The Beta Lambda Delta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society developed the “Pretty Terrific Kids” series focused on characters with visible and invisible disabilities, to teach children that they can include everyone in play.
“Every two years, Phi Theta Kappa International announces an Honors Study Topic,” said Liesl Harris, associate dean at the Shelby-Hoover Campus and PTK faculty advisor. “The 2022-2024 topic is ‘The Art and Science of Play.’ My chapter decided to focus on the accessibility of play for students who have visible and invisible disabilities. They started with intensive academic research to be well informed. To act, they wrote, illustrated, and published a series of eBooks entitled Pretty Terrific Kids. These books coach kids on how to be inclusive.”
The first three books in the series are available to read for free at prettyterrifickids.com. The website also offers some printable coloring sheets, with more books and activities to come.
“A few of us have experience with kids, so the idea of creating children’s books about play sprouted,” PTK member Kayli Dunkin said. “We also knew we wanted our books to focus on the social aspect of children with not only physical disabilities, but also mental barriers. It’s a topic that we felt we could expand on and bring more awareness to using our platform with PTK. From there, we were excited, discussing themes, plot and character design. By the end of our meeting that day, we had so many books planned!”
“I believe that everyone agreed on this idea because it was a project that mattered,” fellow PTK member Alanna Glaze said. “Every person in our chapter has displayed to me the various ways in which one can live a unique, valuable life; and I believe that we wanted to continue to encourage that unique nature in every way we can. The series has been nothing short of an arduous group effort. There is work towards a common goal being made both in meetings on campus, off campus, and behind the scenes, and I think that everyone agrees that the effort is being made because the message is important, and the creation is fun! The members get to show off their niche talents in illustration, writing, graphic design, marketing and advertising, etc.; and it is so special to me to see them finding passion and pride in something they have created.”
Dunkin and Glaze said the group has discussed holding reading events at schools and libraries to broaden the books’ audience.
“We want to help able-bodied and neurotypical kids understand how they can interact and play with other kids, and to show that no matter what, even if a kid can’t play like the rest, there are always ways to include them in fun games and activities!,” Dunkin said.