It’s a….BOOK! Welcome to the world, You Are…
Join us in welcoming to the world our first release, You Are…, a children’s book written to help you teach your child that anything is possible.
You Are… was written collaboratively by Karen Richard and Jesse Richard – husband and wife duo behind the transmedia publishing company, Coldstream Tales, with book art and collaboration with artist Taj Mattingly. As the first release in the first series of many more to come, You Are… is a children’s picture book suitable for children from ages three- to eight-years-old and beyond. It taps into the imagination that lives within all children and shows them that if they just imagine, anything is possible. By having faith in themselves, and with the encouragement of their parents or, as we call them, Guardians, the future is bright.
As adults, we know this is a sickeningly sweet notion. It might even trigger some eye-rolling among parents. It’s a truism you have likely heard since you were a child. However, it’s an idea at the forefront of how we want to convey a world of possibilities to children. You Are… is the first book in an enormous collection of tales we have planned over the coming years. What’s notable about this story, and all the You Series’s books, is the personalization included in each one.
We created this series of books so readers could see themselves in the story and feel they are part of the Coldstream Tales universe.
Readers can select the You Character that most represents who they are or who they relate to, and they can continue as that character throughout the You Series. With four different variations at this time, two male and two female, we hope to expand how many “Yous” there are available as we grow as a company.
You Are… was initially drafted as part of the larger Coldstream Tales universe, which we started building in early 2020, almost in lockstep with the pandemic reaching us in North America. Before we settled on a company name, a look, a style, and the vast cast of characters and storylines we now have, You Are… remained a Northstar for me. A way to share the message we wanted to convey to all children through all our work: that they had unlimited potential.
We are all guardians: whether biological parents, adoptive parents, step-parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, teachers, counselors, or care-takers, they hold the key to unlocking the potential for their children.
Though we started working on You Are… about the same time we were building and shaping the Coldstream Tales universe, we didn’t finish it until the entire universe was near completion. Although it’s not a particularly complex book, it needed to introduce readers to a cast of diverse characters within a magical, well-thought-out universe. A universe where all children see themselves represented. Where children can identify with characters and stories, regardless of who they are, where they come from, their abilities, or their challenges. We wrote You Are… to set the stage, the cadence, and the tenor of a universe where everyone is seen and heard.
With Coldstream, we wanted to build stories that were not just for kids who looked like our kids or faced the same challenges and successes. And because we created our books around how Guardians use the books, we didn’t want to develop books that just reflected the challenges we face as parents. When we started, we wanted to be an inclusive company. That idea soon ballooned to considering how we could reflect diversity (appropriately) in our books and make sure people with disabilities or accessibility challenges could take part in the larger Coldstream universe.
From day one, we have considered race, ethnicity, ability, and culture. How could we make diverse and inclusive stories and do it ethically and responsibly? By the time we’d wrapped up how to present You Are…, it was apparent we needed more than just a traditional print book. We needed software to personalize each book, and we had to develop our proprietary eReader. We purposely did this to support the personalization piece and make kids feel a part of the universe. We understand creating new accessibility features for those with disabilities could only be accomplished through a custom platform. We hope to improve the features of our eReader as we grow to open up better support, accessibility, and personalization needs of an often forgotten group of exceptional children.
You Are… took nearly 15 months to complete from start to finish. To get it out the door, we had to build a universe and an eReader to support what has now become our core mission: inclusivity and accessibility.
We know it’s a lofty goal, but we constantly ask ourselves how to meet readers’ needs we haven’t even met yet.
We have some incredible stories that will please Guardians and Practitioners alike. We will continue to think about them and include them as we grow. In the meantime, we hope you love the message our story conveys to the children in your life, no matter what type of Guardian you are. You belong in Coldstream.
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