Everyone has a story, but some people have more than one.
I recently reconnected with Judy Folk at a social gathering, and what a surprise when I discovered this critical-care certified registered nurse has at least six stories!
Judy, a Richland resident, has written and self-published the first of a series of children's books illustrated in 3D by Bryan Ballinger, lead illustrator for the popular VeggieTales books and videos.
And what child -- or even me -- could resist Lucky in 3D, the wiener dog who was “born to run” and part of a neighborhood group called the Nosey Parkers Club.
As I turned the colorful pages in Happy Go Lucky, life suddenly changes for Lucky when the little athlete is paralyzed in a running accident. How his caring canine pals surprise him with a customized cart -- one they design themselves -- is heartwarming and a teachable moment for the reader.
What makes these stories exceptional is each one is written to encourage children who are injured or seriously ill. It's also a way to help other children understand the challenges disabled or sick kids face, and how they can make a difference if a friend's life takes an unexpected turn.
"After I read Happy Go Lucky to one group of school children," Judy commented with a smile, "a little boy told me he wouldn't be afraid now to make friends with a young neighbor in a wheelchair, realizing he was just like him."
That's one goal Judy has for elementary school readers. She wants them to realize when a child has a disability or long-term illness such as cancer, that person may feel inferior to his friends because they now are "different." In Happy Go Lucky, the animals help other paralyzed pets "fit in" when they build more carts and start a racing club for paralyzed pets.
"I want to empower young readers so they feel that they can do something wonderful," Judy said, referring to the underlying theme for her series.
In my opinion, Judy offers an excellent example. She has donated the profits from Kiwanians' purchases and sales of some of her books to SIGN Fracture Care International, an organization that provides free surgical implants in developing countries around the world.
"Everyone can do something wonderful, no matter how small," Judy says.
(For more information or to purchase a book, contact Nosey Parker Publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org.)