The Red Fred Project finds children living in extraordinary circumstances (rare diseases, critical illnesses, life-limiting situations) and asks them the question: If you could write a book for the entire world to read, what would it be about?
The stories they share are filled with humor, compassion and wisdom. The books we create together become a vehicle for these stories. They become a lasting voice, a tangible achievement for each child. As part of the proceeds from each book sold go to the family, or to a related cause chosen by the child, the books are also a way to help with financial difficulties.
You see? The magic multiplies, lives on forever. You will be inspired by the talent and imagination of these children. Let’s make books. Together!
I received a phone call from my sister in December 2012. She expressed her sadness and “What do we do?” feelings for some friends whose son, Mitchell, was diagnosed with Duchesne muscular dystrophy.
As I thought about the life this child was living, (and would most likely soon be leaving) I grappled with the same question as my sister: “What can we do to help?” That night Red Fred landed on my shoulder and whispered in my ear: “I want to make a book with him.”
I reached out to the family and asked if my Jolly Troop could create a story with their son—an original work of imaginative expression told from his point of view. They graciously agreed, but before we could get things moving, Mitchell passed away.
I never met that wonderful boy, face to face, but his life was the catalyst of the Red Fred Project. I think about him everyday when I see the star in our logo. This project is inspired by him.
THE JOLLY TROOP
The Jolly Troop is a group of friends who show up in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They are curious, loving, thoughtful, considerate, chill, silly, daring, and opinionated. They are also very inclined to being your friend.
They are special creations and made entirely from punctuation marks! What do I mean? Their bodies are COMMAS, their legs EXCLAMATION MARKS, their eyes PERIODS, and their beaks? Well, the “<” sign, but tweaked a bit. The Jolly Troop enjoy making stories with kids, which is why Red Fred decided to create his book making adventure with children living in extraordinary circumstances.
The Red Fred Project is the space between hearts and imaginations and pages where The Jolly Troop team up with kids to tell interesting stories only children know how to conjure. And if Red Fred was perched on your shoulder, at this very moment, he would ask you the very same thing he asks all the kids he makes books with:
If you could write a book for the entire world to read, what would it be about?
WHY THIS BOOK, THIS PROJECT?
•This book is a life legacy.
•This book is a creative work, realized. Now.
•This book will be housed in the Library of Congress.
•This book is a tangible achievement.
•This book is a teaching platform.
•This book is an advocacy tool.
•This book is an artistic expression.
•This book is a fundraiser.
•This book is a contribution—from them to us.
•This book is many magical things.
•This project will break your heart. And heal it.
•This project will expand your mind.
•This project will help you create.
•This project will bring everyone together.
•This project will remind you of very important things.
•This project will be led by children.
•This project will be furthered by you.
•This project will grow more feathers.
•This project will be theirs, yours, and mine. Always.
•This project will never be done.