Formy Books Kickstarting New Picture Book
By Malachi Martin
On 23 March, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to garner support for the latest project of the creative duo, author Claire Ndario, and illustrator Kandice Johnson. The Kickstarter for Let’s Skate! describes the picture book as “a joyful, fresh & authentic celebration of skating and friendship” and a “celebration of childhood culture.” Let’s Skate! will feature a Black protagonist named Njeri, supported by an ethnically diverse cast of characters which celebrates “friendship, individuality and acceptance.”
The Kickstarter page also reveals that the children’s book will be accessible to those with dyslexia, using a Dyslexie typeface in its pages, as well as having the pages printed on 200gsm paper in full colour, as shown in the Kickstarter’s description.
The creative team behind Let’s Skate!, British-Kenyan author Claire Ndario and Black American illustrator Kandice Johnson expressed their excitement for the book’s upcoming release with Ndario saying “we’ve created such a joyous and diverse depiction of friendship and kindness” and that she couldn’t “wait for the world to meet Njeri and her friends.” Adding to this, Johnson said “I’m incredibly passionate about inclusivity in children’s books, so to work together with Claire to create Let’s Skate! has been a dream!”
If the Kickstarter reaches its financial goal, Let’s Skate! is set to be published by independent UK publisher Formy Books which was founded by Ebony Lyon and established in 2020. Formy Books is dedicated to the publication of diverse and inclusive children’s literature featuring Black protagonists created by Black creative teams. The publisher prides itself on its status as a community interest company, printing its books locally within the UK to lessen the impact of its carbon footprint.
The Kickstarter page justifies the importance of Let’s Skate! as well as wishing to offer more opportunities for Black creators within the UK publishing industry, stating “we believe that children’s literature should reflect the world we live in and that all children should be able to see themselves reflected back from the books they love.”
At the time of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign has reached £1,130 of its £1,500 goal with 56 backers. The funds generated from the Kickstarter’s success will be used to support the first print run for Let’s Skate!. The campaign is set to end on 8 April, with Let’s Skate! slated for publication in August 2022. If you wish to aid this project, the link to the Kickstarter page can be found here.