Thanks to YOU, our amazing backers, we've passed the 85% funded mark unlocking an awesome new BONUS reward. ALL REWARD TIERS will now also receive an exclusive BEHIND THE SCENES artwork development e-book, giving an insight into the creative process behind the visuals of the book - from reference images, Thom's scribbled artistic direction sketches, the black and white artwork in development and of course, Matt's AWESOME final illustrations.
Ballistic Kids is an illustrated story book with a rock 'n' roll soundtrack, introducing children to the AWESOME experience of being in a band...
Ballistic Kids is a 48 page, A4 size story book of rhyming fun, written by Thom Craigen and illustrated in full colour by Matt Riste, whose artwork style evokes classic children’s books by Mervyn Peake and Maurice Sendak, bringing the perfect touch of darkness to the light-hearted humour of the rhyming text.
Suitable for reading aloud to younger children and for more advanced junior readers to enjoy reading alone, the story’s humour and rock ‘n’ roll references allow it to be enjoyed on a number of levels.
Ballistic Kids is more than just a book!
If 48 pages of superbly illustrated, rock 'n' roll storytelling isn't enough, the book is accompanied by a mini-album of heavy, hook-laden songs by Ballistic Kids that children everywhere will want to sing along with!
Written and recorded by Scott Lee Andrews (who the main character is based on!), the songs add an extra dimension to the world of Ballistic Kids and will capture children's imagination, helping bring the band in the story to life. Kids enjoy rocking out just as much as adults, so Scott's focus was on writing big, catchy tunes to get children and adults alike jumping about and joining in.
Scott has toured around the globe with big names such as Ginger Wildheart as well as with his own bands, Midasuno and Exit_International. In these songs written for Ballistic Kids, he condenses his extensive songwriting, recording and production experience to create anthems which pack an almighty punk-rock punch.
The story of Ballistic Kids follows Scott and Matt, childhood outsiders from the small, sleepy village of Hilltop, who dream of rock ‘n’ roll stardom. When a new girl arrives at their school, her musical abilities and can-do attitude inspire the young boys to make their dream a reality and they quickly join forces with class-mates Thom and Su to form a band.
Their noisy rehearsals are soon upsetting local residents but the youngsters keep on rocking, channelling all their energy and creativity into pursuing their dream. Eager to prove themselves and show the world what they can do, they decide to enter the Summer Spectacular School Talent Show.
Will their debut performance be the disaster that everyone expects or will all their hard work and dedication pay off?
Scott lived in a village on top of a hill , where life moved so slowly it seemed to stand still. No youth club or skate park, no playground or zoo. There was pretty much nothing for children to do.
Scott enjoyed music and reading and drawing, but found life in Hilltop incredibly boring. He showed who he was in the way that he dressed, with the name of his favourite band on his chest.
His best buddy, Matt, was much more like a brother. Where you found one, you would soon find the other. It was tricky to tell, from their lopsided grins, but both Scott and Matt found it hard to fit in.
They often day-dreamed about being rock stars, on stage playing drums and electric guitars. The lights and the action, the hot sweaty crowd - and turning their amps up EXTREMELY LOUD!
One day a new girl arrived at their school, called Gina McQueen – she was cucumber cool. They knew she was truly the coolest by far when they found out that Gina could play the guitar!
The team behind Ballistic Kids met whilst their bands were recording at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales (best known for Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"). They became friends and ended up touring together, having an absolute blast playing live music venues around the UK.
Conversations on the road highlighted that for all of them, being in a band as they grew up provided a unique sense of identity, improved their confidence and self-esteem and helped forge life-long friendships.
Some years later, inspired by children’s authors like Julia Donaldson and Jonny Duddle, Thom Craigen turned his love of language and rhyme to writing Ballistic Kids - a children's book based on their real-life experiences, to encourage young children to discover the magic of playing music and being in a band.
Our mission is to inspire the rock stars of tomorrow to pick up an instrument and form a band with their friends...
There is a huge amount of evidence that learning to play music is good for you. Academics, musicians and music teachers, rock stars and rock schools all agree that learning to play music is particularly beneficial to children’s development. It’s not surprising, really. Learning to play an instrument takes patience, persistence, and focus, which are also important qualities needed to succeed at school, at work and in life generally.
Learning to play alone is great, but being in a band also provides a sense of belonging, pride and comradeship. It has a huge positive effect on confidence and self-esteem and helps children forge life-long friendships, as well developing a wide range of life skills and personal abilities including patience, persistence, focus, creative thinking, team-working, attention to detail, problem solving, improvisation, communication, loyalty, determination and resilience. That's quite a list!
In short - music makes you smarter, makes you healthier and makes you happier. Ballistic Kids exists to bring this message to young children through characters they can identify with, in a book they will revisit, with or without their parents, time and time again.
We have chosen to self-publish using the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, so that we can bring Ballistic Kids to market on our own terms, keeping full artistic control. We recognise the benefits that working with a large publishing house could bring in terms of reaching a bigger audience, but first and foremost we want to stay true to our vision for Ballistic Kids without having to make any compromises.
As a backer of our project on Kickstarter, you are helping Ballistic Kids come to life and we will send you updates as the project progresses, giving you an inside look at the creative process.
You can choose from a variety of rewards, including a copy of the book, and we've also put together some extra special limited edition rewards if you want something unique! If you like what we're doing and want to help it succeed but don't want a reward, there's an option for that too.
Kickstarter campaigns work on a “all or nothing” model, so we will only receive the money pledged by supporters when the campaign hits its target of £4,900, which is the minimum amount needed to cover the creative, manufacturing and distribution costs. In the (hopefully unlikely) event that the campaign doesn't reach its target, you keep your money, so it's a safe process for everyone involved!
If the campaign achieves its target, we have a number of "stretch goals" in plan, so that all supporters get something extra as the campaign becomes more successful.
**** All images are for illustration only. Final cover design and prints may differ. ****
Author - Thom Craigen
Thom has played guitar and bass in bands since the age of seventeen, mainly playing tiny venues and parties for friends whilst at school and university. In his twenties he played bass with rock four-piece, Colour of Fire, and enjoyed a few years recording and promoting their album 'Pearl Necklace' across the UK, Europe and Japan - supporting the likes of Placebo, Biffy Clyro, Idlewild and Silverchair along the way. Thom now lives in York, UK with his wife, who plays the drums, and their own two ballistic kids - who are also learning to play drums, guitar, piano and bass. Ballistic Kids is a way for Thom to share the magical experience he had playing in bands and hopefully to inspire the next generation of rock stars to experience it for themselves.
Illustrator - Matt Riste
Whilst at school, Matt formed a band with friends (including Scott), called Midasuno. Their chaotic live shows created a buzz on the UK music scene, winning them best unsigned act at the Welsh Music Awards. Signings with Frontline, Lockjaw and Sugarshack records during their 7-year career saw Midasuno record a number of singles, EPs and albums with a relentless touring schedule to promote their various releases. Midasuno decided to call it a day, despite rave reviews from rock press titles including Rocksound, Metal Hammer, and Kerrang, although at the request of their fans, they briefly reunited three years later for one almighty last show. Matt went on to pursue a career in illustration and recent projects have included album cover art for (ex-Motorhead guitarist) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, re-imagined illustrations for "The Twits" for The Roald Dahl centenary as well as exhibition pieces for the Royal Horticultural Society. Matt lives with his wife and son in the Valleys in South Wales where he also still plays drums in All The Damn Vampires.
Songwriter - Scott Lee Andrews
Despite being huge local heroes, Scott was never quite satisfied with the level of success achieved with Midasuno. He formed Exit_International, a 3 piece bass-guitars-and-screaming noise pop machine, using crowdfunding platforms to finance the recording of two critically acclaimed albums during their nine year career. More recently Scott has also collaborated and toured with Ginger Wildheart on the Mutation III - Dark Black project and now lives with his wife in Australia from where he has released material under his solo moniker Jaws of Deaf, as well as working on writing the catchiest punk rock songs in the world for Ballistic Kids.
As soon as we hit our Kickstarter target, Matt can block out December to complete the illustrations. Layout, final editing and printing will happen in January 2020 and then we'll look to begin start fulfilment as soon as we have the books back from the printers. Rewards should reach supporters by the end of February 2020.
Of course if we get it done earlier, we'll get them to you sooner, and if we hit any unforeseen delays, we'll keep everyone updated with regular emails.
What is my pledge paying for?
Risks and challenges
We can't wait to share Ballistic Kids with readers everywhere.
The text of the book is already written and illustrations are also well underway. Recording of the mini-album will begin as soon as the campaign achieves its target.
We have plenty of experience of writing, illustration, recording and distribution, so we're confident we can deliver a quality product you will love. Our biggest challenge will be making sure everything comes together to meet our delivery deadline of February 2020.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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