Let me start by saying, I am grateful for all that I have. Nothing is by far perfect in my house or family but I try to see the good in situations. One thing that brings my heart happiness is hearing from a family that bought Super Kena and how it’s their child’s favorite book! Last week that happened when they ordered another book from me. It makes the whole process so worth it! As many self-published authors know, hard covered books aren’t cheap to make especially when you want a quality product out of it. If I’m putting my name on the cover just know that every detail was thought out, reread, proofed many times, and sometimes prayed upon. One of the things that was a real disappointment for me was when my editor felt that I should get rid of the word fierce in my book. She asked her book club members how they felt about it and they all thought it sounded mean and aggressive. I know the younger crowd doesn’t feel that way and I was given a sign that evening while on Facebook. One of my friends had posted a picture of two sisters and mentioned how fierce they looked. They were beautiful women with smiles on their faces, not mean or aggressive looking. More like determined, confident, proud, and successful is how they looked. My prayers were answered that day and I’m so glad I decided to keep the word fierce. As the years pass, it turns out that Kena is also fierce like her book character. When you have a child in a classroom that needs some extra attention because of a deficit, sometimes the child needs to advocate for themselves on some things that the teacher wouldn’t know. For example, at Kena’s preschool IEP meeting her parents found out that she tells the teacher if the speaker is turned off and she can’t hear her, or when her ears and brain are tired and she needs a break. Her mom was especially worried that she would have to intervene on Kena’s behalf but nope. Kena is a fierce girl, not even five years old yet and she’s figured out how to speak up. She also refused to use glitter on an art project because it was too messy, but that’s another story!
Another situation that made my heart happy was seeing her little brother need to be included. A few months ago, he was about 20 months, he insisted that his mom put a curved Maui sword from the movie Moana around his ear so he could look like her. It warmed my heart to realize, yes she looked different than him but also that he didn’t care. He just wanted to feel included and be like her. Kena is very protective and careful with her hearing aids because she realizes how much they help her. Little brother, just wanting to help, with go get them for her or help pull her hair back so she can get them in. He’s so sweet and kind hearted, unfortunately it’s not always seen as helpful to her since they are her prize possession. (She’s at that age where she doesn’t want anyone touching her stuff. I’m sure we can all remember when our littles were in that phase too.) He has changed to pipe cleaner hearing aids now, so he has his own to wear. They also aren’t as hard on the skin of his ears.
All in all, I needed to hear how a little girl’s favorite book was Super Kena, because it uplifted me and made me proud to have made this story. I think that sometimes people hear the title and they get this blank look on their face like “I don’t know anyone with hearing aids – not interested.” But it’s really not about that. Yes, it was started to show my granddaughter that kids like her exist and reinforce to her she is just like everyone else in so many other ways. I think that all kids need be exposed to what hearing aids, inhalers, wheel chairs, and insulin pumps look like so when they see someone with one of those their first reaction is to accept and try to understand why they use them. Differently abled kids don’t care if others ask questions. I think it reinforces in them the need to help others understand their challenges. With the rise in bullying these days, all kids need to be reminded to be kind and empathetic to others no matter their abilities, ethnicity, or religion. It all comes down to kindness and understanding. I think all of us can use some of that!
Love and peace,