The Awful Alphabet: The fun way to learn your ABCs

The Awful Alphabet: The fun way to learn your ABCs

Tired of the same old alphabet books and looking for a way to make learning the ABCs more fun? You need to check out The Awful Alphabet – a picture book using humour to teach children each letter of the alphabet while pointing out that sometimes things just don’t go your way. After a successful launch this past weekend, we were able to talk to Josh and Tracy – the creative minds behind this awesome new children’s book.

­What is the Awful Alphabet?

The Awful Alphabet is no ordinary alphabet book but it is 100% a labour of love from Josh and I! The story is about a boy named Simon who starts out having an awful day (sleeps in, misses the bus, gets soaked, ruins his lunch!) and through a series of daydreams imagines situations that are far worse and much more imaginative which helps him put it all into perspective. A lot of the ideas for awful things came straight out of our own childhood fears or myths our parents told us growing up. I mean, we all know that swallowing a watermelon seed is how you grow them in your belly!

How did you come up with the idea?

It first started out as a final project for my Book Design class during my final year of Design studies but, as usual, I got carried away. As a non-poet, I asked Josh to take care of the poetry and his first draft of rhymes were so funny that we had to run with it and make it as ridiculous as possible.

The incredible support from our family, friends and community during the Indiegogo campaign really brought this thing to life. We were able to make it so much better than we ever expected!


You donated $1 from every book sold during your Indiegogo campaign to Nkosi’s Haven – How much were you able to donate and why did you choose this organization?

We chose Nkosi’s Haven for a couple of reasons, the first being that I did a 3-month internship there in 2013 and learned so much about their culture and of course, fell in love with the kids! They are such a vibrant, hardworking, and hilarious group of folks! The second reason being that children’s literacy has always been a passion of mine. I grew up with my nose buried in a book and I feel like reading helps develop and build creativity in children, hopefully leading to a creative adult! We can all use a little more imagination in our day to day.

In total, we sent $350 CAD to Nkosi’s Haven, which works out to almost 4000 Rand. They’ll be able to use this money for tuition, clothes, books and more for the children. Plus we’ll be able to send some copies of the book too!

How long did it take to put the book together?

From the initial idea to sending the final files to print was 10 months. Of course, the finishing touches took the longest! Plus we toned down a couple of the situations after the Indiegogo campaign ended. We didn’t want to scare kids, we just wanted to get a laugh and a couple were over the top!

In total it was about 1 year for the entire process: from first attempts at sketches to having boxes of books taking over the warehouse, aka, the dining room!


Where can we find a copy of The Awful Alphabet?

So far, there are a couple of options to get your own copy! Sudbury pals can contact Josh or myself through our website and it will be available at select locations throughout the city. Currently, the Fromagerie Elgin, as well as Jump Baby on Lasalle will have copies of the book for sale. For anyone out of town, it is available via Etsy and we’ll ship this awful book right to your door!


All photos: Flofoto


Emily Franceschini is a craft addict, Public Relations graduate and lover of all things purple. Her free time is spent taking photos of her dog and searching for the perfect cup of coffee. She’s a regular at Old Rock because who could resist their delicious Creme Brûlée latte? And yes – it is probably her 4th coffee of the day.


  1. Sounds & Looks like a great project..I would like to get one for my Little GreatGrandSon..I know he would love this..Thank You.

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