"Is Being Different a Good Thing to Be?" by Carolyn S. Muradian (self-published, July 4), ages 1-8, 26 pages, $10.88 paperback, $3.25 Kindle
Carolyn Muradian's children's book, "Is Being Different a Good Thing to Be?" is a family affair.
The illustrations are by her granddaughters, Cali Elliott and Rachel Oborny, and it was inspired by her granddaughter, Macy Foster, who has Down Syndrome.
It's also the first children's book from the 81-year-old Muradian, who lives in Little Rock with her husband, Krikor. The couple have six children, 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
"We have a pretty large family and my grandchildren kept saying, 'Mimi, you told us stories all the time. Why haven't you written those down,'" she says. "I thought, well, why haven't I written anything down?'"
When she saw 31-year-old Macy with others at a recent family reunion, she was inspired to write.
"I was just wondering, what does she think of all of this? That got me going and wondering why I hadn't written something about her."
The book celebrates Macy, diversity and being accepting of others.
"I showed it to one of my doctors and he said that this is something that is not spoken about often enough," she says. "We don't address young people who have special needs enough. We look at them and are afraid to say anything, but they're not afraid. They want to interact."
Talking about Macy, Muradian says: "We get to see her frequently. She's been fortunate in that she's had very few health problems, but she does have some. She has a problem with her heart, but for the most part she does very well."
Muradian recruited Elliott and Oborny, who are sisters, to illustrate the story.
"It's very much a family deal," she says with a laugh. "I can't draw, although the kids claim I'm pretty good at it, so I approached my grandchildren about it and the girls volunteered."
The self-published book came out July 4 and is available from Amazon. It recently won two Firebird Book Awards in the Children Verse and Children Special Needs categories.
Muradian worked in accounting but spent most of her time as a stay-at-home mom. "Is Being Different a Good Thing to Be?" isn't exactly her first book. In 1984 she published a series of cross-stitch books with her daughter, Maro Foster.
She also has a few unpublished novels tucked away but isn't pursuing publication for them. She does, however, plan to continue with a series of Macy books and another children's book storyline.
"I've already written two more of the Macy books," she says. "I also have another series, 'Bingo Boo,' that is a kind of whimsical character. It will be more educational — counting, ABCs and that kind of thing. I have three of those written as well."