What's Up Wednesday

Sophie Feels Like Me

If you’re a parent (or was once a kid), then you will know every young child experiences uncomfortable feelings from time to time. Adam Millen crafted a way to teach kids how to name these important-but-tricky feelings with his first crowdfunded book, ‘Jack Feels Big’. Now, Adam is doing it again; this time with new feelings and a new heroine; Sophie.

Why do you think this campaign is important?

I think it is important that kids know the names of their feelings. This book is a tool to help kids learn how to do just that. We use illustrated short stories that kids relate to, either because they have been in a similar situation or simply because they enjoy listening to the story unfold. And I know the kids enjoy them, because I have been busy doing school readings across the country!

The really cool thing about this campaign is that it has been co-created with my crowd. ‘Sophie Feels Like Me’ contains five stories that each focus on a different feeling: embarrassment, humility, grief, empathy and rejection.

These feelings were chosen by the people who have been supporting me since my first book, ‘Jack Feels Big’. I have really enjoyed talking to people about my project and the fact it has been shaped by my crowd makes it feel like a real community effort.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

Crowdfunding is a really exciting tool because it helps to make crazy ideas into a reality. When I reach out to my crowd I am making sure that I am going to produce something that people will actually back.

As well as validating an idea that I might not otherwise pursue, I am giving my crowd the very thing that they want. The way I have written ‘Sophie Feels Like Me’ is the perfect example of this. I could write 20 or even 30 stories for words that I think are important. But in reality, I can only do five. By reaching out to my crowd, I am bringing them into the decision-making process. The result is a perfect fit between what I produce and what my crowd wants.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

I have a number of school readings across Aotearoa in the next couple of weeks. This is a really fun part of my creative process. The kids’ responses have been really helpful in telling me where I am on track.

As well as visiting schools, I am doing a few public readings at libraries across the North Island. On Monday 20 November I will be at the New Plymouth library at 4.30pm. On Monday 27 December I will be at the Botany Library at 10.30am and on Tuesday 28 December I will be reading at the Epsom Library at 11am. Anyone is welcome so please do come along with your child to have a listen.

Finally, keep an eye on my Facebook page; I have been releasing videos of ‘Jack Feels Big’, which give a great taster of my books. There will be a few more videos released over the coming days.

Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?

I would love to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. Please do keep sharing my campaign page and tell all your friends about it!

To help Kiwi parents explain tricky feelings to their kids, you can pledge to the campaign page here.

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