With a toothy grin, Jojo Yawson, 9, opened the first page of his book and began reading. Swirl Bliss in Baldwin’s front of house was filled with Freeporters and Baldwinites on June 8 — it was a full house. The specialty event was held to mark the debut and release of “How to Deal with Kids” written by Jojo and illustrated by his younger brother, Miles, 6. Miles got help from illustrator Boris Cvekic to finalize the book.
The Yawson brothers, from Freeport, didn’t intend to be writers. If anything, they prefer to read. But three years ago, six-year-old Jojo was frustrated with the number of time outs his mom, Ama Yawson, was giving him. With blue tape, blue marker and construction paper in tow, he began to write tips on parenting so his mom would “chill out” with the time outs.
“I just simply wrote,” Jojo said with a smile. “My first draft was really hard to read.”
Admitting he was a mischievous first grader, he wasn’t sure how his mom would respond to his parenting tips.
Yawson laughed and nodded. “He hadn’t mastered spacing then and ‘introduction’ was spelled ‘i-n-t-r-o-d-u-c-k-s-i-o-n,’ and you can imagine my reaction.”
Practically three years later, and with the help of Miles and his mom’s company, Milestales, a publishing and education firm, published his book. The book isn’t available on Amazon or any online bookstores, yet, Yawson said. But it will be soon. Sunday’s book reading allowed JoJo and Miles to intimately connect with their friends and friends’ parents. After the reading Jojo was seen animatedly autographing books, while Miles hung out “low key” in the crowd.
The colorful short story book costs $15 and offers ten kid-approved parenting tips for dealing with children. All of the proceeds of the book go directly to the Yawson brothers. Jojo said he wanted to invest his share in video making software so that he could code his own video games. But Miles on the other hand, said he wanted to stash it away for a rainy day.
For a couple of hours, parents and their children were seen eating frozen yogurt and reading the book together. Also among the crowd was Theresa Drye, from Hempstead and of the Nassau County Office of Youth Services, who was excited to grab a copy of the book. “This is awesome,” Drye said. “This goes with ‘each one, teach one’ and this book is an awesome way to start.”