Here at DSDN, we want to thank our sponsors who make our Rockin' Mom Retreat possible. Black Day: The Monster Rock Band by Marcus Sikora is one of our 2017 sponsors.
Black Day: The Monster Rock Band, was created by Marcus Sikora, a talented storyteller who has Down syndrome. The book was released two years ago on his 25th birthday, with a 13-minute animated short released shortly after. Below is our Interview with Mardra Sikora, author and mom of Marcus Sikora.
What inspired Marcus to write Black Day?
People often ask Marcus where he got the idea for Black Day: The Monster Rock Band. He answers that the idea came while we were staying at a cabin at Mahoney State Park. Halloween has always been Marcus’ favorite holiday, and when he first told me (Mardra, his mom) about the monster rock band, it was clearly influenced by some of his favorite creepy rock stars (like Alice Cooper) and also, Marcus’ dad (who is a drummer).
What kind of impact is the book having?
The Monster Rock Band did not come about because of any grand intention, it developed only and simply because Marcus did the work to create and tell a complete and compelling story. Since its release, however, Black Day: The Monster Rock Band has been an excellent tool for families and educators. The book and the animated short are a fun way to open conversations about acceptance, inclusion, and determination. Because it is Marcus’ creation, this is not a “preachy” or overtly “educational” book – both stop-signs to the savvy child reader (as in: all child readers).
As Marcus’ mother, fellow author, and his technology translator, you may assume I’m biased. And I probably am. Still, I’m not alone in the love of this story. We consistently receive notes from parents that Black Day tops the family’s favorite book list, that parents are asked to read it “again!” and it’s one of the few stories books these parents don’t mind reading over and over.
The publication of Black Day created opportunities for Marcus to share and speak to groups of many sizes and ages. Something I didn’t foresee for him (or us) only 5 years ago. Marcus stands before children, families, and educators and uses the disarming charms of monsters and rock and roll to demonstrate his personal mantra’s, “Be who you are” and “Do what you want.”
This year Marcus spoke at the United Nations on World Down Syndrome Day. Next up he is the Ambassador for the “Be Beautiful, Be Yourself” event supporting the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome. Plus, he and I are both participating in the critical new research of The Human Trisome Project.
Marcus told listeners at a recent event, “I want to help people.” (It’s true, he’s always said that.) And also, he said, “I want to live a long, healthy, life.” My hope for people with Down syndrome is that they have the support, healthcare, and opportunity to live long, healthy lives. Marcus’ hope (and advice) for people with Down syndrome is “Do what you want.”
What’s your greatest hope for Black Day: The Monster Rock Band?
The Monster Rock Band isn’t a magic elixir to bring about the massive wave of needed improvements in attitudes, care levels, and acceptance, it is instead one of many, many small ripples in the sea of change that we are generating together. We are proud to support the DSDN, their work and the conference event. We are excited to share Black Day with parents new to this world of possibility. We are hopeful for this young generation of people with Down syndrome to continue changing the world for the better. And, as we sing in our house, “We are the band…Black Day!”
Check out more or buy the book at: BlackDayBook.com
Remember to share #BlackDayBook and find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GrownUpsAndDowns/
or Twitter @MardraSikora and @MarcusMusical
Watch a video about Black Day: The Monster Band, Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCUPOn3wzaU or learn more about Marcus and Mardra, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8yAImM0hPQ
Black Day: The Monster Rock Band is a sponsor of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network’s 2017 Rockin’ Mom Retreat. If your businesses or organization would like to sponsor this year’s retreat, check out the DSDN sponsor page: http://www.dsdiagnosisnetwork.org/sponsors
Additional Bio: Marcus Sikora, is a storyteller, actor, and advocate. His first book for children, Black Day: The Monster Rock Band, was released in 2015. Since then he has toured in support of the book, released an animated short, been on the cover of Down Syndrome World Magazine, and presented his story to groups of all sizes. Mardra Sikora, Marcus’ mother, believes in the power of words and uses both fiction and non-fiction to advocate for and with Marcus. Her essay “Arguing Eugenics” was honored as a Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest finalist and she is extremely proud to have co-authored The Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome released in January 2016, by Adams Media. Her work is also featured on many online outlets including The HuffPost.