From idea to book

african, character, children's books, design, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, publishing, stories

Everyone has a story…

Everyone has a story inside them. Some of us tell it in a book or a play or on the stage, football pitch or boardroom. But most of us live our story, telling it to our loved ones, every day, year by year… the point is each story gets told and appreciated.

I have heard many wonderful stories and have learned to use the book as my medium. Let me share that way with you in a series of real-time posts, starting with an idea and ending (hopefully) with a beautiful book.

If you have thought of writing or illustrating your own book, or if you are just curious, then this real-time project will be of use before you get in touch.

All you have to do is follow the blog for regular monthly updates on the project. Please comment, spread the word and get involved!

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H is for…

design, idea, illustration


 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!

Never too old to learn

african, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, kids

Kimani N’gang’a Maruge made became the world’s oldest student in 2003. Great grandfather Kimani was a farmer in Western Kenya who inadvertently led the way in the fight for universal free education in that country.

Kimani was given a belated chance to go to school in 2003 after Kenya abolished primary school fees. In 2005, he travelled to the United Nations in New York with the Global Campaign for Education to urge world leaders to fulfill their promises of free education for all. He delivered the ‘Send My Friend to School’ messages from over 5 million campaigners, and spoke to officials about the importance of education.
Kimani said he wanted to go to school so that he could read the Bible for himself, and was two years away from completing primary school when he died. He inspired learners and campaigners for education around the world with determination and his words on education, “Liberty is Learning”.
In 2005 Maruge was elected head boy of his school. Maruge’s property was stolen during the 2007-2008 post-election violence, and he nearly left school.
Early in 2008 he lived in a refugee camp four kilometers from his school, but still attended classes every day. In June 2008 he relocated to the capital Nairobi.
In June, 2008, Maruge was forced to withdraw from school and relocate to a retirement home for senior citizens enrolling a short time later at the Marura primary school, in the Kariobangi area of Nairobi.
On Sunday May 24, 2009 Maruge was baptised at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Kariobangi and took a Christian name, Stephen.
Maruge was a widower, and a great-grandfather (two of his 30 grandchildren attend the same school). He was a combatant in the Mau Mau Uprising against the British colonizers in the 1950s.
He died on the 15th August, aged 90. A film based on his life called ‘The First Grader’ is due for release in 2010.
– From ‘The Weekly World’ (

See the light

design, illustration, iPhone illustrations, Ken Wilson-Max, London, North London

I noticed a man enjoying his book on the Underground the other day.

“From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.”
– Groucho Marx (1890 – 1977)

Building Site

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

This is from a project for Peaceable Kingdom Press. Its part of ‘My Toolbox – A memory concentration game plus a challenging puzzle’. It was fun to work on something like this with many components, especially after working on picture books solely for the last couple of years.  I could do another one, (hint).