New Book Series Tells Stories You Can’t Find in Bookstores

Finding My Way Books” began with a meeting between two friends. I was leaving a job in infant-toddler services, and my friend, Vera, was remaining. We’d shared an office and both worked on Early Intervention teams. I was the occupational therapist on one team, and Vera was one of the early childhood special education teachers on another team.

logo with website

When we came together, Vera was moving deeper into her Ph.D. curriculum in special education. She was excited about promoting self-determination skills in young children. At the same time, I was moving away from working with young children but wanted to continue supporting families in some way. I’d always wanted to write children’s picture books. On home visits with families of children with disabilities, parents would share their frustration and disappointment about the lack of books written about their children. They wanted their children to be included in the world of books. They needed to see them in books at the bookstore or at the library. A seed was planted — I thought for years about writing the books they were searching for but couldn’t find.

Vera and I had lunch together, and I told her I thought we should create books about children with disabilities learning skills needed for self-determination. She loved the idea. These books would provide families with encouragement and support. They would make the world a better place.

We both agreed the books needed to have photographs rather than illustrations so the stories would be easy for a child with developmental delays to understand. We also wanted them to be nonfiction because we’d experienced such wonderful, true stories through our work.

These books were to be stories about everyday life. We wanted to show that children with disabilities are just like other kids. They’re fun! They may do things differently and need more assistance, but they’re part of our world of children to be celebrated. We wanted children with disabilities to be included, to have a voice and tell their own stories. This was our way to say, “Yes, you’re important to our world. We want to hear you.”

Mary, our photographer, was working with us at our infant-toddler program at the time. She was creating videos about families receiving Early Intervention services. Mary was the perfect person to make our books special.

It’s been nearly four years since Vera and I got together for that lunch. We’ve created five books, each featuring a different child with a disability or developmental delay. Each book also includes a family guide with information on self-determination and classroom activities. Our books are entitled: “I Want To Be Like Poppin’ Joe,” “Kaitlyn Wants To See Ducks,” “I Don’t Know If I Want a Puppy,” “Marco and I Want To Play Ball” and “MyaGrace Wants To Make Music.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 12.34.27 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 12.34.12 PM

We’re working hard to get the books out into the public. Currently, a few libraries and one zoo gift shop carry them, and I’ve started doing author visits on Skype. We have free downloadable lesson plans to go with each book available on Teachers Pay Teachers. Our books are also available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 12.34.38 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 12.35.01 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 12.48.15 PM

Please visit our website to learn more about us at I would love to have you contact me at [email protected] if you would like more information.

group 1-3

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Other

The Afternoon I Spent as an Adult With Special Needs

Back when I did head injury work, we often engaged in training sessions with families where we helped facilitate what it feels like to be an adult who suddenly has lost the ability to see or use a limb. I found it extremely enlightening for family members to get that insight, if even for a few [...]

The First Time I Looked at My Mastectomy Scar

So I’m back in my own surroundings and out of hospital, and it feels blissful. I only have to do one thing today — well, aside from the essentials like taking care of the wound and keeping up on my medication. Today is the day I must look at my scar. If I don’t, it’s defeat because it’s [...]

Share These Stories to End the ‘R’ Word

This Wednesday, March 4, is the annual Spread the Word to End the Word day. This is an awareness day about the hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed),” otherwise known as the “r-word.” This day also promotes inclusive people-first language. Check out and share the following r-word stories to let your friends know why it’s [...]

Watch These Men Dance Their Asses Off to Promote Colon Cancer Awareness

Iceland’s annual month-long men’s cancer awareness campaign, Mottumars, or “Mustache March,” is off to a running start. This month’s theme is colon cancer, so to encourage men to take care of their colons, a group of well-known Icelandic actors and musicians dance their asses off in the hilarious ad below. Men flaunt their derreires at the doctor’s office, in the shower and in the meat aisle [...]