top of page
Search

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”—Jacqueline Kennedy

A sofa made of books?!

I sometimes joke that we have 22 bookcases in our flat; no furniture, but 22 bookcases. 


We do have furniture, but making room for our bookcases was really important, as we both love books. And there are 22 of them. 


Books have always been important to me. As a child, they allowed me to escape to places where good things happened; as a teen, they gave me hope that healthy relationships existed; as an adult, they showed me I wasn’t alone.


I am made up of thousands of books

I have moved a lot in my life. This current home is home number 30 something (keep in mind that I have only lived in three places in the last 17 years, so a lot of that moving was done before I turned 30), and, in every home, even the brief stays, I have had some books. Paul Young may have called home wherever his hat was; my home is wherever my books (and cats!) are.


And, if I hadn’t had books, I wouldn’t be me. Those books have helped me to learn, to grow, to show me I wasn’t the only one in the world that had feelings and experiences like me.


I LOVE BOOKS!


And I know I am not alone in loving books, and knowing how important they are.


Stories shared

So, when I started writing my books, then published them, it felt so exciting! It felt like I was part of this world I love, that my books could be to someone what other books have been for me. And I love that they have been. I have had parents say their children have, for the first time, felt represented in a book; they have said that they loved seeing a child with a disability living life fully, like they do. As for La Vie Est Belle, I am honoured that so many women have felt safe to share their stories with me (though, I am also saddened that so many women have these stories to share), telling my story gave them courage to talk about their own, often for the first time.





Books are important.


A session in a book

I have been doing Find Your Fabulous sessions for almost two years now. They’re always lots of fun. From the outside, it can look like it’s simply silliness, which has its own merit, but I know they are more than that. I’ve had parents say that they have never seen their child feel confident enough to join in before these sessions; I’ve had children invite me for play dates because they know I’m fun and feel safe with me; other parents have said their child wants to talk to me about how they feel; and I’ve had siblings of adults with learning disabilities tell me how much they have enjoyed my books. It’s wonderful! 





And I have been asked to turn the sessions into a book.


So I did. Sort of. I respond to the children in the room when I deliver these sessions, so each session is different; and I take two huge folders of writing, drawing, colouring, word searches, and other activities for them to do. I obviously can’t make a unique book for every child that reads it, and, if I added every activity I do into the book, the book would be the size of a breeze block.


But I have written a book that shows ways we can boost our confidence, through questions, activities, some singing, and some silliness. It’s as much of the session as I can put into a book, and I am so pleased with it! I’ve also had great feedback from those that have read it, which is reassuring!


This book isn’t a story, so there isn’t one main character; instead, the brilliant Lottie Thomson will be creating lots of gorgeous characters to go on every page.





The best book it can be

Now, I wish I had made a fortune on my previous books, and I could afford to make this book happen, the way I want it to be made, which is paying for an illustrator, an editor, a proofreader, a formatter, a cover designer, and printed by a professional book printer, but, sadly, I haven’t (I did feel reassured recently when I heard a fantastic children’s author, one who is traditionally published, with a global market, and who is award winning, said they still need to be in employed work three days a week, as their books didn’t make enough money to live on.). So I am doing another Crowdfunder. 


As before, there are rewards to buy the book, to buy a book and donate a book to a school or group of your choice, right up to booking me to do a training course for a school or group of your choice.


And, in-between, are rewards where supporters can buy books to donate to organisations that support children who live in poverty.


A book of your own

The reason I have chosen to do this, with your support, is because it deeply saddened me when I read that 1 in 5 children in the UK, don’t own their own book. (https://literacytrust.org.uk/research-services/research-reports/book-ownership-in-2023/ )


Can you imagine not having a book? 


I imagine that lots of us had hand me downs as children, and we remember the joy of getting something that was just ours. To have something that is ours, even if we share it, means we have some worth, that we’re important enough to own something. Feeling we’re important from a young age has a huge impact on how we see ourselves as we grow, and an impact on our mental health.


And reading brings so much else of value. As well as boosting connection between those who read together, it encourages academic ability, and enables development of empathy and understanding.

(This article from The Literacy Trust explains a little more: 


Books are important.


And this book, the book on the Crowdfunder currently, can help with so much. 



Am I evil?

Then, there is also still the attitudes to disability in the UK (and far beyond).


Recently, there have been social influencers discussing if they would want to be seen dating a disabled woman, because they would see it as “grim”, and celebrities writing new Roald Dahl based stories, where prosthetics are considered “ugly”, funny, and suitable for the villains. I’m not going to share links to those but it wouldn’t take much of a search to find them.


Why do some people think that being disabled is something to mock? Do some people think we don’t have feelings? Do some people think we’re not intelligent, so we won’t understand their insults? Do they think, as media portrayal often shows disabled people as the villains, that we deserve the disability/ies because we’re evil?


Do you know what would help? More positive representation of disabled people! In shows, in movies, and in BOOKS!


And, as with my previous two books for children, this book will have wonderful representation of all sorts of disabilities and neurodivergence, with children playing happily with each other, disabled and non-disabled, demonstrating that we all have far more in common than that which makes us different.



(This is one of the possible illustrations for the book that Lottie has drawn.)


It’s never a bad time to learn about empathy, to learn about kindness, to learn about other people, and it’s never too early, or too late, to learn how to feel good about ourselves. So, if you can, please support this Crowdfunder campaign. 


Making a difference

Maybe you don’t have children in your life, so you feel this isn’t relevant for you, but you probably have people in your life, who do have children, who could read this book, who would realise how brilliant we all are, as we are, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were far more people in your life who thought more inclusively? 


Or maybe your children think they’re too old for picture books, so you don’t think they would read it; what you could do is say to them, “I have bought this book. Will you read it with me, so we can decide which school or group to donate it to?” I have no doubts that conversations could be had with your children, stemming from things in the book, that you may not have thought of an “in” for before.


Maybe you run a business, and you would like to do something wonderful for your community, because a happier, kinder community is good for everyone.


Or, maybe, you think I’m great, and you believe in my mission to make the world a happier, kinder place than when I joined it, and you want to support that mission, to support me.


I believe this book is important. I believe that a lot of children could benefit from it. I believe that it could make a difference in a lot of lives. 


But I can’t do it alone.


Will you help?


Vie

Xx


639 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Even Disabled People Can Be Ableist

I am open about being a disabled person. I am a great advocate for other people with disabilities, and for myself. Internalised ableism But I still have some internal ableism, aimed only at myself, bu

Comments


bottom of page