My name is Jerry Zhang, and I am a writer, lawyer and father of two young daughters (a 4 and 1 year-old).
One day, my oldest daughter, Madison, told me she didn’t want to be Chinese. It happened during a period when she was obsessed with the book characters Madeline and Eloise. She kept asking me why she was Chinese and they weren’t, and whether she can have blonde or red hair like they do.
This prompted me to look for books with Asian characters for Madison to be exposed to; the few I managed to find were heavily cultural, and Madison didn’t connect with any of the characters in them. That’s when she told me she didn’t want to be Chinese anymore, and it broke my heart.
While it’s important for children to learn about their cultures through books, it’s equally important for Asian children to see themselves represented in books as interesting and smartindividuals rather than just products of their cultures.
So I created the character Pepper Zhang, initially as a cool and fun character for Madison to identify with. I then quickly realized that other children can benefit from Pepper just as much as Madison did, and a character like Pepper currently doesn’t exist in the world of children’s books in the U.S.
My goal after this campaign is to turn Pepper Zhang into a book series because there are so many adventures left to tell with Pepper!
My broader mission is to bring Pepper Zhang onto the bookshelves of libraries, book stores, schools and homes of children all across America and beyond!
In 2016, out of 3,200 children’s books published in the United States, only 7% featured Asian children - yet there are 17 million Asian Americans in this country.
This is the sad reality of the current homogeneous children’s book landscape.
Self-publishing these books will allow the book to stay 100% true to the vision and mission. In order to do so, we’ll need your support! This is not just a business venture, but an opportunity to provide a platform for Asian American children. Crowdfunding will allow this project to be made as a direct result of everyone who supports it! The success of this campaign will help dispel the notion that "Diverse books don’t sell."
Please join us in making the changes we want to see happen by supporting this campaign and contributing to the mission!
Pepper Zhang: Artist Extraordinaire! is the first book of the Pepper Zhang series - inspired by both the Eloise and Fancy Nancy series
... because isn’t it about time for an illustrated books series starring a quirky and imaginative Asian girl?
All the illustrations in Pepper Zhang: Artist Extraordinaire! are hand-created by the extremely talented artist, Trisha Hautea.
We wanted to make the illustrations of in this book as dynamic as Pepper’s personality, through a combination of paper cut-outs, acrylic paint, penciling, and water colors!
"Pepper Zhang: Artist Extraordinaire!" will be a beautiful hardbound book, 10"x 10," printed on heavy matte paper with a book jacket. It will make a wonderful addition to your child’s bookshelf!
Be a Part of the Book! -- Your child’s artwork can be on Pepper’s wall!
Imagine reading Pepper Zhang to your child for the first time and pointing out a picture on Pepper’s wall that your child drew. Now look at your child and the expression on his/her face: mind blown!
Pepper will also write a personalized note to your child about how much she loves his/her drawing so much, she wanted it on her wall!
*Jerry & Trisha will also sign and write a personalized note in the book.
... and a lot more!
However, we need your help to print the first 1,000 copies and pay for storage and editing!
We would greatly appreciate if you can help spread the word about this campaign! It will bring us one step closer to bringing Pepper into the households of children across the country.
If you have words of encouragement or believe in our mission - we’d love to hear from you! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Even when the campaign ends, you can still keep updated on Pepper Zhang by signing up for our updates below:
for lots more information about this book and this campaign