NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jordan Burk has fond memories of his Uncle Kelly. Jordan spent 14 years as a caregiver for his uncle. The family wasn’t shy to talk about Kelly’s battle with Down Syndrome, especially when other kids asked questions.
“And so I loved it because it gave us an opportunity to talk about Down Syndrome. Instead of their parents telling them don’t point, shhh, and, like dragging them off,” explained Burk.
When Kelly died at the age of 64, Jordan grieved. However, early one morning he said he woke up and wrote the entire Kelly book in one day. The children’s book addresses the issue of people with disabilities. Jordan uses it when he goes to schools.
“When I wrote the book, it was for the typical child to explain what Down Syndrome is. So, it’s neat that kids with Down Syndrome can relate to it,” said Burk when we caught up with him at Notre Dame School of Dallas.
Jordan is keeping his uncle’s memory alive through the book. There are hints throughout the book from Kelly’s love of cheeseburgers to stuffed animals.
“I really wanted to have those things that made Kelly, Kelly. My uncle’s favorite phrase was ‘happy birthday’. So, at the end of the book when they celebrate, Kelly says ‘happy birthday, happy birthday’ because that’s something Kelly would really do,” according to Burk.
The children’s book has found an audience in North Texas and has been shared in countries around the world.
“It’s really crazy that a man with Down Syndrome who grew up in a town of 300 in west Texas is impacting people in Australia, Peru, the U.K.,” said Burk.
Jordan is working on a second Kelly and Kelso book that he hopes to release early next year. Click here to learn more about Jordan and his work.