Niki Saccareccia is a yoga instructor and a child therapist. Violet Khodagolian is an art director and web designer. Together, they have created The Sweet Dreamer, a “children’s book good for adults,” which they hope to bring to life with the help of a newly-launched Kickstarter campaign.
Written by Saccareccia and illustrated by Khodagolian, the two say the idea for the book came from similar life experiences.
“I was always told I could anything my heart desired; to find something I love doing, and to share it. As I got older, and then as a child therapist, I realized that not everyone was told that. In fact, a lot of people weren’t,” Saccareccia says in the campaign video for The Sweet Dreamer.
Originally a poem, the story has been adapted to a book, and brings to readers the “Dreamer” personality, highlighting the importance of the act of dreaming and pursuing those dreams, regardless of age.
According to the book’s Kickstarter campaign page, the book was tested with readers between the ages of 4-86, and the feedback has been the same—it’s a reminder for all to keep, “our sense of wonder alive.”
“The writing is just challenging enough for young readers to expand their vocabulary. The illustrations are bright and interesting, and the topic is of course incredibly fun! Who doesn’t love stoking the fire of creativity and imagination, or jumping into a world of fantastic colors and wild landscapes?!”
Khodagolian says that it was her mother who encouraged her to have dreams and to pursue them. But things didn’t pan out the way she was taught they would. “As an adult, I realized that this is fairly uncommon. What is more common is that we are taught to be practical and responsible, but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up your dreams.”
“Everything else we can be taught how to do, but nobody can teach you how to dream,” Khodagolian says.
Together, Saccareccia and Khodagolian wrote, illustrated, edited and published the book, and it’s now ready to be printed. “Children’s books have always been a way to entertain and teach kids valuable lessons about living in the world. But reading time is being replaced with technology. We want to change that,” Saccareccia says.
To bring the completed book to young and adult readers alike, the duo must raise $6000 in 30 days for printing and production. Backers of the project will receive a note of appreciation on social media, as well as special “Dreamer” gifts—postcards, decals, tote bags, signed copies of the book, and other materials according to the amount gifted.
150 copies of the book have already been sent to print due to popular demand from local organizations, according to Saccareccia and Khodagolian. But the two have much bigger dreams for the book.
“The idea that has inspired this work of art is bigger than a children’s picture book: we envision workshops, discussions, group activities and read-in sessions that help inspire people of all ages to dig deep and (re)discover what they really want out of life, and imagine how to make it happen!”