COURTESY OF GRAHAM CRACKER KIDS
Debbie Graham, above, appears with her "Graham Cracker Kids" books.
Author offers 3 new children’s books
DEBBIE Graham divides her time between California and Maui and has worked many years with children with various physical challenges. Drawing on her experiences, she's written three books to show that these kids are still kids and want to be treated like their peers.
"Graham Cracker Kids" series
By Debbie Graham
$12.95 to $19.95 per book,
Available through www.grahamcrackerkids.com
"Graham Crackers' Nutcracker" tells how a dance school of physically challenged children perform their own version of the beloved ballet "Nutcracker Suite." With one child in a wheelchair, another deaf and so on, they triumphantly entertain the audience. Everyone is delighted: the cast, the producers, the parents and friends.
The book tells a bit about the children and a lot about "Nutcracker." Any child who has danced in the myriad productions in Hawaii will relate.
In "Painting Rainbows with the Angels," we find the Graham Cracker Kids inspired by a beautiful rainbow. Each child paints a unique version of a rainbow, some labeling the colors, some getting more creative. Even a blind child paints a rainbow picture, his hand guided by the teacher.
"Magic in the Air" gets a bit more fanciful. Inspired by the children's Halloween parade in Lahaina, Maui, it tells of twins who go to live with their grandparents and devise costumes for the holiday. There's some magic involved when the family dog smiles mysteriously and when a verse told to the girls in a dream is spoken at the parade. I would have liked to have the magic aspect developed more.
All three books are colorfully illustrated by Tim Snyder, an art director for Disney, ably assisted by Lesley Snyder.
Because Graham makes sure we do not view the physical challenges as a problem, the stories would work better if each plot had some other difficulty to be solved. For instance, in a press release she describes the lead actor in "Nutcracker Suite" as having so much stage fright that he wrapped himself in the heavy curtain just before his stage entrance. Now that could have been developed as a focal point. How did that kid get over his stage fright? How did he feel when he took his final bow?
The three books are meant to build self-esteem in children who are physically different from their classmates. I'm sure they would also help their classmates to be more accepting.
is a writing coach and author of 16 books, the most recent being "Mom's Birthday Surprise." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org