Following the success of Oh Oh Baby Boy – called “remarkable” by the San Francisco Chronicle – and the highly praised release of its latest, One of A Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo, Blood Orange Press has launched a new fundraising drive to continue its effort to bring diversity in all its dimensions to children’s literature.
The new campaign, on the IndieGoGo crowdfunding platform, seeks to raise an immediate $15,000 to pay off remaining bills from producing One of A Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo and continue developing the manuscripts for two upcoming titles. The new campaign replaces a previous drive that was housed on Kickstarter.
“We went strong and hard, with a really ambitious goal, but that goal proved a little too ambitious,” said Blood Orange Press founder Janine Macbeth, “and on Kickstarter you don’t get funded at all if you don’t hit your target. But I’m not giving up until all kids can see people just like them in the books they read.”
The new drive is off to a good start, having raised nearly 10 percent of its goal in the first 24 hours. The campaign runs till Nov. 22.
Oakland, California native Macbeth, a mother of two, created Blood Orange press out of frustration with the lack of diversity in children’s books. “As a kid I loved books – I mean loved books – so much so that I wanted to make them myself,” she recalls. But seeing the overwhelming whiteness of the children’s book world – from authors and illustrators to the characters portrayed – discouraged her. Still, Macbeth never let go of her dream, piling up experience in design, production and marketing at a variety of publishing firms before launching Blood Orange Press in 2013.
Blood Orange Press fills a yawning gap in children’s literature: While over half of U.S. children under age five are children of color, only 15 percent of the kids’ books published last year featured main characters of color.
School Library Journal praised Oh Oh Baby Boy, written and illustrated by Macbeth, as “emotionally and artistically satisfying … a beautifully conceived and executed book.”
One of A Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo tells the story of Danny, a multiracial Latinx preschooler who decides to go to the school costume parade as a princess. This gentle story that lifts up children who don’t fit gender stereotypes has already received widespread praise. U.S. Congressman Mike Honda called it “positive, affirming and full of love.” Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, Director of BAHIA/Centro VIDA in Berkeley, California, said, “Everyone should read this wondrous tale of a gift of love and support that a mother gives to her son.”
Next up, in late 2017, will be Best Day Ever, in which textile patterns unlock the imaginations of 12 diverse children as they take different journeys to the local park. That will be followed in 2018 by The Blue Flute, about a young African American girl’s relationship with a magical flute that reveals the music of her city.
The Blood Orange Press fundraising campaign has a unique feature that Macbeth hopes will spread her message of diversity and inclusion. In addition to being able to choosing a sponsorship reward for themselves, sponsors can elect to send books to the school, library, or community-based organization of their choice.
“Blood Orange Press is about creating the books that I missed as a child,” Macbeth says. “My sons are not going to grow up with the invisibility I experienced.”
To donate to the Blood Orange Press fundraiser and view a video that tells a bit more about the project, please visit https://igg.me/at/readincolor