About JAMSBooks

Our Mission

JAMSBooks is a design, illustration and publishing firm which creates culturally sensitive educational media for people who need it most.  

Our Background

JAMSBooks, a custom illustration, design and printing group integrates a combined 30 years of marketing, creative design and medical mission experience to create customized educational materials for people who are in most need internationally.

The founder, Jean Mackay Vinson and her team of artists and graphic designers focus their efforts on the needs of basic education for children and adults in developing countries like Haiti, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Malawi, Philippines and others.

Coloring books, textbooks and training manuals with topics like general hygiene, burn avoidance, diabetes and more are created with cultural sensitivity and available in multiple languages.

The JAMSBooks team listens carefully to their design clients to best use their facts and observations from the field, while creating current, engaging and fun materials.

Our Work

We help our clients expand their reach and impact with educational messages through custom illustrated educational materials that are culturally relevant to empower people around the world.

Culturally Relevant

JAMSBooks approaches our projects from the reader’s perspective.  We endeavor to meet them where they are- not to force ideas on them from our culture or spiritual standing.

For example, a client asked us to design a book for Haitian children to help them avoid re-infestation of parasites after having received Albendazole. We consulted and researched to learn and about the living conditions, literacy levels, environment, physical features and language familiar to those children. The characters in the final product looked Haitian, the background flora, housing styles and activities reflected the Haitian culture and way of living and the text was written in Kreyol.

JAMSBooks partners with medical missionaries to create educational material supporting healing in both faith-based and humanitarian formats. A line of educational coloring books – including hygiene/de-worming and burn prevention – can be customized to depict the children as they see themselves, in their native language.  This captures their attention and delights them as they learn. This education prolongs the effect of medication long after the team has left the country.

Educational Materials

JAMSBooks’ full graphic design, detailed illustrations and quality publishing capabilities provide a variety of educational resources to appeal to any level reader. JAMSBooks are specifically designed to be understood by “reading” the illustrations and also provide native text for those who can or are learning to read.

Coloring Books

The coloring book is currently the most popular educational resource. Though commonly used for entertainment purposes rather than educational, these books are strategic in children’s  hands waiting for medical treatment in hot, crowded and often confined environments. Children pick up a coloring pencil or crayon which instantly transports them to a place of play and relaxation. Once there, they are more likely to focus and be attuned to the pictures they color.

We’ve heard “the road to knowledge begins with the turn of the page” but what if someone can’t read? JAMSBooks, with it’s professional illustrations, designs these books to be understood by “reading” the illustrations and also provide native text for those who can or are learning to read.

Despite low literacy rates in certain countries, children are bright and perceptive.  They are  able to learn a hygiene practice such as keeping shoes on one’s feet by illustrations alone.

Research from frontline, in-country non-profits or individuals provides the subject matter for each book- making them regionally relevant. For instance, the scenarios within the burn avoidance book were illustrated with the top burn-causing statistics researched by Physicians for Peace.

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”
– H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

Training Manuals

Many of our clients reach people with special needs. For instance, illustrations in a training manual for people who rarely watch TV or see art may not necessarily understand the use of perspective in illustrations. Our artists are trained to draw with simplicity and precision if needed by the audience.

Textbooks

JAMSBooks designs illustrated textbooks created to accompany teaching or to be referred back to for educational purposes. We know that education comes with greater ease when authors are familiar with the people being served so research is done to create materials with credibility and relevance.

Music & Songs

Effective education uses not only sight and touch but also hearing!  International jazz musician, Drew Davidsen, wrote “The Secret to Being Strong” song to accompany our hygiene/anti-parasite coloring book.  Several clients have taught this song to the children along with handing out the books. Download The Secret to Being Strong.

Marketing & Fundraising

As a part of our clients’ teams and a creative source for presentation and communication, we design accompanying resources to deepen our projects’ impact. Marketing pieces with design elements from the books for fundraisers to show people what the books look like and demonstrate how they impact the mission and the people they serve. This helps our clients raise funds to purchase the materials they need. Posters, flyers, PDFs for social media and other marketing messages assist in such efforts.

Empowering People

“Knowledge is power. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”  Kofi Annan

Education empowers by giving people tools to help themselves to be sustainable. Educated children will become leaders. Leaders help solve community and country-wide problems. For those people who do not have access to education, any resource in-hand is a treasure.

Whether it’s educating about the services an organization provides, teaching about public health aspects such as hygiene, or imparting a spiritual message, we desire to educate in simple, respectful and meaningful ways.

Sustainability is not just for medical missions to consider.  Education can save lives.

This approach to education brings knowledge to people on their terms, within their cultural setting. Once that knowledge is embraced people are bettered prepared to know how to take care of themselves, their community and country in which they live.

Though JAMSBooks creates educational material for a variety of purposes, one powerful realm is medical missions. Popular models of healthcare look at not only providing care for those who are sick.  They take an active approach at disease prevention through education on topics like clean water, sanitation, vaccination and deworming. JAMSBooks provides educational resources to teach children while the medical teams are in-country and even after the they have departed. Holistic well-being increases with this added education. Ongoing development within communities is facilitated through the community’s own people, once armed with the education to impact change and solve problems.

Public health increases with this grass-roots, foundational education.

Many medical teams experience the nagging feeling they didn’t reach enough children, make enough diagnoses or have enough medication.  They wonder if their efforts really made a difference.  Having something as simple as a coloring book to leave behind offers an extension of the medical care given.

Many people involved in health outreach in developing nations realize that sustainable improvement requires the local community be empowered rather than be seen as passive aid recipients. JAMSBooks ascribes to the empowerment aspect of outreach in its adherence to culturally sensitive, relevant educational materials – both faith-based and humanitarian.

Our Team

Jean MacKay Vinson

Jean Mackay Vinson

Jean Mackay Vinson is an English Literature major with over twenty years of experience in sales and marketing. She founded JAMSBooks in 2005. She herself is a children’s book author with three self published titles. Jean lives in Virginia Beach, VA, and has two adult children. Her husband is an experienced pediatrician and medical missionary.

Kristin Casciani

Kristin Casciani

Kristin Casciani is a gifted communicator concerning helping children thrive in the midst of adversity as well as children's faith potential. Along with her husband, Matt, she interned with an international non-profit for three years after at which time and began a child--advocacy non-profit. Together, they have produced two music albums for children and have continued to focus on helping children thrive in the midst of adversity.

Dr. Steve Vinson

A pediatrician for over 30 years, and an experienced medical missionary, Steve brings a certain servant perspective and medical knowledge to the team. As a general pediatrician who has practiced in various settings of pediatric care, he recognizes the unparalleled value of reading in a child’s development. He has observed firsthand the value of children being taught basic personal health topics within the pages of coloring books. Steve is a strong advocate for the combination of education through reading and hands-on participation by the children and their families in the provision of health care and knowledge for these individuals in developing countries.