Tamika Reid’s upcoming book launch is a pretty sweet deal.
Reid, who lives in St. Vital, will be holding a book launch for her new self-published book titled Sweet without Sugar on Sun., Jan. 28 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Carol Shields Auditorium at the Millennium Library. The book will be available for purchase for $10.
The 21-year-old "inclusion rights advocate" is a student in the Creative Communications program at Red River College, and the book is a significant component of her independent professional project. The second-year student is set to graduate in the spring.
Reid said the 32-page children’s book is about a nine-year-old girl called Sofie, who has autism, and "relies on her stuffed kitty to feel comfortable during the day. When her stuffed toy is damaged, Sofie spends the day trying new things. Eventually, Sofie discovers that she can have fun without her stuffed animal." In a true sense of collaboration, the book incorporates elements of the artwork of students that attend an after school program in Grant Park that is run by the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg. Reid has been involved with the program for several years.
Reid’s book is part of the Literary Inclusion Project, which she founded, that she describes as an "initiative responding to the intellectual disability topic gap in children’s literature."
All proceeds from purchases of the book will be donated to Inclusion Winnipeg, a non-profit organization that works to advance the human rights and inclusion of individuals living with an intellectual disability. Reid hopes to raise $1,000 for the organization through the sale of her book.
"I created the project with kids with intellectual abilities in mind, as they also like to read and go to the library," Reid said.
"Even if a child is non-verbal, they can still relate to what they’re reading. Over time, I noticed there weren’t many characters in children’s books with intellectual disabilities, so this became part of my inspiration for the project."
"And the production of the book was interesting, as it includes real-life artwork from some of the kids in the after school program that I reproduced digitally, which shows that life can be inclusive and these children can be part of something. I scanned their artwork and used Photoshop to merge their drawings with mine," she added.
As well, the Glenlawn Collegiate alumna will be reading Sweet without Sugar to students at several elementary schools in Winnipeg, including schools in Louis Riel School Division, during February for I Love to Read Month.
"This is a great way of spreading the message and a wonderful opportunity to moving forward," Reid said, noting she would welcome inquiries from schools in the city that may be interested in her visiting them to read to students next month.
Janet Forbes, the executive director of Inclusion Winnipeg, said Reid is a flagbearer for inclusivity issues.
"Tamika has always found creative ways to fundraise and create awareness for inclusive causes," Forbes said in a news release.
Reid is encouraging individuals to "take advantage of the free parking downtown on the weekend" to head out and stop by her upcoming launch. At the event, there will also be an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter present.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit the Literary Inclusion Project on Facebook.
Community journalist — The Lance
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7111