For about a year now, I’ve worked with many of you to put together a beautiful, custom-designed, parent-child journal. It is time now for the big unveiling…
The “Executive Summary” Version
And all this while requiring just a few minutes of your time, and done at whatever pace that works for your family’s schedule.
Got elementary school-aged kids? Then you don’t want to miss this!
What Makes the Connected Hearts Journal So Special?
You can walk into any bookstore and pick up a journal. So what makes this journal special? (And why should you absolutely get one for your kids? 🙂 )
The devil is in the details. And we have spared no effort.
It’s all about building up your child as you record their memories.
And doing it in such a way that they’ll be asking you to do the journal with them instead of the other way around!
It all starts right at the box…
Every journal comes in a beautiful keepsake box which declares right at the top that this is a special gift for a very special child.
This journal is designed specifically for elementary school aged kids – the perfect age window where they are still quite malleable and understand things well enough, but aren’t surly teens yet.
On opening the box, the first thing your child finds is a sealed envelope with a special letter for them.
Because seriously, what child that age does not like receiving mysterious looking letters? And sealed ones at that!
The “letter” serves two purposes:
- It provides your child instructions on how to use the journal, thus putting them in charge
- And more importantly, it engages your child using a captivating story
Again, the story in the letter is written specifically with elementary school aged kids in mind.
It is full of magic, loss and a winding quest with many ups and downs. It reels your kids in while conveying a simple message: a close connection between parents and kids gives them both magical healing powers.
According to the letter, the journal is a leftover relic from the long lost civilization in the story. And any child who completes this journal with a parent to discover what makes them special, will gain special magical healing powers too.
A scintillating story for the kids. And a beautiful parable for us parents to remember what really matters as we raise our kids.
Flip through the pages below to read it (If you go into full screen mode, use the “two arrow” icon at the bottom right to come back here).
This story then ties in beautifully with our uniquely designed Table of Contents which doubles as both a to-do list and an affirmations list.
Each line in the table of contents corresponds to a section in the journal.
The choice of the different sections to include was guided by research papers and some really awesome books, and is one of the things that makes this journal such a powerful parenting tool.
Each of these sections starts with a cool coloring page.
The artwork for these coloring pages is designed carefully so it’s great fun to color in whether it is mom or dad, doing this with a daughter or son.
Our illustrator Nirali Patel is a mom of two and an artist who also teaches art professionally. She is very tuned into what both kids and grown ups like and has designed unique “progressive complexity artwork” for these coloring pages that is more complex at the top and gets progressively simpler at the bottom, so both you and your kids can enjoy coloring it in together.
The coloring pages are followed by pages that contain questions for kids and prompts for parents, chosen carefully to help you build up your kids one journal entry at a time.
This is the “meat and potatoes” part of the journal. A lot of thought and countless revisions have gone into getting this just right. On one hand this is a great means for capturing memories and snapshots of your life right now. On the other, it is a simple, yet very powerful way to embrace and live the positive parenting style.
We pull in elements from the coloring pages into the writing pages as well in case you need a few minutes between writing to think and ponder. Color them, or not. Either ways, they look beautiful.
And we don’t want to restrict you with what we think are good prompts/questions. So each section also has blank pages for you to continue exploring the topic on your own.
And now for the coolest part of the journal… the “secrets” section.
At the bottom of each writing page is a small section asking your child if they have any secrets to share with you that day, and what they would like you to do once you’ve read the secret.
The secret itself is written in a separate, isolated section at the back of the journal, and the page number is copied over onto today’s page.
This is my daughter’s favorite part. Most of the “secrets” she shares feel trivial to me. And sometimes, she is just playing with them. But by diligently honoring her request to either discuss them or not, I prove to her that she can trust me, paving the way for bigger secrets and more difficult conversations to come bubbling up later.
So there, you have it… the whole enchilada.
You can flip through the digital mini-version of the journal below to get a feel for it… (If you go into full screen mode, use the “two arrow” icon at the bottom right to come back here).
And of course, after all the thought and planning we’ve put in this, there’s no way we’re going to hold back on the quality of the final product!
The journal is printed on very high-quality paper and comes as a fabric hardcover book.
There’s a beautiful satin bookmark built right in, so you can stop whenever your child gets tired.
We use a durable lay-flat binding to make it super easy for you to work on it with your child.
And all this in a sturdy, beautifully designed, keepsake magnetic closure box. (And what kid, or for that matter parent, can resist a magnetic closure box?!)
As you can see, a lot of thought has gone into this journal.
I couldn’t have done this without you! Your generous comments, suggestions, emails, participation in surveys and feedback are what helped me turn a simple idea into such an involved, one-of-a-kind, beautiful product!
And now I need your help to bring it to life.
With all the bells and whistles, and creative choices I’ve made, working with a traditional publisher turned out to be next to impossible.
But I didn’t want to give up on it. Or compromise. So, I decided to self-publish / manufacture it!
(Saying it out loud still freaks me out a bit… *deep breath*)
And that requires a fair bit of upfront investment.
So I am turning to Kickstarter, a crowd funding platform to raise the money.
(If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter please see bottom of page for a quick Kickstarter FAQ)
And I need your help!
If you like this journal, please back me on Kickstarter when the campaign goes live on Wednesday (Oct 12th).
Here are some fantastic rewards you can get for backing –
We have limited quantities available at the Super Early Bird and the Early Bird level of pledges. These are units specially set aside for you, the members of our community who made this happen. Please take advantage of them.
Now, I understand that not every can back us financially. And that is fine! Please help us by getting the word out.
Every. Little. Bit. Helps.
Alone, I can only reach so many. But with your help we can reach a lot of committed, like-minded parents.
Talk to them. Text them. Whatsapp them. Email them. Tag them on FB, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Shout from rooftops. (Well, maybe not 🙂 )
OK, so there it is.
I’ve not been this nervous about something in a very long time! But a lot of work has gone into this and I have a good feeling that many of you will support me.
So, let’s do this!
I will email you on Wednesday (Oct 12th) morning when the campaign goes live (around 10-ish am Central Time). If you are not already on our email list, please be sure to sign up here so you don’t miss that email.
Please support in any way you can as soon as you can, after receiving the email. Early traction is everything when it comes to Kickstarter!
Quick Kickstarter FAQs
1. What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a “crowdfunding” platform where creators (like me) go to raise money to fund creative projects (like this journal).
As a creator, I make my case on the campaign page about why this journal is important and why it must be brought to life.
Those who see the campaign page, evaluate the idea. And if they like it, they “back” the project by making a “pledge”.
I hope some of you will choose be the initial backers and make a pledge (think of it as “pre-ordering”).
2. Why do you need my support on Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is an All-or-Nothing proposition. When I start the campaign, I have to declare a minimum funding goal. If I don’t manage to raise at least the minimum funding goal, I get nothing. And then I’ll either have to look for other ways to fund the project, or abandon it completely.
I really, really don’t want that to happen 🙂
There are over 320,000 campaigns on Kickstarter to date. Getting noticed in this sea of campaigns is next to impossible. If I was a solo creator, I would likely not have considered Kickstarter as an option at all.
However, I have you! I am hoping that you will help and we can start the campaign with a bang. Early traction is a huge thing on Kickstarter.
If we can start with some early backers, it will get the project noticed by the Kickstarter team who will hopefully list the project on the Kickstarter main page. Or it may put us on the radar of big bloggers who write about Kickstarter projects. Or it will catch the eye of media sources.
This will hopefully result in a few more people joining us. And they will hopefully spread the word. And things will start to ripple out…
So yeah, my task now is to create a ripple effect. Or get a snow ball started. A huge ripple or a snow ball.
And I am kinda hoping that you will help 🙂
3. How can I support you on Kickstarter?
There are 2 ways to support.
a. Support financially. There are many pledge levels to fit any budget starting with as little as $1. Each pledge level is associated with a reward as shown in the reward chart above.
Based on your earlier survey responses, I noticed that most of you prefer the $25 – $50 range. Which is why I have set the super early bird and early bird levels in this range. I hope you will take advantage of these.
If you can swing a bigger budget though, I would love for you to pledge at higher levels and give away a few journals as gifts. These would make for very unique and meaningful presents for nieces and nephews or for your kids’ friends!
b. Support by sharing. If you can’t support financially, that’s perfectly fine! You can help by getting the word out. We all know someone out there who would would love a journal like this. Text them. Email them. Tag them on facebook, pinterest, twitter, instagram etc. Tell them about it at the water cooler.
Every little bit helps!
4. How do I pay for the pledge?
Currently, Kickstarter accepts pledges via debit or credit card associated with Visa, Discover, MasterCard, or American Express.
Your credit card will not be charged when you make the pledge. At the end of the campaign (Nov 11th), only if we have successfully raised an amount equal or more than the minimum funding goal, your credit card will be charged.
If you are remotely interested in this journal, I would highly recommend locking in the super early bird pricing. If you decide later not to get it, you can always cancel your pledge (up until the end of the campaign).
5. When will I receive my journal?
Kickstarter will release funds to us about 2 weeks after the campaign ends. Production of the journal can start only after that.
We have a fantastic manufacturer lined up to make these journals for us. The pictures you see above are of the 1st prototype the manufacturer made for us. We’ve decided to make a few design changes based on the physical prototype. Based on these changes, we plan to make a 2nd prototype and once we are 100% satisfied that it is the the best product we can put out there, we will place a bulk order.
With the extended turnaround times due to the holiday season in the horizon, I expect this process to take around 3-4 months. We have a small buffer built in for contingencies. So, the plan now is to ship this to you by May 2017, so you can have it in time for your kids Summer Break.
That’s all the questions I can think of at the moment. If you have any other questions, please do let me know in the comments below and I will answer them asap and as best as I can.