When Danielle Webb first began putting a PowerPoint presentation together to support her work with children, little did she think that the series of slides would eventually evolve into a published book. Fast forward a few years, however, and ‘Mummy, there’s a new girl’ has not only recently made it into print, but is already fast becoming a success story, quite literally.
“I’m used to writing since I’ve been blogging for some time, but this is completely different – I’m still getting my head round it,” Danielle, from Portishead, admitted with a smile.
Danielle was born with Achondroplasia, a hereditary condition that means she lives and loves life like most 22-year-olds, just at 3ft 11”. “In other words – I’m small!” she writes in her blog.
‘Mummy, there’s a new girl’ is loosely based on her own experience at school as someone who looked a little different from her classmates. In it, a young boy shares his thoughts with his mum each day after school about a new girl in his class who’s smaller than the other children. Danielle tracks his thought processes, which range from noting that some of the other children are being unkind to his new classmate to wondering whether to become her friend – something he eventually does.
Danielle explained that she created the series of slides about her condition to share with the children she worked with after being unable to find any resources on the subject. “I’ve worked in various childcare settings over the years, including volunteering at Portishead Youth Club, and always came up with the same challenge,” she said. “It was something my colleagues noticed too – in fact, they often asked me if they could borrow the slides.”
Now aged 22 and employed as a Youth Communications Officer in south Wales, while also studying for a Master’s, she felt the time was right to take her slides to the next level and transform them into a story.
The delightful illustrations are the work of David Smith, whom Danielle describes as having brought her stickmen to life. ‘Mummy, there’s a new girl’ is aimed at children around the age of seven, but also at parents and professionals working in education. “It’s about encouraging positive conversations around issues relating to inclusivity and sharing the message that differences between us really don’t matter,” Danielle said.
‘Mummy, there’s a new girl’ is published by Pegasus and is available from a range of online book suppliers.