Monday, November 23, 2009

Raising Voices

"And when you feel like your voice is away,
your throat may feel “froggy,”
you don’t know what to say...
Don’t be frightened, your voice is still there.
Waiting until you are ready to share."
-You Have a Voice

by Erin McKenna Nowak

Did you know that according to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, it is estimated that speech, language, and hearing disorders affect one of every 10 people in the United States? It was that statistic, as well as personal experience, that moved me to write and illustrate a picture book that would encourage and inspire young children affected by communication disorders to use whatever language they may have. I also designed it to help children without communication disorders better express themselves and understand their friends and peers who are coping with language impairments, stuttering, or autism.

Now that I have my own children, I can see that every toddler and preschooler needs to be gently and consistently reminded that what they have to "say" matters, and that we, their parents, teachers, and friends, are listening. As I hope the little snippet of writing above shows, it is my intent to approach these needs of all young children in a unique way. Accented with bright and lively illustration, this book, currently titled You Have a Voice, focuses on how play and every day activities (like groaning to let mom know your tummy hurts) give all children a chance to use their voice, express themselves, and be heard. I believe there is a real and large audience for this book. Now, I need to find a way to reach it.

1 comment:

  1. I think language is something we all take for granted until we know someone who has lost (or never gained) the ability to use it effectively. Both of my boys have had speech issues in their short lifetimes. Damon stuttered terribly as a pre-schooler and would often "give-up" before completing his thought and Dominick still struggles with some disfluencies which make it very hard to understand him sometimes. Oh the number of times I have heard other kids say "Huh? What did you say?" or have other adults look at me to interpret. I applaud you for selecting this subject and will definately be buying 2 copies. We will enjoy one together at reading time and each of them will have a copy to share their experiences with their children someday. Go Erin!