Introducing The Invitation – Available Free Online
As I wrote about in December, I was among the authors and illustrators hired by the non-profit Room to Read in the fall to develop a Peace & Equality picture book collection during a book sprint project. The author-illustrator-editor-art director teams brought 10 picture books to life in just 4 weeks.
In The Invitation, a young boy named Kofi must decide whether to accept a birthday party invitation from Izzy. She’s eccentric and stands out from her classmates. Kofi is new to school and wants to fit in. Should he go?
The book is online free for anyone with an internet connection. Room to Read may bring the collection out in print, so fingers crossed this happens!
• Read The Invitation and consider logging in to give it a heart if you enjoy it
• Read other books in the Peace & Equality collection
• Visit my book page for more background and related links
• See the books being read online by my fellow author Mon Trice
Writing about Neurodiversity
Creating this book was difficult and rewarding.
Going from zero to 100 mph in four weeks on a fully developed story was a wild ride in the best of ways. But I felt enormous responsibility in developing the neurodiversity aspects to the story. More than I expected going into the project.
Our team had several thoughtful discussions about how to appropriately bring Izzy’s intellectual disability into the story. I found myself squarely in the position of educating the team – typical behaviors and perspectives of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, typical school experiences, what it can be like trying to interact with their peers.
Although it was sometimes uncomfortable and even a little emotional, I was glad to channel my experiences as the parent of a daughter with an intellectual disability. My story idea came from the annual anxiety of her birthday parties and whether any of the kids she invited would come. This is a real situation for kids with I/DD and it does not always end as constructively as in this story.
I am so appreciative of the curiosity, honesty and respect the team displayed. This aspect of diversity is very underrepresented in children’s stories and publishing professionals. I hope we will continue to see growth in insightful diversity representation in the publishing world.
Thanks for reading my story. Click here to send me your input or questions!