The World of Ink tour stops here today and brings us Jewel Kats talking about her one of her titles, Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair. Jewel has a compelling story of her own. Let’s learn more about her.
Jewel Kats is an award-winning writer. She’s also one tough cookie. At the age of nine, Jewel endured a car accident. Her physical abilities altered forever. She spent weeks in the Hospital for Sick Children recovering, has survived eight leg surgeries, and currently walks with a cane. (Note: It’s fashionably hand painted!) Nothing stops Jewel. For six years, she penned a syndicated teen advice column for Scripps-Howard News Service and TorStar Syndication Services. Jewel has earned $20,000 in scholarships from Global Television Network and Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. She’s penned three children’s books, including: Reena’s Bollywood Dream, What Do You Use to Help Your Body? and her latest book Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair.
Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair: In a Kingdom far, far away lives Cinderella. As expected, she slaves away for her cranky sisters and stepmother. She would dearly love to attend the Royal costume ball and meet the Prince, but her family is totally dead set against it. In fact, they have gone so far as to trash her wheelchair! An unexpected magical endowment to her wheelchair begins a truly enchanted evening and a dance with the Prince. Can true love be far behind?
Kai: What age range is Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair written for?
Jewel: I’m confident Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair will hit a nerve with everybody! Though, if you want to get technical, it’s a picture book intended for 4 to 8-year-olds.
Kai: Can you share a memory of yours or a story of you from when you were that age?
Jewel: My favorite memory is when I went on my first trip to India for an Uncle’s wedding. During the ceremony, he let me sit on his decorated horse as he trotted to meet his bride’s family. This procession is a very old Indian custom. However, the experience of a niece sitting on a wedding horse is totally one-of-a-kind!
Kai: What a great story and such a unique experience for you. Jewel how do you feel life has changed for children today than when you were that age?
Jewel: Back then, I couldn’t even imagine how powerful computers would become! Now, even children’s shows--like Sesame Street--have interactive websites. How lucky kids of today are! Another difference is, when I was growing up my mother was a homemaker. This rewarding career is decreasing as the prices of everyday items goes up. Though, on the upside, many fathers are now contributing more at home.
Kai: How is life still the same?
Jewel: Kids will always be kids. They love to play make-believe. They believe in magic. They are open to ideas. They absorb the world like little sponges.
Kai: Do you remember what was your favorite toy or activity was when you were that age?
Jewel: Guess what? I loved reading picture books! I actually learned to speak English during this time—we spoke Hindi at home—and I taught myself the language that I pen books with today. Talk about a very good ESL student, lol.
Kai: What inspired Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair and how did you decide on this age range for your book?
Jewel: This story grew in my soul for a very long time. It took me five years to complete it. Yes, you read that correctly! I knew it would be a picture book, and hence the age range is a natural component of the industry.
As for the idea, it came out of my love for the Cinderella story. I wanted to put my own unique spin on this age-old tale. I wanted to write the first fairy tale for children with disabilities. My intention is to pen a whole children’s picture book series featuring classical fairy tales with protagonists with disabilities.
Kai: Jewel, that is lovely and courageous and fantastic. I hope you do! Finally, I have four kids. Over the years, they’ve attended a lot of birthday parties. I love the idea of building a theme gift around a book. If you were to give a gift basket to a child based on Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair, what else would be in the basket besides?
Jewel: In this version, Cinderella receives a gift wrapped in a “pretty pink bow.” However, the contents of the box are upsetting. She’d want me to put a positive spin on things by recycling this bow by putting together a nicely wrapped gift basket. In addition to this, we’d include some jewelry-making supplies since its Cinderella’s favorite hobby. In this basket, you’d also find a personal letter from Cinderella with encouraging words and a pamphlet on the importance of volunteering. I’d also stick in autographed pictures from her wedding, and a surprise magical treat from Enchantment University.
Sounds like a fun and inspiring basket! Jewel, thank you for visiting us during your World of Ink virtual book tour. It has been a pleasure having you here.