Responses by Rob Ford, founder, FWA
Background: The Little Trailblazers is a children’s book for two- to five-year-olds, featuring 21 inspirational original stories for children from 21 internet pioneers, and visualized by 21 modern illustrators. The 21 stories are of empowerment, equality and being your authentic self. Designed by MENDO and published by Macaw Books, this book helps UNICEF’s work for children.
Reasoning: In essence, I wanted to bring together some of the industry’s biggest names to create something never seen before, and to benefit children’s charity UNICEF. Plus, I wanted to do it in an original way, with information about each author and illustrator after every story, with a professional bio for adults and a child friendly bio for the children.
Challenges: Without a doubt, finding a publisher. This took almost eighteen months in itself, even though I have published four best-selling web related titles with Taschen. I spent a considerable amount of time trying the traditional channels, contacting publishers, literary agents and using my large network to reach the top table at many of the world’s top children’s publishers. However, it was the power of social media and a contact on LinkedIn who made the final connection between me and Macaw Books.
Favorite details: The finished book is incredible. It is a huge book, weighing 2.4 kg (about 5.29 pounds), which is possibly a world record for a published children’s book! I also reached out to two amazing illustrators, Hector Torrent and Lya Nagado, who created amazing avatars for everyone in the book. This gave the book an extra unique edge throughout as most children’s books leave the children knowing nothing about the book’s creators.
Specific demands: There were 52 people involved in total, so there was a lot of correspondence that I had to handle. And thousands of emails. With so many people involved, every aspect of the project seemed huge. For example, a single update created a lot of correspondence.
Anything new: I learned, once again, that a passion and pure determination can make anything a reality. Never give up on your dreams.