Superhero Levi: A Children’s Book About Disabilities and Differences

It is important for all children to be taught at an early age about the beauty of differences. When we look around at our highly diverse world, we see many differences: differences in appearance, differences in language, differences in physical movement, differences in customs. These differences are wonderful. However, when children are not taught how to receive and celebrate differences, they might respond in a shy or negative manner when they encounter someone unlike them. I find this to be true when children encounter another child or adult with disabilities. Instead of engaging in a conversation, they might simply stare or avoid eye contact. By teaching our children about special needs and disabilities, we promote a healthy and beautiful interpretation of the word “different” for all people are wonderfully made and gifted.

Superhero Levi is a story based on my nephew, Levi Slenk, who has MECP2 duplication syndrome. In a first-person narrative, the reader joins Levi in his struggles and victories that are different from those another child his age might face. Though he has to work hard, he never gives up. No matter what life may throw, he knows he can take it because he’s a superhero.

This book teaches children about special needs and disabilities through a viewpoint that they can comprehend: a superhero that embarks on a life adventure, encountering obstacles and triumphs. This story can be used in a home or classroom to teach children about disabilities and to encourage all children to press on no matter what difficulties they might face in school or in life.

Superhero Levi is now officially available for purchase on amazon.com as a paperback and Kindle book.

On Release Weekend (July 20-22) 10% of each book sale will be given to Heartwood School, in Lansing, MI. Levi attends this school. Heartwood School badly needs a new playground that will better accommodate their students with special needs.

SHOP NOW

Advertisements

The Magic Snow Globe: A Children’s Book

I’ve dreamed of this day since I was 10. I’m not fibbing. I have wanted to publish a book for that long! And today, that dream is a reality.

The Magic Snow Globe is my debut. It’s a children’s book about twins, Willow and Wendell Potter, who purchase a special snow globe from an antique store. At night, the globe lights up and transports them to magical lands where they learn the real secret to Christmas magic.

Not only did I write the book, but I also illustrated it. I worked hard to capture the scenes that were in my mind. Each drawing was painted using watercolor and acrylic. My mother, Cindy Overbeek, an experienced painter, helped me with the painting so that each image would pop.

I desire for this book is to inspire wonder and imagination. Oh that we would set down our iPhones and get lost in a book again. Let the pictures speak to us and the words whisk us away.

I hope The Magic Snow Globe would help you dream up your own magical lands and the wonders of Christmas.

If you would like to purchase this book, it is available on amazon.com as a paperback and Ebook. (Click the highlighted text to be taken to the page)

MERRY CHRISTMAS

The Blessing of Storytelling

Every journey in life is a story, and stories propel our world. Good stories. Bad stories. Tales of victory. Tales of defeat. Whatever the premise, our lives are shaped with stories.

Today, I again had the privilege of sharing with an alert group of minds that require variety in order to keep them impressed. This group is children. I love the challenge of grabbing their attention and drawing them into a story. When something alights their interest, I see it shine in their eyes. It’s magical. Storytelling is a blessing to me because I enjoy watching them. Their happiness brings me happiness.

IMG_1007
Reading a book about the seasons called, “Listen, Listen” during Moms and Tots Story time at the Zeeland Community Center.
IMG_1003
Old MacDonald Sing Along
IMG_0999
Introducing the kids to my friend, Hoppy the Frog

Books, Storytelling, and Using Imagination

In a world driven by technology, the art of storytelling and reading books can be lost. Imagination is stifled in children and adults when television and iPads replace creative thinking. I am passionate about reigniting the joy of books and story writing. That is why I’m dedicated to teaching my kids the importance of books and using their imaginations, and that is why I was so honored to  speak to my daughter’s preschool class yesterday.

IMG_9729

I presented the art of writing stories to a group of 18 bright-eyed children using storyboards.

image-6

We discussed using our imaginations to dream up fun things like a fire-breathing dragon guarding a castle or a dragon that breathes bubbles and eats chocolate chip cookies.

image-7

 

IMG_9736

And then the kids helped me write a story called Farmer Ben’s Special Hen. As I told the story, I had the children contribute ideas along the way.

image-12

image-2

Farmer Ben’s special hen laid many special things like…cars, rainbow candy canes, and lady bugs.

image-13

She even had special talents like singing, doing cartwheels, riding a horse, building a snowman, and chasing dinosaurs.

Since the hen was so special, Farmer Ben decided to give her an extra special name. The kids loved shouting out names! This was the final product: Nina Aiyana John Piper Niber Sophia Carter Benjamin Gloria Bret Cup-paper.

image-16

Farmer Ben entered the special hen into a pet contest, and the kids helped create other special animals that were there! In the end, Farmer Ben’s chicken won First Place.

image-17

Using their imaginations, the children helped write a story and boy was it interesting! I hope my presentation will stick with them and inspire them to create more stories.

image-4

Before there was television, people told stories and read books. That was fine entertainment. It saddens me when I hear that publishing houses are consolidating because they’re struggling to sell enough books to stay afloat. It grieves me when I hear people say, “I don’t like to read.” Is this what we are passing on to our next generation? Ohhh…I surely hope not. Let’s encourage our children and yes, other adults, to read, create, and use our imaginations!