When you're someone whose needs sometimes make you feel different than those around you, it can be hard to find yourself reflected in books, TV shows, and other media. This lack of representation has an emotional impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities causing feelings of exclusion and having a negative impact on mental health outcomes. Author and special education teacher Andrea Kurth, along with her co-author sons, Owen and Braden, are working to promote inclusion and awareness with their children's book series "Zac's Mighty Wheels".
The first book in the series entitled Zac's Mighty Wheels and the Giant Problem was published in 2021 and "spins" the tail of a boy named Zac who makes a wish for the wheelchair of his dreams. While the book is about a boy with a disability, it's important to the authors that the story is the focus and not the disability.
Readers are excited for the next book in the series, called Zac's Mighty Wheels and the Disappearing Grannies, which is currently on Kickstarter seeking support for publication from interested backers. According to the author, the story is inspired in part by our very own Bobby Mischley, the author's brother. Bobby lives in a private residence with housemates that is supported by Progressive Lifestyles, Inc. Ashley, the manager who supports Bobby's home says that "he lights up every room he enters and is such a joy to be around."
Andrea shares that her 42-year-old brother has a severe intellectual disability called cri-du-chat syndrome and inspired her to become a special education teacher. She has supported many memorable students over her career and two, Anna and Cody, are included in this series by name while many others have impacted her perspective in other ways.
If you love great children's books and have a passion for inclusion and representation, consider becoming a backer for the project on Kickstarter! The project needs to reach it's funding goal by October 20, 2022 if readers want to see it on the shelves by it's estimated delivery date of November 2022.