Recently, Easter Seals staff had the pleasure of connecting with Lindsey Stephenson, a children’s book author, Personal Injury Representative and Equity Advocate, to learn about her experiences with Easter Seals as a child, and also find out more about her new children’s book, My Mama is a Superhero. Check out our interview with Lindsey below.
Can you tell us about how you were involved with Easter Seals?
When I was 8 years old, I was involved in the Easter Seals Telethon in Ontario where I read a poem I had recently written about learning how to walk unassisted following surgery. My involvement continued as I became a Tammy for our community and was involved with Snowarama and other community awareness events. It was Easter Seals that fueled the spark I had for writing.
What was your favourite memory of Easter Seals, and what was your experience like being a Tammy?
Being little and being involved in media events, I learned a lot about the great work that Easter Seals was doing and was able to help spread the word and share how I was personally impacted. Being involved and included in activities like TV appearances and Snowarama was something I will never forget.
What did your experience with Easter Seals mean for you and your family?
It was Easter Seals that first acknowledged my passion for writing when I was able to share what I wrote at the telethon. The support through Easter Seals to myself and my family throughout my childhood with equipment purchases, programing, and scholarships empowered my independence and allowed me to be active in our community. That is why I find it so important to help Easter Seals celebrate such a monumental occasion as its 100-th Anniversary and help build greater awareness so that it can continue the incredible work that it does and create empowerment for future generations.
What can you tell us about the book that you’ve written and your inspiration behind it?
My Mama is a Superhero! was inspired by a bedtime conversation between myself and my daughter, Ella. We were discussing her day at school when Ella recounted a question that a pre-school classmate had asked her about my wheelchair. Ella explained that she expressed to her friend that my disability in her eyes was not a limitation but a superpower and my wheelchair was a cool tool I used as a result. She went on to explain that although my legs work differently from others, I am still very much capable of the same activities as any other parent. It was at that moment I knew I needed to use her experience and inspiration along with my passion for writing to help educate other children by offering them Ella’s perspective.
With all of the negativity and division in the world due to recent events, it is my hope that this story will allow readers to open up to the possibility of embracing individual differences to gain greater acceptance and understanding while being a ray of hope for the future. If you would like to add to your library with an uplifting book that highlights inclusion, diversity and acceptance, the book is currently available on Amazon.
What is your favourite part about the book?
My family. The book depicts my entire family including our dog, Bonkers, whom we unfortunately lost this past December, so it has been great way to memorialize him.
What was the process of writing the book and getting it published like? Any highlights or challenges that you would like to share?
I had the opportunity to work with an amazing publisher, Leadher Publishing, as well as an equally incredible illustrator. My daughter, Ella, was involved in every step of the process, from font and colour selection, backgrounds in the book, making changes and so on. The experience of seeing our family come to life through illustrations was surreal and receiving the finished copy of the book in the mail was so special for our entire family. Ella was even more excited to share with her friends and school.
I have said from the beginning of this process that Ella is the true superhero. She was able to discuss inclusion and diversity with her friend in a way that was easily relatable to help them better understand. I am just the very proud mama that had the opportunity to share her story.
Overall, it was a long process going back and forth to get it to be the perfect vision of what we had in mind but the end result is so rewarding. To see something we created empower others and spreading positivity, while reaching best seller status on Amazon and being sold worldwide is beyond my wildest expectations.
What message do you hope children, families, educators and others who read the book will take away from it?
I hope that the story will allow readers to open up to the possibility of embracing individual difference to grain greater acceptance and understanding and be a gateway to start family conversations about diversity. Most importantly, I hope the book will be a spark of empowerment for people to realize that they do have their own unique superpowers.
Are you working on any other books or projects right now? Can we expect another book from you soon?
The first publication is an accomplishment, and we want to take some time to properly promote and celebrate. Having said that, I would love to create a series that reflects representation in a positive light.
When you’re not writing or being an author, what else keeps busy and makes you happy?
Family is #1! Going on family adventures and spending time together is my favourite thing to do. We are super busy with the newest addition to our family: a little bulldog puppy named London. I also love to give back and volunteer wherever possible.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there?
Don’t ever be afraid to share your work. Don’t hesitate to take the leap to publishing. You never know when your work or experience will inspire someone else’s greatness and that is the best feeling.
Above: The cover of Lindsey’s book “My Mama is a Superhero,” available for purchase on Amazon.
Above: An old photo of Lindsey when she was a child and an Easter Seals Tammy, seated next to her Popa.
Above: Photo of Lindsey as an adult, with her daughter, Ella.
Above: Photo of Lindsey’s daughter, Ella, with the family dog, reading the book she inspired.
I encourage absolutely everyone with a passion for writing when developing your stories to keep diversity front of mind and highlight individual uniqueness. Equally as important, having a focus on diversity will also recreate empowerment for any readers that may be able to relate, encouraging them to achieve their greatest potential.
Representation in media and especially literature is extremely important; the more that we are able to expose children to diversity, it recreates awareness and a level a comfort to help kids feel and be more accepting, and allow them to realize that we have more in common than we do differences. ~ Lindsey Stephenson