Gerlach hopes to show disability in children’s literature and to begin to normalize a visible difference such as a wheelchair. She also hopes the book will introduce the concept of special needs to young kids and make it a more familiar and less scary concept.
“My goal was to show the character in a wheelchair – kids like Ben may see him and be able to relate,” Gerlach said. “But the message can also benefit typical families who may not have much experience with special needs in their daily life.”
"Ben’s Adventures – Circus Day" now is available for pre-order at Kickstarter. Gerlach is aiming to raise funds through Kickstarter to help with printing and production of the new work at shawurl.com/3b6c. The books are available on Amazon.com, as well as at www.Bens-Adventures.com. And for every 10 books pre-ordered, Gerlach will donate a signed book to Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley to be shared with its young clients. The first book is titled “Ben’s Adventures – A Day at the Beach.”
Gerlach said she wanted to find a way to give back to Easterseals and promote its mission, after her son received services there for two years. She said the organization, which serves more than 1,000 children each week, believes in their abilities and helps them achieve their goals, while celebrating their progress every step of the way.