Kofi O. Okyere

LITERARY
Books

In the imaginary world of children's book author and illustrator Kofi O. Okyere, piccolos are parables, chance encounters become epic twists, and a monkey teaches life's big lessons.

His book To Catch a Monkey, the first in a series called "The Coconut Years," tells the tale of a boy from a poor family with an ill patriarch. The boy takes a leisurely trip to the city with a friend one day and discovers a way to save his father — but it goes against everything his father's ever taught him. "The means doesn't always justify the ends," Okyere says. "That's the conflict in the story."

Okyere self-published the book through his company, 2911 Entertainment, after raising more than $1,200 on the website www.kickstarter.com. He's done signings at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, and with the help of his fiancée, teacher Clare Richard, he's shared the book with classes at a few Phoenix public schools.

A single father, Okyere draws inspiration from his two sons, ages 11 and 13, as well as his own life. "The picture books are mostly based on my kids, because kids do the craziest things when they're young," he says. "But the chapter books, I based a lot on different aspects of my life, and different stories I heard about my grandfather and so on."

Born in Ghana and raised in Ethiopia (his parents both worked for the United Nations), Okyere tries to include culture in his writing and illustrations. His family's return to Ghana when he was 12 was important to him, and the animals and landscapes of Ghana are warmly and vividly drawn in his books.

Okyere moved to Phoenix in 1996 to attend Arizona State University, where he got a degree in economics, then worked as a mortgage broker. He brings his business sense to 2911 Entertainment (named after his favorite Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.")

With his newest work, Okeyere is reaching out to the young adult audience. It's a graphic novel titled Cry of the Forsaken, the first book in his "Kairos" series. "It's a mix between graphic novel and actual novel," Okyere says. "The imagery's a bit darker." The main character is named Elizabeth; she's stuck in a monotonous job and struggling through life. Then she has a life-altering encounter with a stranger.

The first "Kairos" book will debut in May at Phoenix Comicon. Okyere hopes to have three books in the series complete by the end of the year, along with six more "Coconut Years" books. His challenge, he says, is not taking on too much at once. "The key," he says, "is to under-promise and over-deliver." Niki D'Andrea

 
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Kobina5
Kobina5

am so proud to know this man,good work and nice to know you still remember your grandfather.

John R
John R

Kofi, you rule!!!

Janetroberge
Janetroberge

Kofi,

How exciting for you! Glad to see your smilig face and hope you and Clare are doing well! Amy would be so proud.

Take care,Janet V

compassionatejourneys
compassionatejourneys

That's fantastic! Do you have any signings coming up?

2911ent
2911ent

Kofi will be presenting at LIBCON April 23rd at 10 am. Also, if you send your email address to info@2911entertainment.com with the subject "subscribe" I will add you to our mailing list. That way, you'll receive all the last updates and events.Thanks!

Ruth
Ruth

Amazing work Kofi. Looking forward to seeing more in the future.

Lillisfamily
Lillisfamily

Kofi,

We were just talking about you today and wondering what you were up to. Now we know. Congrats to you and Clare. Let's get the boys together again when you can. Blessings,Steve, Lynn, and Sean

Clare
Clare

So proud of you Kof!

Carolannlocks
Carolannlocks

Kofi- congratulations - from your old friend from Kemper.. yes, Carolann!

The Mayor
The Mayor

Hey Carolann,Looks like I got the first post for Kofi! The mayor... aka.. Mr. Krieger!

 
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