From Noreen O’Sullivan, author of I’ll Tell You Why I Can’t Wear Those Clothes! Talking about Tactile Defensiveness and mother of girls with sensory processing issues, comes this personal snapshot of how her book has embodied the JKP motto, “books that make a difference”.
Five years ago, I had the honour of being signed on with JKP for my children’s book, I’ll Tell You Why I Can’t Wear Those Clothes! Talking about Tactile Defensiveness, and grateful it remains on their Best Seller list still today.
Over the years, I have received countless letters from parents thanking me for a book specifically for their child and allowing them to express their emotions around this sensory issue through drawing and writing.
One of my favorite connections, is one with a mother who wrote to me for advice about her daughter. Her daughter stated: “Please don’t read that again. That is a real life book and I like cartoon and imaginary books because they are more fun. Real life isn’t that much fun. I wish I could be born again without any “sensories” so I could wear underwear and jeans and ponytails and look beautiful like my friends”.
Her daughter was about the same age as the model (my daughter) in the book, so I felt their pain and understood it all too well. The book includes photographic struggles and joys in the life of a little girl. But clearly the struggles were too close to home and avoidance was a safer option for this little reader.
So I thought about it and replied back:
“Please, tell her that you got a mail from Oona. Hi K, I’m Oona and am 6 years old. I live in Denmark, and have a puppy named Pippi (in the book) and a pony named Coco. I speak English and Danish (my mom is from America and my dad is from Denmark). Can you find it on a map? It’s pretty small!
What is your favorite animal? Do you have any pets ? Would you like to learn a word in Danish? Tell me which one and I’ll write back and tell you.”
What happened next was nothing short of magical! These two little girls corresponded back and forth and built a relationship, albeit 3,000 miles apart. I’ll Tell You Why… I Can’t Wear Those Clothes! immediately became the little girl’s favorite book and the mother told me she wanted her to read it every night before bed!
She even managed to bring it into her school to share a side of herself she had never dared reveal before.
Her new friend, all the way in Denmark, made it o.k. to be a real person with issues, struggles, common interests and after all, she could love and accept this “real life” self.
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