I am an author and a disability advocate. I serve on the board of an affinity group at work that represents people with disabilities. I saw my first book The Adventures of Princess Jellibean book as an opportunity to reach children with the message that disability is a normal part of life through her interaction with children in the story, some who have a disability. I use simple words like “dancing on feet or wheels’ and ‘singing out loud or signing words with happy hands” to introduce the concepts.
Other books in my series have characters she encounters with disabilities and sometimes she helps them and sometimes they help her. I feel like sharing this message with young children can help open minds and prevent bullying through understanding.
Friday February 1st was National Read Aloud Day and I was honored to be at a part of an Author Extravaganza at a local school. I visited three classrooms to read my book and had the time to share information about anything I wished.
I shared information about tools used by people with disabilities and created an 11X17 poster to help illustrate my point. I also brought my husband’s blind cane, so they had a physical example and explained demonstrated how it is used.
The kids were SO receptive and had so many questions that I loved answering. I taught the kindergarten class the ASL sign for the phrase ‘thank you’ and shared some disability etiquette with the third graders. They were all so excited and eager to know more!!
My character Princess Jellibean was a big hit as well! Two little girls physically jumped up and down to have their picture taken with my 3-foot-tall standee of her at my table during the book fair part. I loved it all SO MUCH and was with the kids!! I didn’t want it to end! ️
I was nervous on my first school visit last December, but I think I’m ready to reach out to other schools to share my book and message!