Soon after our first daughter, Anika, was born with Spina Bifida, and our second daughter, Esti, died of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, we decided that something good will have to come out of this. We knew that out of this storm, God will make something good – or rather something great – happen, if we choose to embrace it.
We had two choices – either to be miserable for the rest of our lives, and make Anika’s life miserable as well, or to choose to make the best of the rest of our lives.
About 6 years ago, I realized that most children don’t know how to cope with their own – or other children’s – disabilities, special needs and other challenges, and the idea to write children’s books about Animal Characters with special needs, started to stir my heart and mind.
Mid 2018, I decided that it’s now or never, and I started to write down a few ideas. We now also have a busy little boy called Reuben, and I would love for him to understand and know how to cope with different types of needs. I asked Anika to help me choose characters, story lines and to proofread the stories, to make sure it’s written on an appropriate level for kids between 4-9 years of age. I found this amazing illustrator, Olga Ladyga, and she just makes the stories come alive ways I couldn’t even imagine!
The idea is to write a series of eBooks, each with 5 stories about animals with “different” needs and challenges. Some of the stories include conditions like wearing glasses, stuttering, using a wheelchair, having low muscle tone, using a feeding tube, having divorced parents, using crutches and so much more.
Now, a few months later, with the help of my husband Matt, we are almost done with our first eBook, called Okey-Dokey Different – Bush Tales. In this book children will get to know Geoffrey Giraffe, Emma Elephant, Annie Ant, Rosie the Lion and Mathilde Monkey – each with a different challenge. Each story ends with a lesson to teach children that it’s Okey-Dokey to be different. We are also working on the next book called Okey-Dokey Different – Bug Tales.
We decided to give away one of the stories in the book, “Why Emma has Wheels”, to give you a sneak peak of the eBook which will be published and launched on 1 December 2018.
We hope to inspire, educate and give hope through this project. Please download your free copy by clicking on the picture below, and share it with everyone you know to broaden our chances to make a difference!