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  • This 11-Year-Old Boy Is Charming the World With His 'Gantsilyo' Skills!

    An old soul trapped in an 11-year-old body, Johah Larson hooks the world one stitch at a time.
    by Meryl Medel .
This 11-Year-Old Boy Is Charming the World With His 'Gantsilyo' Skills!
PHOTO BY @jonahhands/Instagram
  • Do what you love and you’ll be happy — this has never been truer than with 11-year-old crocheting prodigy Jonah Larson. A simple sixth grader with an immensely engaged mind (he’s already taking up ninth-grade algebra!), Jonah continues to make waves in the crocheting world.

    Jonah discovered crocheting on his own. At age 5, he picked up a shiny hook and some yarn from an old box of craft supplies at home, watched crocheting tutorials on YouTube, and finished a crochet dishcloth in one hour. The rest, as they say, is history.

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    His mom Jennifer opens up to CBS News that while she helped her child look for video tutorials and set up his materials, she thought she was going to end up cleaning a mess afterwards. But she saw that “he had a dishcloth made and it was pretty good, too."

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    How a simple curiosity turned into a rewarding passion project

    In a previous article we published, we mentioned the importance of supporting your child's interests and how it can boost "thieir cognitive development and sharpen the skills they need in adulthood."

    Jonah's curiosity about the hook used in crocheting became a passion for a craft that calms his active mind. In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Jennifer shares, “I think his mind is just always very busy, and it turned out that crocheting is something that calms him down and makes him feel good. I think of it as medicinal in some ways.”

    “After a very hard, busy, chaotic day in this busy world with school, it's just nice to know that I can come home and crochet in my little corner of the house while sitting by the one I love most: my mom,” Jonah tells National Public Radio (NPR).

    A feature on  La Crosse Tribune shows how Jonah's crocheting became a family affair. His older brother Leif helps with filming his Youtube videos, and baby sister Mercy assists in winding the yarn. Dad Christopher is Jonah’s “hat model,” while Jennifer works as Jonah’s de-facto “agent,” joining crocheting groups on Facebook and creating the Instagram account “Jonah’s Hands,” which was originally intended to be a platform where her son can feature his handiwork., evolved and became a store as well.

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    After the feature on the La Crosse Tribune, the mom-managed Instagram account's followers grew from 2,000 to around 179,000. With the rate things are going for Jonah, we won't be surprised if the account will hit half a million followers within months!

    A boy gives back as he goes on his crocheting journey

    We're sure you've seen snippets of news features and video clips showing Jonah and his finished projects on your social media feed. 

    Skyrocketing to fame, Jonah and his mom had to field many invitations for interviews and partnerships. According to Forbes, they even had to turn down The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

    They did, however, accept the book deal from Milwaukee-based indie press KWiL Publishing. The mother and son has been writing the book titled Hello, Crochet Friends! Making Art, Being Mindful, and Giving Back: Do What Makes You Happy, which Forbes says will feature Jonah’s personal life, his journey into crocheting, and how he continues to share his passion and celebrate crochet, giving back to the community that welcomed him so warmly.

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    Despite his claim to fame, Jonah remains humbled and Jennifer makes sure he maintains a healthy, balanced schedule. While many people want to order from Jonah’s Hands, his mom made sure that Jonah won’t be overwhelmed, limiting the accepted orders to a workload Jonah is comfortable doing (10 orders a week, in addition to his personal crochet projects and his schoolwork). They are also carefully selecting interview and partnership offers as his parents want him to prioritize family and school.

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    Paying it forward

    Jonah is not just looking ahead; he’s also looking back. While he was raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the 11-year-old was born in a small village in Ethiopia where his parents found and adopted him. He donates regularly to Roots Ethiopia, an organization working to teach mothers trade skills to support their families, as reported by News8000. “They help keep families together,” Jonah tells them. “This is the way I could help.”

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    Echoing his upcoming book’s title, Jonah is doing what makes him happy, all while making art for himself and the people he loves, being mindful of his time and environment, and giving back, especially to his roots.

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    The support his family gives to him and his chosen art proves that focusing on a child's strength can help them become more driven and passionate individuals. According to an article we published, as a parent, you can help your child reach his full potential while providing guidance.

    Let your child do what they love and they’ll be happy — Jennifer Larson can surely attest to this.

    You can find more of Jonah Larson’s creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. Help Jonah’s Hands reach Ethiopia by donating here.

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