Aside from Just the Way You Are, can you recall the last book you read about a person with a disability that did not fall under the self-help or parental guidance category? Chances are, if you can, the representation of that character with a disability was a Tiny-Tim or Quasimodo type portrayal. According to a September 2014 article in Disability Studies Quarterly, while the number of characters with disabilities in children’s literature has increased in recent years, many such books have subliminal and/or outwardly negative messages about those with disabilities. As an advocate and writer, I strive to change that. By including characters with disabilities whom have depth and are not stereotypical portrayals in my books, I hope to change the way kids and young adults see those with disabilities. Additionally, I hope to make people see that having a disability is not necessarily a negative thing. People with disabilities can do anything able-bodied people can do. We just have to do it a little differently. I hope to encourage readers to accept and embrace others differences because the sooner we accept and embrace our differences, the sooner they will become just that…differences. My mission as a writer and advocate is to help readers see that ultimately we are all just people who should accept and embrace our differences and love one another just as we are. Do you think that Just the Way You Are helped to accomplish this goal? Do you have suggestions as to how I can continue to fulfill this mission in the future? Sound off now…thanks!