Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 1, 2011.

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The Uprise Books Project is building a website to provide banned and challenged books to underprivileged teens.

The Uprise Books Project is about getting banned and challenged books to teens throughout the United States. Or, rather, it will be... once our site is finished. That's sorta where this Kickstarter campaign comes in. We need you, concerned and generous Internet friends, to help cover the cost of designing and developing the website we'll use to get those books out.

When we're through, kids throughout the country will be able to use the site to browse through a selection of books that have been banned and/or challenged somewhere in the United States and add the ones that interest them to their personal Wish Lists. As long as they're between the ages of 13 and 18 and meet the income requirements, we'll do our best to fulfill their requests.

At the same time, folks concerned about little things like poverty, literacy and censorship will be able to search through some basic demographic data to find books  they'd like to sponsor. For example, donors could contribute towards requests for particular banned books that touched them when they were younger, or books that were challenged because of specific content (racism, homosexuality, etc.). Others might be interested in requests from specific states. Doesn't matter. We'll make it easy to give in a ways that are meaningful to them.

OK, but why banned and challenged books?

Two reasons. First, we simply don't believe in censorship. As the American Library Association says, "Constitutionally protected speech cannot be suppressed solely to protect children or young adults from ideas or images a legislative body believes to be unsuitable for them." We think that parents have a right and an obligation to monitor their own child's access to literature they feel might be inappropriate, but they can't control another child's access. By banning and challenging books in schools and libraries, though, they do just that.

Second, and most importantly, we think that the idea that these texts have been banned and challenged might motivate these kids to actually read the things. A sixteen-year-old boy might not care that the Radcliffe Publishing Course called The Great Gatsby the best novel of the 20th century, but his inherent teen sense of rebellion might entice him to pick up a book challenged because of its "language and sexual references."

Sounds awesome, but why can't you just use <insert awesome free blogging/CMS platform here>? Why do you need so much money?

Don't get us wrong. We love open source software, and we're big fans of WordPress and Drupal. In fact, we're going to build a WordPress-driven site to spread information about the cause until the fully armed and operational version is ready, and we'll likely use a heavily customized Drupal install as the backbone of the Real Site. But...

Using existing plugins (and this seems to be the case whether we're talking about Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.), we can kludge together the some of the functionality that we need, but we'd end up stuck with slow manual processes that are prone to human error and don't scale to meet the needs of the huge number of kids we hope to serve. The site you're helping to develop will be capable of helping more kids get books, period. And with the site running on autopilot, we'll have more time to focus on fundraising, outreach, educational efforts, etc.

Also, the $10k goal is a little misleading. Yes, we could easily spend that amount on design and custom coding to get as much of our dream functionality as possible, but even if we reach our current goal, we won't see the full amount. Kickstarter keeps a percentage (5%), Amazon gets a cut (3-5%)... and that doesn't include the costs associated with the awesome rewards you'll get for contributing (printing, shipping, etc.).

And let's face it. To say we have the design skills of blind, drunk chimps is an insult to inebriated primates everywhere. Seriously. If we tried to design something ourselves, we'd end up with a site that looked like this:


And our coding skills aren't much better... We need the help of professional developers who can make this better/stronger/faster.

Fine, fine. But what's in it for me?

We're pretty excited about the rewards we're able to offer in this campaign, thanks in no small part to some people who've proven they're just as interested in this cause as we are. 

For example, we've partnered with some incredible artists who are creating original, banned book-inspired pieces just for this project. For as little as a $25 contribution, you can have your choice of one of the prints being created RIGHT NOW by Robin Kaplan, hopskotch SunDAY, Dane Ault and Ryan Pollard. We'll post updates here as the works come together, but you can check out each of their individual sites to find out why we're so excited to have them on board. We can't wait to see what they come up with.

We have a few very cool limited rewards, too. The first 10 people who make $35+ contributions will also receive a copy of Mike Russell's book, The Sabertooth Vampire: The Complete First Season. And our friends at Doubleday Press  and ThinkGeek have kicked in a few items for the first three $200+ donors to fight over.  (First come, first serve one those. Kickstarter's terms of service ruled out the Thunderdome.)

And of course, everyone who pitches in at least $5 will be recognized on the very Uprise Books Project website they helped turn into a reality.

FAQ

  • Not yet. For now and the immediate future, the program is for kids in the United States only. As we grow, there's always the chance for international expansion, but the logistics are a bit daunting for a new organization. Different laws, etc. Eventually, though, we'd like to see that change.

    Last updated:
  • We love libraries, and we'd love nothing more than for kids to spend more time in them. Unfortunately, that's just not possible for many of the teens we're trying to reach. As a recent RIF-commissioned study said:

    "...children from poorer families have fewer books in their homes, have fewer books available in the school and classroom library, and live farther from public libraries than do children raised by middle- and upper-income families." (http://www.rif.org/documents/us/RIFandLearningPointMeta-FullReport.pdf)

    So libraries are a great way for kids to get access to books (banned and otherwise), just not for the kids that can't get to them.

    Our model overcomes some other hurdles, too. For instance, by shipping books directly to the kids, we give them one less excuse not to read. If you can bring the books to the kids instead of making the kids come to the books, you're removing one more barrier.

    Also, remember that these kids likely don't have many personal possessions. A book that they've selected on their own, one that a completely stranger cared enough to buy for them... well, that's going to have some meaning and value beyond just the words on the pages.

    Last updated:
  • Gah. Yes. An incredibly stupid typo that we didn't catch in time.

    We actually have a support ticket open to help erase our stupid mistake (once someone pledges, you can't change it yourself). In the meantime, we've sentenced ourselves to writing "I will not misspell 'P-A-L-A-H-N-I-U-K.'" on the chalkboard eleventy million times.

    I will not misspell 'P-A-L-A-H-N-I-U-K.'
    I will not misspell 'P-A-L-A-H-N-I-U-K.'
    I will not misspell 'P-A-L-A-H-N-I-U-K.'
    I will not misspell 'P-A-L-A-H-N-I-U-K.'
    I will not misspell 'P-A-L-A-H-N-I-U-K.'
    I will not misspell 'P-A-L-A-H-N-I-U-K.'...

    Last updated:
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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    32 backers

    Immortality. Your name will be enshrined forever on the very website you helped build. Everyone who visits The Uprise Books Project website will know that YOU made it happen.

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    51 backers

    Enshrinement and a sweet Uprise Books Project bookmark. People who see you on the train or the bus will know that you not only stopped reading on a certain page, but that you care about things like poverty, literacy and censorship.

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    48 backers

    Enshrinement, a bookmark, and your choice of dainty 5x7 original, banned book-inspired prints created by the amazing artists mentioned over in the project description.

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  • Pledge $35 or more
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    10 backers All gone!

    Enshrinement, a bookmark, and your choice of good-sized 8x10 original, banned book-inspired prints created by the amazing artists mentioned over in the project description. AND... the first 10 people who contribute at this level will also receive a copy of Mike Russell's book, The Sabertooth Vampire: The Complete First Season.

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  • Pledge $35 or more
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    27 backers

    Enshrinement, a bookmark, and your choice of good-sized 8x10 original, banned book-inspired prints created by the amazing artists mentioned over in the project description.

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    28 backers

    Enshrinement, a bookmark, and your choice of pretty darn big 12x18 original, banned book-inspired prints created by the amazing artists mentioned over in the project description.

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    4 backers Limited (21 left of 25)

    All the rewards from the $50 level, PLUS a signed copy of Ellen Hopkins's New York Time bestseller, Crank!

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    10 backers

    Enshrinement, a bookmark, and your choice of freakin' huge 20x30 original, banned book-inspired prints created by the amazing artists mentioned over in the project description.

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  • Pledge $150 or more
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    2 backers

    In addition to the $100 rewards, you'll receive a copy of "Americus," the new-ish graphic novel from MK Reed and Jonathan Hill! Fittingly enough, "Americus" tells the tale of Neal Barton, a small-town kid dealing with the fact that a group of locals want to ban his favorite fantasy series. See the connection? And because you'll no doubt want to stay up all night reading "Americus" once you crack it open, we're including another reward at this level: one 750 ml bottle of Black Blood of the Earth (aka "Weapons Grade Coffee"). Quite possibly the work of the Devil himself, this concoction contains roughly 40x as much caffeine as your typical cup o' joe. You can read all about on the Funranium Labs site: http://www.funraniumlabs.com/the-black-blood-of-the-earth/bbote-faq/

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  • Pledge $200 or more
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    3 backers All gone!

    Enshrinement, a bookmark, and your choice of freakin' huge 20x30 original, banned book-inspired prints created by the amazing artists mentioned over in the project description. PLUS... the first three contributors at this level will receive either the complete Chuck Palahniuk collection (contributed by Doubleday Press), a Tauntaun Sleeping bag (provided by ThinkGeek), or an iCADE (again, generously donated by ThinkGeek). (One of each available. First person gets first choice, second person gets to pick one of the other two, third person just better be happy with what they get.)

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    2 backers

    Enshrinement, a bookmark, and ALL FOUR of the pretty darn big 12x18 original, banned book-inspired prints.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    0 backers

    Enshrinement, a bookmark, and ALL FOUR of the freakin' huge 20x30 original, banned book-inspired prints.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    2 backers

    All the rewards from the $500 level, PLUS a Kindle Fire with copies of Ellen Hopkins's Crank Trilogy, Perfect and her latest novel, Triangles!

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Funding period

- (42 days)