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Using a Wheelchair as a Child

Author Interview
Charlene McIver Author Interview

Squishy Sand follows three friends who go to the beach and run into a problem on the sand and must come up with a creative solution. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration was, of course, my late son Leigh. This little series will be based around the difficulties Leigh encountered using a wheelchair as a child.  

The art in the book is beautiful, cute, and vibrant. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Caroline Keys?

Caroline was a gem to work with, very attentive to my brief and captured Leigh’s image and personality to a tee. She is an amazing artist.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Is was important to show how sometimes the smallest things are extremely difficult for others with different needs. And this will also be highlighted in Books 2 and 3.

This is book one in your Leigh’s Wheelie Adventures series. What can readers expect in book two?

As mentioned, Leigh struggled with numerous challenges as a child and Books 2 and 3 will explore individual problems he encountered when using a wheelchair. Problems, some may not consider or recognize as difficult. Hopefully, these little books will shed light on these issues.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Website

Leigh and his friends would love to go to the beach. However, Leigh uses a wheelchair and has a fear of falling. He also knows it’s difficult getting his wheelchair across the sand, but his friends Cosmo and Tara are determined to find a way to help their friend. After a number of hilarious failed attempts they finally solve the problem and enjoy a great day at the beach.
This engaging story also sheds light on the many obstacles children with different needs face in everyday life.
Based on the true story of Leigh who was born with a severe physical disability.
A beautifully illustrated story of friendship and determination.

Squishy Sand

Squishy Sand, by Charlene McIver is an educational picture book about three friends who take a trip to the beach and run into a problem on the sand and must come up with a creative solution. They’re all playing together, enjoying ice cream as they walk along the boardwalk. As Cosmo begins to grow bored he suggests going into the water. But there’s an issue: the wheels on Leigh’s wheelchair get stuck in the sand! The three kids try and figure out how to bring Leigh into the sand, going through different ideas. As they begin to lose hope, Cosmo finds something amazing!

Author Charlene McIver does a fantastic job of showing the different issues people struggle with. She shows that even if someone is in a wheelchair, they’re still capable of having fun and doing the same things everyone else does. The story shows how empathetic and kind Leigh’s friends are, encouraging children to copy that behavior. This book provides fantastic opportunities to talk to children about these topics and also gives some great examples of how these ideas apply in the real world. The art in the book is a wonderfully vibrant blend of sketch and water color styles, and makes me think of something Bob Ross would paint. There are cute creates on every page!

Squishy Sand is an educational children’s story that teaches young readers valuable life lessons and problem solving using creativity, all wrapped up in a fun little beach adventure. This book shows that it’s important to be understanding and patient with people that struggle with a disability. The story is fun and entertaining for the audience. Overall, the book is a great read for children to learn about others, and how to help them!

Pages: 38 | ISBN: 0648417832

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