Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog!
Where we celebrate new books from Michigan's authors, illustrators and translators.
Congratulations to Molly David on the release of My Mischievous Wheelchair
Please share a little about this book's journey. How did you come up with the idea?
My oldest daughter has Rett Syndrome and uses a wheelchair for mobility. When we are in the community, a lot of young children stare at her chair. I am not bothered by that, but I am surprised. A wheelchair is so normal in my life that I forget not everyone has that experience. I wanted to share the normalness of disabilities, wheelchair users especially. As a former teacher, I understand this starts with young children.
The best part of the book for me is that the chair is alive. In our family, a wheelchair is an essential part of our daughter’s life. She can’t have a full, active life without her chair. So, her chair is “alive” for us. How we can make the world accessible for our daughter is a constant consideration for our family. The chair is an extension of her. I wanted that relationship to come across in the book in a fun way.
I am passionate about all kids seeing themselves in books. What kids read should reflect the diversity of our society. At the same time, it was very important to me that the story not be preachy or use a person with a disability as a teachable moment. Nearly 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have a disability, I wanted to show the normalcy of this.
What was the most difficult part of writing the book?
The hardest part was starting. There were so many ideas bouncing around in my head it felt overwhelming. I believed I needed to have the story perfectly planned out before beginning to write. This kept me from starting. It’s crazy because when I was teaching, I would tell my students, “Just write anything, get it down on paper, and the ideas will be there. Don’t worry about being perfect.” Easier said than done! Also, I wasn’t sure how to write a story that would be fun for kids to read but also show the normalcy of a wheelchair. Once I had the idea that the chair would be alive, it was easy to write the story.
What is something you hope your readers will take away from your book?
I hope they see disabilities do not define someone. People with disabilities are people first. They have many of the same experiences, feelings, and concerns that any person has. If they look at someone’s wheelchair and wonder if it comes alive, that would be cool, too.
What are your marketing plans for the book and where can we find it?
The book is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, and other online retailers. I plan to partner with libraries and schools to tie in the book with a presentation on inclusion. I have visits planned to read my book in a few special education schools.
What's next for you?
I started Semper Grata™ (sempergrata.com) when I retired from teaching in 2022. Its purpose is to support families and educate communities about disability life. So, I will continue that work. Through Semper Grata, I write a blog to help parents with issues like education, government benefits, and travel. I published a book for parents, Planning for the Future: Protecting a Loved One with a Disability in July 2023. This had led me to speaking at conferences and school communities about how to ensure children with disabilities are protected as they become adults. I published My Mischievous Wheelchair through Semper Grata to extend the goal of educating communities about disability life.
That’s a long way of saying I keep myself busy. I have written a sequel to My Mischievous Wheelchair and hope to publish it late next year. The chair has too much personality for me to be done, yet.
More about the book . . .
Grace is working hard to win the Student of the Month award, but her wheelchair keeps disrupting her day and getting her in trouble. Grace tries to regain control, but her wheelchair won’t behave unless it gets what it wants. Will Grace figure out why her wheelchair is acting up and get it to behave before she loses out on being Student of the Month?
Join Grace and her wheelchair that won’t be ignored for a heartwarming and humorous story that teaches children ages 4-8 about diversity, inclusion and teamwork.
Publisher: Semper Grata
More about the author . . .
Molly David writes and presents on disability issues. As the mother of a child with a disability, Molly understands the importance of diversity in children’s books. Molly David authored the book Planning for the Future: Protecting a Loved One with a Disability and various news outlets like The Associated Press, NerdWallet and Wealth of Geeks have interviewed her for articles.
Molly is a retired teacher who lives in Farmington Hills, MI with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. She spends too much of her time searching for her phone and watching dog videos online. Molly would love to connect with you through her website, Instagram, or Facebook, especially if you have dog videos.