Hiya Moriah is a delightful new children’s book by my friend and fellow special needs parent, Victoria Nelson. She agreed to be interviewed by Different Dream and tell our audience about her book. Once you’ve read about Hiya Moriah, you can enter the drawing in which someone will enter a copy of the book. For now, settle back and enjoy this peek into how Hiya Moriah came into being.
What is Hiya Moriah about?
It’s about a young girl born with a rare syndrome called CHARGE, who takes you along on her journey. She shows you that even though she looks different with all her medical equipment, she’s just like any other kid her age wanting to play and have fun. Moriah encourages you to practice inclusion with other kids by just saying “hiya.” We can hold so much power with one simple word, and it’s amazing what saying “hi” can do to make someone’s day, and make them feel included.
What inspired you to write this book?
So many times during my daughter Moriah’s life, I would take her out, and people would just stare at her, not knowing what to do or say. So when the staring was really awkward, I’d tell Moriah to start waving, and say “Hi.” This would usually allow people to engage with Moriah instead of just stare at her. Then, after she passed away, Hiya Moriah came to mind. My hope is that through this book, everyone will learn to say “hiya” when meeting someone like Moriah. I provide a lot of education around the medical equipment and have the illustrations detailed so that children can learn it, and recognize it in the world around them. I believe knowledge and empathy are powerful tools, and can help break down the social barriers we have when making friends who are different than us.
Why are you still telling Moriah’s story?
While we saw so much goodness that came from people during our time with Moriah, we saw that there was still so much room to grow as a society in the way we see and value people with special needs. I saw that not everyone saw Moriah for who she was, nor valued her the way she should have been. Because she didn’t speak, she was often ignored or written off. Because she looked different people would ask, What’s wrong with her?” right in front of her. I was even asked, “Why didn’t you abort her?” as if her life was totally disposable. I want to send the message and stand on the truth that everyone matters and deserves to be seen, loved, and accepted. Through this inclusive children’s book, I can do so.
Who’s the audience for your book?
Families, schools, children’s hospitals–anyone who is wanting to learn about one child’s journey with special needs, and wanting to learn how to practice inclusion. I also hope that children like Moriah and all her friends can see themselves represented and identify with the different things that she had and her challenges. Sometimes, just seeing someone else do it and go through it serves as an encouragement and inspiration making you feel like you can do it, too!
What do you want future readers of Hiya Moriah to know?
I want all the Hiya Moriah readers to know that this is just one story, Moriah’s journey – but that there are so many beautiful people, so many beautiful stories out there. I encourage everyone to go out into your schools or community, and take the time to meet people who have different abilities, and get to know them. All you have to do is wave and say, “Hiya.” I promise you your lives will be forever changed.
There you have it! The illustrations in this book are as delightful as the author and her daughter, so I encourage you to enter the drawing. To enter, please leave a comment below by midnight on March 14, 2019 about why you would like to win a copy. Only one comment per person please!
Victoria lives in the greater Los Angeles area, married to her high school sweetheart, Justin, and is mama to Moriah (in heaven), Jadon, Olivia, and Shane. While she’s not busy chasing a toddler, kissing boo boos, and learning Fortnite dances from her kids, Victoria enjoys traveling to Southeast Asia to see her family, watching reruns of The Office, eating healthy foods to offset her love for cake, and takes time for herself by reading, running, and writing. She blogs at www.momentswithmoriah.com.
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