Wellington book-lovers raise 10k to launch children's literature magazine online

Children's book lovers Jane Arthur and Sarah Forster are behind a new online magazine focused on exploring children's ...
RUBY MACANDREW/FAIRFAX NZ

Children's book lovers Jane Arthur and Sarah Forster are behind a new online magazine focused on exploring children's literature.

A pair of Wellington women with a combined 25 years experience in the children's book world are getting ready to share their passion with a wider audience.

Sarah Forster and Jane Arthur are the editors of The Sapling, a soon-to-be-launched online magazine, dedicated to discussing children's books.

"It's for adults that think children's literature deserves a wider understanding. The people that believe that those types of books are serious literature," Forster said.

While the new website will focus on children's book, its creators say it's targeted at adults that think children's ...
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ

While the new website will focus on children's book, its creators say it's targeted at adults that think children's literature deserves a wider understanding and believe those types of books are serious literature.

"We want it to be a place for people who already care about kids books but also a place to convert others into caring too."

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Once it is launched in early March, the free website will feature reviews, opinion pieces and interviews. New content will be posted almost every day.

Children's books aren't just for children with plenty of the themes explored in them ripe for adult discussion.
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Children's books aren't just for children with plenty of the themes explored in them ripe for adult discussion.

"It'll be fun but also serious, because we know that books are formative for kids' brains, personalities and futures, and should be taken seriously," Forster said.

While it will be free for anyone to visit the site, the pair will pay contributors for their content. Creative New Zealand have chipped in with the money needed to pay the first round of contributors.

The two women have also created a crowdfunding project in the hope of raising an extra $10,000 to guarantee the online magazine's first year in operation.

With three weeks left of the campaign, the pair had already surpassed their goal and said they were overwhelmed with the positive reception they have received from the public.

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"We always knew there would be a healthy level of support for the website, but we had no idea just how passionate or how numerous our supporters would be."

Arthur said the experience had been a real confidence booster, with people seeing it as a cool idea and putting their money where their mouth was.

Despite the website not having launched, she said word had got out about what they have been doing, with several people expressing their interest in being involved.

"Already we've had really cool, award-winning, writers come to us and pitch ideas for the magazine."

The website is set to launch on March 6 with an estimated 60 per cent of the content ready to go.

Arthur said the focus will initially be on New Zealand books and authors as a way to showcase what is available locally. But the pair were open to a wider international scope once the site found its footing.

"It feels natural to be spotlighting the community we live in but at the same time we definitely have visions of taking over the world," Arthur said.

 - Stuff

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