Refuge is a picture book for children and for charity. It explains in a child’s terms what it might feel like to have to seek refuge.
Refuge is a picture book for children. It explains in a child’s terms what it might feel like to have to seek refuge. The tone is initially explanatory and factual, but grows in optimism and focuses on how the refugee plight can be helped by straight-forward forms of aid, such as building shelters, providing food and blankets and reuniting families.
Each simple sentence is accompanied by an evocative illustration which will echo some of the images that children will have been exposed to by the media coverage of the Arab world migration crisis. Refuge helps children to make sense of, and try and empathise with displacement.
In a second edition, Refuge will have an Arabic / German translation under each English sentence, so it can be used as a language learning tool.
Who will this financially benefit?
I am delighted to be collaborating with, and donating the proceeds of the book to, Help Refugees www.helprefugees.org.uk. Help Refugees was started by Dawn O’Porter, Josie Naughton and Lliana Bird by launching a social media campaign using the hashtag #helpcalais. It is now a fully functioning charity which helps the most vulnerable people currently reaching Europe’s shores. Help Refugees supports local groups, charities and volunteers who are at the front lines, carrying out life changing work in difficult circumstances. Help Refugees works where Governments and NGOs cannot be. Unconstrained by red tape, politics and bureaucracy, they act fast to change lives. Your donations go directly to the people who need it most. It was Help Refugees who persuaded public figures including Benedict Cumberbatch, Dominic West and Jude Law to add their voices to President Hollande’s call on the UK Government to speed up the process of reuniting unaccompanied minors in Calais with their relatives in the UK.
Who am I?
My name is Sas Mackie and Refuge is my contribution to raise funds for the Refugee Crisis. I am in the process of researching, writing, illustrating, project managing and publishing Refuge.
My background is in Visual Arts Education; I have a great deal of experience of project managing, producing publications and working with young people. I worked on a number of education projects while working for the Visual Arts Department at the British Council between 2001 and 2007. These included The Magic Pencil exhibition, an international touring project of children’s book illustration selected by Quentin Blake and, formatively, I worked on a collaboration with Tate Education and a Syrian Arts foundation in 2006/2007. My experience of meeting and working with Syrian colleagues in Damascus gives this project a personal motive. I want to help the displaced people of Syria and the Arab world in whatever way that I am able. I currently teach and lead Art & Design workshops in schools and galleries in London. I also run a small design & printing production company – Candelabra Print.
What will the Crowdfunder funds go towards?
- Publishing Refuge: The book is going to be published by Blurb and sold internationally on Amazon. The RRP will be £12.99, for a standard 32 page, 10 x 8″ matt, soft-covered children’s picture book. Printing costs for an initial print run of 700 books will amount to £2,710 incl. VAT. Subsequent, trade orders will be managed by Ingram Spark on a print on demand basis. I am going to do my best to try and place Refuge within the bookstore distribution system, so that Refuge has the potential to be sold in bookshops, in the UK at the very least.
- International Standard Book Number (ISBN) registration fees: An ISBN is the standard ID number used to identify books by booksellers, libraries, book wholesalers and distributors. As I plan to sell Refuge in bookshops, to libraries, and through online Amazon.com, Refugeneeds an ISBN.
- Postage Costs: The books and prints brought as a pledges will need to be posted to you,Refuge‘s generous supporters.
- Research costs: I still need to visit another refugee camp to interview and photograph young people for the content of Refuge. I am going to visit the Jungle in Calais on 24th April and please note I am going to supplement my own travel costs.
Throughout the development of this project, I am being mindful to keep my production and own costs low and supplement anything I spend with my own personal funds.
Illustration, graphic design and time spent Project Managing Refuge is my personal donation to the project.
Any funds left over from your pledges will be donated directly to Help Refugees.
What stage is the project at right now?
The majority of the research and market research stages of the book are underway, I have produced test pages of the book and am in the process of feedback, consultation and editing.
I do need to undertake at least one more trip to a refugee camp to interview young people and photograph them for my last few illustrations – I intend to go in late April.
Once the final copy is completed, the process should be fairly straight-forward; my intention is to have the book launched in early Autumn 2016.
Who else is onboard?
I am very grateful for the input of a very generous collection of friends who between them have an impressive expertise that will continue to guide and improve theRefuge project. The list is non-exhaustive, and is still growing, but includes:
Justine Solomons, a self-publishing expert and founder of Byte The Book.
Iskra Tsaneva – Creative Director for the Simple Acts Campaign for Refugee Week, a programme celebrating the contribution of refugees to the UK, as well as numerous campaigns for clients including Amazon, Greenpeace, NSPCC. She has a wealth of skills that add humanity, insight and narrative to campaigns and experiences.
Dr Clarinda Still – Anthropologist and a Fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, and mother to Saul and Xanthe. Thanks for all your help with the dreaded video. xx
Thomas Lindner – German translation, and well as experience of project management and connecting people with their communities.
Abigail Neal – Reporter for BBC Wales and mother of Elsie and Lucia.
Clare Ratazzi, Tansy Troy and Josh Tomas-Merrills – Primary School teachers.
Elaine Lester – Senior Producer at the BBC and mother of Delilah and Elsie.
Alex Craster’s Syrian friend, Hannie Alboni – Arabic translation.
Thank you also to a number of other friends and family, you know who you are, who have let me test-drive Refuge on their children’s imaginations.
What can you do to help?
I hope that if you have been wanting to help the refugee crisis but have not yet found a way, the Refuge project might inspire you to take action now.
Please also get in touch if you have any ideas for support, or contacts that you think would be of use to the Refuge project. [email protected].
Please do share this on Facebook and Twitter, the more people who know about Refuge, the more funds it will raise for the refugees who need our help.
Please do make a pledge if you can – thank you very much.
With best wishes,