Mom & Children’s Author Starting an Acceptance Campaign
Starting an Acceptance Campaign
PSN asked Wendy Cartozzo, a mother, wife of 17 years, and children’s author to speak with us about how she initiated her own acceptance campaign in Destrehan, La. Here is her conversation:
PSN: What moment or event happened that motivated you to move into action with regards to writing a book and starting an Acceptance Campaign?
WC:The very first time I took my son Evan (who has Downs Syndrome) out in public as an infant, a little boy came up to me and asked me what was “wrong” with my baby’s eyes? What’s wrong with him? Needless to say, I was so hurt and I honestly didn’t know how to respond to him. I later realized that the little boy obviously had never been taught that he is going to meet people in his life that may act, look, or be different from him in some ways and that was OK – actually that was GREAT! I spent a long time wishing I had the words that day to respond to that little boy to speak for my son. Finally, I came up with the idea of writing a children’s book to reach as many children as I can. This book is my response – 14 years later – lol. A lighthearted story that introduces children to a young age that we are ALL different – and we ALL belong!
PSN: What steps are you taking to help spread the word about “celebrating differences”?
WC: Ever since Beaux the Blue Crawfish was published in February, 2011, I have been making it my personal “job” to go to as many schools as I can. I bring my real blue crawfish named “Beaux” for the kids to meet. We then play a game that “brings home” the message of acceptance and I read the story to them. Afterwards, I have a light conversation with them about how we are all different and for them to be proud of who they are and proud of their differences. It has been so enlightening to me…the amount of children that express how they are “made to feel unaccepted and different” – this only inspires me more to get out there as much as I can with my book to let the children know that we hear them and we care! Beaux says “Be A Buddy Not A Bully!”
PSN: How can others help in your campaign?
WC: I would be so honored if schools around the Nation would use the lovable little character of Beaux as it’s new mascot to get the message out to these young children. I am determined to make a National “Beaux the Blue Crawfish Day” where the students will read the book, discuss ways to be a good friend to others, and celebrate our differences. The message of acceptance cannot be encouraged enough – it needs to be a very important focus in our schools. I feel the book is a great tool in getting the conversation started as the children read it in school, and even at home with their parents, to inspire self-esteem in them. If children learn to be proud of who they are, the bully effect will not be as powerful. Reading in itself is a wonderful time to share with our children and it is an even better gift to keep those lines of communication open about their feelings.
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This post originally appeared on our September/October 2011 Magazine