Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand Debuts at Abilities Expo
Saturday, February 18, 2012: 1:15 – 2:15 pm
The newest book in the popular, Wendy on Wheels series, features ten-year-old wheelchair user, Wendy, taking on bullies in Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand. Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand, the highly anticipated fourth book in the Wendy on Wheels series, will be released at the Expo in with a kid’s workshop by author, Angela Ruzicka, at 1:15 pm on Saturday, February 18. Lucky attendees will have the chance hear the latest adventures of their free-wheeling heroine from the author herself, and participate in a lively dialogue on the important issues raised in the story.
In Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand, Wendy gets frustrated by an incident between two classmates. She then comes up with a solution to stop bullying in her school. Discussion questions at the end of the story, along with a printable anti-bullying sign are meant to encourage children to think of their own solutions to the on-going problem of bullying.
Children with disabilities are rarely seen as main characters in children’s literature. Many books use them as examples to teach able-bodied children, showing them feeling sad or left out, otherwise making them seem like outcasts. Wendy on Wheels is a positive character who learns valuable lessons while having fun.
Angela got the idea for Wendy after a conversation with her younger sister, Amanda Ruzicka, who uses a wheelchair fulltime. She hopes to encourage children with disabilities to have fun and enjoy life, while promoting an attitude of acceptance among children and adults in all walks or rolls of life. Now the two entertain elementary school students with Wendy’s message of acceptance.
“I was the only person who used a wheelchair. I felt like an outsider. My guard was always up. I felt like I was constantly being judged. I got made fun of a lot,” recalls Amanda of her own experience being bullied in elementary and middle school. “Now, I introduce Wendy on Wheels at schools with my sister. I’m probably the first person the younger students have ever met who uses a wheelchair. I like that they ask me questions. Wendy on Wheels makes them understand that children with different abilities are just like them.”
Angela, too, remembers her sister being bullied in school. “It really bothered me to hear her tell me how the kids at school were mean to her. Now I see bullies on the news constantly. I realized bullying is not going away and seems to have gotten worse since we were in school,” she said. “My goal with Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand is to create a movement. Children need to come together and decide enough is enough. That is exactly what Wendy does in the book.”
Angela has received praise internationally for the Wendy on Wheels character and series. A mother commented on the character’s Facebook page, “What you give these kids is priceless. All Greer wants is to be like everyone else, your books give that to her. So very important!!!” Another mother from the United Kingdom wrote the following in an email. “Got a copy for Owen which arrived today, he LOVED reading it and is taking it in to school tomorrow for his teacher to read it to the class. Thanks Wendy. He is now a LOT more positive about his own wheelchair which he is getting on the 3rd of June!!”
All fans and future fans of Wendy are welcome to attend the official release of Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand at the Abilities Expo in Atlanta, February 17th-19th. Earlier books, Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day, Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo and Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach will also be for sale at the expo. The author will also be available to sign copies of all four books.
Find out more about Wendy on Wheels at www.wendyonwheels.com.
Abilities Expo has so much to offer. Don’t miss complete schedule of Expo workshops and events.