Children are the Future of our Society
Posted by Literary Titan
A little bit Extraordinary follows Juliette as she explains Down’s syndrome and promotes acceptance and diversity. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Children are the future of our society and I feel it’s important to teach them the importance of being kind, considerate and understanding. This way of being is simple and achievable and can make a huge positive impact on people’s lives. My older brother, Martin, has an ultra-rare genetic syndrome called WAGR. Growing up, I was saddened by people bullying him, making assumptions about his capabilities and by him being made to attend a different school to me. Our family connected with other families whose children had various disabilities, including Down’s syndrome. I was such a shy, reserved child and I was taken aback by the open display of affection from the children I met with Down’s syndrome; they seemed free to be who they wanted to be. I saw they had individual personalities with different traits and abilities, but other people who did not mix with people with disabilities did not necessarily understand this. Down’s syndrome affects many more people than WAGR, so focusing my book on Down’s syndrome enabled me to reach more people as they would be able to identify with the character and themes of the book more easily. I also felt that many people did not know the cause of Down’s syndrome and that this book would explain it in a simplistic way, helping to reduce prejudice and judgment, thereby encouraging understanding, acceptance and integration in education and the community.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about Down’s syndrome?
People may assume people with a disability such as Down’s syndrome are unable to contribute to society, that they don’t have any skills or talents to share with the community and ostracise them. People may assume they are stupid or don’t understand what people are saying, and think they don’t feel hurt when someone is unkind to them or bullies them. This was why it was important to introduce the theme of empathy into my book.
I loved the art in this book. What was the art collaboration like with illustrator Grainne Knox?
Gráinne was enamoured with my book idea, really believing in it having an important purpose, so I knew she would put her heart and soul into it. Gráinne paid great attention to the words I had written, so she came up with picture ideas for the stanzas that really reflected the meaning of the words. If there were no words in the book, I feel the pictures would convey the story. Gráinne was a pleasure to work with – very accommodating – and came up with great ideas. I gave her ideas on what I thought Juliette should look like and with some small changes I feel we got her appearance just right. When it came to an idea for a picture to go with the stanza on how Juliette does things differently, Gráinne put out a request on social media for ideas and a mum of a child who has a disability suggested the child lining items up in rows, while a nurse who works with children with disabilities suggested the use of Makaton, so Gráinne combined those two ideas into one picture.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
The understanding that kindness, compassion, empathy and love enable people to live in harmony with one another and put this into practice in their daily lives.
About Literary TitanThe Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.
Posted on August 29, 2020, in Interviews and tagged A little bit EXTRAORDINARY, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, children, childrens book, Down’s syndrome, ebook, esther robinson, goodreads, kids, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, picture book, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
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