After a long series of twists and turns, my graphic novel, Little Monarchs, has a lock on its script and page layouts. This, along with its new home at Margaret Ferguson Books (imprint of Holiday House) means that I can now forge ahead with final artwork and a few more pieces of my dream to bring this book to kids and families around the country.
For a while now, I’ve wanted to create some kind of customized adventure satchels for kids - something beautiful, full of useful tools and supplies for the budding naturalist/citizen scientist. My idea is to create a number of these, make them available on my store, then personalize them for buyers/buyers’ kids. Each satchel would include a copy of the book inside upon its release. Along with the art supplies (some of which are the same as what I use to create the book), magnifying glass, knife, compass, etc., I’ll include a packet of milkweed seeds native to the child’s region (showy milkweed for the western U.S., etc). Successful milkweed plants mean more habitat and food for monarch caterpillars, which will assist in raising their dangerously low population (diminished by over 95% in just the last 25 years). The monarch migration is one of our most incredible natural wonders, and it deserves to thrive and inspire more generations of travelers. This will be a very small way of joining in the terrific conservation efforts already underway through organizations like Monarch Watch and the Xerces Society, and hopefully an inspiration toward greater efforts across the country.
Speaking of across the country, I’m also scheming about a different kind of book tour. Several years ago we needed a tow rig to pull a little travel trailer down the coast to assist our following the monarchs to their groves in California. The trailer has recently moved on, but the tow rig remains in our possession, and will be slowly transformed (if Sarah allows me) into an overland book-tour-mobile. I’m already testing a hammock sleep system (yes, I love sleeping in hammocks, no, not in a banana shape). I just took it out on a maiden voyage with my girls this weekend, and we didn’t collapse in a pile of bugnets and limbs, so that’s a start.
I’m also considering starting a Patreon page to support some of these extra Little Monarchs efforts. We’ll see. I’m late to the crowdfunding/patronage game, and if I do it, I want to do it in a way that provides value not just to my creative process, but to the monarchs and environments that sustain them (hence the adventure satchels idea). I have some pondering to do yet on all that.
It’s an exciting season. I’m happy that the sun has finally arrived in Oregon, and I’m ready to charge into finishing this crazy book.
More to come!