Disability advocate to release children’s book next year

Author Mary Fashik.
Photo by Kathleen Christie

Mary Fashik was born in Lebanon, and she has lived here in the United States for most of her life. Something that may surprise people is that she had two aspirations from an early age.

“One was to become an author and the other was to be an actress. I always wanted to see myself on TV. I even took drama courses in college in hopes of pursuing my dream,” she said.

She has also lived with cerebral palsy (CP) for a majority of her life. Learn more about CP here: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/index.html.  She is the founder of Upgrade Accessibility. Her children’s book, “Adventurous Adeline and the Back-to-School Party,” will be released in August of next year.

There are a few different reasons why it is significant to her: “The first is that it will be back to school time and this book is perfect for classrooms and libraries everywhere. The second is very personal. The book will be released a week before my 47th birthday. It feels like a full circle moment as a transnational, transracial adoptee,” she added.

She was motivated to write the book because there was little to no representation on TV or in the movies for her growing up.

“If there was disabled representation, it didn’t truly look like or represent me. I’ve never had a sense of belonging. I wanted disabled children, especially Black and brown children to feel represented and feel like they belong,” she continued.

The message Fashik wants children, families, and educators to get from reading the book is: “Disability is not a bad thing.  It’s okay for disabled children to take pride in their disabled identity. Disabled children are children, just like their non-disabled counterparts.”

A few of the challenges many disabled people face include ableism (discrimination based on disability) and a lack of access to things they need, which this book discusses.

“Everyone has them and they should always be met. Recognizing those needs and ensuring they’re met is one way to begin an advocacy journey,” she stated.

The thing Fashik wants those in the disability community who read her book to relate to: “We were all Adeline’s age once, having to navigate spaces that weren’t necessarily made for us,” she stated.

She hopes the community “identifies with Adeline as she navigates her new surroundings and tries her best to fit in and feel comfortable in her own skin. I think that’s something so many of us who are disabled still have a difficult time with.”

Those who are interested can pre-order the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Adventurous-Adeline-Back-School-Party/dp/1736949780/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1WUPTJ95NV85K&keywords=adventurous+adeline&qid=1700069119&s=books&sprefix=adventurous+ade%2Cstripbooks%2C66&sr=1-1