As adults, people always reminisce about childhood and think about how easy life was 20, 30, 40 years ago. There were no responsibilities, no stresses, no problems. But being a kid is never easy– especially a kid who is different and sticks out from the kid crowd.
I’ve worn glasses since I was six and while I was never picked on, (that I remember) I do remember when my mom tried to make me feel comfortable wearing them around other kids. One my first day at kindergarten with my new pink wire-frames, not only did my mom buy tiny little doll glasses for my favorite doll, she also asked my teacher if I could do a special show-and-tell session to explain my new specs. Maybe it was because I am her oldest child or maybe she worries too much, but either way, there are many ways that parents try to help their kids cope with change.
A great way to help kids deal with changes like glasses is through books. At my day job, I write for Reading Glasses Shopper where I’ve compiled a list of kids’ books about glasses, so I’m always on the lookout for a new book. There are books to help kids cope with divorce. Books on how to help kids cope with a new sibling. Books on how to cope with death, the responsibility of a new pet, friendship troubles, and life. One book that I read recently, Patch Land Adventures, helps kids with Amblyopia, or “lazy eye”.
Patch Land Adventures is written by Carmen Swick, the mother of Preston who was diagnosed with Amblyopia. Just like my mom tried to help me deal with wearing glasses by requesting a show-and-tell session in school, Carmen helps her son with Amblyopia by writing a book. The coolest thing about living in the Internet age is that the power of the media does not rest entirely with companies like Conde Nast or Random House. Bloggers and self-published authors have a voice in the fragmented media world. If you have a passion for something, you can be heard.
Patch Land Adventures is about Preston’s time wearing an eye patch to help correct his Amblyopia. The book shows that children can carry on with their normal activities and social interactions even if they are a little different–because everyone is different. Carmen shows that patching is not only easy, it can also be a source of imagination inspiration. Preston’s dreamscapes of Patch Land are fun and quirky, where everyone wears a patch and plays to their heart’s content. I admire any parent’s effort to make their child more confident and well-rounded, and I really admire Carmen’s passion for creating awareness of Amblyopia. Books and reading really can make a difference in a child’s life by making them aware that other people have the same struggles and that there is always someone who shares their experience.