I am very excited about a project I’m working on with my mentor and hero, Rick Walton. Rick has a son with juvenile diabetes, and I have two, and because we write picture books, we decided to join forces and create a book for very young children who are newly-diagnosed with the disease. The book will be donated to kids in the hospital, as a gift inside the “bags of hope” which contain items to help these newly-diagnosed children (and their parents) cope.
Pitching the Book
Although we had seen picture books written about diabetes, we hadn’t seen one specifically for very young kids. We wanted a book with a very simple format, just a few words per page, and illustrations that were upbeat and cheerful. We came up with a manuscript we felt good about, and pitched the idea to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I was thrilled to learn recently that we were granted the funding to print the books.
Saying So Much With A Few Words
The project has been somewhat tricky because juvenile diabetes is a very complicated disease, requiring a whole lot of rigorous monitoring of blood sugars and dosing of insulin, which can be overwhelming to adults, let alone small children. These sweet little kids find themselves suddenly in the hospital, wondering why they have to get “poked” five or six times a day. Almost overnight, their entire world has changed—forever. How could we, in just a few words, a) explain the basic concept of diabetes and what it’s care is going to “look” like from a child’s point of view, b) provide reassurance that everything is going to be okay, and c) send the message that these kids are courageous and that their parents (and all of us) are proud of them? And how could we say all this in rhyme, too?
Our book will be called, “You are Awesome, Little Possum,” and the illustrations are already being created. It’s so satisfying to do something with your time and knowledge that just might help people out there in the world. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but only share with my readers the suggestion that YOU can use your talents and creativity to make a difference, too. What diseases or disorders are your family dealing with? How can you contribute your insight to make the path a little easier for others with the same challenges? Finding ways to do this will change your outlook and add a new sense of purpose to your life.
How have you tried to make a difference? What projects are you working on, what events have you helped with, or what causes are you fighting for? I’d love to hear your stories.
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