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Not on the Nametag

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Not on the Nametag is the collaborative project of FableVision’s Summer 2018 interns.

It’s time for a late-night bite! Join your friends Tab, Ada, Jo, and Brandon for a 2 a.m. diner run in this immersive, interactive comic. Not on the Nametag invites you to find and forge connections in unlikely places, and challenges you to stand up for what’s right.

Step through the doors of Gracie’s Diner, help yourself to a milkshake, and take a look around. You just might find something you didn’t expect…

 
 

Learn more about FableVision's internship program (and how to apply!) here.

(Editorial note: The Unity web player will not work on mobile devices. For optimal playing experience please view this interactive on the latest version of Chrome if you're experiencing issues.)

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A Taste of "Gourmet Galaxy!"

This season’s batch of art, production, and marketing interns have been hard at work on an exciting new independent project: Gourmet Galaxy! As we gear up for the launch of the this delicious intergalactic game, we decided to give you just a little taste of what to expect.

Brought together by our passion for opening up educational opportunities for kids and appealing to their sense of curiosity and adventure, our brainstorm session was a salad bowl of creative ideas. After tossing together a well-blended mix of concepts, we hit on the idea of space chefs and intergalactic recipes.

Gourmet Galaxy follows Nutmeg, a space chef in training, as she explores a beautifully illustrated planet full of treats. Her mission: to gather enough ingredients to help her dad make a tasty (and healthy!) meal. Kids, you’re definitely going to want to try this at home!

We sat down with the production team to share what went on behind-the-scenes. From character creation to game design docs, we’re giving you the low-down on Gourmet Galaxy.

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What was your role in the project?
Lucia: For this project I served as a producer. I worked with the team to make sure that we were aligned, on-track, organized and moving towards our big release! I also co-wrote the dialogue and was a part of determining the overall vision for the game. Nutmeg and Chef Poppyseed for the win!
Maged: I was a programmer!
Maggie: I was the artist and designer on this project. I created Nutmeg, Chef Poppyseed, all the backgrounds, and assets.
Sarah: I was the lead animator for Gourmet Galaxy. That means that I animated the walk cycles, idle animations, and pick up actions for game play. I also animated the cutscenes. I assisted in writing the script as well.
Allie: I was in charge of creating all the marketing materials for the game.

Where do you think the project really pushed you?
Maged: I have never worked with sprites as large as this, so it's been a challenge making it all work. I'm more used to pixel art and much smaller (literal) scale things.
Maggie: This project was the first time I worked in a professional environment, which was great learning experience! It really put my technical drawing skills and time management to the test. I only had about three months to design backgrounds and assets; I had never worked on a video game before, and I really learned a lot about the production pipeline.

Sarah: Making Gourmet Galaxy has pushed me to think more about organization and deadlines. I've had to think about the project and its contributors as a whole, working in a way that works best for the group at any time. I've learned to consider which animations need to come first so everyone has something to work on at any given time -- ie. I needed to get walk cycle and idle animations to our programmer (Maged) before working on a cutscene that can be added later. The production process for projects like ours is more clear to me, and I feel like I can use this knowledge in the future.

Production Designer Christina Kelly recording voiceover for Nutmeg. 

Production Designer Christina Kelly recording voiceover for Nutmeg. 

What is your favorite part of what you contributed? What is your favorite thing about the game overall?
Lucia: I was an advocate of the measuring portion of the game. Gourmet Galaxy is a whimsical adventure that ultimately leads to a tangible recipe that kids can make in real life with their families. The measuring station is important because it serves as the transition from a fictional world to a child's real kitchen. This feature contributes to math fluidity and self-confidence!  
Maged: Coming up with a smart way to do dialogue that we can quickly edit, add new character portraits, attach to music, and the like all from one simple XML file has been fun.
Maggie: My favorite thing I did was design Nutmeg and Poppyseed! I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to blend the outfits of chefs and astronauts.
Sarah: My favorite part has been storyboarding and animating the opening sequence of the game. I am drawn to narratives so this gave me the opportunity to explore the development of our main characters in a fun and expressive way. Plus, frame by frame animation is a personal passion of mine, so it was nice to have the chance to incorporate it into Gourmet Galaxy.
Allie: I really loved watching the overall project evolve. I loved seeing the deliverables from the artists. They really set the tone of the game which I loved translating into marketing materials.  

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Read Outside the Margins: Chapter Two

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Sometimes a family is two parents and their 2.5 kids, and sometimes it’s a group of super-powered teens and a dinosaur. Not everyone’s relatives look like the Bennet bunch or the Addams clan, so we're bringing a diverse range of family-centric stories to the table. With stories of tight-knit families growing into their shared future, fractured families finding solace in one another, and found families redefining what “home” is, our list has there is something for everyone. Find out which book is your perfect match with the quiz below!



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Tar Beach - Faith Ringgold (picture book, preschool)
Ringgold’s picture book is a love letter -- to New York, to family, and to the magic of childhood itself. My mother and I read this story all the time when I was young, and I was just as enchanted reading it for this blog as I was back then. For a fun activity, check out Ringgold as she reads her own work here


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Abuela - Arthur Dorros and Elisa Kleven (picture book, preschool) 
I never read any of Elisa Kleven’s books when I was a kid, but when I discovered her illustrations a few years ago, I instantly fell in love. Her brilliant combinations of color and pattern are the perfect pair to Arthur Dorros’ magical story about Rosalba and her beloved Abuela. Follow along as the two take flight and explore the sights and sounds of New York City from the sky -- and don’t miss the chance to practice your Spanish at the same time!


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Cloudia & Rex - Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas (comic book, elementary school) 
The power of the gods in fun-sized packages! Cloudia & Rex follows siblings Cloudia and Rex as they set off on a road trip with their newly widowed mother. When the gGods bestow their powers upon the sisters, they are flung into a journey of discovery, sacrifice, and reconciliation. Ultimately a story about the power of family and healing, I found myself laughing at their uniquely teenage problems, and tearing up at their ultimate dedication to one another.


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Runaways - Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, and Takeshi Miyazawa (comic book, middle school)
When your parents turn out to be super-powered evil masterminds, your friends become your family. From alien powers to a telepathic link with dinosaurs, the group of friends grapples with how to use the powers passed down to them to undo the chaos their parents created. Despite existing in a world of wizards and aliens, the comic is one of the most realistic depictions of found family that I’ve encountered, dysfunctions and all.


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Fun Home - Alison Bechdel (graphic novel, high school) 
Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home has become a classic -- and rightly so. The autobiographical story tracks Bechdel’s journey coming into her lesbian identity against her father’s downward spiral with his own identity as a gay man. The “tragicomic” broke my heart and put it back together so many times with it’s starkly honest portrayal of internalized homophobia, mental illness, and parent-child relationships. Once you finish the book, you can relive the whole thing with the Original Broadway Cast Recording.


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The Inexplicable Logic of My Life - Benjamin Alire Sáenz (novel, high school)
Seventeen-year-old Salvador knows who he is -- or at least he thinks he does. But when tragedies strike both his own family and that of his best friend Sam, Sal is sent into an identity-crisis tailspin. Surrounded by a wonderful cast of characters, from his gay adoptive father to his beloved grandmother, Sal grapples with grief, masculinity, and identity before ultimately redefining what it means to be a family. Once I dove into Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s poetic writing, I could hardly put this book down.


The goal of Read Outside the Margins is to shine the spotlight on stories that students from all walks of life can connect with and actually want to read! Read more about our mission here! Don’t miss the rest of the series, catch up on Chapter 1!

 

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Read Outside the Margins: Chapter One

 
 

The first response that pops up when you Google “coming of age books?” is The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger’s novel features the famous Holden Caulfield as he wanders 1940s New York City, turning a cynical eye on everything and everyone he interacts with. While Holden’s story has become a staple in English classrooms all over the country, we are here to open up the world of coming of age stories to include tales that provide new and refreshing points of view. There are many perspectives when it comes to growing pains and it’s time for a refresh on the spotlight.

The goal of Read Outside the Margins is to shine the spotlight on stories that students from all walks of life can connect with and actually want to read! Read more about our mission here!

We dug a little deeper to create a reading list that’s ripe for the picking. From being true to who you want to be to the courageous stories of standing up for what you believe in, our book list has something for just about everyone.

Take the quiz below to find your perfectly paired book match! 


 

 
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Radiant Child - Javaka Steptoe (picture book, preschool)
Step into a vibrant New York City as imagined by Steptoe in this biography of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat is one of my all-time favorite artists, so I was thrilled to discover this picture book that introduces kids to his uniquely beautiful art, and celebrates the Haitian-Puerto Rican ethnicity that impacts his work. This story reminds us that art doesn’t have to be neat, clean, or inside the lines to be beautiful!

For a fun post-read activity, encourage kids to make their own masterpieces inspired by Basquiat’s works. If you can, take a trip to the museum to see his art in person -- try the Whitney in New York or the Broad in LA!


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El Deafo - Cece Bell (graphic novel, elementary school)
Introducing El Deafo, the world’s first deaf superhero! In this semi-autobiographical graphic novel, Cece imagines herself as the superpowered El Deafo to cope with the frustrations of being the only deaf kid in a hearing person’s world.

I’ve spent some time studying American Sign Language, so I was so pleasantly surprised to stumble across a kid’s book with a deaf main character. Cece brings a unique deaf perspective to traditional themes of friendship and belonging, and brings the story to life through a graphic-novel styled book. Use El Deafo to introduce kids to concepts of deafness and difference, to talk about healthy friendships, or if you just need a good giggle!


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Lola Levine Is Not Mean - Monica Brown (chapter book, middle elementary school)
Spunky Lola Levine just wants to play her favorite sport -- soccer! But when she gets a little too competitive at recess and accidentally injures her friend Juan, she must find a grown-up way to deal with the unpleasant consequences.

In this charming chapter book series, Monica Brown brings Lola Levine to life. This pick made my list because of the wonderfully casual way Brown weaves in Lola’s multi-ethnic Jewish and Latina identity, emphasizing its importance to Lola without making it a source of tension in the plot.

 


 
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The Witch Boy - Molly Ostertag (middle school, graphic novel)
In a hidden world of shapeshifters and witches, Aster finds himself stuck in the middle. Despite the pressures of tradition all around him to grow into his shapeshifting powers, Aster can’t help but be drawn to the teachings of witchcraft. But there’s one big barrier: magic is only meant for girls.

As a long-time fan of Molly Ostertag, I was over-the-moon excited about this beautifully drawn gender-binary breaking story. Not only does it offer kids and teens representation of gender role exploration, but it acts as a mirror for adults to examine their own implicit biases about gender that they might be imposing on the Asters in their classrooms and homes.

 


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Does My Head Look Big in This? - Randa Abdel-Fattah (middle school, novel)

When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full time, she is faced with an onslaught of opinions, reactions, and taunts. The biography follows Amal’s decision to stay true to her faith and her decision in the face of the minefield that is the social world of high school.

This novel explores issues of identity, growing up, and managing social interactions, all threaded together with Amal’s decision to wear the hijab. It brings the experience of a young, Muslim woman into focus in a way that many students, including myself, can relate to and learn from.

 


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The Miseducation of Cameron Post - Emily Danforth (high school, novel)
When rough and tough Cameron Post’s bible-thumping aunt finds out that her feelings for girls run deeper than friendship, she sends her off to a conversion camp where Cameron is faced with the reality of her identity.

This book is near and dear to my heart. While a difficult read, it was the first book I read that was centered on a queer experience -- in fact, before this book, I didn’t know that queer characters existed in books at all. This moving story pushes readers of any sexuality to understand and empathize with a varied range of LGBTQIA+ realities.

 

 


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The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros (high school, novel)
Through vivid descriptions and lively vignettes, readers are pulled into the world of Esperanza as she grows up in her house on Mango Street. She faces the normal ebb and flow of getting older along with some of the harsher realities of her world.

The book was banned from many school curriculums, which automatically drew me to the story. The semi-autobiographical novel ultimately is a story of individuality and growing into yourself despite a harsh world of labeling, stereotyping, and even violence. This novel contains some graphic accounts of sexual assault, so giving students a proper warning is necessary when teaching this book.

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