(Contributed)

Keremeos children’s author aims to normalize disabilities with new book

Gus Gets Going tells the story of a boy who uses a wheelchair living life to the fullest

Keremeos resident and author Della Barrett is hoping to change the way people view children with disabilities through her new book Gus Gets Going.

Barrett’s son Joshua, now 30, was born with cerebral palsy. Until Joshua was six years old, he used a buggy for mobility.

Finding uplifting books and other media for her son, that viewed his disability in a positive light was a constant challenge, explained Barrett.

“All the books for children with disabilities were negative… so we wanted an upbeat one,” said Barrett.

She hopes Gus Gets Going will uplift other children with disabilities by showing them and along with all other kids that they are more than capable of enjoying childhood.

READ MORE: Keremeos artist spreading joy in uncertain times

The book, which was released, on Aug. 1, details the story of a young boy whose mobility was previously neglected by his preoccupied family on summer vacation. However, things turn around for young Gus the following summer when he’s given freedom by his new wheelchair, enabling him to play with other children on his own free will.

“This year he’s got freedom in his wheelchair. He can get himself up the ramp to play with the kids. He can get himself along the dock to go fishing. He can get himself to the beach even if his sister is flirting with the lifeguard,” Barrett said with a laugh.

Barrett, 60, has had many poems and short stories published in the past, but this is her first full-length children’s book to be published. She couldn’t be happier with the result.

Gus Gets Going was published by Penticton based publishing group Cobalt Books.

The book, which is available for purchase at the Pharmasave in Keremeos, was inspired by Barrett’s experience raising her son. The book is also available for purchase on Amazon and to rent across the Okanagan at Okanagan Regional Libraries.

Barrett also expects the book to be found in school libraries across the Okanagan come September.

The main thing Barrett hopes children and adults alike take away from the book is inclusion.

Barrett says she hopes the books encourage children to “see other kids in a wheelchair as no big deal… that it’s nothing to be scared of, or worry about.”

READ MORE: Mural adds artistic flair to downtown Keremeos



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BooksCommunitydisabilities

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

File photo
EDITORIAL: The power of a single vote

In the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, every vote is important

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna RCMP investigating unexplained death of cattle

Cattle found dead near gravel road, east of the Kelowna Airport

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen is launching an initiative to provide horse-assisted therapy to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic (Black Press file photo)
Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen to provide horse-assisted therapy

Therapy sessions will be offered to frontline workers during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Princeton man on motor scooter refuses to provide breath test to police

The scooter did not have a license plate and was not insured

Most Read