Inner Michael » Michael Ever After

Michael Ever After

She was stunned. She thinks it was either that his dying never occurred to her or that his dying was an impossible consideration for the mind. She found it hard to wrap hers around it and the empty space he left.  Growing up on his music, she always just assumed her own children would be growing up with his music too. This was a void that simply would not or could not be filled. Michael’s dying was as unthinkable for my daughter-in-law as it was for so many others—all over the world.

Michael Jackson—not on the planet anymore? How could something so anti-life occur in one’s life? To someone larger than life? “A world without Michael” seemed antithetical—a moment in time that could never find form, could never come true. And certainly not this soon. For so many around the world, his passing suddenly turned the world colorless and empty.

For that generation—the one of my children and their significant others, the milestones of their lives were marked with his songs. Childhood, puberty, teen years, high school, graduation and college. Many could tell you which Michael Jackson song fit each of those events—a kind of: “where were you when… ?” thing. And each of them would remember now where they were when they got the news—that Michael Jackson passed away.

Michael’s death provided an impetus for so many people: inspiration, motivation, momentum, commitment, vows, direction, realizations, new insights, spiritual awakenings. People around the planet began to do things to mark his passing, pay homage, remember Michael, and honor him. Many among them are artists. Some people discovered that they were wasting their lives, some were wasting their talent, some were on a path that did not suit them or nourish them, lots remembered Michael’s words about working hard at your passion and not giving up. He inspired an entire generation of youth and crossed over into other generations and new generations. No child should have to grow up without the magic of Michael Jackson.

My daughter-in-law would make sure her daughter, and later her son, would know about Michael. But it would be in the abstract and how and where to start? Imagine my delight when I came across the work of two artists and was able to give my daughter-in-law a keepsake book for my granddaughter—a book about Michael. Two talented people put their heads together and wrote a stunning tribute to Mr. Jackson in the form of a children’s storybook: Ever After by Brenda Jenkyns and Kathy Garren.

Brenda Jenkyns didn’t even know much about Michael Jackson; she didn’t follow his music. Of course, she’d heard some of the negative stories but dismissed them because she knew his heart in “Heal the World,” but that was the extent of it. Until, that is, she watched Larry King with a recap of the memorial service at Staples and her “heart opened,” she says, changing her forever. This heart opening or spiritual awakening is more common that anyone knows as it happens to those affected by Michael’s passing. Many are then inspired to art and other work in his name.

She too, experienced that same inconsolable grief of losing a loved one or family member—that close connection and personal loss that is recounted by those touched in a deep way by Michael’s passing. She read his books and books about him; she watched videos and collected his music. She did what so many others were compelled to do after his passing—learn who Michael Jackson really was. Her admiration for him grew as she learned that nothing stopped him from accomplishing what he felt he was here to do.

Brenda says: “I decided that I would follow Michael’s example, and ALWAYS say yes to my heart, and do my best at whatever I am inspired to do. I wanted to be a writer, but had never actually written much of anything. Michael inspired me. Since then I have published a picture book. It has been my dream come true, and maybe I have even made a difference in the world.”

Brenda wrote the story between Christmas and New Year’s, a little over a year ago. She loved writing about Michael and his life in fairy tale form. Early the next year, she edited and sent the story to Michael’s mother and children.

In March, she saw a beautiful painting of Michael’s Giving Tree on Facebook and asked “Mimi”  (Kathy Garren) the artist, if she would be interested in illustrating a picture book. Mimi agreed. They spent April getting to know each other via email and discussed the book and illustrations. “Baby Michael” was the first illustration Kathy Garren sent her prompting Brenda to choose a printer, claim her ISBN number and reserved their domain name. They decided to self publish and donate 20% of the profits; so far, they have donated almost two thousand dollars to a charity in Michael’s name.

“Mimi” took a leave of absence to finish illustrating the book in time for their deadline—Michael’s birthday; they wanted to take the book to Neverland. Too late for Michael’s birthday celebration, the first books didn’t arrive in their hands until late September. They sent the first 4 off the press to Katherine, Prince, Paris and Blanket. And they have informed Michael’s estate and have received an acknowledgement.

Kathy Garren has not returned to work but is pursuing her passion for art and illustrations full time. She does not have a website yet, but they do have a page on Imagekind with all the Ever After illustrations for purchase as prints.  Mimi, like Michael, is very shy, and extremely focused when working on a project. You will rarely find her online. The authors realize more and more that Ever After has an important message and is supposed to play a part in Michael’s mission to heal the world and like many others—they have felt Michael’s hand on this project from the beginning and his guidance in steering it to completion.

They wanted me to know that they feel honored to be a part of carrying on Michael’s message to comfort his followers and to teach future generations about his legacy of LOVE. So Brenda and Mimi wanted to know– could I “feel the love” in Ever After?

No child now has to grow up without that magic of Michael Jackson. I gave one copy of Ever After to my daughter-in-law and granddaughter for Christmas and kept one for myself. I sat down with her and read Ever After to my granddaughter for the first time. When she is older, her mother can tell her about the icon who marked the milestones of mommy’s life and of her whole generation. And maybe a year or two later, she can read it to my grandson. He is the dancer in the family and dances to videos; already he has rhythm—I know he will appreciate Michael.

This book isn’t just for children; it is a keepsake for self and family. And if you don’t have children, or even if you do—I think it would make a great addition to the children’s section of your local library—maybe as a gift. That will be my next purchase—a donation of Ever After for each of the libraries in my area. I want to know that the children of the future will have an avenue to Michael’s magic. And I want one of Mimi’s larger prints for myself—the one of Michael at the window. That illustration says so much about who he was and the price of the gifts that he so freely gave to the world. That illustration is so relevant to the story and it’s so Michael.

A delightful take-your-breath-away piece of art that belongs in a collection and in the hands of fans and children, Ever After charms while it captures the heart and tickles with its little treasures of surprise quietly tucked into the illustrations that are digitally enhanced mixed media watercolors. The story of a little boy born in a little town in Indiana tells of his life from childhood to adulthood. It introduces you to a poor little black kid who hears music in his head. I won’t spoil it for you. This book and its simple little story and sweet illustrations is the real story of Michael Jackson. It’s Straight. Simple. Profound. It captures who Michael Jackson truly is and it is told in children’s verse. Michael would be delighted.

The artwork in this little story is charming and warm and it carries the same vibe that brings Michael’s magic to the world and it packages it for children. It is engaging and enchanting and the illustrations breathe the words to life for the reader. I like how you tucked it in there so “yes, I feel the love– Brenda and Mimi.” And I feel the magic. Sheer magic. Michael magic.


Anyone who doesn’t have their copy yet, may order one at: 

Please consider ordering an extra for your local library children’s section. 

Mimi’s artwork is available in prints on Imagekind:

The list of charities to which Ever After donates is on their website.


  1. Joyce said . . .

    Rev. Barbara, I had seen this book on another website a few months ago and have purchased several copies. I also plan to donate a copy to my local Library as well. My own copy is proudly displayed in my bookcase along with my other treasured “Michael Jackson” books. Thank you for the additional information about this beautiful book and the very talented women who created it with so much love. I have already checked out the link to Imagekind and have purchased one of Mimi’s gorgeous prints from the book. You can definitely feel Michael’s magical inspiration throughout this lovely creation! I hope it will inspire many generations to come!

    Posted February 26, 2011 at 1:51 am | Permalink
  2. Lauren said . . .

    I never tire of hearing someone’s experiences and discovery of who Michael really was. I belong right there with everyone else who spent countless hours reviewing that one life and finding such an abundance of love, inspiration and even a dab of the spiritual reality that had escaped me before Michael left our world.

    This book is in the hands of a little 4 year old who now learns about the man behind and in the music that he so loves. Thank you to Brenda and Kathy for the wonderful open door for children and all of us to appreciate Michael in this special way. I hadn’t thought about my local library but look forward to contributing a little inspiration to a child who will someday look at the beautiful images and the story of the little boy with big dreams and a bigger heart.

    Posted February 26, 2011 at 4:04 am | Permalink
  3. Brenda Jenkyns said . . .

    Thank you so much Reverend Barbara, for this lovely writing and your support for our book. It is our hope that Ever After will inspire people to follow Michael’s example, and do their best at whatever they love to do. L.O.V.E. Brenda

    Posted February 26, 2011 at 4:51 am | Permalink
  4. Anne Mette Jepsen said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Kaufmann! – And THANK YOU BRENDA and KATHY for making this absolutely WONDERFUL book 🙂 I’ve got three copies … one for my children, one for myself and one extra, just in case ….I LOVE IT! 🙂 LOVE and GRATITUDE 🙂

    Posted February 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
  5. Simona said . . .

    Thank you for this sweet post – I have the immense pleasure of having received my two copies of EverAfter a couple of months ago, and I love the book so much. It really is a joy to treasure.

    Posted February 26, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Permalink
  6. Sue Springer said . . .

    I love this beautiful book. Sweet and loving, just like Michael. I’ve given a few for gifts, and the book is appreciated and loved. Thank you, Rev. B., for highlighting this. Love and peace, sue.

    Posted March 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  7. Nikki said . . .

    I just ordered three, one for me, one for my nieces to share, and one for my public library. I can’t wait to receive my copies. Thank you Brenda, Kathy and Rev. B!

    Posted March 6, 2011 at 1:11 am | Permalink
  8. gertrude said . . .

    thank-you for letting us know about this gorgeous book. I can’t wait to receive my copies.

    Posted March 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink
  9. CassieforMaxwell said . . .

    All I can say is I am speechless. Those prints are AMAZING! I’ve GOT TO HAVE a few of them. I love the one of Michael as a child by the window. It reminds me of my baby boy after his older and only brother was killed. He stood at the window everyday, still looking for him to come home. This is beautiful and emotional. I will be purchasing some of these books. 20% is donated to one of Michael’s charities which makes it even more special. I think, Barbara, that it would be AWESOME if we could embark on a project that would help her with the donations. I think what has already been started is a FANTASTIC way to get Michael into the homes and hearts of every child. Buying a copy and donating it to the library in our areas. That is genuis. I intend to do so, plus I will also see about donating copies to the local elementary schools. This could be a ground breaking. The children WILL know Michael Jackson. The legacy will live on because we will make sure that it does. I am so excited I could moonwalk!

    Posted March 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  10. I have this book. It was graciously given to me by Brenda. After being touched by the book I wrote, she wanted to do something nice for me. She knew I had a small childcare business and so donated a copy to the children. I love reading it to them. What a sweet woman she is! The book is great! Thank-you again Brenda! 🙂 Peace and Michael Love, Michelle

    Posted March 22, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

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