Book #3 in the Scoochie & Skiddles Collection
The funding supports the finalization of the third book in the Scoochie and Skiddles illustrated children's books collection. This book is about perseverance and overcoming feelings of apprehension when faced with something new. All books in the collection celebrate the love of family (the main characters are cousins) while showcasing inclusivity through the main character's family (Scoochie has two dads) and other diverse characters.
My Story - My Family
I began writing children's stories in 2021, an activity that was inspired by a lack of representation of families like mine in children's literature. This is my story ...
My husband and I have been together for nearly 15 years. We bought our NJ home in 2012. We chose a home that would support a future family. We started with two cats and then came two dogs. In 2014, we married and in 2016, we adopted our first child. In 2021, we adopted our second child.
Our daughters are of a different race than us. Our oldest is a biracial child and our youngest is African American. As we filled their bedroom libraries with books that we would read to them daily, we discovered that our daughters were not seeing families that looked like theirs reflected in the pages they were reading. In 2021, I chose to change that and started writing children's books inspired by my own family.
This became the inspiration for Scoochie & Skiddles - a collection of books that celebrate the joy and love of family while representing diverse families and characters in every story. The character "Scoochie" is modeled after our oldest daughter and the character "Skiddles" is based on her cousin. When they are together, these two are pure energy. To view the world through their eyes is an opportunity to reawaken the innocence of childhood from which there are many lessons to be learned/relearned. They make up the rules as they go and, most importantly, they accept and love unconditionally and without judgment. It is an honor to tell their stories in the Scoochie & Skiddles collection.
Diverse Representation in Children's Books
All children need to identify with the characters they see in their stories and picture books. Unfortunately, there remains a significant representation gap in children's literature. The Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison tracks data related to diverse character representation and diverse authors. Their 2019 data shows that less than 12% of children's books reviewed had at least one African American main character and only 3% featured at least one LGBTQIA+ main character. In 2017, they published data indicating that of the 134 children's books with LGBTQIA+ content, only 21 were actually written by a LGBTQIA+ person.
Diverse stories and diverse authors are slowly helping to fill this gap that has existed for much too long. Most of the time, these authors are not represented by major publishers and must create, market and distribute their books using personal budgets, often without a return on investment due to thin profit margins on book sales. Yet, we must push forward. Our voices need to be heard. Our faces need to be seen.
Scoochie & Skiddles - The Previous Books
So far, there are currently two books in the Scoochie & Skiddles collection - Fun at Gramma's and Scoochie's Adoption Story . Both are inspired by actual events within our family. The first book, Fun at Gramma's, is a celebration of childhood fantasy and an ode to the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. The second book, Scoochie's Adoption Story, is the story of my husband's and my adoption of our oldest daughter told through her voice as I observed her tell her friends one day. To date, this book has won six distinct book awards and received high praise from a reviewer at the American Library Association's Rainbow Roundtable committee. Scoochie's Adoption Story has also been featured by CBSPhilly news, by SJMagazine and in the July/August 2022 issue of Gay Parent Magazine.
The Return of Scoochie & Skiddles
Scoochie & Skiddles will return in the Summer of 2023 in book #3. Scoochie & Skiddles are both learning how to rollerskate. Scooch had initial apprehension and uncertainty about her skill and ability to master this sport. After months of lessons, she has grown into a strong skater who rivals many adults. Skiddles, Scoochie's cousin, is just beginning her lessons and is experiencing the same reluctance and self-doubt that Scoochie did at first. In a way that only cousins can, Scoochie helps Skiddles push through her fear. The two discover that with a little help and a little practice, everything gets better.
While the story is oriented on their skating, the messages are strong that perseverance, practice and commitment lead to improved results. On brand with the other stories in the collection, there will be diversity in character representation both in the children and adults that are depicted. Additionally, the book will have a nostalgic flavor, especially for those 80s and 90s parents who grew up going to the skating rink every weekend.
Use of Funds
Creating a book isn't easy and certainly isn't cheap. Donations will go directly toward the cost of final production, marketing and distribution. Here's an estimated itemization of costs:
- $1,500-$2,000 - Illustration and production of marketing imagery/materials
- $1,000 - Book award competitions to gain recognition, credibility and visibility
- $750-1,000 - Online advertising, book fairs, vendor events
- $500 - Copyright, registrations and other miscellaneous
- $500 - Miscellaneous marketing materials (e.g. bookmarkers, flyers, etc.)
Any donations received will go to directly reduce the cost of producing and distributing the book. Supporting an indie author, such as myself, is also a commitment to continuing to ensure diverse voices are represented through our own voices. Thank you in advance for your support. It is deeply appreciated.