As I had hoped my IndieGoGo campaign and private contributions helped jump start some of the big shifts we’re making in 2017:
- School of the Free Mind is now expanded and independent study
- Our free mentorship program will have its first meeting at the end of January
- Reflection Press’ first children’s book, When a Bully Is President, Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times, will soon be published (although we have done children anthologies and coloring books!)
We are focused on making books in a big way right now, but even so Matthew and I will continue to share everything we learn about having an indie-press and using children’s books as a radical act. The bigger lessons will be added to the school over time. And I’ll use my blog to give an inside look into some of the more mundane lessons along the way.
First off is a look into our first children’s book. One of the limitations of traditional publishing is the long, slow turn-around time. It generally takes anywhere from 1-2-3 years to get a book published. In terms of current events, the momentum and depth of a story could be lost in a trek that long. If we are to see and use children’s books as a radical tool, we need to be able to document and tell current stories in real time. Having a faster turn-around time expands our opportunities exponentially by allowing us to be more responsive and relevant in the moment. This gives us the chance to build on current events, activist movements and social lessons through children’s books. In books we can contextualize these current events with larger historical frames so that we have tools to help our kids develop critical thinking and other skills to deal with what’s going on in their lives right now.
The idea to create a children’s book in response to the 2016 election was conceived on November 9. My pie in the sky fantasy was to have it in folks’ hands by inauguration day, January 20. Through life and holidays and travel and all three of us getting fabulously sick and a whole bunch of other stuff, the reality looks more like it will be in hand by the end of February.
Having never done anything like this before it’s super cool to know how fast you can actually get a book out. But this isn’t just a standard picture book. This is a bilingual 48 page book that includes tons of definitions and resources and references in the back matter. This is a hefty piece loaded with truth and creativity. And from conception to completion it will have taken 4 months. That’s radical.
So where are things at right now?
Here’s what’s done:
- Text written
- Text translated—thanks Marta!!!
- Layout designed
- 9 pcs of arte complete
- 14 pcs of arte in various stages of completion
- 4 pps back matter in process
Even though When a Bully Is President, Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times won’t be in hand on January 20 for inauguration day, we will be sharing a video of me reading the full text and showing some of the arte. We will also have a downloadable coloring page related to the book.
It has been a heart strengthening exercise creating this book. I feel stronger and bolder in a way I was ready for but had never felt before. I’ve also learned a great deal about both limitation and drive. And I continue to come to terms with how silence and invisibility have always impacted me and continue to create shapes and patterns in my life. Through every step I think about the kids and the adults who will hold this book. I send you love and reflection through these pages.
You are gorgeous.
You belong here.
You are the revolution and truth.
Pre-orders for When a Bully is President will re-open at the end of January.
Awesome y’all rock!!
I am super excited about this. Ra Ra Shish Boom Ba! Keep going Maya and Matthew. LOVE.