Penny Olive, project proposal

I will be creating and illustrating a 16-24 pages children's book, Penny Olive about a contemporary PA Dutch girl and her experiences with PA Dutch culture, the message being the importance of preserving and sharing our cultural heritage. I will utilize a fraktur style of drawing in my illustrations, as well as stitched fabrics that are made up of personal items from my grandparents and great-grandparents. The story will use some PA Dutch language, similar to the way that Dora the Explorer does, intermittently throughout the story. I am planning to have an interactive element to the book, either a paper doll page at the back or stickers, or both. If I have time I will also be hand-making a companion doll of the main character, Penny Olive, and updating a companion website (pennyolive.com).

My target audience for the book is children ages 4-8 that live in PA Dutch country, are PA Dutch, or have an interest in our culture (i.e. participate in events at the Pennsylvania German Heritage Center at Kutztown University). Penny Olive will serve as a mascot of sorts to encourage and excite children to learn more about PA Dutch culture and their personal heritage. My target audience for the companion website is much broader. As I develop and expand this character's experiences, I would like the website to eventually become a Wilkum site to introduce people to PA Dutch culture through the fun and playful Penny Olive.

The goal of this project is to promote PA Dutch traditions and culture. I envision Penny Olive becoming an essential part of our events and cultural preservation efforts. It is, after all, our younger generations that will either choose to preserve and share our culture, or let it die. Penny Olive's purpose is to walk hand-in-hand with the younger generations and show them how exciting and interesting our culture is, through a child's eyes.

Penny Olive ©


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