Rugby mum’s dwarfism book promoted in national campaign

Kristina Gray with her son, Samuel, and daughters, Ariana and Kaitlin, reading Strong and Mighty Max NNL-150411-134445001
Kristina Gray with her son, Samuel, and daughters, Ariana and Kaitlin, reading Strong and Mighty Max NNL-150411-134445001

A Rugby mum’s book about taking the stigma out of dwarfism is being used in a national campaign to encourage libraries to stock books on the subject.

Kristina Gray’s novel Strong and Mighty Max is being promoted as a way to introduce children to the disability positively by dwarfism charity RGA UK.

The Clifton-upon-Dunsmore mum was inspired to write the book to help her son, who has dwarfism, overcome mental challenges surrounding his condition and is pleased it is being used to tackle prejudice.

“It’s all about making society more accepting of people with disabilities and if we can get it into more libraries and schools then that’s great,” she said.

“I’m really excited to be part of the campaign as it’s getting the word out there and why shouldn’t libraries have these books?”

RGA’s campaign, Spread The Word, is to promote more positive and accurate depictions of people with dwarfism, who are often widely misrepresented as people from fairy tales, myths, and fantasy stories.

Libraries are being called upon to stock Small and Might Max and another book, We Are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd, to tackle misconceptions and teach children that people with disabilities are no different.

Kristina’s book is aimed at early years and Key Stage 1 children and tells the story of Max, who has Achondroplasia like her son Samuel.

The novel explains how Max’s only difference to everyone else is his shorter arms and legs, and he should not be treated any differently.

Kristina, 37, hopes the campaign will increase the book’s reach, helping more disabled children come to terms with their conditions.

“For a child who is born with a rare condition there is no greater feeling than picking up a story book and finding out that the main character is just like you,” she said.

RGA UK chairman Gillian Martin said there is an urgent need to address depictions of dwarfism.

“Introducing children to dwarfism and disability – of all sorts – at a young age helps them to become familiar with and accommodate difference and diversity, which we believe should be celebrated and embraced,” she said.

“Kristina and Amber have done wonders to help us achieve this and we are very proud to support their books, which should be in every library across the country.”

Supporters are encouraged to contact their library to request they stock the books to tackle the stigmas.

Template emails and letters to send to libraries, as well as Tweets and Facebook posts, are available at rgauk.org.