A New Way to Play - Easter Seals Canada
  • Close-up image of a woman with dark hair, wearing glasses and a tan long-sleeved t-shirt. In the background are dried fallen leaves on the ground.

A New Way to Play

An Interview with Author, Candice O’Sullivan

February 9, 2021

Recently, Easter Seals staff had the pleasure of meeting first time Canadian author, Candice O’Sullivan, to speak with her about her wonderful new picture book, A New Way to Play. We really enjoyed reading the book and appreciated the sensitive and skillful way it addresses disability and inclusion through the interactions of the three young friends in the story: Emily, Anthony, and Sarah. 
To celebrate the publication of the book and to give back to community, Candice has also generously offered to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of 500 copies of the book to Easter Seals, in support of programs and services for persons and families living with disability.

What five words would you say best describes your book?
I would have to say that friendship, inclusion, diversity, ability and adaptability are all great words to describe my book.

What can you tell people about the book, and can you share with us your favourite part or aspect of it?
A New Way To Play follows Emily and her friends as they play a game of hide and seek. Emily has difficulties finding a place to hide with her wheelchair. She gets a great idea when she watches her pet chameleon blend into its environment, and she creates a new game that is fun for everyone.  My favorite part of the book is Emily’s ability to navigate a situation that was frustrating for her and change it into something fun for her and her friends.

Why did you choose to write the book? What inspired or prompted you to write it, or from which you drew your inspiration for it?
I had so many great reasons for writing this book.  My inspiration came from this really amazing little boy that I was supporting. He has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and during my time with him I realized that other children were very curious about his wheelchair. They would ask questions and stare if they were too shy to approach us. I wrote this book as a way to introduce children to the topic of inclusion. I really wanted to create a story that could open up some dialogue for children and promote that knowledge and awareness. Lastly, I wanted to write a book that represents the world that our children live in and all of the different people that make it so special.

What do you hope children, families and people reading your book will learn or take away from it? Is there a message that you would like to share with them?
I really want children to know the power of friendship and inclusion. My hope for everyone reading my book is that they have more discussions about positive change, and how we as a society can be better at being more inclusive.

What has been the best reaction or response you have received about the book so far?
I have had several parents reach out and say the kindest things about this book but I think the greatest complement of all is when a parent tells me that their child asks to read this story multiple times. I absolutely love that children have shown to be incredibly engaging with this story.

Image of a bookcover featuring a colourful line drawing of a young girl with dark complexiou wearing a straw hat, blue shirt, red-striped scarf, pink skirt, blue pants, seated in a purple wheelchair. The title of the book is in large bold yellow print.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of 500 copies of the book will be donated by the author to Easter Seals. Support Easter Seals and Candice by purchasing your copy today.

Paperback & Hardcover
Friesen Press

Google Play
Apple Book
Friesen Press

I have had several parents reach out and say the kindest things about this book but I think the greatest complement of all is when a parent tells me that their child asks to read this story multiple times.  I absolutely love that children have shown to be incredibly engaging with this story.

What was the writing process like for you? Any highlights or challenges that you would be willing to share with us?
The writing process with this book was an amazing experience for me. Being my first book, I had a lot to learn so it was a long process. I had a really strong vision of the overall message and feeling that I wanted to convey, so that really helped put the words on the paper. This book is so meaningful to me and I was very excited when it was written and ready to share with children.

When you’re not writing or being an author, what else keeps busy and makes you happy?
When I’m not writing or being an author, I am either supporting children in my role as an educational Assistant or I am being a mom to my two wonderful little boys. We love to be active outdoors and go on adventures.

What advice can you offer to young people out there who wish to be authors like you?
My advice for any young person who is aspiring to be an author would have to be: Find your inspiring place and just keep writing. You never know when an inspiring idea will come and where it will take you.

Are you working on any other books or projects right now? Can we expect another book from you soon?
Yes, I am working on another book right now. It follows a boy with Autism as he navigates his way through his first day at a new school. It highlights similar topics of friendship, inclusion and awareness but in a slightly different way. I hope to have this book published by next year.

Why have you chosen to support Easter Seals?
I believe that charities like Easter Seals are so important to our community. I love that Easter Seals spreads awareness and focuses on enriching people’s lives, particularly for people and families living with disability. I really want A New Way To Play to give back so I couldn’t think of a better organization than Easter Seals to support with this book.

Candice O’Sullivan is the author of A New Way To Play. When she isn’t writing books and being an author she is working as an Educational Assistant, providing supports to children and youth with disabilities.  She loves to spend her time with her family and her little dog Laddie.  They love exploring nature and going on adventures together.  A New Way To Play is her first book.

To learn more about or to connect with Candice, visit her website at www.cosullivan.ca or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


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