Readers of this blog know my three children wear glasses, and two have since they were tiny. Where this comes from we still have no idea, but one thing I know for certain is that I want a world that eliminates any stigma, stereotype, or challenges for children who wear glasses. That is what this Kickstarter from Ann Zawistoski is all about.
Zoe [her daughter] got glasses when she was a year old. I really believe that books can be a wonderful way for kids (and adults!) to think about and process situations that they’re facing. So I went looking for books for her about wearing glasses. And there are lots of books about getting glasses, but they almost all happen at school. They almost all involve silly scenes of kids not being able to see well, so they go to the wrong bathroom, or read the wrong words on the board. And they almost all have stories about another kid teasing them for wearing glasses. Some of those books are great, but they aren’t great for a one year old, and probably not even for a three-year old. What I wanted was some books that talk about helping them see, and that also show kids in glasses just being kids, so she’d see other kids that looked like her. I kept hoping that someone would write that bookWe found other ways to help Zoe adjust to her glasses, and I started LittleFourEyes.com, as a way to connect with other parents and help them find the information they needed. I put together a photo gallery, mostly to show the parents how glasses don’t hide or detract from their children’s beauty (something I hear from a lot of parents who are worried about their child getting glasses). So I was surprised the first time I heard that the kids loved looking at the pictures, too. But I kept hearing these stories, that parents would sit down and look at the gallery together with their child whenever their child was feeling bad about wearing their glasses, and seeing these great pictures of other kids in glasses would help the kids feel better about wearing their glasses.So the idea for this book is one that has been rattling in my brain for years (Zoe got her glasses nearly 6 years ago), asking to please get out. I’m a librarian, not an author, so I kind of ignored it for a while, but I just remember how much Zoe loved looking at books with photos of other kids, and it still breaks my heart when she asks why she doesn’t see other kids her age in glasses (and she’s 7!). So this is the book that I really wish existed when Zoe first got her glasses. It’s simple, there’s no plot or conflict. It’s a board book, so it will stand up better to the wear and tear from young toddlers and babies. Just pictures of young kids in real glasses (rather than the ill-fitting photo prop glasses that you see in some stock photos), with a rhyming text about the glasses.I actually talked with a children’s book publisher who explained to me that board books are some of the most expensive books to publish, but that you can’t charge much for them, so publishers aren’t too interested in publishing them unless they’re quite assured of selling a lot. Now glasses in babies and toddlers aren’t as rare as a lot of people think – about 1% of kids that age wear glasses (and 5% probably should be wearing glasses, but that’s a problem for another time) – but a board book targeted at young kids in glasses is not a recipe for a runaway bestseller. So I didn’t think there was much chance of this happening until I learned about Kickstarter, and I realized that I knew some people that could help with the production and distribution.I still really believe in the power of books to help kids (and adults!) for all sorts of reasons and all sorts of occasions. And I think there need to be books for really young kids in glasses. Vision is so very important, and treating vision problems early is vital to a child’s visual development and their pre-literacy skills. I want to do what I can to encourage those kids to have the best vision possible. I hope you will consider helping by backing my Kickstarter.