Queens Dad Plans to Publish Kids' A-Z Guide to His Borough

By Jeanmarie Evelly on March 24, 2014 7:29am 

"Q is for Queens" Kickstarter
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www.kickstarter.com/projects/amol/q-is-for-queens

QUEENS — A is for Arthur Ashe Stadium. M is for Mets. And Q, of course, is for Queens.

There's an entire alphabet full of notable landmarks, people and icons in the city's most diverse borough, which one Queens dad — a tech entrepreneur — is looking to bring to life in the pages of a new book.

Long Island City father of two Amol Sarva, 36, is running a Kickstarter campaign for his project "Q is for Queens," an illustrated children's ABC book that would highlight all the great things his home borough has to offer, in alphabetical order.

Most well-known children's books set in New York City — like the famous "Eloise" series — tend to focus on Manhattan, Sarva said. He thought a Queens-centric book would be a good way to show some of the borough's greatest features to kids, including his daughters, aged 7 and 3.

"A kid's book is just such an awesome way to introduce them to the world, and how do you introduce them to the place that you’re from?" said Sarva, who grew up in Jamaica and Little Neck.

But "Q is for Queens" isn't just for the little ones.

"Even adults have no idea how much amazing stuff is in Queens," he said.

Among the borough's highlights are The Mets, Lemon Ice King of Corona, MoMA PS1, the Steinway Piano factory, Silvercup Studios, the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign, plus famous and historic figures who have ties to the borough like The Ramones, Louis Armstrong and Cyndi Lauper.

"There's so much to write, there are so many interesting stories," Sarva said.

Sarva, a tech entrepreneur who co-founded Virgin Mobile USA, teamed up with friends Renee Bentley to help with illustrations and Hamad Altourah, who produced his Kickstarter video.

He's hoping to raise $8,000 by next month to cover the cost of printing the hardcover book, which he wants to send to the press by the end of June. Since launching his Kickstarter earlier this week, he said he's already heard from stores in the borough who are interested in carrying "Q is for Queens."

The project has also been an early success — as of Friday, the Kickstarter page had already received $5,511.

"I cannot believe that this has taken off so quickly," Sarva said, saying he thinks people are excited by the idea of giving the oft-overlooked Queens the attention it deserves.

"I think it's an unarticulated feeling. It's like a feeling people haven’t really said out loud before — the idea that you can be proud of all the cool stuff from Queens," he said.

The Kickstarter project has another 56 days to go. Those who donate certain amounts can get rewarded by being listed as an author of the book, or get the opportunity to submit an idea for one of the letter illustrations — and Sarva says he's more than open to suggestions.

"It's pretty hard to come up with ideas for X and Z," he joked.

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