Monday, August 24, 2015

Introducing Our Son's Special Needs To His Classmates

Last week I shared a little teaser about some big news we have as Jack starts school... and here it is. We are so excited to introduce the kids book Jon wrote for Jack's new classmates called

Sending your child off to school can be nerve-wracking. We have been feeling it for months. All parents wonder whether their child will have a good teacher, if they will they learn, and whether they will make friends. As parents of Jack, a kid who has special needs, we have felt all of those things. But we have additional layers of anxiety. Will Jack be safe at school? Is the school ready for Jack?

But the main reason Jon wrote a book about Jack? So his classmates will catch a glimpse of his life and want to know more about him. We all know kids are curious. They can be scared of new things. Like all of us, they can be judgmental, too. But we also know they are very open to learning if only someone can explain things to them.

So Jon started to wonder last spring - how could he tell Jack's story in a way that made his eventual classmates understand his disabilities and appreciate the boy we know and love? What came out of that idea was a children's book, written and illustrated by Jon, that puts a super fun superhero twist on Jack's story.

He started out by writing the story, a simple narrative that rhymes in a way kids will enjoy. Then, he drew the different characters and scenes.

a little sneak peek of the inside!
Jon had some big help along the way. A friend of a friend, Darla Panten, used her excellent graphic design skills to clean up Jon's illustrations and add texture to each page. Our friends at Alpha Graphics in Billings printed the book, so each kid in Jack's class will get their own copy, with even some left over for close family and friends. This project wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of all these awesome people.

Even though the primary purpose of the book is to introduce Jack to his classmates, we decided to add two more goals as we roll out the book. We have made the eBook available to anyone on Amazon to 1) help you talk about differences with your own kids and 2) raise money for a disability swing at Jack's school, something that will be around for years to come.

Again, I am so, so excited to share this with you! Thanks in advance for your interest and generosity. We hope you enjoy it as much as Jon enjoyed putting it together!

(You can purchase the book HERE!)
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Jaimie said...

Can I tell you how much I LOVE this?! What a great idea! Karsen will be in kinder next year (I'm requesting TK) and really want to do something like this. I will be clicking buy right now.

Paula Messmer said...

I can't read this blog posting without tearing up. Jack is SO VERY LUCKY to have been born to the two most wonderful parents. Of course, I knew that the night we was born and so many prayers were said that he would survive. Nothing is unknown to God. He knew the parents to give this little guy to. I pray that each of Jack's kindergarten classmates will take him under their wing and that he will have a special year, even though he will need hip surgery. He's a special boy. You are special parents. God bless. Love, Paula

Donna Sorensen said...

Is there any way to order a print copy? We would love to have one in our library at MSDB! And I might want one for my personal shelf!!
Donna Sorensen, MSDB Superintendent

Beverly said...

What a wonderful idea! I'm going to order one. I'd love to have a printed copy but I'll settle for the e-book. I will make sure it is shared.


Jessi said...

Paula - thank you so much and for always being there to encourage us and to love on our boy!

Jessi said...

Jaimie and Beverly - thank you!!

Jessi said...

Donna - absolutely! We'll keep in touch!

Teri O said...

My son was also a micro preemie, he was born over 16 weeks early and was also just over a pound. He has brain damage from bleeds and cerebral palsy, vision problems, and is severely delayed in his speech, mobility and cognition as well. He is currently in a specialized preschool, so explaining his special needs isn't as much of an issue, but it definitely will be as he moves into a public school. I would love a paper copy of this book as well as it would be great for him to read about a child similar to him, and possibly share with others later on, to at least help with an explanation of what to expect with him. This is an amazing idea! I may have to try and do the same when I get a chance, though I wouldn't have a clue how to get it published.