My Parents Are Not My Real Parents


My Parents are not my Real Parents – a book of things we used to believe in as children.
Published December 2017
“My parents are not my real parents. They are kept locked up somewhere waiting to be set free.”
An illustrated collection in English, Polish and German.
Shared by many generous adults worldwide, collected by Rachel Karafistan and drawn by Kamil Macejko.

The world is a baffling place for a child. Our creative attempts at understanding sometimes harden into actual ‘beliefs’. We grapple to grasp things that are just beyond our comprehension and largely concealed from us by adults. These idiosyncratic histories, inspired by our own limited life experiences, are more than just a shared belief in Father Christmas. This book is a collection of some of these childhood imaginings; conceived by children but remembered by adults.

As children we are magicians, painters, writers, dancers, storytellers, singers, masters of play and accomplished all-round make-believers. We create parallel worlds and people; our imaginations are unfettered by logic. Creativity dances freely in and out of our experiences and relationships with the world around us. The way in which we create is dazzling and individual. Then as adults we seem to forget this skill and segregate and compartmentalize almost everything, including art and artists. We relegate some and elevate others. Ultimately, we delegate the job of creativity to those whom we believe do it better. We seem to loose the ability to just create.

My Parents are not My Real Parents has taken Kamil and I 15 years and three cities (we both also lived in London and now in Berlin) to complete. We started and we stopped. We even gave up completely and then a year ago, we began again, with a new approach and new illustrations. I revisited the original beliefs and distilled them to their essence. Kamil then selected beliefs that jumped out at him and let his imagination wander onto the screen. His aberrant interpretations of some of the beliefs I had perhaps initially overlooked took my breath away. The dark, complicated adult world collides with the innocent musings of a child. The drawings are not merely illustrations, but in fact deeper explorations of the belief. They don’t limit the reader, but open up a myriad of other levels of interpretation that may not be apparent at first glance.

Placing the beliefs in the here and now made them instantly more pertinent. No longer could we hide behind the tendency to vilipend our experiences. It is more difficult to dismiss these beliefs as the stuff of fantasy. We are forced to reimagine them, to feel how they felt in our minds as a child. Visceral. Brutal. Comforting. Ridiculous.

In these times when new and unexpected things divide us, where life leaves little room for imagination, these beliefs can remind us of our common roots and of how creative we used to be.
Rachel Karafistan

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or directly from the publishers here: