About this project
Atrocious Poems A To Z is a 32 page, hard bound children's book about all the things that kids love to hate the most.
Atrocious Poems A To Z is a book that takes the problems and challenges of childhood seriously. VERY seriously. Some might say too seriously. By taking a comic approach to everyday issues children face in lighthearted poems and whimsical drawings we hope to present a jumping off point where children and parents can discuss topics like bullying, sharing, dealing with siblings, anxiety etc. It was our goal to ease into these topics employing comedy, sensitivity, and an understanding that although children may see these "atrocities" as the end of the world, they are really things we have all gone through and just a natural part of growing up.
Me and my life and creative partner Jenny Mathews raise two children: Ella (13) and Jack (6), and although many of the poems and illustrations in the book are about the struggle of their daily lives and the so-called atrocities they encounter, we hope it will be applicable to all parents doing their best to explain a sometimes unfair and scary world to children.
In addition to dealing with day to day atrocities, it was also a goal of mine to teach some poetic form and basic literary devices to young readings. Literary devices such as paradox, verbal irony, oxymoron, portmanteau, and onomatopoeia can sometimes be difficult to explain without an example, so I've incorporated some of these more complicated literary devices into poems that are hopefully fun to read and not at all heavy-handed about teaching these lessons. My goal as a writer was to make it as fun as possible to spot these examples in the poem, but write poems complex enough that they would stand alone even without the literary lesson being taught.
The easiest part of Atrocities From A To Z to talk about are the illustrations, which are brilliant. It is a pleasure to work with my life partner Jenny Mathews of Rockford Illustrating. It is exceedingly rare for me even to have to explain what it is I was trying to convey in a poem or how she could amplify the meaning and message. She just gets it. The way the poems and illustrations act in concert is amazing. One could even say the words aren't even necessary, but what writer would say that?
The illustrations are so good they will be included in an exhibition this summer at the Rockford Art Museum called Bittersweet Observations. Those who back the project will have the option to pick up their books at this show. Additional artwork by Jenny Mathews will be on exhibit, also. We are very honored to be part of this show at one of our hometown's most prestigious and integral institutions and wish to extend a special note of thanks to curator Carrie Johnson. The illustrations from the book can be seen at Rockford Art Museum from June 9th to October 1st.
Finally, Atrocities From A To Z is a book. I know it seems nonsensical to say that, but in an era where physical books are becoming less and less a part of our childrens' lives we wanted to create an interesting physical artifact, one children would enjoy looking at and holding and maybe even come to think of as special. If we have done only that, we have accomplished our mission with Atrocities From A To Z.
Made entirely in the United States of America.
Risks and challenges
The most trying time in any publishing project is that lag between when you finish your work and have to turn it over to the printer. Will it look the way you envisioned it? Were all of your commas in place? Will they get it to you on time for the book release party? All of these are anxieties authors have all been through, and after completing a dozen publishing projects I still have them. Until that moment when they delivery truck drops your book off on the porch and you open up that box and hold that first book in your hand you never relax.
But I have a good relationship with my printer (all Zombie Logic Press books are printed in the USA), make a habit of allowing time for revisions, mistakes, natural disaster, whatever may come, and Atrocities From A To Z is on schedule.
Having planned production schedules, organized book release parties, done pre and post press and fulfillment for not only my own books, but other Zombie Logic Press authors, I take this part of the process the most seriously of all, and generally don't relax for one second until the fourth or fifth time I've read through the finished book to make sure it is exactly what I expected. I can't wait to see this book.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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