Launch party for new children’s book at Secret Garden next Friday


By Joe Veyera

Secret Garden Books (2214 NW Market St) will play host to the launch of local author and illustrator Dana Sullivan’s newest picture book next Friday evening.

In “Kay Kay’s Alphabet Safari,” — now available for pre-order for $15.99 at Secret Garden — Kay Kay wants to paint pictures of an animal to represent each letter of the alphabet on the bright white walls of his new classroom in Kenya. However, deciding which animals should represent each letter proves to be no easy task.

A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the Star of Hope Centre — a school and orphanage in Bungoma, Kenya, which is home to approximately 35 children that have lost their parents through a wide range of causes, from the rise of HIV/AIDS, to armed conflict, malaria and other diseases, and even abandonment by teenage parents.

In a blog post on his website, Sullivan explained his inspiration for the book, after his son got him involved by volunteering at an orphanage in Kenya when he was 19.

I was really wrestling with how I could write a picture book about orphans in a very poor country, with all kinds of problems most of us in the U.S. can hardly imagine. When I walked into the classroom the villagers had built and saw the walls covered in beautiful paintings of animals and things to help the kids learn their alphabet, I started crying (“like a little girl,” says my sweet Vicki) and knew what my book would be about. Kay Kay is a very real man who drives a taxi and is a wonderful artist, dedicated to the kids and the school.

For more information on the event, click here.

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