St. Charles author, illustrator seeking funding for children’s book

ST. CHARLES – John Bray of St. Charles said he had been thinking about writing a children’s book for a long time. His inspiration came a few years ago when his son, at age 5, asked him if candy grew on trees or bushes. That stirred his imagination.

For the record, Bray answered “bushes,” because that’s what made the most sense in his imagination, he said.

Bray’s story is centered around the character, “Maggie,” a curious, free-spirited 7-year-old who lives in a blue house at the farthest end of her street. One day, she mixed up a potion in her kitchen, then tripped, spilling the potion in her yard.

And that’s where the “Maggie and the Sprinkle Tree” adventure begins.

Bray partnered with his friend and graphic designer, Christian Jackson of St. Charles, to illustrate the book.

In order to cover the publishing costs, they’ve been asking for funds through a Kickstarter campaign online, which ends at 7 p.m. Thursday.

As of last week, the pair had reached about 80 percent of their $9,500 goal but still need about $1,700 more by Thursday to fund the publishing costs of the 36-page book. The process started in 2009 and the story now is complete.

“The process took so long, but that benefited the character,” Bray said.

“It’s been great because we’ve been able to build this character over time,” Jackson said. “She’s a combination of our kids.”

Jackson has two daughters, and Bray has a son. They said while writing and illustrating the book, it was important to them to leave out any kind of moral or lesson because there aren’t enough children’s books like that.

“Almost every book you get, you get your lesson – eat your vegetables, don’t hit your brother,” Bray said. “I just wanted the book to be about imagination without anything to control it. ... It’s about a kid being a kid.”

The book is targeted at children ages 4 and older, and Bray said both boys and girls would enjoy it.

How to donate

To help St. Charles author John Bray and illustrator Christian Jackson fund the publishing of their children’s book, “Maggie and the Sprinkle Tree,” visit www.imaginemaggie.com/kickstarter. The campaign ends at 7 p.m. Thursday.