My childhood library led to my Kickstarter.

As the Hilda & Richie picture book Kickstarter passes the halfway point and the half funded mark (it's 54%!), I'm thinking about everything that led up to this point.  A big factor in my decision to produce and crowdfund a picture book was from my childhood - it was the regular visits I made to my local library.

As you know, I was born and raised in New York City, specifically in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens.  We had just about everything we needed in that area: medicine, groceries, clothes, school and of course the public library.  During the 1980s, we made regular visits to the Ridgewood branch of the Queens Library located off Forest Avenue on Madison Street.  There was a considerable children's section in that library with plenty of books.  During the summer, when there was no school, short films would run in a lower room in the library, almost all of them adaptations of various books.

We were regulars at the library and I loved going there.  I would get books of all kinds.  While I checked out nonfiction such as how-to books, art, science experiments, history and so forth, I really never forgot the fiction.  I checked all kinds of picture books such as joke books, Dr. Seuss, Curious George, Arthur, Mr. Men and traditional fare such as fables and folktales.

I always liked reading because it sparked my imagination.  I liked reading the words and looking at the picture, both working together to entertain me with a story.  It was fun because it was an escape from the real world.  As a child, I pretty much had to abide by rules - go to school, go to bed, get out of bed, don't do this, don't go there and so on.  By escaping into a book with knights, talking animals, astronauts and so on, I felt like I was escaping into another world.  

These books I grew up reading at the Ridgewood library and at home too (I had a collection of books such as Little Golden Books, the Berenstain Bears and William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble) really instilled in me a sense of wonder in general, about myself and about the world.

That is what I want to capture with Hilda and Richie - that sense of fun, wonder and escape children get when they read a book.  It seems that the major mainstream publishers have lots sight of this, putting mass profit first or especially political correctness (but that's a whole other discussion).  I remember a contemporary children's author criticizing children's books of the 21st century as being "straw fires".  They burn very brightly and intense for a quick but short time, die quickly and are largely forgotten about.

That is what I want to avoid.  I want to create books that are timeless, fun to read and are not forgotten like a straw fire.

And that is what I aim to do with Hilda & Richie.

Back the Hilda & Richie Kickstarter now!
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