It’s a fictional story about four characters who are trying to save the world around them, but it’s deeply rooted in real-world issues.
Two Santa Monica residents have developed a full-length children’s musical book, “The Super Sustainables,” to raise awareness about California’s drought and the potential perils of climate change.
Albin Gielicz and Gonen Yacov recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, hoping to amass $25,000 by Nov. 4 for printing, publicity and other costs associated with the creation of the book. They had pooled more than $1,600 as of Tuesday evening.
Santa Monica is ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability, Gielicz said, but he added that there are still people who either don’t accept the idea that humans are negatively impacting the planet or don’t feel the need to change their habits.
And although Gielicz has been involved in a variety of local neighborhood associations and commissions, he felt his call for sustainability would also be well-received among area children.
“I mean, what better way to make a chance than to start with young, curious minds who will eventually become our future leaders?” he said.
The launch of the crowdfunding campaign is the latest step in Gielicz and Yacov’s journey to bringing the book to fruition. In July 2014, they held a focus group in Santa Monica to solicit input on their idea.
“Everyone said, ‘Go for it,’” Gielicz said.
He and Yavoc have been working on the writing and illustrations ever since. They also added a musical component about a year ago, writing songs to define the characters further and give their feelings added meaning. By way of Craigslist, they found a Santa Monica College student to help with the composition and production. The songs will be accessible for book buyers and also embedded throughout the e-book.
For Gielicz, a marketing professional who has lived in Santa Monica for about a decade, the book reiterates his concern for the planet. He’s been interested in learning more about climate change during California’s ongoing drought, recently taking a sustainability course at UCLA.
“What’s my role in this as a Santa Monica resident, as a human?” he said.
Gielicz has also met with fellow children’s authors and illustrators to learn more about the process. He said a sequel could follow if the first “Super Sustainables” book, which is roughly 200 pages, is released successfully.
Yacov, a graphic designer who founded his own creative studio, brings to the project an international perspective on environmental matters.
“Growing up in Israel, I am familiar with the challenges related to maintaining a source of clean drinking water,” he said. “And as a local Santa Monica artist, I value the opportunities this community has given me to explore and develop my talents. So our passion project has really allowed me to use my abilities for something much bigger than myself.”
The authors believe the book empowers children to be make a difference in their schools, households and communities.
“They can be heroes, too,” he said.