It all started with a joke. My husband said with a laugh, “you know what you should name your next book? Melissa Stays Home.” I thought that wasn't a bad idea! As with most of my books, the story developed in my head when I took my dog for a walk — Something about it gets my creative ideas flowing. I intended on making it a family project. My husband was keen on doing the layout and the kids were eager to do some art for it. In fact, my son was so excited about having his art published, I thought other kids might also love to be part of the project.
People who stutter have been talking online about how this pandemic experience has impacted their stuttering experiences. All of our communication is online, but not everyone has access to the same technology. After writing the first draft of Melissa Stays Home, I went to Facebook with another idea. I posted on the Stuttering Adventures’ Facebook page and on the Parent Stutter Support in Canada’s Facebook page calling young artists. In under 30 minutes I had nine volunteers! They were a mix of kids who stutter, or my son who has two parents who stutter, and other children who are family friends. Parents were grateful for a creative activity for their children, who were excited about their art being in a book. Within eight days it became a community effort. My friend who is a teacher helped with editing, the children donated their art, and my husband did the layout of the book. We all stayed home, but came together virtually.
A Time to Make Family Connections
Dr. Bonnie Henry is the Provincial Health Officer here in BC, and at 3 pm every afternoon she addresses the province. Part of the inspiration for the tone of the book came from her messaging and perception on how we should view our role in staying home. The book is meant to connect all of us, and allow kids to talk about things that are not necessarily easy to talk about, like the pandemic. Stuttering can be a challenging topic for teachers, parents, speech language pathologists, and people who stutter. My hope is that through this story parents can surface children’s feelings around uncomfortable topics and hear what they have to say. We can stay at home and still connect!
Thank you to all of the wonderful artists who devoted their time and energy in helping to bring this story to life. I encourage any of the children who would like to write stories or share their artwork to send it to the Canadian’s Stuttering Association’s kid’s corner.
illustrators, with their artwork
The new additiono to Kim Block's beloved "Stuttering Superhero" is free to downlooad here. Nine children did the illustrations for the latest adventure. You can find out more about Kim and her series about a girl who stutters on her website. She also runs a facebook group for parents of children who stutter.