The new See What I Can Do! Children's book is out now.
See What I Can Do! is now availabe to order from Graffeg
Every child is different. Some are loud, they love talking and showing off. Others are quiet and like to be on their own. Some have disabilities that you can see, while others have disabilities that may not be so obvious. We are all unique. We all have our own lives, our own dreams, and our own talents. Let’s see what we can do.
In this gently-told but immensely informative new diverse and inclusive picture book Jon Roberts tells the stories of a number of children with a variety of disabilities inspired by the real-life experiences of his daughter, Kya who is on the autistic spectrum, and some of her friends.
“What inspired this book?”
I have previously written a number of children's illustrated books about my daughter and Autism. Once my first book was published I was delighted on how it became popular in schools. Children enjoyed the book and were genuinely keen to learn more about Autism. It soon became apparent that there is a shortage in similar children's books about other disabilities. I started talking to parents online, asking them if they felt there is need for a book like this and I received an overwhelming response. Parents and their children were really happy to talk about their disability and wanted a way that they could tell other children about their lives, in a positive way.
“Why did you feel it was needed?”
I felt that there is a lack of stories about children with different disabilities all wrapped up in one book. Primary school children are at an age where they want to learn, they are interested in why other people behave or look or act differently. They are at an age where they have an innocent view on life, and I hope that if we can teach them about disability, diversity and inclusion in school it can have a positive impact on them.
“What are the book's aims?”
There are lots and lots of different types of disabilities, with different levels of disability. For example, someone can be partially sighted and needs to wear glasses, someone else can be totally blind. A person can be hard of hearing and another profoundly deaf. I wanted to write about real children who I have met who have a disability in a positive way. To tell their story so they can share their experiences, their difficulties in life and to tell other children what it feels like to have a disability and how they can help raise awareness too.
“How does it fit in with/relate to previous books I have written?”
See what I can do! Is written in the same style as Through the eyes of me and Through the eyes of us. It’s written as if the children themselves are talking about their disability, in a positive and simple way so primary school children can learn about disabilities, diversity and inclusiveness.
Each story has been taken from children and parents that I have met, adapted in a way to suit this book. I am not an expert in disabilities by any means. I wanted each story to be unique to each character. What the reader learns is an actual account from a child who has gratefully shared their story for the book.
“What were the main challenges of writing this book?”
Writing about different disabilities in a simple manner was always going to be difficult. I am not medically qualified and only have real life experiences in a few disabilities such as Autism, ADHD and Epilepsy. I wanted to write about all disabilities but that would have been impossible to do in a children’s picture book. I also wanted to write about the different levels of disabilities to hopefully resonate with the reader.
What I didn’t want to happen is for someone to say, “You’re not an expert, why should I buy this book?”. I spent a lot of time researching and communicating with Parents and friends and families who have children with a disability. I wanted to write about them, not their disability. I wanted to tell the reader each child’s story. What it is like to have a disability, what they have to overcome on a daily basis. What they enjoy doing, such as playing sport, playing a musical instrument, playing with friends, being normal. Most importantly I wanted the book to be positive and helpful.
“What have I enjoyed most about writing it?”
The most enjoyable part of writing this book is meeting parents and learning about their family. I loved the way that every person I met wanted to help write this book. They were so positive and everyone thought that this book is so important for children to read and to learn about disabilities, diversity and inclusiveness. This book is not solely written by me, it written by amazing children and their families. That is the main reason why I am donating 80% of my royalties from this book to Charity.
“What do I hope people get out of this book?”
I hope that See what I can do! Will teach children and their friends and family about disabilities, diversity and inclusiveness. I hope that the reader will understand what it might be like to have a disability, to learn that these children are amazing, they are strong, they enjoy life and most importantly they want people to treat them as individuals and to be kind.