Emanuele Fortunati and Andrea Minetti are poised to publish an innovative new bilingual children’s book called Click! Read on to discover how the Click! concept evolved; what inspires the duo’s creativity; and why they believe curiosity is the key to growth.
The SparkHub: Please tell us as much as possible about Click!, your bilingual children’s book about discovering London, which will be published soon. What was the inspiration for this product (and in particular, the main characters)? What are your objectives for it? And how might the concept be expanded in the future (e.g. more books, different locations, different languages, etc.)?
[easy-tweet tweet=”Read all about a new #bilingual book concept #ClickTheBook #CreativeLearning http://spkhb.co/2baAsfx”]
Emanuele Fortunati and Andrea Minetti: In the beginning it was just an idea inspired by some kids travelling on the Tube. Click!’s first draft was really different from what it is now: [it started as] a 10-page story about three little kids travelling around London. In just two months the story grew into a 32-page book.
With the story evolving and changing we realised we needed just two main characters: the impulsive and spontaneous Alex, and the clever and careful Laila. So we decided to drop the third one. In the story we show the evolution of the two characters to highlight…how they can balance each other and work together.
Since the very beginning we wanted Click! to be bilingual, in response to the enormous demand for such books from bilingual families. So when the book is officially released later this month (August 2016), it will be available in combinations of English, Italian and Spanish.
We also have plans in the pipeline to translate the book into many other languages, and then to release a series of audiobooks, plus an app for iPad. And if all our projects work as we expect, we also plan to create more books with different locations too. Why not?
“Since the very beginning we wanted Click! to be bilingual, in response to the enormous demand for such books from bilingual families. So when the book is officially released later this month (August 2016), it will be available in combinations of English, Italian and Spanish.”
Can you talk us through the timeline, from the birth of the original concept, to now? How long have you been working on it? How big is the team and who else has been involved?
Click!’s first draft was written by Emanuele in November 2015, and we then joined forces for a second draft, and the concept for the illustrations, in December. We only started to work more seriously on the book this February, when we both quit our jobs. As the book will be released at the end of August, that’s about six months.
Apart for ourselves, the team includes about 10 people including translators and editors, plus a few friends who helped us with ideas, marketing and love!
How did you both meet – and then end up working together? How do you complement each other?
We met in spring 2011 while working at Digital Outlook, a digital agency based in Soho, London. We ended up bumping into each other again while freelancing around London, and became friends. As we both have similar creative interests it just seemed natural to start working on Click! together.
As I’ve mentioned, the original concept for the book was very different from the actual story now: the more the illustrations came to life, the more the story changed. If in a way the illustrations improved the story, the story shaped the illustrations too. And it’s the same for us: we are both growing with the project, and shaping each other’s ideas.
You say that Click! Is about curiosity, and how being curious can lead to amazing adventures. In your opinion, why is it so important to foster curiosity in our kids – and what are your tips for doing so?
We believe curiosity is the main engine for growth, both personal and as human beings. Without curiosity, for example, scientists wouldn’t feel the need to discover. And in the same way children in their early years wouldn’t absorb all those skills they need during their whole life.
Our main tip to foster curiosity is to provide children with lot of different inputs, of all kinds. And also to encourage them to approach reality under various perspectives, so that they can develop their own point of view and problem-solving skills.
In what ways have your own children inspired your work?
My aim as a father is to one day see my children living a life they really love. And I wanted to be an example for them. For that reason I’ve quit my job as a web developer to create Click! and follow my dreams. In that sense, my children were a great inspiration for me.
Also, in the first draft of the book the main characters were my own kids, each of them reflecting their own personality. The book doesn’t now have any more direct references to my children; however some traits of the main characters are still inspired by them, especially Laila.
In general, being around my children is always inspiring, as they are so natural and funny, and they act with no fear or shame.
My advice [for sparking creativity] is quite simple: just let children be children! Kids love to mess around with colours, or to create music with anything that can make some noise. Creativity is already so much a part of them, we just need to let it flow.”
What advice do you have for parents keen to spark creativity in their own children? How do you do it?
My piece of advice is quite simple: just let children be children! Kids love to mess around with colours, or to create music with anything that can make some noise. Creativity is already so much a part of them, we just need to let it flow.
As father, I encourage my children to make up funny stories or songs, which we then all sing together. At other times I just take out my brushes and we all paint together, each of us on their own canvas. Then we hang our paintings on the wall, just like in an art gallery. They love it!
It’s a question more traditionally aimed at women, but how are you balancing being an entrepreneur and a parent?
The trick for me is waking up very early, so I can start to work by 8:30 am. That way, by 4.00 pm I’m always home and ready to play with my children. The fact that I can manage my own time is of course very important, but even more so is the fact that I love what I do. Because when work is enjoyable, productivity is very high, and then I don’t need to work too many hours.
What is next on the agenda for Click?
As mentioned, in August we will release the book in combinations of English, Italian and Spanish. Shortly afterwards we’ll add Portuguese and French. Before Christmas we’ll then try to release versions in Arabic, Polish and Turkish.
While working on the translations, we’ll also start developing an iPad app, which will be a mix between an e-Book and a game. Since the app will also include a narrator voice, we will then use the same recordings for a series of audiobooks.
After that, probably more translations, and then we’ll decide which location to pick next… or maybe we’ll write something completely new!
For more information, visit: http://clickbook.info/#home