By Kharisma McIlwaine
The beauty of reading is that it allows us to experience a whole new world, with every turn of the page.
Most people can look back to at least one book or story from childhood and remember it with fondness. Childhood is filled with a transitions and pivotal moments… one of the biggest being the first day of school. Philadelphia native and author Kadeja Wexler’s book, “Adventures with the Jujukas: Little Lilly’s First Day of School” explores the rollercoaster of emotions that come with that experience. Wexler shared her enthusiasm about her upcoming live reading event and partnership with the Please Touch Museum.
Kadeja Wexler’s journey to becoming an author has already granted her a great deal of success. In addition to publishing Adventures with the Jujukas: Little Lilly’s First Day of School, Wexler just released her second book in the Adventures with The Jujukas series: Lauren For President. The initial road that lead Wexler to writing was an interesting one intertwined with acting. While attending Five Towns College in New York for theater, she discovered her passion for writing. “I took a script writing class and didn’t realize I loved writing until I took that class. I thought I’m really great at telling stories, I love acting out stories, reading stories, and I love reading books. So I decided, hey you know what, why don’t I become an author.”
Wexler penned her first book in college, but took a brief hiatus to focus on her acting career. After realizing that her passion for writing never left, she shifted her focus back to authorship. Often one of the most difficult aspects of writing is finding the right subject matter. Wexler’s inspiration like most, came through personal experience. “I realized that there’s a lot of books out there but what were the books that I gravitated towards when I was young… things I liked to read about, writers that I could aspire to be one day? I just felt like there wasn’t much out there.” Wexler continued with, “It’s really important to get an education and if you can’t read, you can’t do anything honestly. So that’s why I wanted to write about the first day of school. I felt like there weren’t enough books out there talking about not necessarily just school, but the whole build up. I remember it for myself and I was terrified because I didn’t know what to expect.”
The main character of “Adventures with the Jujukas: Little Lilly’s First Day of School”, is a lot like other kids although she comes in an unexpected package. “Lily is actually a Yorkie in human form. She’s the second oldest child, and she’s very artsy like me. She loves her family, she’s very curious and always willing to help. She’s afraid of change because it’s something new and the unknown is very scary. Going to school for her is a big step and she’s fighting it all the way.” Wexler added, “It’s about learning and going through a journey that we all have to experience. School doesn’t have to be this scary place, it can be a fun, easy journey through life and you can make friends along the way.” Wexler is on a very exciting journey of her own, partnering with the Please Touch Museum for her upcoming event. “I remember going to Please Touch Museum as a child and I loved it. It’s always been one of the places I wanted to work with! I thought it would be really cool if they had some type of reading literacy program to get the community to be a part of it. The Please Touch Museum really liked the message, loved the book and they’ve been a great partner.”
Wexler’s book signing and reading of Adventures with the Jujukas: Little Lilly’s First Day of School will take place at the Please Touch Museum on Wednesday August 2, 2017 from 4:00-5:30 pm. The special admission price for the event is $2.00. The event includes two readings of the book, activities, giveaways and a backpack raffle just in time for the rapidly approaching school year. Wexler dubbed the event “A kindergarten mixer. It’s a family event for caregivers, teachers, students… anyone and everyone is invited to attend! It’s getting the message out there to children about literacy and that it’s really important to do your best. I’m someone from humble beginnings but the sky is the limit… you can do it. Keep on going no matter what… keep getting your education.” “Adventures with the Jujukas: Little Lilly’s First Day of School” will be available for purchase on site and at www.thejujukas.com. If you are unable to attend the event on August 2nd, be sure to tune into the Vincent Thompson show on 900am WURD on August 3rd at 5pm. Wexler will be a special guest reading oral snippets from the book. Kadeja Wexler certainly has lots more to offer the literary world, so stay tuned. In the meantime, let’s continue to support literacy and our local authors striving to make the world a better place one book at a time.