Why is World Book Day so special? It is unique because it encourages adults and children to read from a fun and imaginative perspective and for educational reasons! May that be by themselves or part of a group of other readers, as part of a book club, or even simply reading a bedtime story with parents. With technology more accessible than ever and even though we now have Ebooks and Audiobooks, I still think the enjoyable experience of picking up the good old physical hardback or paperback and losing yourself in the euphoria of reading a story word by word, line-by-line and chapter by chapter is still very magical and more of a personal experience for all readers alike. But also, in some ways, I embrace the way technology can bring readers together.
I have come a long way since writing my first children's book 'Max And The Magic Wish'. I have become stronger; because of this, I have accepted and fallen in love with who I am. I now embrace my disabilities. I also adore writing children's books, showing children that it's perfectly ok to be accepted for who you are and also to accept and be kind to others. I am now more confident, and learning to accept my disabilities has finally been a massive factor in all of this. So, I have now overcome my fear of letting myself be visible in front of the camera because of my differences and have created a #Tiktok account. I am now a disability influencer too. Joining #Tiktok has given me another platform where I can showcase to the rest of the world that despite being disabled, you can, with a little bit of help and improvisation, live a successful and independent life and follow your dreams. I now regularly create author, songwriter and disability awareness content on my TikTok account and hold 'Live' author and cerebral palsy awareness sessions. So far, I have built up a following of over 15,000 people, and it's still growing. So why not give me a follow and help me to make a difference through the power of TikTok.
Here is the link for my TikTok account:- https://www.tiktok.com/@thedisabledwriter82?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc.
As it's World Book Day 2023, I think this would be the perfect time to clarify what I have been up to over the last year and a half. Well, I can reveal that I have been writing two new books. I suppose the process of finding myself and stepping onto this journey of starting to accept my disabilities did stem from when I started writing 'Max And The Magic Wish'. Since then, I have found myself writing a book about my life living with cerebral palsy. I want to use my life experiences with having cerebral palsy to educate and reach out to a more diverse range of people and show them that despite having differences and with a little more understanding, disabled people can strive to live independently or/and co-independently and successfully. There is also a second 'Max' children's book on the way, with this one being about educating children on how to accept and, most importantly, help other children with speech impediments to communicate in a way they can feel accepted and included in everyday life. I can reveal that some of the characters in Max And The Magic Wish return in the second book, along with some exciting and magical new ones.
So in 2023, there is something for everyone. Another 'Max' disability children's book for the little ones and my memoir for the grownups. In the meantime, here are my three best ways to celebrate World Book Day and continue helping others and making a difference every day. Looking back at my World Book Day 2022 blog, these three points are the same. But still today, I genuinely believe that bringing people together through reading and encouraging them to talk openly about how why we are sometimes different is the best way of educating society on how to become a more inclusive place to live:-
ORGANISE AN 'OUT OF SCHOOL' OR AFTER-SCHOOL BOOK CLUB - Lead the way! It's always good to read, whether a children's book, a fantasy novel, a comic book or a good old thriller. Reading also can bring people together socially. Whether you are a parent or adult who wants to bring the 'grown-ups' together for an afternoon of quiet reading or are somebody who wants to encourage children to read, or you are a kid yourself and want to get together with friends for some reading. Reading as a group can be very helpful, be sure to encourage active discussions about the books you read at any book clubs you get involved with. Some people may not be as competent with reading as others, and discussing the stories and messages behind those books together may help them understand the story. In addition, it will help them improve their reading and social skills.
HOLD A BOOK EXCHANGE EVENT AND MAKE IT FUN - This could be a book exchange with a difference! You encourage people and children to bring a book to this event to exchange it with another person. You also ask them to dress up as their favourite character from the book. Authors like to make up all different kinds of characters. These characters could be friendly, scary, funny, or even naughty in some cases. But this certainly GETS PEOPLE TALKING and INTERACTING. Curiosity is a marvellous thing, and once the conversation or interactions start, that's not only when the fun begins, but the educational, emotional and, most importantly, inclusive aspects of storytelling come to light. Expression and touch come to the surface, then. This can only be a good thing for the deaf community and people with learning disabilities, and even Autism, finding it more challenging to communicate. This way, more people can feel more included on WORLD BOOK DAY and more often. Everyone has the right to feel included.
HOLD AN ONLINE BOOK READING EVENT - I've been involved with some online reading events as an author. But due to my speech impediment, somebody else reads my story. On one occasion, the online event involved many different schools within a County Council Borough. It was fantastic, and because we held the event online, we had the scope to reach out to more children in one session. This is when you can make a difference and spread a positive message more widely. Even though I wasn't physically in the same classroom as the children, I could still see their reactions to my story. It was all positive, which is lovely. Still, holding an online event is easy to organise and doesn't have to be for 'World Book Day'. These can go ahead on any day or special occasion you choose. This is when education becomes accessible to all, and we can slowly start to become more inclusive bit by bit.
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Thank you for reading all my blogs and for your continued support.