My list of angels and superheroes could never be complete without the special place that Omar, Daniela, and Martin, as well as their mom and dad, my uncle Pedro and my aunt Pierangela had in my life. They are my cousins, but in reality they are so much more than that. Truth is, I tried to write this piece so many times, but words are not enough to express my immense gratitude to them.
My childhood and my life in general were simply made better because of them. Around them, we were just a family. We were not special, different, and didn’t need to be “accommodated.” Life was simply life. Love was simply love. And my youngest brother with disabilities was their cousin too. They saw him for who he was.
They presented a micro social experiment of what could be possible. They presented an alternative. I felt safe. I felt understood. I felt heard. And what’s more important, I felt that my little brother was a person first. When I was growing up, it was not uncommon for people to see disability first, then, perhaps, the person behind it.
At my cousins’ house this was not the case.
To Omar, Daniela, Martin, and my late uncle Pedro and late aunt Pierangela, THANK YOU.
September is Children’s book month and I’m so excited I get to review Dr. Tinita Kearney’s Lola Koala Travel Adventures! This is a skillfully designed book, that takes children through the “Ws:” WHO/WHAT/WHERE, and also helps them answer YES/NO questions. As an educator, I know how much young children can struggle to learn these skills. This is why Dr. Tinita Kearney (Dr.T), a speech pathologist by training, has focused on these language skills and has made them FUN TO LEARN. Learning and playing are one and the same when it comes to young children.
Question for the author: What inspired your story?
Dr. T: School year after school year I am met with a caseload of unique, eager-to-learn elementary-school-aged students with not-so-unique speech and language issues. And while a percentage of these students have difficulties that require intensive therapy (plus the dedicated involvement of the family and school team), a good portion requires much less involvement from me. It’s this group that I aim to help with my books–by empowering their families to build their language skills at home with consistent, fun practice and resources!
Ready to get a preview of the book? Take a look at this lovely video of Dr. T reading to her daughter:
Looking for a way to teach your toddler how to answer the most important questions (Who/What/Where/Yes and No)? Grab a copy of your book right here. Enjoy!