June 7th, 2012

Kerry's Eye Article By Breda Joy

 

Six-year-old writer enjoys fairy tale debut at Writers' Week

The courage and imagination of six-year-old Chloe O'Sullivan are stamped all over her very own fairy tale with a difference, which was launched at Listowel Writers' Week last Friday.

Born with spina bifida, the little Farranfore girl was inspired to write The Fairy Who Was Different when a classmate at Knockaderry National School asked her why she was different. She set out to tell the story of a fairy who stood out from the others because she had a clipped wing. After the first print run of 100 copies sold out instantly at the launch in Woulfe's Bookshop in aid of Enable Ireland, the printing presses rolled again.

"When Chloe was four, she used to take three or four sheets of paper from my printer," said her dad, Con. "She'd fold them over and use anything up to 10 staples along the edges. She'd draw a picture in the top right hand corner and squiggle lines across the page." 'That's my book, Daddy," she told him.

After she dealt with the question about her condition by showing her classmates the splint on her leg, she came up with the idea of the fairy who faced a similar challenge. "I asked her different questions and that was the seed from where it grew," Con said. "About 97 per cent of the book is hers. Every time I wanted to change anything, she wasn't having it."

SUPPORT

"We were nearly finished when she introduced a new character," he said. "She's a very headstrong girl. She was asked to shorten it before publishing and she just gave a blank no." When it was suggested to Chloe that all proceeds should go to Enable Ireland, she agreed without hesitation because the Tralee branch has given her great support. Her parents, Con and Elaine, brother Con (10), and cIassmates from Knockaderry were all, present in Woulfe's for the signing,

"It's the first time, I've read a children's book that deals with the issue of disability in a way that children understand," Sean Scally of Enable Ireland said, "I would recommend it to all schools and parents as an extremely useful and practical guide to explaining disability."

O'Mahony's Bookshop, Tralee, Enable Ireland, Tralee, Killarney Bookshop, as well as shops in Farranfore, Currow and Firies, all stock the book which sells for €5. The money raised from the book help Enable Ireland provide services to children and adults with physical disabilities in Kerry.

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