Saturday, October 29, 2011
I started writing this series when my daughter Madi was little. She had SO MANY appointments and we had to wait in many a waiting room so we would bring a ton of books and read and read and read. After reading the same stories over and over I started to change up the character names to match Madi's friends and family. Then I started to change the stories too. As Madi got older I looked to buy books with a main character with a disability who was hopefully non-verbal -- but had no luck. The only books that I found seemed rather "educational" and that was not what I wanted. I decided that there was a spot for me in the writing world, and that was how I got started writing my books.
All of my stories come from a part of our real life. Then I shape them and sprinkle in some fun. The Cottage Tooth Fairy comes from a real toboggan ride that my husband Luis and Madi took. It resulted in the loss of Madi's first molar and Luis being scolded for not holding on tight enough. LOL! This story has Madi and her fictitious brother Colin finding out what happens when you lose a tooth at the cottage. Childhood hijinks to trick the Tooth Fairy result in a whopper of a problem, and some rather angry cottage wildlife.
My books give an opportunity for a child with a disability to relate to the story without being centred out. Peers can enjoy a story that supports acceptance -- again without being told explicitly.
My books can be shared with peers and educators who are involved in your child's life. Other students may look at their classmate differently when they realize that people with disabilities live lives just like theirs.
One day when Madi was about four a little girl in the park asked me about why Madi uses a wheelchair. I gave my usual response: "Some people are born and need to wear glasses to see. Madi was born and needs to use a wheelchair to get around." The girl said "like a fancy accessory." I just about fell over with laughter. To this little girl the chair was a fancy accessory. Love it! Disability in my stories is an "accessory."
I have sold my books in Canada, the U.S., England, Hong Kong, Australia, Argentina, Dubai, South Africa and New Zealand. I have the best job in the world. My next venture is to get into the school boards and be a guest author. Eventually, perhaps my daughter Madi would like to take this over. It would be amazing for her to go into a class and read to children.