Meet ClaraBelle Blue: Children's Book Highlights Similarities Rather Than Differences
Author: RocketChair Productions/Adiba Nelson : Contact: clarabelleblue.com
Adiba Nelson, mother of a child with special needs authors book highlighting childrens similarities rather than their differences.
When one mom went looking for a bedtime book that she felt her child could relate to, she came up short. Actually, she came up empty. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands. In "Meet ClaraBelle Blue," Adiba Nelson set out to not only create a book that her daughter could see herself in, but also a book that could help typically-abled children see that children like her daughter aren't so different from them, even though they may look different.
One of the high points in parenting is getting to read books to and with your child. It is a bedtime ritual that has been practiced for decades upon decades. Whether it was "The Adventures of Dick and Jane," or the ever-popular "Harry Potter" series, books at bedtime are a staple in a household with children.
However, when one mom went looking for a bedtime book that she felt her child could relate to, she came up short. Actually, she came up empty. Adiba Nelson searched local independent bookstores, well known chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble, and even online looking for a book that had an African American girl in a wheelchair on the cover, and quickly discovered there was nothing. She did find books that talked about children having a disability, however the books often focused on the child's disability, or what the child could do despite having a disability. This would never do for Adiba's spunky, sassy 4-year-old daughter. So, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
ClaraBelle Blue playing Duck Duck Goose - A page from the book Meet ClaraBelle Blue
"Meet ClaraBelle Blue" is currently the only children's book featuring a young African-American girl with special needs on the cover, and once you read the book you quickly discover that it is the only book of its nature. It is easy to see why and how "Meet ClaraBelle Blue" has quickly become not only her daughter's favorite book, but a favorite in households across the country. With the story's over-arching theme of "ClaraBelle Blue is Just Like You," and the beautifully drawn (and often hilarious) images, parents have had a hard time convincing their kids to pick a different book to read at bedtime.
In this adorable children's book, writer and blogger Adiba Nelson set out to not only create a book that her daughter could see herself in, but also a book that could help typically-abled children see that children like her daughter aren't so different from them, even though they may look different. Inadvertently, the book has also helped parents start the conversation around special needs, and keep it on a child-friendly level.
"The book has gone on to have more of a life than I could have imagined," Adiba says. "I initially wrote it as just a book for my daughter, but was convinced rather quickly to self-publish it when I was turned down for representation by numerous literary agents because they felt the book was 'too niche.' I couldn't understand what about this book, or my child, was 'too niche' to warrant representation." Proving the adage "necessity is the mother of invention" to be true, Adiba decided she needed to write and publish the book herself if it was to ever see the light of day. Consequently "Meet ClaraBelle Blue," a book that highlights the child rather than the child's disability, was born.
Children of all abilities, and races, can relate to the story's main character as they read about her making interesting "snacks" for her mom, trying to help with laundry, and playing her favorite childhood game, Duck Duck Goose. However, it is the sweet, touching end of the book that really drives the story home, for children and parents alike. Adiba says she often has a hard time keeping it together when she gets to the last few pages of her book while reading it to her daughter, or to the groups of children she frequently visits in schools.
"When I start to get to the pages where ClaraBelle is being tucked in for bed by her mom, I can always feel my throat getting a little bit tight." She says telling the kids at book readings and signings that ClaraBelle is most like them because at the end of the day she needs her mommy's kisses and tuck-ins too really drives the point home for the kids. "When I look around I can see the moms and dads wiping the tears at the corners of their eyes, and I know they got the point too. So, I don't look around too much when I get to the end!"
Adiba Nelson's self-published children's book is currently in its second run and is experiencing new life, with a relaunch and brand extension into tee shirts, tote bags, stickers, puzzles, and anything else she dreams up. Her goal is to have "Meet ClaraBelle Blue" on every child's bookshelf, and in every library and bookstore across the country. She knows the story of a kid just being a kid is not "too niche" for kids to understand, and this is why she plans to release more books about kids with disabilities just being kids. "Meet ClaraBelle Blue" is the first book of The ClaraBelle Series, but you'll soon be introduced to ClaraBelle's friends: LuAnn, who lives with Childhood Anxiety Disorder; JoJo, who lives with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder); and ClaraBelle's typically-abled best friend Tessa, driving home that necessary message of inclusion.
If you'd like to add "Meet ClaraBelle Blue" to your child's collection, you can currently find the book available online at Barnes & Noble (www.BN.com), Amazon (www.amazon.com), and on the book's website, www.clarabelleblue.com
It is also available in locally owned bookstores in Adiba's hometown of Tucson, AZ, but she hopes to change that in the very near future. Be on the lookout for "Meet ClaraBelle Blue" in a bookstore near you in early 2018.
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