Celebrating our differences is what makes us all so special. However, this can be challenging for children who have these things pointed out by others who can express their misunderstanding of differences through cruel words or actions.
In the new book, Completely Me, educator, author and disability advocate Justine Green, Ed.D shares a story about a little girl who never noticed there was something different about herself until others pointed it out. When she decides to stand up for herself, she teaches the townspeople an important lesson about acceptance. This is based around the author’s own life and experience with two medical conditions: Atresia and Microtia. She noted, “I needed a story like this growing up, so if writing Completely Me helps even one person, it was worth it. This is a story of self-acceptance, strength, and vulnerability. Standing up for yourself and who you are takes courage.”
Justine ultimately found her life’s purpose through her disability (she has Atresia and Microtia, which left her deaf in her left ear) and hopes to inspire others with Completely Me, teaching readers to be proud of who they are and that everyone’s imperfections are what make them perfect. Read on to learn more about Justine, her journey, and this exciting new book below:
Interview with Justine Green on Completely Me
Weekend Jaunts: How did the idea for the story come about?
Justine Green: I always wanted to write a book about my ear and my disability. I have also written poetry my whole life. By the time I actually sat down to write the story it came together quickly! I wanted to explain, in a way that children can understand, that I never noticed anything was wrong with my ear until everyone treated me differently because of it. It’s easy for others to point out the differences they see, but I would not have known otherwise.
Weekend Jaunts: Why was it important for you to tell this story?
Justine Green: I needed a story like this growing up, so if writing Completely Me helps even one person, it was worth it. This is a story of self-acceptance, strength, and vulnerability. Standing up for yourself and who you are takes courage.
Weekend Jaunts: What do you hope readers will get from Completely Me?
Justine Green: I hope that readers get inspired to be proud of their imperfections, because those imperfections make them perfect! I also hope that readers learn that help is not always helpful. That’s one lesson that may be difficult to understand, but just because you feel the need to offer help does not mean it is needed. Sometimes that “help” can call attention to a difference you may not notice or make a person with disabilities feel helpless, which we are not. Also, if a child who is reading this book does not have a disability, then I hope it can teach them a lesson about compassion and acceptance.”
Weekend Jaunts: What did you learn about from others and yourself faced with a disability?
Justine Green: You have to be your own advocate. That is one lesson I learned as a person with a disability, as a learning specialist, and as an inclusive educator. If you know that you need help or that you are not being treated properly, receiving the proper accommodations to succeed, then you need to fight for your rights as a federally protected person. It needs to start at a very young age. It needs to be engrained in a person that if they feel that they are at a disadvantage, they have the right to speak up and protect themselves.
Weekend Jaunts: Anything else to add?
Justine Green: You may think that you’re the only who’s different or has a specific disability, but you’re not alone. This book has really brought to my attention how many other people feel like they were in the same situation as I was growing up. Whether it be Dyslexia, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, or any other disability, you are not alone. Since Completely Me was released, I have had many people contact me and tell me their story. The truth and openness of this story has provided a safe space for other people to be true and open about themselves.”
The book is currently available at https://