Inspired by his son and equipped with a degree in literature, Ray Pine ’03 published his debut children’s book, A Boy and his Dada, with the help of a dedicated audience that boosted his Kickstarter campaign. The book examines the dynamic relationship between a father and his son.
“That relationship is illustrated by the changing artistic styles throughout the book,” Pine said. “It's a forever book, meant to resonate with parents on a different level than that of their children. I've always found that the best artistic media should speak to people in different ways. That was my goal here.”
Pine funded his book through Kickstarter, the popular project-funding website that lets people donate to initiatives they connect with. In exchange, the donors receive different perks if a project reaches its goal.
“I had done a lot of research into publishing children's books and decided that I didn't want to compromise. I had a vision for what I wanted each illustration to look like and how those illustrations should progress and felt that self-publishing would be the best way to go in order to make sure that happened. When I launched my Kickstarter, I didn't know what to expect. I wanted to be transparent and the process to be smooth. I was floored when after the first day I had reached half my goal.”
Pine raised $3,613, exceeding his goal of $3,000. More than 80 people donated to his cause.
“It's one thing to know you have a deep circle of support but quite another to see that circle support you. That was my biggest take away from my campaign, seeing people in my life share my work as though it was their own. People invested in me because they believed in what I was doing.”
Pine has shared his book at public-reading sessions at local libraries, answering questions and receiving feedback from his most coveted audience members: children.
“Sitting on the floor and having them all engaged, asking questions, and participating as I asked them questions, it was the epitome of why this book means so much to me. While I want parents to tell me they emotionally connected with it, I really want children to ask their parents to read them my book after they've read it once. That's the real seal of approval for any kids book.”
With plans for a second book already being sketched out, Pine’s first foray into children’s literature is a moment he’s instrumentally proud of. However, he’d be the first to tell you he’s still in a state of shock that this is where his life led him.
“I think anyone who has a literature degree, at some point or another, has entertained the idea of being a writer, so I'm not unique with regard to that. I just didn't know that I would be writing a children's book when I dreamed of being a writer. Had you asked me what I'd be doing right now six years ago, I don't believe I would have guessed any of this. My life has been a surreal experience and I'm lucky to share it with my son and the love of my life, Megan.”