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A funny, magical mermaid book that reflects the power of kids to be wise, loving and kind. Prevents self-hatred & promotes sanity!
A funny, magical mermaid book that reflects the power of kids to be wise, loving and kind. Prevents self-hatred & promotes sanity!
157 backers pledged $15,723 to help bring this project to life.

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$15,723

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"Venus and the Pistil Whipsies" by Esther Samuels-Davis
"Venus and the Pistil Whipsies" by Esther Samuels-Davis


¡Mermādia!

Mermādia is located 152 unfathomables beneath the sea, nestled around an underwater crescent lake surrounded by desert lovescapes. It is a royal and peaceful community, where mermaid yoginis live with sea creatures in interspecies harmony. All beings are equal, loving-kindness is the norm, and self-hatred does not exist.  

"Mermaid House and Mermādia Landscape Study" by Esther Samuels-Davis
"Mermaid House and Mermādia Landscape Study" by Esther Samuels-Davis

Like all mermaids, Venus’ life begins with music: enchanted songs express the joy of inviting a new baby into Mermādia

Like mermaids, Earth girls and boys (who are born 80% made of water!) also benefit deeply from early exposure to music: music accelerates brain development, helps the mind and body work together, and improves motor skills, language and overall literacy

Wisdom Eye Songbook will contain 3 original songs that will be written for children in primary years.

The songs introduce young readers to the world of Mermādia, and foreshadow three important parts of the Wisdom Eye Storybook:

  • In the Light of the Pick-a-Tail Tree”: Every baby mermaid is born with a Birth Tail, which they have their whole lives. But mermaids ALSO get to pick a Daily Tail from the Pickatail Tree every day, like choosing an outfit or a hairstyle! Picking out the Daily Tail sets the mermaids’ intentions for the day.  
  • Shell’s Bells”: Shells Bells, a wandering gypsea band of 4 conches that travel like Russian nesting dolls, deliver “mermamograms” -- songs of love, friendship and humor -- which are sent between mermaids.  
  • Baby Mermaid Lullaby”: The Songbook ends with baby mermaids going to sleep and entering dream space to the sound of a mermaid lullaby. 


"In the Light of the Pick-a-Tail Tree" Mock-Up
"In the Light of the Pick-a-Tail Tree" Mock-Up

Volume 2 of Venus Underwater follows a day in the life of Venus the mermaid yogini as she studies Magic in Charm School (#notyourmotherscharmschool). After a morning of bewitched classes with teachers like Dr. Hugh Manatee and Professor Kerman the Merman (who can’t swim very well), Venus and her classmates take a field trip to a special amusement park, Six Tails. 

At the park, while on a particularly mind-bending ride called the Rabbit-Worm Hole, the class journeys to Mermantis, where Mermaids and earthwalkers used to live in harmony. They witness Creepy Crawler the Trawler, which Greedy Hughmans created to steal allgood energy bubbles from the Mermaids while under the effect of the Greed Curse. (Mermaids are made of the allgood element.) Venus and her classmates work together as a team using mindfulness, imagination and positive intention to create a group remedy to save Mermantis. 

"Sea School Study" by Esther Samuels-Davis
"Sea School Study" by Esther Samuels-Davis

Mermaids have normal eyes that look outward, but also a Wise Eye at their belly that sees inward. They have normal ears that hear sounds outside, but also a Wise Ear that listens to the inner voice of kindness. And they have a Wise Mind that knows how to see, how to listen and how to think in a way that creates happiness and peace inside. 

"Venus and Her Wise Eye" by Esther Samuels-Davis
"Venus and Her Wise Eye" by Esther Samuels-Davis

Venus Underwater offers readers practical tools for navigating common challenges as bravely and with as much humor as the mermaids. By seeing positive qualities embodied in the books’ characters, kids will learn that kindness is cool, compassion helps you make friends, and that healing happens in community. 



As many parents, teachers and child psychologists know, the amount of self-hatred and lack of self-esteem in kids is deeply troubling. And one of the big stressors we ALL feel is the climate crisis. 

Venus Underwater is the first book in a trauma-informed children’s book series, Venus and Her Fly Trip, that nurtures the whole child by promoting individual-level social/emotional/mental health, and also contributing to supportive family, school and community systems



The problems that Venus and her friends overcome in the book are universal issues faced by ALL kids, regardless of gender! However, we need more female characters to promote a balance in representation of girls and boys in creative media (including literature, movies, etc.)

This series will be written with a female-dominant perspective, simply to show kids how utterly normal it is that girls (and non-binary/trans/fluid people) can do everything boys can do. The more well-rounded heroines (and heroes) kids can read about and relate with, the more likely they will be able to grow heroic qualities in themselves. 



Julia Hengst (Author) is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), avid surfer, and word pun aficionado with more than 20 years experience working with youth on mindfulness/meditation, media literacy, multi-cultural awareness and conflict mediation. 

Esther Samuels-Davis (Artist) is a Berlin-based children’s book illustrator from upstate New York who has published several books including The Sunbug Boogie, Queens of our Sinking Cities, Bodybuilding with the Masterette of the Universe, and others! Making children’s books has been her “ultimate dream since the beginning of time.” 

Rachel Panni (Songstress) is a formally-trained musician who takes influences in jazz, hip-hop, classical and other music genres into her playful production as a singer, multi-instrumentalist and public school music educator. 

Sarah Clark (Productress) is the Founding Director of Image & Sound Group and manages creative arts initiatives that make the world a better place including literature, video and animation projects in K-12 education, public health, environmental conservation and animal welfare. 

Mermaid Brigade Secret Powers! The secret, creative force behind all the Venus and Her Fly Trip books is the collective effort of the Mermaid Brigade, an incredible team of healers, therapists, teachers, artists, musicians and thinkers who are concerned about the inner life of our young people and want them to remember the magic of life. You can read the complete bios of each Mermaid Brigade member by visiting http://www.venusandherflytrip.net/mermaid-brigade 

Venus Underwater will contain all original artwork, illustrated in full color and printed on Earth-friendly 100% recycled paper with soy-based inks. The final trim size and number of pages will be designed during the implementation of the project, however we’re aiming for the “standard” 32-page layout. 

While it is more expensive to print these books in an eco-friendly way, we feel strongly this is the only way to go! Any donation to this project is a pledge to the Earth as well as a pledge to help prevent self-hatred! Demand creates supply, and we want to show suppliers that we demand earth-friendly printing practices. 

Venus Underwater will be designed following a “pages for all ages” concept that responds to the developmental needs of each child in the range of 4-10 years old. Wisdom Eye Songbook is geared more for smaller kids, while kids of all ages can enjoy the illustrations of Wisdom Eye Storybook although the story may be easier for older kids to comprehend. Our intention is for bigger kids to be able to read the story to their younger siblings and friends as well (following the Waldorf School approach).  







Venus Underwater is just part one of a series, Venus and Her Fly Trip. To learn more about Part 2 (Venus Made-of-Light) and Part 3 (Venus and the In-Betweens), visit http://www.venusandherflytrip.net/the-story 



The creation of Venus Underwater is already well underway (a first draft of the story is written and the songwriting and illustration has begun!). With funding we’ll hit the ground running. Out of a total goal of $15,000, the major budget categories will be allocated as follows: 

A first draft of the book is written and the environment and character design has already begun! Over the coming 2 years we'll be finalizing the words, fully illustrating and designing both volumes, and picking an eco-friendly printer!  

We believe in community power! Please tell your friends about the project!

We sincerely need your help! This has been a labor of love in large part, and we are relying on you to bring it to fruition. Everyone who donates gets the karma of promoting love and kindness in kids, so it’s a win-win! 


Risks and challenges

We understand and acknowledge that no project comes without risks and challenges, but we have planned and researched this project for almost 2 years and are ready to roll as soon as we hit our goal thanks to you, our community. Although we don't foresee any obstacles or delays, if we encounter them due to normal life challenges, we will communicate with full transparency to you, our backers, and work to resolve all issues in a timely manner.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Original Art Wallpaper Download

    Includes:
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Original Song and Wallpaper Download

    Includes:
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Venus Underwater Digital Download

    Digital copy of Venus Underwater: Volumes 1 (Wisdom Eye Songbook) and 2 (Wisdom Eye Storybook)

    Includes:
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
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    19 backers
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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    Good karma tier: donation station!

    This tier has been suggested by our backers! With this pledge, we will DONATE a digital copy of "Venus Underwater" to digital classrooms or online public libraries for kids and families to read for FREE! By sending the book as a digital version, it will make it easier to translate these books into other languages to reach even more kids! Gratitude is the attitude! You will also get a digital copy of the book when it's ready.

    Includes:
    • Digital download donation to online libaries/classrooms
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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy

    Hardcover copy of Venus Underwater: Volumes 1 (Wisdom Eye Songbook) and 2 (Wisdom Eye Storybook)

    Includes:
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
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    Ships to Only certain countries
    36 backers
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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy & Bag

    - Hardcover copy of Venus Underwater: Volumes 1 (Wisdom Eye Songbook) and 2 (Wisdom Eye Storybook)
    - "Venus and Her Fly Trip" Bag

    Includes:
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
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    Ships to Only certain countries
    15 backers
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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    Venus Underwater Hardcover, Bag & Hat

    - Hardcover copy of Venus Underwater: Volumes 1 (Wisdom Eye Songbook) and 2 (Wisdom Eye Storybook)
    - "Venus and Her Fly Trip" bag
    - "Venus and Her Fly Trip" trucker hat

    Includes:
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
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    Ships to Only certain countries
    2 backers
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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    Art Print: Venus and the Pistil Whipsies

    High quality art print of "Venus and the Pistil Whipsies" by Esther Samuels-Davis (11x14 inches)

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    2 backers
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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Therapeutic Session & Haiku

    - 90 minute Skype or telephone consultation with Julia Hengst, LMFT about anything you want (mental health, writing, surfing, etc!)
    - PLUS original haiku written just for you by Julia Hengst!

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 3 backers
    $
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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    Cooper the Hawk Dreamcatcher & Haiku

    - Cooper the Hawk Dreamcatcher (handmade in Maui with real hawk feathers)
    - PLUS original haiku written just for you by Julia Hengst!

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 2 backers
    $
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    Pledge US$ 400 or more About US$ 400

    Custom Surfboard Fins & Haiku

    - Choice of 1 surfboard fin with original art by Caity O'Leary:
    Fin 1: "Pistil Whipsies", OR Fin 2: "Pickatail Tree"
    - PLUS original haiku written just for you by Julia Hengst!

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Framed Art Print & Haiku

    - Framed high quality art-print of "Venus & the Pistil Whipsies" by Esther Samuels-Davis (11x14 inches) OR "Mermaid Watercolor" by Bliss Griffin (12x12 inches)
    - PLUS original haiku written just for you by Julia Hengst!

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    0 backers
    $
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    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    Framed ORIGINAL Art & Haiku

    - Framed original "Mermaid Watercolor" art by Bliss Griffin (12x12 inches)
    - PLUS original haiku written just for you by Julia Hengst!

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    MAGICAL MERMAID ARTS SUPPORTER

    - Framed art print of "Venus and the Pistil Whipsies" by Esther Samuels-Davis (11x14 inches) OR "Mermaid Watercolor" by Bliss Griffin (12x12 inches)
    - PLUS original haiku written just for you by Julia Hengst!
    - PLUS name a character in Venus Underwater!

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    0 backers
    $
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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    FRESHEST CATCH MERMAID BENEFACTOR

    - Framed ORIGINAL art, "Venus and the Pistil Whipsies" by Esther Samuels-Davis (16.5 x 11.75 inches)
    - PLUS original haiku written just for you by Julia Hengst!
    - PLUS name a character in Venus Underwater!

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    SURF & ART MAUI EXPERIENCE

    In addition to all of the rewards in the $1000 category, we will plan a ridiculously fun 5-day SURF & ART experience for you and up to 3 of your loved ones in collaboration with Maui Surfer Girls. The 5-day excursion will include accommodations and food but not airfare and car rental.

    Includes:
    • Venus Underwater Hardcover Copy: Vols 1 & 2
    • Original art wallpaper download by Esther Samuels-Davis
    • Original song mp3 by Rachel Panni from "Wisdom Eye Songbook"
    • "Venus and Her Fly Trip" stickers
    • Mermaid tail mandala bag
    • Mermaid tail mandala trucker hat
    • Invitation to Venus Underwater release party
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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Funding period

- (30 days)