Annie Won First Place in The Creative Slingers of Ink Cover Contest
Why are these books important to me?
As a child, I was left out of many celebrations at school because of my family's beliefs. Whenever there was a classroom party, a special holiday event or even a holiday craft, I was sent out of the room. While my classmates were having fun, I spent time reading in the library, the office or sometimes just sitting in the hall.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a teacher to make sure no child ever felt excluded like I did. I wanted to make every child that walked into my classroom to feel like they belonged, and were not excluded. As a teacher, I hoped I was making a difference, but then I went to a teacher conference and had a speaker talk about books being mirrors and every child should be able to relate to the characters in the stories.
I did an inventory of the books in my classroom library. I had several books on Christmas, books on Hanukkah and even a couple of books about Kwanza, but in the hundreds of books I owned, I didn't see the book that related to my story. The story of the girl who was weird and excluded. The girl who didn't celebrate anything.
I knew then that my story had to be told. A story that could be the mirror for any child that doesn't celebrate holidays, have birthday parties or hands out valentines. For whatever reason, these books are for them.
I hope my stories get into the hands of that one child who needs to hear that they aren't weird, that they are not alone, and they are loved. There is so much in this world to celebrate, and it isn't always wrapped and placed under a tree, or part of some big holiday tradition.
Township Resident Pens Book Focusing on Childhood Inclusion by Wendi Reardon, July 28, 2021
A huge Thank You to everyone who voted for me!
© 2023 Donna Neumann All Rights Reserved
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