Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Book About Learning Disabilities and Acceptance: Janine

In March 2015, Albert Whitman & Company (Park Ridge, IL) will proudly publish veteran author-illustrator Maryann Cocca-Leffler's Janine, a sweet and personal story inspired by her own daughter's life as a child with disabilities.

Janine stars a fun-loving girl with a contagious upbeat attitude. Janine is one of a kind.She talks to her imaginary friends, reads the dictionary for fun, uses lots of big words, and remembers unusual facts. Some kids think she's strange and don't want her to come to their "cool" party unless she changes. Janine stands up for her spectacular self and ends up changing the attitudes of her classmates. 

Maryann's daughter, Janine, was the inspiration for this delightfully spunky character and the story itself, which is based on a bullying incident Janine experienced. Janine Leffler, who bravely gave her mother permission to tell her story, focuses on the positive while navigating life with disabilities. She has become a role model to children and adults, encouraging them to focus on abilities and promoting respect, tolerance, and kindness.

Cocca-Leffler states, "Through my book, Janine, I hope to encourage kids to celebrate their differences and stand up for themselves, as well as inspire all children to stand up for those who are left out or bullied."

Maryann Cocca-Leffler has written and illustrated over 50 children's books and lives and works in New Hampshire. Her spring 2015 school visit program is entitled Stand Up, Inspire, Include & Invite. She and Janine are available to come to schools, libraries, bookstores, and beyond to help get children excited about reading and writing, inspire those with challenges, and encourage acceptance of all.


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