This is a book that tells the stories and shows the illustrations of school children in Zambia. It was the end product of a workshop where the children learned how to be authors and illustrators and share their stories and visions with the world, through a published book. Each participant received their own copy of the book- which for many was the only book of their own. I created the illustrations, cover design and interior design, and worked as part of a talented creative team to bring this exciting workshop to these beautiful children.

Client: Kids Share Workshops in partnership with World Vision USA

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Kids Share Workshops, the energetic, talented team I worked with that brought a book-building workshop to students in Zambia, returned to the schools to present the published books to the children. They celebrated and enjoyed a musical performance while they reunited with Kid Share and received their books. Kristina, KSW founder, has shared a great post with pictures and stories from the visit. Go to her page to read more:

The pictures of the kids excitedly sharing their books warms my heart! I hope to be able to do another project like this with KSW in the future and be able to reach out to kids in communities in need, and also be enriched by the experience myself. Photo credits- @ Wari Om Photography and Kristina Applegate 2017. 


Below- is the first blog post I wrote before starting the project.


When my gradeschool friend and talented artist Kristina Applegate asked me if I would like to be a part of another Kids Share Workshop, I did not hesitate in my enthusiastic response to join the team. Kristina has put her heart and soul into her vision to bring empowering book-making workshops to children in communities in need, and her enthusiasm is infectious. Yesterday I started browsing through the 400+ photos of the beautiful, smiling faces of the children of the Bimbe Primary School in Chongwe, Zambia, and the Home of Hope, a safe house for teenage girls. They are so far away, and I have never and most likely will never meet them, but I already feel very connected with them through being a part of this workshop. I will be designing the book which will include their personal narratives, illustrations, pictures of their school, their journey home, and their creative process. All participants will receive their own book, and it may be the only one that they ever own. I want to make it awesome! Breathtaking photos by Wari Om, and the creative curriculum and instruction by Kristina, and Kathy Chattoraj, another art educator who worked with the students during the workshop, will  make this possible. Kristina has been sponsored by World Vision Intl., an organization that does amazing work to benefit children worldwide. An excerpt from Kristina's blog describes her workshops well:

"In developing countries, an education is not a given right, but a privilege for those who can afford it. In these cases families are selling what little they have to keep their children in school and often can’t continue their education. In addition, children have a lot of chores in the early morning hours, walk far distances to school, are often hungry and worry about drought. By night, children try to study and read by candle light because electricity is too expensive. Yet astonishingly, they often give the biggest smiles with warm hearts. Through native songs and dance, children find solace in a very challenging childhood, often fraught with unimaginable loss.

Kids Share books, documentary film and online media, help to create a powerful voice for youth and their communities. Children who worry about their continued education, are hoping you will pay attention and hear their voice through Kids Share Workshops. "

To read more about Kids Share Zambia:

I love this image of Kristina and the kids and their teacher walking home from school. The team accompanied the children home after school, on a long journey, where they were able to see their homes and village and learn more about their lives. Truly an amazing and inspiring experience. I am proud to be a part of it, and excited to be a part of this creative team!