Not Just A Princess: New book series launched on crowd funding platform

By Hayden Moore

THE POPULAR Not Just A Princess children’s books have been given a fresh lease of life after working with a new creative team ahead of their latest release.

Created by Springfield native, Gavin Leonard, Not Just a Princess evolved from a blog that boasts thousands of followers online to a series of books that has sold of 20,000 copies.

Gavin and Jade1 1

Gavin and Jade

The blog started originally to document the adventures that Gavin would go on with his young daughter Jade to let her experience different careers.

From that, Gavin created a book series chronicling the adventures of a princess called Jade, who is based on his daughter, to challenge the typical damsel-in-distress role found in traditional fairy tales.

Now, Not Just a Princess has been reimagined after Gavin worked with a creative director and new team of illustrators.

The new book series launched on crowd-funding platform Indiegogo and they have received hoards of support, securing 90 percent funding to date.

Gavin, who lives in Dundrum with his wife Shannon and now four-year-old daughter Jade, spoke to The Echo about what can be expected of the new reimagined Not Just a Princess book series.

What is different about this latest collection from the Not Just a Princess series?

The first run went really well, we sold over 20,000 books and we wanted to see where we could take it.

Because we focused on different careers and princesses, we weren’t sure what more could be done.

So we sent out a survey to find out what people like liked and didn’t like. We started to work with a creative director, who used to work with Brown Bag Films, making things for the likes of Disney and Netflix.

Two local artists came on board then who have done things for Disney and we basically changed the whole look of Not Just a Princess.

They gave us the freedom then to be able to open up and explore that world a bit more. Jade is still the princess and we have a new character in it as well, the Kindly King.

Not Just a Princess Series Sept 2020 1

Series of books

Who is the Kindly King?

When you look at Daddy Pig in Peppa Pig or Homer Simpson, they’re absolute idiots.

Dads are very poorly represented in this media. So we wanted to create a character who is coming up with these adventures for his daughter, empowering her so she can one day take over the whole kingdom.

You have really come a long way since the days of the blog and fundraising for the initial books back in 2018.

When you look back it just started as something for me and my daughter to do.

We started getting all of these followers on Facebook as we were going on these adventures and the whole thing has really been a very interesting process.

When we looked back at what we had done, we knew that if we were going to do this seriously that we were going to talk to consultants and try find any teachable lessons so that we can continue – and here we are. It’s been much more of a collaborative effort this time around and it’s been thoroughly enjoyable.

The core idea behind the Not Just a Princess books is about empowering young children. What are these three new books about?

Jade’s Fantastic Athletic Adventure is based on Jade’s cousin actually, who has down syndrome. In the book she’s trying to save the special Olympics and all of the profits from the book will be going to Special Olympics Ireland Down Syndrome Ireland. They are two fantastic charities. In Jade and the Temple of Trouble, she teams up with an architect who lives in China. Jade’s Secret Santa is set around 2020 and Santa has a cold, so he can’t deliver any of the presents because he has to self-isolate.

Jade has really grown up in the meantime. As she grows up, can you see the similarities between Jade your daughter and Jade the character?

I can yeah. When the two artists came on board they sat down and actually played with Jade for about four hours to get an idea of what she was like.

They were able to get some of the attitudes that she has into the book, and that’s just amazing.

On page two of the Jade’s Secret Santa book she is decorating a Christmas tree, and she throws this look - it looks exactly like something she would do.

Is Jade proud of the books?

Yeah, she is for sure, especially with these ones because she’s been involved the whole time, really getting into them. When Covid happened, everything changed and we were really struggling for things to do with Jade. So we just started writing more books. She is so excited about them, she told everyone in her class that they were getting books for Christmas.

So what can people expect from this new release?

We are doing three books and a colouring book, as well as a two-page spread of stickers of different characters, a castle and different elements from the book. So essentially people are purchasing three books and getting a free colouring book and stickers.

“Readers of The Echo Newspaper can get a special offer on the latest Not Just a Princess book series by following the link or scanning the QR Code”

Not Just a Princess QR 1

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