Angelica Nunez was disappointed. The writer and Miller Children’s Hospital instructor tried book after book, searching for the right story to help comfort her seven-year-old son. Divorce had left Liam feeling alienated and confused and the many children’s books about violent split-ups and depressed dinosaurs certainly were not helping.
Seven years later, Nunez completed her first children’s book Plenty of Love to Go Around with the help of her son and Long Beach illustrator Dave Van Patten.
Plenty of Love to Go Around explores the divorce process, from separation, to healing and settling into new daily routine. It takes a positive view on life between two homes reflected through Nunez’ son’s experiences.
In 2010, cartoonist and long-time friend Dave Van Patten was approached to produce 18 fully illustrated pages for the book. He was enthusiastic about the project.
“I was interested because of what I’d been through as a kid,” Van Patten said. “My parents split up when I was five… I know what a kid goes through.”
Van Patten’s offbeat artwork adds depth to the narrative, as dark, grief-ridden pages become brighter and brighter, echoing the young protagonist’s journey toward becomes more self-assured with his new life living between two homes.
Nunez also found support and feedback from the Long Beach art community in deciding on the voice for her book. She and her peers concluded that a poetic rhetoric would be best, as the simple language of similar books could be disengaging.
More complicated language would encourage parents to read the story with their children and absorb the message as a family, Nunez believes.
“We’re so much involved with our own ego, about how we [parents] need to be taken care of.” Nunez said. “I wanted to let parents know is that as soon as your able to get rid of your ego and see it from the child’s point of view, the healing starts so much faster.”
In the hope of raising enough funds to self-publish her book, Nunez has put her efforts on the world’s largest crowd-funding platform, Kickstarter.com, a website in which independent creators seek financial support from the public.
If the Kickstarter reached its goal of $5000 by September 15, Nunez will be able to publish the book as a charity donation to educators and social workers, as well as make it a commercially available resource for families.
However, if the Kickstarter does not meet its goal by the deadline, then Plenty of Love will receive no funds.
“So far all of our contributors have been from the Long Beach community,” Nunez said.
For more information on Plenty of Love to Go Around, visit Kickstarter.com.
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