2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Guest Posts, News | 0 comments

Dreaming Robot Press is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a new diverse middle grade science fiction anthology, titled 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide. The anthology includes stories by Visibility Fiction authors Anne E Johnson and Deborah Walker.

2015 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide Cover

Corie Weaver is here to tell us a little more about the project:

Sally Ride, first woman in space and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, famously said:

“Young girls need to see role models in whatever careers they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Girls need to read stories where any number of possible roles are modeled for them. Just as importantly, boys need to read stories where girls are active participants in adventures. And children of all colors and backgrounds need to know the future includes them.

According to a 2011 study of 6,000 children’s books, only 31 percent had central female characters, and even fewer featured main characters of color.

A genre that’s supposed to inspire us towards a bright future isn’t making space for half the population’s dreams. Boys go and have adventures, girls are to be defended, or prizes to be won, and the landscape is very, very white.

It’s time for a bigger universe.

We’ve got a great collection of 20 stories from amazing authors, ranging from Nebula and Hugo winners to relative newcomers to the field. 90% of the stories in the anthology are brand new, and 80% have central female characters. We don’t have girls who are prizes to be won or waiting to be rescued. All of our heroines and heroes are on their own adventure, not a side note in someone else’s. Our characters are white, black, asian, latino. Human and robot. Everyone belongs here.

Nancy Kress is the author of thirty-three books, including twenty-six novels, four collections of short stories, and three books on writing. Her work has won five Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. But writing science fiction wasn’t something she was expected to do:

“When I was a child (this will be hard to believe, but it is true), the school library had a Girls’ Section, which included fairy tales, and a Boys’ Section, which included all the science fiction.  Things have changed, of course, but not enough.  There is a strong need for SF (as opposed to fantasy) aimed at girls, especially in the middle grades.  This anthology is an important contribution to the effort to fill that need, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.” ~ Nancy Kress

The anthology includes two Visibility Fiction authors, as well:

True diversity can only be brought about by profound change, and there can be no change without someone imagining it first. Science fiction requires intense imagination for the invention of worlds, technologies, species, and even philosophies. Therefore, I find this genre particularly well suited to suggesting a society where power and self-esteem and respect are balanced differently from the current norms of the real world.

When the composer Bela Bartok taught children to play the piano, he refused to have them learn music in conventional major and minor keys. He believed that letting kids hear alternative arrangements of notes before they were told by society what was “correct” would allow their minds to accept new musical ideas. The same, I think, holds true for children’s science fiction. If we encourage children to join in imagining worlds different from their own, it just might give them the courage to change their own world for the better. ~ Anne E. Johnson

A science fiction story is a pathway leading into a possible future. Let’s help our young people along the way. Let’s show them that no pathway is barred to them because of their gender. Let’s make our characters as gloriously diverse as real life and show our young people that they can walk into whatever future they want.  ~ Deborah Walker

A Kickstarter campaign is underway to help finance the publication of this important anthology. So far, backers who believe in the importance of diversity have committed almost $2700 in support of the project, and the anthology has been chosen as a Kickstarter Staff Pick. Backers have a number of options, including pre-ordering copies of the 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, donating copies to schools or being listed in the back of the print and digital version of the book as a supporter.

You can back at Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/815743020/young-explorers-adventure-guide-sf-for-young-reade

School and public libraries can sign up for donated copies here: http://dreamingrobotpress.com/young-explorers-guide-request-form/

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