I am thrilled beyond words (which is fitting) to reveal the cover of MORE THAN WORDS: SO MANY WAYS TO SAY WHAT WE MEAN, which will be coming out with Henry Holt this September.
This story has been a long time in the making, inspired by my time working in schools as an intervenor (supporting individuals who are DeafBlind) and support worker, my family relationships and my connection with disabled and neurodivergent community throughout my life.
My awareness that not everyone communicates with speech began when I was a child, as my brother didn’t begin to speak until he was about eight, and even then speech was not always what he went to first when he had a message to get across. To support him my parents hosted sign language teachers so we could all learn some sign language, and drawing materials so that he could always draw what he was thinking about.
Later, when I worked in inclusive education supporting students with disabilities, we developed and used communication systems. As an intervenor and support worker, part of my role was to educate and advocate, so there were many conversations with peers, other educators, and whole classrooms about different ways of communicating. Those conversations were so important and impactful, but I also knew that this learning should be happening on a bigger scale. MORE THAN WORDS came to life because I wanted to contribute something helpful to this learning space.
The book description:
In the tradition of All Are Welcome and The Day You Begin comes a touching picture book about the many unique ways we communicate, and how we can better listen to and respect these different modes of expression.
Nathan doesn’t say much.
He sure has a lot on his mind, though.
At school, Nathan quietly observes the ways his peers communicate. Even when they’re not talking, they’re expressing themselves in all sorts of ways!
By witnessing the beauty of communication diversity, Nathan learns and shows his classmates the essential lesson: Not only does everyone have something to say, but seeking to understand one another can be the greatest bridge to friendship and belonging.
This tender, stunningly illustrated picture book explores and celebrates the many forms of expression—signing, speaking, singing, smiling, among others— and culminates in a poignant story about connection and understanding.
I have FINALLY put together a resource to go along with ‘The Body Book,” after meaning to for a looong time. I’ve done this art lesson in classes and day cares and it is such a fun and meaningful way to help kids rethink their relationships with their bodies.
Even in kindergarten and early primary grades kids are learning to judge their bodies by how they look, and whether they “fit” the ideal image they see in media, toys and adult role models. Sadly, it’s not rare to hear a girl in grade one call herself “fat.”
I wanted to shift the focus to one of celebration and gratitude, so this activity is all about answering the question: “What is my favourite thing to do in my body?”
The results kids come up with are diverse, vibrant and fun. When these go up on the wall the classroom turns into a place where EVERY BODY is celebrated for who they are.
Hey, you know what’s a cool idea? Teachers designing worksheets and resources they see a need for in schools, posting them on a site to be downloaded and used by other teachers, then paying eachother for it, instead of a big corporation. Yup, cool. I learned about this through a teacher friend who asked me make some simple illustrations for her work booklets to help young ones learn to read. The target age is pre-k to grade 1/2. A couple of the booklets are free, and can be viewed and downloaded here:
I’m always happy when I get to use my creative energy on a project with someone I know and like, which was the case for this super cute alphabet work book a teacher friend asked for some help on. I did the pictures, while Danita put together the text and layout. I’m really happy with how it turned out!