How I met a Kindred Spirit On Kickstarter

 

COVER F

 

For those of you unfamiliar with “Kickstarter” it’s part fundraiser, part social network, all about giving authors and other creative types the chance to turn their dream projects into reality.

Unlike ebay, though, your project has to be screened and approved by Kickstarter, so just like authors submitting manuscripts (or illustrators portfolios of their work) we can be rejected, and if we don’t earn the amount of money set as a benchmark, all money’s returned to their respective donors (Which Kickstarter calls “Backers”), so this isn’t an easy way to score funds, but it is a WAY, and it can be an added motivator to help authors committed to their work make connections with their backers, and lead to networking opportunities not possible before.

It’s essentially an ebay-style fundraiser service with a social network aspect, but unlike Facebook, you have to be a paying “Backer” to be part of the dialogue of a Kickstarter project. Minimum is 1.00 ($USD), but can be higher, and the more you can donate, the greater the rewards backers can earn. 

In terms of book projects, I’ve seen everything from signed editions (If and when the campaign earns it’s target amount), being mentioned in the acknowledgements, and for one project I will highlight next week (That’s nearing it’s final days and hope you’ll open your pocketbooks for along with me) you can even have your dog illustrated into the story!

 I connected with this author who had this cool Kickstarter campaign, sadly it was too late for me to donate, and she only raised half the the money she needed, but long story short (For once), I reached out to her and offered to help if I could, though she didn’t reach her goal on Kickstarter, she’s determined to make her picture book series happen, and her first book is available in limited quantities, and it’s GORGEOUS! Her illustrator reminds me of the late, great Fred Marcelino, and even though the campaign’s over, you’ve got to see the video while you still can, she did a good job on it, IMHO-

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jennifercarson/fox-hollow-tales-first-in-the-series-illustrated-s

For those of you who are still “Social Networking” averse, THIS is a prime example of TRUE down-to-earth networking at work. I would NOT have known about Jennifer Carson or this charming book had I not leapt into Kickstarter, and while her Kickstarter campaign didn’t earn out, she and her illustrator are not giving up, and when this book comes to fruition, your literary rat will tell you about it.

In the meantime, I urge you to check out Kickstarter to see if there are projects you’d like to be a backer for. The best part about Kickstarter is that you can make a difference if earnings are met, even exceeded the target goal. You might even have the honor of one day saying “I helped this author get started” not just by donating your money, but also by saying (Even if not aloud) “You’re Enough.” Two words ANY person wants to hear in life, but especially when they do something that comes from their hearts, and are willing to put themselves out there above and beyond to do so.

While I couldn’t help Jennifer financially get this book off the ground, meeting a kindred spirit in terms of what we write and read, Kickstarter’s platform brought me to someone I’d otherwise might not know about, and her story among others I found browsing Kickstarter campaigns this summer reminds me why it’s so important to give back.

To learn more about Jennifer Carson-

Check out her interview the blog  for “Fiber College of Maine” (http://fibercollege.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/artist-interview-jennifer-carson/)

Follow her on Twitter (@JenniferCarson)

Stay tuned next week for an important post on how you can contribute to another new voice in the world of animal fantasy, and what you can win (From me) if you do.

Until next time,

May the fantastic fauna be with you.

 

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings 1

 

Today’s post will be semi-short today.

I’ve got a lot of do, but wanted to share a bit of what I’ve been reading amidst “Life Happens” moments. Keep in mind, I’ll likely review these in-depth, so these are only bullet points of books  you might want to read with or without your child-

I have been reading a LOT of picture books I want to review on T.A.A., and a few early readers, as well. I can’t write these books (YET) but they are are a joy to read-

I, Crocodile

I, Crocodile by Fred Marcellino

He’s one of the few illustrators I know of who mostly illustrated other authors books, and this is one of the few (If not only) book he wrote and illustrated. His art has a vintage feel without being hokey or saccharine. Humor here is dry yet cheeky, but not as subversive as Dahl or Sendak. Something in the middle.

That said, if your kids or students love Dahl or had the debate about Jon Klassen’s “I Want My Hat Back” about “if he or didn’t he” to a certain rabbit, they’ll love where this story ends. I personally found it a bit sadistic for my tastes, but it was true to the character, and I respect that.

Carousel Cat

Carousel Cat by Robert J. Blake

 

Sweet art and a brilliant love letter to Jersey Shore, YEARS before the recent damage of Hurricane Sandy.

This is a cat story even a devout dog-lover like me
(I’ve grown to like cats, too) can enjoy. Animals don’t talk here, but a fine story of how animals help us carry on in hard times.

I know one of the needs of some agents and editors are books about families struggling financially. There’s organic hints of that in the story that can be great talking points for parents and teachers to use for the pre/emergent readers up to second grade.

Wonderful illustrations, and it’s bit text heavy by today’s minimalist standards, but every word counts, in my opinion.

Wolves

Wolves by Emily Gravett

 

I’ve seen this author everywhere but never read her until this book. If could write nonfiction, this book is a litmus test to how I’d do it. Facts presented in a non-sterile way.

The illustrations are abstract yet express the real world facts about wolves, in a fantastical way, the presentation is brilliant on two levels, both promoting libraries and early research skills for students, and I’m personally a sucker for vintage accents in a book.

For those of you with skiddish little ones (Not all kids have the the courage of Madeline early) this book has a dual ending, one more silly than factual, but both are well handled without either sounding patronizing.

 

Barnaby the Bedbug Detective

Barnaby the Bedbug Detective

Written by Catherine Sitter

Illustrated by Karen Sapp

 

Of course, I had to get a (domestic) dog story in there, and this is a great one, it’s loosely based on true events, and a different kind of career animal for readers to learn about.

While most career dogs known to kids are police dogs, fire dogs, and given our worldview these days, bomb-sniffing dog used in the military or national guard, this is one of the lesser known

Until recently, I always thought bedbugs were made up, but they’re real, and can be a big problem, even harder to detect than termites. It’s good dogs like Barnaby in real life that aid us in keeping them out of our home.

It’s also a charming story with non-preachy messages of adopting older dogs from shelters, seeing promise in others where some see only problems, and there’s a little “Leo the Late Bloomer” here as well.

That’s all for now. Until next time,

May the Fantastical Fauna be with you.

 

If my ramblings convinced you to buy one or more of the books mentioned above, please support T.A.A. by clicking on the affiliate cover images above.