New children’s book, ‘SymFUNNY,’ to support local nonprofits this holiday season | News


Years in the past, Jeannie Fleming-Gifford and Anna J. Magnusson related in Columbus, each sharing a mutual love for the humanities and writing.

Collectively, the 2 started fostering concepts, collaborating on a wide range of tales.

After which, voilà! Impressed by watching kids enter the Columbus Symphony Orchestra corridor, the place Fleming-Gifford served as training director for a number of years, their idea for a kids’s ebook — titled “SymFUNNY” — was born.


Jeannie Fleming-Gifford, govt director at Fairmount Heart for the Arts, left, sits with artist Kira Weber and her mom, Lori, with copies of the brand new kids’s ebook “SymFUNNY.” Illustrated by Weber, the ebook is co-authored by Fleming-Gifford and Columbus resident Anna J. Magnusson.  

The collective private {and professional} endeavor started to steadily emerge as Fleming-Gifford and Magnusson started to seize the various viewpoints of younger kids and their expectations of going to the symphony.

Nonetheless, their manuscript, initially written in 1999, would sit ready to be shared till Fleming-Gifford ultimately related with Chagrin Falls resident Kira Weber at Fairmount Heart for the Arts, the place Fleming-Gifford at the moment serves as govt director.

The younger artist’s abilities have been rapidly observed and after attending an artwork opening of Weber’s, the celebs aligned as Fleming-Gifford rapidly contacted Magnusson with what she describes as an aha second.

“Kira was the right match for bringing the idea of ‘SymFUNNY’ to print,” Fleming-Gifford stated. “And, mockingly, 1999 was the 12 months Kira was born. Evidently this manuscript was simply ready for her to deliver this story to life.

“After we related with Kira, the ebook got here collectively rapidly and it was a clean course of,” she added. “Kira exceeded each timeline we had initially established in really bringing this ebook to print.”

The co-authors stated they have been “actually lucky” to hyperlink with an area writer — Windjammer Adventure Publishing — in Chagrin Falls.

Launched final month, “SymFUNNY” is the trio’s first ebook, although each authors usually contribute to different publications.

The title is a twist on the abounding homonyms — phrases having the identical spelling or pronunciation however completely different meanings and origins — Fleming-Gifford and Magnusson uncovered when fascinated about how kids might understand a primary journey to a symphony orchestra versus what the veritable, sensible course of itself will likely be.

“Exploring concepts like conductor, horns, base/bass and others, it actually was humorous how ‘SymFUNNY’ performed on the expertise of the particular symphony, thus the title of the ebook caught,” stated Magnusson, who serves as the manager director of the Iowa Able Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to empowering people with disabilities to attain and preserve independence.

“SymFUNNY” could be discovered at, a small enterprise specializing in inventive creations and written inspirations owned by Fleming-Gifford and her husband, Mark. Moreover, purchases made on the web site provide the chance for individuals to donate the acquisition of the ebook.

Copies of the ebook are additionally accessible on different on-line sites and in native retail shops, together with Fireside Book Shop, Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop, and Two Café & Boutique….with extra within the works.

As proud as each authors are of the ebook, they agree that Weber’s illustrations are what makes the work shine.

“Kira was eager about creating artwork even earlier than she may discuss,” Fleming-Gifford stated. “As quickly as she may maintain a crayon, she started creating intricately detailed artwork. Her mother, Lori, credit Kira’s autism together with her capability to focus for prolonged intervals of time as she paints and attracts. That is Kira’s first ebook mission and her abilities are actually a present.”

Proceeds from gross sales will help Fairmount Center for the Arts and the I Am Able IOWA radio program, which discusses the “capability in incapacity,” produced by AbleUP IOWA.

“At the moment, we’re working with a first-grade trainer from an area elementary faculty to acquire sufficient donated copies for every of her kids in her classroom who can profit from each the introduction to the symphony in addition to the literacy improvement connection that’s an end result of a ‘SymFUNNY’ studying journey,” Fleming-Gifford stated.

Plans for an extra ebook are already underway, the co-authors confirmed.

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