(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

UPDATE: Old Ferry Wharf Road reopens

The leak was first reported about 11:35 a.m., Friday

Police investigate possible bomb threat at Orchard Plaza

‘Suspicious circumstance’ shuts down area, closing multiple businesses

Southeast District Emergency Response team arrest wanted Kamloops man in Kelowna

The incident occurred on Bernard Avenue in the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 24

Kelowna International Airport operations unaffected by Nav Canada cuts

The private company felt the effects of the pandemic and decided to reduce its workforce

Crash halts northbound traffic at Benvoulin and KLO Rd

Two vehicles crashed shortly before noon, northbound traffic stopped

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Lumber hitting record high prices due to low supply and high demand

B.C.’s forest industry hasn’t been able to keep pace with the COVID-19 building boom

‘Monkey Beach’ supernatural film adaptation premiers at VIFF

Based on Kitamaat author Eden Robinson’s debut, mystical novel

Most Read