Through a grant received by the Warwick Education Foundation, third-grade students at John Beck Elementary had a special visit by Warwick alum, J.J. Vulopas. On Thursday, January 10th, 2019, J.J. returned to his former elementary school to read the children’s book he wrote and published himself, “The Land of Not.”
J.J. is a Lititz native who graduated from Warwick in 2015. He is currently a senior at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania where he’s studying finance and economics. When asked what inspired him to write a children’s book he said he wanted to help kids with food allergies discover their strengths. “I suffered from life-threatening food allergies and I wanted a way to channel that into living more positively,” stated J.J. on what made him want to share his story. “It’s really special to be able to come back to my former elementary school and share this message with the John Beck students,” said Vulopas.
“The Land of Not” is about a boy who moves with his family to the Land of Not. He is surprised to learn that everyone at school is unhappy because they are defined by what they can’t do, rather than what they can. The boy then develops a plan to tell his friends, including a food allergic student, that true happiness comes from embracing who they are, not who they’re not. The book teaches all children to identify themselves by their strengths rather than their limitations. J.J. shared his story with a few psychology professors at Wharton and they thought he was really on to something. With a push from a few Wharton professors, J.J. had the motivation to do something more with his story, he published his first book and is now doing speaking engagements at various elementary schools throughout Philadelphia.
Later this year, J.J. is planning an event to get his book into every public elementary school in the Philadelphia area.
J.J. also pens a food allergy blog for parents who have children with food allergies. Learn more about “The Land of Not” at www.thelandofcan.com or follow the Instagram account @thelandofcan.