I’ll Tell You About My Dad

design, Events, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, Zimbabwe

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When I was told that my father was not well, and furthermore, what was ailing him was the dreaded cancer, I didn’t know how to react. I don’t believe anyone really knows.

He’d had some back trouble, common for older people, and the x-ray brought some unexpected spots of clarity to his doctor.

By the time he had his follow up appointment I was getting on a plane.

By the time I landed, he knew that there was nothing that could be done.

Each day thereafter became a treasured event. Every word, every touch was amplified and committed to memory.

I left for London ten days later. Our good bye was simple and heartfelt. I believe we said all we could say to each other. He was weak but I felt like I hadn’t been held so tightly since I was a boy.

He did his best to keep us positive in his last days, often joking and doing something silly. His sense of humour was his greatest and final gift.

Three weeks after he found out he was ill, he passed away. His funeral was truly uplifting, both African and European at the same time, just like him.

I wait for the time when sadness comes, but for now I want to celebrate his life and achievements.

Why do I post this here? Because no matter how old we are, we are all children of someone else.  How many times do we long for our mother’s cooking? Or the company of our parents when things are tough?

And then how many more times do we slip back onto our routines and forget these people who care for us the most?

I appreciated my dad from the day I landed in the UK, 26 years ago. I loved him for being himself and for passing on his strength, personality and humour to his children. We will miss him, but every time we laugh, we’ll remember him. He will be with us.

Ken Wilson-Max Snr, 1938-2014

‘Judge me by my successes’ 

 

Pop Up Festival Weekend

Activities & Play, african, design, Events, illustration

It was great to be entertaining children this weekend. Exhausting (felt that afterwards) but really, really enjoyable. Our next event is in July in London. It promises to be bigger and better, but it will have a hard time toping this one! We had Sarwat Chadda and Zena Edwards, Julia Golding, Ed Vere with a Jazz band, Sylvia Cohen, Manja Stojic, Chris Mould and his Emporium, Jane Ray, James Mayhew, Sarah Dyer, Storyteller Rich Sylvester, Kayo Chingonyi and Usifu Jalloh. In short there was something for all age groups. Plus we had fantastic sets built by the Royal opera hOuse and its amazing team of local volunteers.

For more information, visit http://www.pop-up.org.uk

Pop Up 2014 in Essex

Activities & Play, african, Events

May 3 is the second Pop Up Festival. This time it’s in Purfleet, Essex. Here’s a layout of the venue, and the schedule for the day. The exciting line up includes Jane Ray, Sarwat Chadda, Julia Golding, Kayo Chingonyi, Sita Bamchari, Ed Vere, Chris Mould, Jane Ray, James Mayhew, Sarah Dyer, Rich Mayhew and yours truly.

This will be fun!

 

Site Map Purfleet w. Meeting Point

 

Festival Schedule for Visitors-1

Chicken!

Activities & Play, african, design, Events, idea, London, North London, publishing, Zimbabwe

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It’s been an incredible few months.I’ve been slowly and steadily heading back to doing books full-time and it hasn’t been easy at all.

The plan was to return to the days when there were only  books and book ideas on my work list. I have a couple of titles to try as ebooks and started planning for the Bologna Book Fair 2014.

But the idea of becoming a book publisher and a micro sized book publisher at that, worried me. That hasn’t gone away. It may be my vocation, but it’s still business, right? All that lies before me is an incredible schedule of trying to get the titles noticed, paying for a print run and then worrying about when (if) it will make the invested money back. It ooh several more weeks looking at numbers trying to find another way to minimise the risk. With th sol school publishing knowledge I have, it feels like  the path gets narrower the further down it one travels. And its great like that; you might brush against a revolutionary new idea and succeed. But you might also brush against something disastrous.

The past few years I have started to value community. These are the people that we can all count on, in however small way. Your neighbourhood, your family, your friends around the world are all incredibly important. I struggled to tell these stories in book form for children. Its better when they are experienced in a different way, somehow. I’ve also been designing and editing newspapers and magazines so have been aware of the many ways to tell a story.

All this preamble is a fitting introduction to the subject of this post. I think I’ve cracked it; the other way to tell stories and still get everything I want!

A tabloid sized newspaper for primary school people. Have a look at the preview.

It won’t be available everywhere. It starts in my neighbourhood early next year. It’s a quarterly. It involves its audience and their grown ups. It brings children’s content to the fore, not just children’s books and I think it’s the closes thing to a physical blog that have ever worked on. If it works, then it will grow and spread. Time will tell.

K

Getting into the world of insects

Activities & Play, character, Events, From the sketchbooks, idea, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, London, pre school books

© KenWilson-Max 2013

© KenWilson-Max 2013

Okay. Coming from an African country, I have seen some crazy (and dangerous) insects in my time.  Whether I’m right or wrong about the bugs I like or dislike, most people have a thing, a phobia, if you like, about some creepy crawly. For some it spiders, for others its anything that has wings and buzzes. Children are fascinated by them, though and that’s what this upcoming project is all about. Wtih your help (hopefully) I am, I mean, WE are going to create a complete entomology of made up insects.  The finished ones should look like the above.

Cool, yes!

I have a dozen or so in my sketchbooks waiting to be finished, appreciate any other suggestions or even sketches. There might even be some prizes in it, you never know.

This should be fun…

K