Courageous Adventures of the Konscious Kidz – The Neighborhood, a new children's book by John Casselberry and Madeline Connor with illustrations by Jerl Laws. The book follows the Konscious Kidz as they face every day personal and community challenges by utilizing guiding principles like inclusion, being an ally, gratitude, restorative action, and empathy. The stories provide tools to assist parents and guardians in opening dialogue with children.
The Konscious Kidz are an irresistible, fun-loving crew of six kids, where no one act of courage or kindness is too big or too small. The Kidz are positive role models, making conscious choices and creating a better world, one adventure at a time, by starting with their own community. Colorful and inspiring illustrations and street murals allow children to see themselves in the stories. These stories demonstrate how embracing each other and our diversity fortifies ourselves and our communities.
About the Author
Husband and wife team John Casselberry and Madeline Connor spent four years creating the world of the Konscious Kidz, inspired by the many urban areas throughout the world they have lived. They are dedicated social justice advocates, community organizers, healers, and parents.
Raised in Brooklyn, NY, John spent his formative years in the sixties and seventies in an environment steeped in global culture and diversity. After serving in the Marine Corps as a young man, John pursued an education in Engineering Science and Mathematics. However, upon relocating to California in the mid-eighties, John discovered his passion for the Performing Arts as a platform and expression for social change. As the father of three daughters, John saw the need for children to have books with self-empowered characters who represent real world diversity, celebrate their differences, and embrace their similarities.
Born and raised in Oakland, CA, Madeline became aware of social inequities at an early age and often stepped up as an ally with her diverse group of peers.
Upon completion of her BA degree at UC Berkeley in Journalism, Madeline went to New York to pursue her love of the Performing Arts as a writer and actor.
After a near fatal injury in the workplace, Madeline sought out alternative healing arts, which led to her travels abroad studying Eastern philosophy and healing modalities. During an extended stay in Asia, Madeline became immersed in the culture. She worked as an English translator and published several articles.
Upon her return stateside Madeline opened her own Alternative Healing Center and has been a practitioner for over twenty years.
As the mother of African-American twin girls, Madeline understood the need for more diversity in children’s literature and joined with her husband, John, to create The Konscious Kidz book series.
“This book I love, my son and daughter also love. It reminds them that someone who looks like them can write a book and they get to see themselves in the stories. As a mom, I would like to see more books like this. Growing up in East Africa I got to see books with characters that look like me and as a mom from Somalia I’m not seeing enough books with characters that look like my children.
I’m looking forward to the next books in this series.
I am so proud and so grateful to know these children and their parents, created the opportunity to show that any of us can make a change in our society for the better.”
- Najah Deria
“The Konscious Kidz ARE the future! In this inspirational and most timely children’s book, they show us how community spirit, courage, empathy, gratitude, and mindfulness creates a world that works for all. The Konscious Kidz are positive role models, embracing our common humanness, while also celebrating diversity and how it enriches our lives. Beautiful illustrations and murals add a colorful artistic edge to their adventures throughout this gem of a book. A must-read on every school’s book list!”
-Isabella Price, international speaker, educator, author of Goddess Power: Awakening the Wisdom of the Divine Feminine in Your Life and Jesus Christ: The Love and Wisdom of a 1st Century Mystic.
“Important book to read to our children. Wow! What an amazing read. This book is coming at just the right time and will change lives. It addresses issues that, as a parent (as a white parent), I struggle with teaching my children. It opens a dialogue for all of us to have with our children about differences and shows that we are all more alike than different. I read it to my boys yesterday and they were engrossed and cheering for the characters. This is such an important read for our children.”
“Beautiful and much needed. My son loves this book! I'm so happy he finally has a book he can read that has children that look like him and who are going through similar life experiences. He especially relates to the character who is going through grief and it has helped him see that he is not alone. I cried while reading that part to him. It teaches kids that we are all beautifully different but that we all go through so many of the same things. I love that there are discussion questions in the back of the book, it really helps to open up the lines of communication with your little ones. It's definitely a must for elementary schools. I also love that the book includes info on all the amazing artists and muralists. I highly recommend this book!”
- Natalie Morgan