Preston woman publishes inspiring collection of children’s books about disabilities and differences

Joanne and Michelle holding Bertie the Very Blind Bat – one of the first books in “The Bit Different” series

A Preston woman inspires others to reflect on their own personal differences with her collection of children’s books based on disabilities and differences.


Joanne Moore has been working on “The Bit Different” collection for seven years and has published two books to date.

The author said Preston Blog the main message behind the collection of books is to convey the importance of creating an inclusive environment from an early age.

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Joanne decided to write the books after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Her youngest daughter at the time couldn’t understand why she was unable to get out of bed on some days and struggled with things other parents might do because she looked “normal”.

Joanne said: “I just remember I had to sleep a lot, and most of the time it was in the morning.

“At one point I didn’t want her to think I was lazy, I wanted to explain to her that I had this medical condition without scaring her.”

“And then it got me thinking about other people, how parents and children all have medical issues or differences, and maybe how they’d like a series of books to go together. focusing on character differences can be introduced to their child.”

Joanne Moore plans to publish more children's books about disabilities and differences
Joanne Moore plans to publish more children’s books about disabilities and differences

Bertie The Very Blind Bat is the author’s first book which was published in December 2021. It is about a bat who considers himself a super-bat despite finding himself in delicate situations due to his blindness.

Joanne said the book raises awareness of blindness: “It’s about focusing on Bertie’s skills and his courage, and even though he’s blind he uses his senses to be able to help him in a particular situation. .”

Joanna said Preston Blog that the book received great attention as a number of blind charities contacted her, as well as one parent in particular.

She said: ‘A parent contacted me when the book was first published, she sent me a lovely message about her son who had just been diagnosed with an illness which meant he would end up by going blind.

“She said I can’t wait to read this book to her, thank you for putting this book out, so I can prepare myself and make her realize that it’s still special regardless.”

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Crosby’s The Not So Snappy Crocodile is the second book, which was recently released in July this year. The book deals with differences in behavior by dealing with the themes of anti-bullying, self-acceptance, and finding your own particular skills.

The story focuses on a crocodile that is not a typical crocodile. He’s sweet, kind and likes to do nice things like Joanne said Preston Blog the lesson is that you don’t have to conform to stereotypes or norms.

The 40-year-old, who was previously an A-level teacher and pastoral worker, noticed certain behaviors among students. She said: “If you see a student who is a bit lonely or if a student comes up to you and says they don’t fit in or are being bullied, you want to take that out.”

“Getting the kids thinking about inclusion and maybe thinking about their own differences and making them think you know what I have that difference and that really worries me, but actually it’s good that people know it and accept me.

“I just need to accept myself, want to include people regardless of their issues, and be confident to ask if anyone has a medical condition.

“Having this opportunity to have read a book about it and I’m going to ask rather than feel a little anxious or tired of promoting inclusivity encourages kindness and acceptance.”

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Michelle Gemmel, who is the illustrator for the book collection, met Joanne in college and the two have been friends for over two decades now. She illustrated the books and even personalized the cover of the first book by designing Bertie with two colored eyes, which Joanne said was a nice gesture as she herself has the same characteristics.

Michelle said Preston Blog about his role: “I was a designer for many years and designed various products, but this was my first time illustrating children’s books.

“The trickiest part is creating the main character.

“The reader has to really connect with them and feel all the emotions they’re going through. Once you have the character, the rest of the artwork seems to flow together nicely.

Joanne now looks forward to publishing more of her work in the near future. The goal is to have six to eight books in the collection – each focusing on different disabilities and differences.

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