Follow Along as the "Gam Gam, Am I Mixed?" Story Unfolds!

There's more beyond this inspiring, empowering, brilliant book!

By Jillian Smith - Editor & Publisher March 28, 2024

Gam Gam, Am I Mixed? is an empowering book written by Mollie Openshaw and illustrated by Linda Phelps.
This inspiring story follows an inquisitive young girl - Mollie's granddaughter and muse for the book - as she grows to understand the values of K.I.D. - Kindness, Inclusion, and Diversity. Children will learn how they can embrace their own differences and celebrate the beautiful variety of humanity as a whole - by adopting the K.I.D. values championed in this brilliant book.

Follow along as the impact of this story grows and evolves. You will always find the latest updates here at the top of the page. While this is a sponsored article, the opinions expressed are my own.


Building Momentum 

I thought I was busy - as a work-from-home mom with 3 children I probably am, to be fair - but Mollie has put things into perspective. This woman is passionate, driven, and focused! 

The month of March was quite the tour for Gam Gam and she is picking up speed in spreading her message of kindness, inclusion, and diversity. You won't believe what she's been up to!

As many of you know, we had our 1st Annual Spring KID Day at DeGarmo Park and it was a huge success! I really enjoyed seeing Mollie in action - introducing herself and her book, meeting and connecting with local families, reading "Gam Gam, Am I Mixed?" aloud while engaging with the kids - she was in her element! 

I am so grateful to have gotten to co-host that event and learn from her example. Thank you Mollie! Special thanks also goes to Vivid Creations Chico for the face painting marathon. And, of course, big thanks to those of you who came and had fun with us! I look forward to doing it all again next year.

Spring KID Day was my only gig, but one stop of many on the trail Mollie is blazing. Just 3 days before, she had been in Sacramento at the California Quality Early Learning (CQEL) Spring Conference to advocate for inclusive classroom and workplace environments with what looks to me like a TEDtalk - PowerPoint and all. 

I love the contrast between the professionalism in this Instagram post and the pictures above with her bunny ears! She knows her audience.

Twice in March (before and after Spring KID Day) Mollie and illustrator Linda Phelps signed and handed out copies of their book at Valley Oak Children's Services' Community Resource Rooms. These are monthly events held at multiple VOCS locations across Butte County where parents, educators, and childcare providers can get art supplies, craft kits, and other resources for free! How cool is that? You should go sometime too, and bring the kids. Here's a link for the next one in Chico: Community Resource Room

The same morning as the Resource Room in Chico, Mollie had yet another booth at the Butte County Local Childcare Planning Council's Spring Early Learning Conference: REFUEL TO GO FORWARD. I'm telling you, she's a powerhouse! 

Meeting with Mollie in person at Sweet Bean Coffee House just wasn't in the cards this time around. I got the lowdown of her most recent activities over the phone - from Oakland! She spent 3 days there at the Child Health, Education, and Care Summit - hosted by First 5 California, celebrating 25 years - getting her message out there and making connections with leaders in education and childcare.

Mollie will be spending part of her Easter weekend at VOCS for a Make and Take workshop for providers. As you might remember from before, she and Linda have put together a finger-puppet kit teachers can use to demonstrate kindness, inclusion, and diversity for their students, featuring characters from the book like Dot, Buzzy, Flutter, and even Gam Gam herself. 

What a month! 

While it's all about the kids, Mollie knows that getting her book, and its inspiring message, into the hands and hearts of as many children as possible is going to require getting the word out to the grownups, in more ways than one. Luckily for us visual learners, Linda made an infographic of all the amazing things Gam Gam Am I Mixed has to offer:

When Mollie told me just a few months ago that this was "more than just a book," I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what she meant. Now, I can see that the big picture is as big as Mollie can make it - she's got momentum, connections, and the most precious motivation!

Hoping some of her go-go-go might rub off on you? I know I could use some! Don't forget, you can come meet Mollie (and me!) the first Saturday of April at the VOCS Annual Children's Faire! We'll be there together leading a craft, handing out some critters, and spreading the word about both Am I Mixed and Macaroni KID Chico! Dozens of other great local family-friendly resources will be there, too. It's going to be a blast!

Want your own copy of the #1 book for Kindness, Inclusion, and Diversity? Head to to order.  *This is not an affiliate link. While I've been compensated for my time in bringing more awareness of Gam Gam, Am I Mixed? to local families with this ongoing article, I am happy to recommend the book to everyone! I genuinely adore it, and I know you will too.


It's All About the Kids

Author Mollie Openshaw is going to keep me busy, y'all! She has big plans - not just for her inspiring book, but for the kids of this community! That's why she's so passionate about collaborating and making connections. As she so eloquently puts it, "It's all about the kids." 

Another meeting at Sweet Bean down and my heart (and datebook) is full. We focused on some really special upcoming events we can attend together that you won't want to miss! We even added our own event to the calendar for those of you sticking around for Spring Break! Mollie and I decided to host Spring KID Day at DeGarmo Park the Monday that Spring Break begins. We will bring fun stuff for the kids, coffee for the parents, and cookies for everyone. Let's connect while the kids play and celebrate kindness, inclusion, and diversity - special storytime included!

A KID-centered team wouldn't be the same without the community education, resources, impact, and programs of Valley Oak Children's Services. Mollie and Linda met with them recently in preparation for an upcoming Gam Gam class for providers! "Gam Gam, Am I Mixed?" Make and Take 


At this event, providers will get to make and take finger puppets of characters from the book - Dot the ladybug (Kindness), Buzzy the bee (Inclusion), and Flutter the butterfly (Diversity) - plus a stage, and use them to help children identify kindness and inclusion techniques. 

Image credit: Valley Oaks Children's Services

Valley Oak Children's Services is hosting their Annual Children's Faire this April in Downtown Chico City Plaza. If you are at all interested in learning about local resources, activities, events, and organizations for kids (of course you are, you're utilizing Macaroni KID Chico!) you will want to be there. The Am I Mixed team and I will be there too! Make sure you stop by our booths and say hello!

Here's a recap of the events I mentioned:
Chico: Spring KID Day March 18
Chico: "Gam Gam, Am I Mixed?" Make and Take March 30
Chico: Annual Children's Faire April 6

They're all about the kids. Teaching them the virtues of Kindness, Inclusion, and Diversity needs to start as soon as possible! You are never too young to learn kindness from a positive role model. 

I hope to see you at an upcoming event soon! Do you have an event for kids? Submit your events here and I'll get it on the calendar!


Just the Beginning...

I had the privilege of meeting with Mollie and Linda at Sweet Bean Coffee House to hear about some "exciting news" over a delicious Honey Buzz Latte. Before, I had only spoken with Mollie over the phone, back in October when she was getting ready for the Gam Gam, Am I Mixed? Book Release Extravaganza. 

She hosted it at the Chico Children's Museum and gave everyone free admission for the whole day, including special activities and face painting! That alone should tell you the kind of heart and energy Mollie has, and the type of person she is. Her event was just what the Macaroni KID calendar needed, and I was happy to spread the word in my newsletter as well. Free events are my favorite!

Over 300 children attended the Book Release Extravaganza event hosted by Mollie Openshaw at Chico Children's Museum

Mollie reached out to me again, in January, to meet her and Linda in person for the first time, and asked me to pick the place. Maybe I should have picked somewhere I'm familiar with, but I'd been dying to try the new Sweet Bean Coffee House my friends have been raving about. Little did I know, Mollie and Linda have been holding meetings there already and are great friends with the owners! It already felt like serendipity. 

If there were any nerves going into this meeting, they all dissolved as soon as I walked into Sweet Bean. The coffee house is bright and spacious with an airy botanical feel. I could see everything from the entrance including the happy staff, beautiful decor, abundant seating, where to order, and Mollie and Linda sitting across from each other at a 4-person table, deep in thought, wearing their Am I Mixed t-shirts. 

The Honey Buzz Latte was calling my name, and the barista said it's the most popular coffee order. That's all I needed to hear! I was so relieved to get a delicious drink because Sweet Bean already has everything else going for it: square footage, an accessible location with plenty of free parking, a patio with tables and big shady umbrellas, an adorable theme, a well-rounded food menu, and - the best thing of all for us busy mamas - a drive thru!

Sweet Bean Coffee House is located at 3010 Floral Avenue, Suite 135 - at the corner of Floral Avenue and Eaton Road.

Meeting with Mollie and Linda went way better than I'd imagined, and not just because the location exceeded my expectations! As it turns out, I'd already met Linda years ago when she and her family owned Bricks 4 Kidz on Forest Avenue. We both felt a twinge of nostalgia when I pulled up a picture from my son's 6th birthday party in October of 2018. 

The Campfire was just 10 days later and ultimately led to the closing of Linda's business and my son's favorite place to play. I'm elated to know Linda is still here in Chico and has a new passion in growing Gam Gam, Am I Mixed? with her great friend, Mollie. Mollie greeted me with a hug and I could tell right away that this was the start of a wonderful, collaborative friendship! 

I had adjusted to the new surroundings, gotten my caffeine, met the team, and was ready to hear the exciting news! Or so I thought. I mean, what do most authors do after they've published a book? In my mind the news is going to be another book, another event promoting the book, maybe they want to host an event together for a storytime? Well yes, but that's a small part of bigger things to come. 

They've already taken several opportunities to speak about and present the book - which has been well received - and plan to do even more. Their latest big step is getting Gam Gam, Am I Mixed? into Chico classrooms. In fact, right before our meeting, Mollie and Linda had gone to Neal Dow Elementary School to present 12 copies of the book to CUSD Elementary Librarian, Tammy Janos, to be distributed to all of the elementary schools in the Chico Unified School DIstrict. 

The big news is bigger, and the main takeaway - Gam Gam, Am I Mixed is more than a book! Mollie and Linda have big plans for elaborating on the characters and themes to create something more immersive. The book is really going to be a tool to spread the values of Kindness, Inclusion, and Diversity far and wide!

As Mollie and Linda's ideas and plans become events and programs, Macaroni KID Chico will be here to bring you the latest scoop so you don't miss a thing! Bookmark this page to learn more about how you can get involved and help your children embrace their individuality with K.I.D. values!

My first in-person meeting with Gam Gam, Am I Mixed? Author Mollie Openshaw and Illustrator Linda Phelps. Joined here by Sweet Bean Coffee House owner Ronda Moore.

Tagged under: