Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New book explores sibling emotions about disability

By Louise Kinross

Perfect is a new children's book about the birth of a baby with a disability, told from the perspective of her older brother. 

In a piece she wrote for The Scottish Book Trust, author Nicola Davies said she "wanted to write a story that gave a space for children's feelings, that allowed the 'unsayable' to be said." 

Nicola, whose mother is deaf, writes that one of our problems is our hesitation to talk about disability. 

"When a disabled child is born, there is a lot of fallout. Everybody has to adjust their expectations and there are, inevitably, powerful feelings involved: disappointment, grief, anger. All sorts of ugly things rear their heads. In time, as the new family member shows that they are a person, not a label, those negative feelings are erased and replaced by love. But pretending that the initial difficulties do not exist isn’t helpful, particularly for young children who may be confused by their own feelings."

The book, suggested for children aged five and up, will be released Nov. 1 by Graffeg Books.

"This is a story about disability and how we see it, but it's also about any sort of difference, and how we make space for diversity in our society," Nicola says.

Stunning illustrations are by Cathy Fisher.