I wanted to write a children’s story with an underlying message about the anger and fear that arises when we face those who are different from ourselves. By specifically addressing young readers, my hope is that there will be greater openness and receptivity to reframing their existing reactions and feelings about this subject. Most of us, including children, have experienced, or witnessed situations where someone was treated cruelly simply because of their difference.
My intention was to weave this allegorical message about diversity and inclusion into the plot in a non-threatening and gentle manner, while stirring compassion. At the same time, I incorporated humor and adventure throughout the story to ensure that it remained relatable to a younger audience.
The story flowed from my imagination as if it were always there, waiting to be written. My personal experiences growing up and my life-long work as an artist, helped me to communicate this important message. My deepest wish is that it resonates with all who read it.
Below are a few of the illustrations featured in Joey and Ember, or How to Fix the World. Click on an image to learn more about the featured illustration and characters and to read passages from the story. You may view the complete gallery of all illustrations using the button below.
When we let go of our fear, we can see that what we have in common is what truly matters, and not the things that make us different. If we can do that, maybe we can fix the world, just a little bit.