yoruba translator, Titilayo Oluwatudimu, is an experienced primary school principal. Our Igbo translator, Yvonne Mbanefo, runs a language learning website, LearnIgboNow.com, and…
Our backers -- you!
Seven Weddings, Four Languages
It’s The Wedding Week in downtown Lagos: only seven days to go until Cousin Ayo’s traditional Yoruba wedding! Femi and Kemi are so excited to see their cousin that they are counting down the days. But what else will they do at the wedding? Each day, Mummy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa and the teacher show Femi and Kemi a new thing that happens at weddings, both in Nigeria and around the world.
Why weddings? Because they allow me to introduce clothing, food and family vocabulary to new readers.
The Wedding Week will be printed in dual language text, and in English only. The West African languages we are printing are currently not widely available in high-quality print for children. They are:
- Igbo, a language on the UNESCO endangered languages list,
- Yoruba, a language dating back over 2,000 years, and the African language most widely spoken outside Africa,
- Hausa, a language spoken across Nigeria, Niger Republic, Ghana, Cameroon and Sudan, and
English, a language
that links diverse groups and nations in Africa, Asia and beyond.
But What Do the Teachers Think?
Since 2012, I have travelled to various education conferences and to schools in West Africa. I shared the text of The Wedding Week in classes with 5-7 year olds in Lagos, Nigeria, during Summer 2014. Learning from teachers in the UK and in Africa, I found that a resource like The Wedding Week could improve literacy in children’s mother tongues and in English. It could also promote understanding of cultural heritage in diverse countries such as Nigeria, and understanding of cultures globally. Understanding in a deeply divided society fosters peace.
The Wedding Week
includes various educational features for children aged 4-8. The book
- ‘ou’ phonics words in English,
- the bedtime routine,
- days of the week and counting words in dual languages,
- food, clothing, urban and family vocabulary in dual languages,
- multiple cultures from around the world,
- extra information on each featured culture at the back of the book,
- similarities as well as differences in the way cultures celebrate,
- the characteristic of patience to wait for the big day, and
- contemporary urban and rural settings.
The illustrations are detailed and engaging, allowing younger children who ‘read’ the pictures to follow the story and converse about what is happening. We also have a small character hiding on every page for younger children to find! Non-fiction information at the back of the book allows older children to discuss and further research the aspects of celebration and culture in the story.
Sounds Awesome, When Will I Get One?
The text is written and edited. We’ve begun translation and designed the first layouts. The illustrator has drawn pencil sketches and created concept art for The Wedding Week. If we receive the Kickstarter funding, we will complete the creative work and print the books during November/December 2014. Shipping will be from China to the UK and then to you, so this may take two and a half weeks by airfreight, or longer by cheaper seafreight. Every backer will receive an eBook and/or credit reward in time for Christmas.
Here Comes the Science
Children’s picture books are the most cost intensive books because of their format and colour. The dual language text, extra vocabulary and culture information mean that the book offers 40 colour pages rather than the usual 32 or 28 pages. We also are printing a total of 2,000 books: a short print run of 500 books in each language edition, which also increases cost. For these reasons, we are outsourcing to the cheapest and best quality printers in East Asia. The Wedding Week is a picture book because the early years are when children are most impressionable. The early years are the time when they most need to see themselves reflected in the books and media they enjoy. For adult readers learning English, Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo, the pictures are a great vehicle to help access meaning.
The costs in order of size are:
- Artwork and design work
- International shipping
- Other expenses such as buying ISBNs.
With any extra money we receive above our bid, we will convert The Wedding Week into an interactive ebook – with audio and extra content – to support African schools in going digital.How it works here at Kickstarter is if we make our target or more, we can make the book happen. If we don’t, nothing happens. So please, click the green button and make a child feel visible.
Risks and challenges
I'm still looking for a Hausa translator. However, I have posted vacancy ads to universities with African Studies faculties in London and have extended this to other universities and cultural groups. ***UPDATE*** Nigeria has just been declared Ebola free. Fantastic news.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)