Gillette Children's hospital releases new book

Hospital releases book to help families

ST. PAUL, Minn.--Turning the page isn't easy for Kamryn Leuenberger. At seven years old she's still learning to use her hands. She can't talk and cerebral palsy may never allow her to walk.

But her grandmother, Anna Mae Remmen, believes Kamryn is just like other kids. That is, until other kids notice her disability.

"Twice I had some children say, 'Well what's wrong with her? How come she's in a chair like that?'" Remmen said.

Other families at Gillette Children's face the same challenge every day.

But now they have a tool. With the help of children's author Nancy Carlson the hospital wrote and published "It's Okay to Ask," a book to help those hard conversations become easier.

It features five kids in wheelchairs, to walkers and leg braces.

Those are things Gillette kids know all about but typical kids might not.

"People do unfortunately just have a fear that they might offend somebody," Dr. Scott Schwantes, associate medical director of pediatrics at Gillette Children's said.

Remmen never let disability disable the conversation about her granddaughter. One time a four-year-old asked about Kamryn's wheelchair and Remmen wasn't afraid to answer.

"The mother at the same time said 'Thank you…I didn't know how to explain it,'" Remmen recalled.

Gillette Children's will be sending free copies to all Minnesota public schools and public libraries.

It's also available for purchase. All proceeds benefit Gillette.


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