Thom Craigen got in touch the other day to tell us about a project he was about to kick off, and we’re more than happy to give it a little push. He’s an author based in York and his new venture is an innovative children’s book designed to encourage kids to pick up an instrument and get involved in music. That can’t be a bad thing, right? I’ll let the press release tell you more…
Ballistic Kids is an illustrated rhyming children’s book which introduces young readers to the amazing experience of playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Created by a team of musicians and based on their personal experiences, the book shines a light on the far-reaching (and well evidenced) social, academic and health benefits for children of learning to play music, as well as its power to unify people of all shapes and sizes. The book is being published to inspire children at a young age to pick up an instrument, start learning and form a band with their friends.
The story of Ballistic Kids follows Scott and Matt, childhood outsiders from the small, sleepy village of Hilltop, who dream of rock ‘n’ roll stardom. When a new girl arrives at their school, her musical abilities and can-do attitude inspire the young boys to make their dream a reality and they quickly join forces with class-mates Thom and Su to form a band.
Their noisy rehearsals are soon upsetting local residents, but the youngsters keep on rocking, channelling all their energy and creativity into pursuing their dream. Eager to prove themselves and show the world what they can do, they decide to enter the Summer Spectacular School Talent Show. Will their debut performance be the disaster that everyone expects, or will all their hard work and dedication pay off?
Author Thom Craigen explains the lessons he hopes children will take from the book:
Essentially, it’s about music being a unifying force, bringing people together. It’s also about not giving up when people say you’re not capable of achieving something, choosing to work hard and persevere until you get where you want to be. For anyone who thinks they want to play, but are not sure how to begin, it’s about realising that all you need to get started is three chords and attitude… Diving straight in and getting on with it is an awesome and fun way to learn!
The 48-page book is written by Thom Craigen and illustrated in full colour by Matt Riste, whose artwork style evokes classic children’s books such as Where the Wild Things Are. The story is also accompanied by a mini-album of catchy rock ‘n’ roll songs by the young band in the book. Written by Scott Lee Andrews, the soundtrack adds an extra dimension to the story’s universe and helps to bring the characters to life.
Three of the band members featured in the story are named after the creative team, who all found huge value from being in bands as they grew up. “Ballistic Kids is based on our own stories,” said author, Thom “so it made sense that the characters were also based on us.”
The 30-day Kickstarter campaign for Ballistic Kids launches today (Friday 4th October 2019), chosen to coincide with the fourth annual “Kids Music Day” when schools, retailers, and other music organisations around the world work together to focus attention on the importance of including music as part of children’s education and to enable people of all ages to enjoy the academic, social, and therapeutic benefits of playing music.
Anyone can pre-order the book and soundtrack by becoming a backer of the Kickstarter funding campaign. There will also be a range of other limited-edition rewards for those who want something a little more unique, including the opportunity to appear as a character in the book – and a baby-shower gift set for expectant parents – complete with a lullaby version of the soundtrack and a branded Ballistic Kids rock ‘n’ roll baby-grow! Funds raised through the campaign will be used to print and distribute the first edition of the book to backers of the project.
With another 3 books already in development to follow this first instalment, the team believe there is a long and exciting road ahead. “We cannot wait to share Ballistic Kids with the world,” enthuses Thom; “there is a huge community of music-loving parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who already understand what a powerful force music can be in a young person’s life. We’re confident they will love the book as much as the children they are reading it with and – who knows, maybe it will inspire the next generation of rock stars to pick up an instrument and start playing!”