Monday, April 17, 2017

Scholastic and Global Ed (GES) launch book by 13-year old with scoliosis

Every now and then a special person with an extraordinary story comes along. For Global Ed (GES) Director and educator Jill Eggleton, that special someone is Kate Chandulal; a courageous young girl with a big heart, for whom living is a constant challenge.

Jill met Kate while volunteering at Starship Children’s Hospital and was bowled over by her bubbly personality and imaginative writing skills. “Kate’s book A Walk in My Shoes is a gem. GES have published hundreds of books, but this is the first time we have published a book by an author as young as Kate,” said Jill.

Photo - Jill Eggleton, Kate & Tracy Strudley
This week, GES and Scholastic proudly celebrated Kate’s milestone achievement by hosting a special Easter book launch morning tea for her, at Jill’s home in Parnell. Kate’s launch was attended by teaching staff from Starship Children’s Hospital, Skylight, family and friends, and was one of the most heart-warming and moving I’ve ever encountered.  

Among the many tributes read out at the launch was one by Heather Henare, CE Skylight, who said, “Kate, you are a great role model for anyone faced with adversity – despite the struggles and pain, you have managed to push through and turn your experiences into hope for others.”

Kate was diagnosed with scoliosis at birth, contracted meningitis at the age of five and now regards Starship Children’s Hospital as her second home. Seeking solace in reading and with a gift for storytelling, Kate hopes that the publication of her book will foster greater understanding among her peers about what it feels like to be different.

“My longing in life is to be like others, to belong and not be left out, like the ugly duckling was in the story. When I experience rejection or become an object to poke fun at, I have a heavy sinking sadness inside and want to ask, “Why are you being so mean? I’m just like you inside,” says Kate.

Kate challenges readers to “walk in her shoes” and to have empathy for those whose lives are different from their own. Kate’s message is also one of resilience and hope; despite her physical limitations, Kate remains cheerful and positive about life. 

GES publish A Walk in My Shoes in conjunction with Scholastic, as part of their ‘Into Connectors’ series. This series supports students to strengthen and construct meaning collaboratively with their peers, and Kate’s book encourages responsive and responsible reading by students.

Scholastic will make the book available to every school in New Zealand and GES will sell it to schools internationally. GES have already struck deals with educational distributors in the UK, US, North Africa and the Middle East.

Photo - Kate surrounded by Scholastic staff!

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