Word on the Street

african, design, illustration, North London

WATTAGWAAN

Whatagwaan?

This phrase is essential of you are travelling to or living in a West Indian neighbourhood .(that’s ‘neighorhood’ to all the Americans in the house). It means, ‘What’s going on?’ in the Marvin Gaye sense.

It has a few versions, namely Wa’ Gwaan, ‘Wa’pn’, and can be used in many situations. like the one illustrated below;

At the African Carribean market when buying your weekly supply of yams,

Shopkeep: Wha’ gwaan. You wan a yam?

You: Na, me no wan a wole yam.

Shopkeep: Ar-right

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What’s happening?

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I’ve had great fun working on chicken! Newspaper for children these last two years. Not only is it gaining ground and making a difference to these who read it,  but it is also carving out a space in realm of media for children.

With each issue the vision we had of a newspaper for primary school children is becoming clearer.

So what’s it all about, I hear you ask? Here is a short introduction to my world:

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Children, community and sponsors

chicken! newspaper is published four times a year. Each issue has a theme and a featured letter. For the next issue (January 2016), the theme is PEACE and the letter is R.

You can Read chicken! issue 5, or better still we can send a copy of the printed Tabloid sized version in the post.

The newspaper is distributed to children mainly through schools, but also libraries, doctors’ surgeries, after-school clubs and day centres and anywhere where there are children.

The business part of chicken! Newspaper is based on partnership, as opposed to advertising and subscription. Partners is pre-buying copies of chicken! which we deliver to schools for free. It costs £90.00 (135 USD) to sponsor one class of 30 children).

Partners don’t always have to pay… They can write or suggest content, or introduce us to other potential partners and subscribers. All partners benefit by having their names featured on a dedicated page in the next issue and the chicken! newspaper website They also have a chance to connect with sponsored schools. We offer up to 50 free copies to schools for evaluation.

You can find out more on the chicken! website.

For sponsorship options on our website, click Sponsor

For subscription information, click Subscribe

Subscription includes four issues a year and various offers form our partners, like, for instance, discounts on trips to Lapland this Christmas, the chance to win books and and other merchandise throughout the year.
Feed their minds with chicken! (I thought of that all by myself)

 

Endangered animals: The Black Footed Ferret

character, children's books, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max

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The black-footed ferret was Once thought to be globally extinct, but it is making a comeback. It is found in North America and for the last thirty years, people have worked hard to give black-footed ferrets a second chance for survival.
There are now nearly 1,000 animals across North America and of course there is much work to be done to make sure they not only survive, but thrive.

Good luck to the bandits of the prairies!

H is for…

design, idea, illustration

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 ha-ha |ˈhɑːhɑː|noun

A ditch with a wall on its inner side below ground level, forming a boundary to a park or garden without interrupting the view.
ORIGIN- early 18th century: from French, said to be from the cry of surprise on suddenly encountering such an obstacle.

That’s funny… Hahaha!


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There’s more to Ken Wilson-Max’s Lenny Goes to Nursery School (Frances Lincoln, £9.99), with its jolly little hero successfully making it through his first full day away from home. A multi-coloured cast of characters have an equally good time in this picture book, also sturdily produced.

Nicholas Tucker, ‘Children’s summer reading: Treats for the very young’,
The independent on Sunday
 
 

Lenny Goes to Nursery School Book Review – Our Verdict: A nice little book that can help you talk through starting nursery with your little one, including what he will do all day and how he can make friends and have fun. Quite simple and easy for children to understand and good pictures though it’s quite expensive.

Little Darlings Magazine

 

Two Reviews: Lenny Goes to School

character, children's books, design, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, pre school books, publishing, stories

Pop Up Festival of Stories in Essex, UK

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More pics from the festival.

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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’