Q&A with Jelani Memory, A Kids Book About
A series of books is encouraging parents to talk to their children about challenging and important topics – Racism, belonging and voting, to name a few.
Family Times recently talked to Jelani Memory, the co-founder and CEO, about the inspiration for A Kids Book About, why it’s so important for children to be exposed to these topics, and the response the books have received.
1. Can you start by telling me a little more about how A Kids Book About got started?
It all got started with one book, A Kids Book About Racism. When I wrote it back in 2018, it was meant just for my kids. I spent a handful of weeks writing and designing it, then only printed one copy. I showed my little book to my kids and they loved it. But when I showed it to other parents, their response was through the roof. They thought it was amazing. That spurred me on to think more broadly about what I could do both with my book, but also with more challenging, empowering, and important topics. That’s really where I realized that this could be so much more than my book, it could be a whole collection designed to help start meaningful conversations with kids.
2. What is your goal?
To start the most important conversations kids have with their grownups.
3. What are some of the topics these books address?
Racism, cancer, depression, change, anxiety, money, optimism, emotions, belonging, gratitude, and so many more.
4. Why is it so important for children to be exposed to these topics?
Kids are so much smarter and aware than we give them credit for. We also don’t always respect their experiences or the complexity of their internal lives. We believe that introducing these topics to kids allows for them to be validated, understood, and seen. Sometimes these topics are new, but often times kids have feelings and experiences attached to them that they don’t quite understand.
5. What kind of response have the books received?
The response has been incredible. Here is a customer review we received yesterday: “A Kids Book About Disabilities: So amazingly written! My little and I really enjoyed reading this so well written and easy for her to understand! Her uncle is autistic and has down-syndrome so this book helped answer a lot of questions and talk about thoughts she had that she was too afraid to talk about. So amazing! Love it!”
6.Where are they available for purchase?
7. What is next for A Kids Book About?
More books! We think there are hundreds if not thousands of conversations that kids should be having with their grownups.
Syracuse Stage Announces Plans for 2020/2021 Season
Do you have a theater fan in the family?
Syracuse Stage will present six virtual shows during its 2020/21 season – Talley’s Folly (November), Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (December), Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (January/February), Yoga Play (March), Our Town (April/May) and the world premiere of salt/city/blues (June). Families can also check out Syracuse Stories, virtual conversations and performances that explore issues impacting Central New York. The season will begin late this month and run through July 2021.
“While we’re saddened by the fact that we can’t create the season we had planned, we are thrilled to announce our ideas for a newly reimagined Syracuse Stage season,” said artistic director Robert Hupp in a press release. “Especially now, in this time of national reckoning, we need the transformative power of theatre more than ever. We’ll create fully realized virtual work, and with ‘Syracuse Stories,’ we’ll put our community front and center through a series of exciting multi-discipline projects.”
For more information, visit syracusestage.com.
Baltimore Woods Hosts Virtual Art Exhibit
Baltimore Woods Nature Center recently launched a free video art gallery. Held through October 30, ‘Autumn: A Visual
Feast of Images’ features fall images by the Syracuse Camera Club.
For more information, visit baltimorewoods.org/art-gallery.
WonderWorks Syracuse Offers Fall Programs
Are you looking for ways to enhance your child’s learning? WonderWorks Syracuse will be offering several programs for families this fall.
Students in grades 3-5 can learn about topics such as severe weather, states of matter and the solar system during its Virtual Learning Labs. Those interested in art can participate in the CNY Art Contest – the theme is “Time to Think” and the winners’ work will be displayed at WonderWorks Syracuse. The deadline for submissions is December 21. Once it has been cleared to open, WonderWorks Syracuse will also offer Homeschool Days.
“In a time where life has been turned upside down, we are thrilled to continue offering our popular educational programs while also introducing new ones to meet the needs of the community while adapting to our new normal,” said Nicole Montgomery, general manager of WonderWorks Syracuse, in a press release.
For more information, visit wonderworksonline.com/destiny.
Learn about the Girl Scouts
Thinking about enrolling your child in the Girl Scouts?
Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathway will be hosting several ‘Animal Dance Parties’ this fall, where girls in grade K-3 and their parents can learn more about the program.
The virtual event is free, and will be held from 5:30-6 p.m. on October 1, 15 and 29. To register, visit gsnypenn.org/events.