I have three little ones (ages 6, 4, and 2) that love reading time and going to the library. It was on one of these library trips that I realized there was a problem: my 6 year-old craved epic stories in the sci-fi and fantasy genre, but he couldn’t access those stories.
The books marked for his “level” did not have substantial stories (I’m sorry, Pete the Cat, but he’s stopped caring about your buttons). So, my son was wandering the chapter book aisle. THAT is where his excitement was. THAT is where the stories that engaged his imagination were. But they were a bit too advanced in length and vocabulary for him to read independently (which is his preferred reading mode).
And so, I started asking librarians and teachers and parents. And you know what? There IS a substantial absence of genre fiction for these younger readers. Why is that a problem (and not just for my little guy)?
BECAUSE THESE ARE THE CRACKS KIDS FALL THROUGH. These are the ages and times where kids decide whether reading is fun or a chore. This can be a LIFETIME decision, one that affects their outlook on school and learning forever!
What these kids need is a shorter chapter book (30-ish pages). A book they could read independently or with an adult. The book needs to evoke that sense of wonder and awe, while still being readable and not confusing–and that’s where the art comes in! Full-color illustrations engage readers with the text. Illustrations in a chapter book builds confidence in readers, helps with vocabulary comprehension. Illustrations in chapter books allows a chapter book to look and feel enticing to even younger readers (like my 4 year-old) or even reluctant readers who need to bridge the gap between graphic novels and novels.
And so, the Bite-Size Epics were born. These early-reader chapter books will have all the story and wonder and epic-ness of those big fantasy and sci-fi books, but will be designed for those kids with the hungriest of imaginations.
So, I hit the internet. I interacted with dozens of incredible and talented illustrators. And I gathered a team of professionals and help these kids.
But I need YOUR help.
I will be launching a Kickstarter Campaign on May 1st to fund the production and printing of this book. Spread the word. Mark your calendars. Send me a note or comment of people who might be interested in this book and I can reach out to them personally.
With the illustration needs of this book and printing costs, getting enough pledges for this project will be a lot of work. But, if I can offer even one kid the chance to love reading for a lifetime, I’ll count these hundreds of hours well-spent.