Response by Young Readers
As these novels were originally written for my students, I have to be very careful about keeping the education side and the Kickstarter side separate. Confidentiality, conflict-of-interest, etc., demand a lot of care in how I go about this. I have to make sure the activities done in class are 100% educationally-focused, and I cannot make any mistake in revealing student work or anything of the sort.
That said, as students have engaged in recent projects in response to these novels, I can't help but be encouraged at their enthusiasm. They care about these stories. They care about these characters. The activities and discussions may be laser-focused on 5th grade reading skills, but I can still hear what the kids say when they tell me how much they love the stories.
And so I still plan to push ahead. I believe in these stories, and I want to share them with as many people as I can. And so while meeting the initial funding goal is exciting and ensures that the self-publishing of the novels will be financially sustainable, that's not really the end goal. The end goal is to find as many people as I can who are interested in reading these works.
And I am also eager to see if I can meet the stretch goals to add illustrations to the novels. It is not only a matter of aesthetics (I happen to love good illustrations), but as a teacher they are a major part of the function. Illustrations help struggling readers comprehend higher level stories. So being able afford to work with a high-caliber illustrator helps me make the stories accessible to even more readers.