Kyle Fiorelli was a special education teacher with a special problem. "When looking at books that feature children with disabilities, I found that most of them focused on the disability." Fiorelli shares.
Kyle began her career as an aide to a young girl with cerebral palsy named Maggie, and there was no good representation in any of the books offered by the school or library. With nowhere to turn, Kyle set out to write a children's book that focused on the child first, not the disability, and now has added 'author' to her resume. The new book is called Simply Mae, a children's book about a young girl with an active imagination and cerebral palsy.
The Amazing Adventures of Mae and her Walker, Wendy
"I wanted to create a story that focused on the character who just happens to use a walker," explains Kyle.
Beautifully illustrated by Kellen Roggenbuck, Kyle's book is an imaginative thread of colorful, creative images featuring a young girl named Mae and her walker, "Wendy." Little Mae, along with trusty Wendy, can always be found in the backyard at play. Mae searches for buried treasure, battles evil elves, runs away to the circus, even ends up in outer space, all with Wendy by her side. It paints Mae as an exceptional kid, with a vivid imagination and a mind for adventure. And at the end of the day, Mae comes to realize the value of just being herself.
"This kind of representation, the kind in which children are expressed as children, no matter their level of ability, is really what we need more of." says Kyle.
Simply Mae is receiving praises from critics and casual readers alike. Kyle hopes that the book can be available for all children with disabilities in their schools and libraries. "I hope my book will allow children with disabilities to finally see themselves in a story and instill an awareness of disabilities in anyone who reads it."
About the Author:
Kyle Fiorelli is a mother, special educator, and author from Mundelein, IL. She teaches K-3 resource at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake, where she also runs the Drama Club. "Simply Mae" is her first book, although she hopes to write more books featuring children with disabilities to continue to promote disability awareness.
About the Illustrator:
Kellen Roggenbuck is an illustrator and author in his own right, and lives in Jefferson, WI, where he is also a pastor. He has illustrated several books and is always looking for his next project!
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