The finished maker spotlight is right here.
Good to know
- Lisa is a friend-of-a-friend. Someone I went to high school with reached out to tell me about this book, and since I knew the author, I figured this would be a good experiment with our first maker spotlight.
- This post originally lived in my photography website (ashiaray.com), and I moved it over to the BFL website a year-ish later.
- SECRET! I didn’t actually get my hands on a copy of this book until a long time after doing the maker spotlight. Since I can’t afford to buy books just to review them, I had to 1. Create a maker spotlight, 2. Drum up interest in this book to show it’s a valid book, 3. Send the maker spotlight to our local library to prove it’s worth buying, and 4. Ask the local library to buy a copy, 5. Wait for them to buy it, 6. Check it out of the library.
- So you might notice that I don’t ever mention how my kids reacted to the book in the spotlight, and don’t talk about my own review of the book until much later after the spotlight was published. Instead, the post says “…when a member of the Books for Littles Facebook group told us about a new book she had published, I was so excited to talk to her.” and I include a testimonial from a BFL member who had read the book. Working within our abilities and resources!
Sneak peek: Lisa Koehler
- There’s usually a story behind inspiration. Tell me what happened when you got the idea for this project. What did you see or hear, and how did you feel?
I have a friend who wears a hijab and I was thinking about how it must feel to be her. How most of the looks she gets come from a place of curiosity. So that was the first page and then it snow balled from there. I used Facebook heavily to search for people who typically get curious looks when they go out in public and gave them the chance to explain their differences to children as well as the general population. This book is technically a children’s book but so many adults have and will benefit from the lessons taught in the book. For example, going into this project I knew what a Cochlear Implant was but I never knew how EXACTLY it worked or how it is implanted. So I learned something! I have also added my voice into the book. What I mean by that is I have some lines in there that explain to a child how best to approach a person in a respectful way, or how it can be rude to stare, or what not to do (like pet a service dog).Ashia – please edit as much as you want!! I know the grammar is not spectacular in these answers haha!
- Who specifically did you write this book for? Who do you imagine picking this book up at the book store – where were they just before, and what are were they thinking about before the cover caught their eye? How were they feeling before they picked it up, and how did they feel after reading it?
Again, please edit however you’d like – I touched upon this already in the first question so I don’t want to be redundant but…This book is intended for children but all ages can benefit from the lessons taught in it. Everyone seems to be interested in the cover – it displays about half of the illustrations. I see children light up with curiosity and I see adults enjoy the artistic nature of the book. I have had many people come up to me to thank me for giving a voice to the voiceless. They say that they have been waiting for a book like this that shows life the way it is without sugar coating it with flashy cartoons or talking down to children. The book is almost set up as a text book. It explains what is being seen in each illustration in a way that children will understand but in a way that adults might speak to one another. After flipping through the book, I have noticed that lots of people have their own story to add. “I identify with this page because I used to wear an eye patch as a kid!” or “Thank you for including this page – I have kids ask me about my piercings all the time and I just want to show them that I am not scary but rather sweet.” or “The students at my son’s school are usually curious about why he has two mommies – I’m so glad there is a page for this!”
- What is your intention with this project? How will this inspire people to see things differently or change the world?
I hope that the book can be a tool for guardians and teachers to use to explain people to their children before any mistakes are made in public. I have included some tips and guidelines in the back of the book to help better understand how the book could be used and implemented. I want more than anything to make a difference in the world. I think we can collectively work together to spread kindness and love and the first step to doing that is by gently and lovingly teaching the next generation how to face the world.
- What else do you want us to know?
I’ve sent one to the White House and to Ellen DeGeneres – I hope they enjoy it! Ill be sending one to Oprah soon as well.
- How can we support you? I usually include 1-3 calls to action (less is more). If possible, I keep in mind that not everyone has money, time, and energy, but almost everyone has a little of at least one of those. Remember that we want you to succeed, just tell us how.
Sharing and tagging.