The Understanding Differences Series is written by Lonna Baum and illustrated by Dave Messing. With three books covering VISION, HEARING, and MOBILITY the goals are to increase the understanding of differences and to emphasize the fact that those with differences are not really different after all!
MONTY THE MENACE, the first in a series of books about understanding differences, explores “being different” and how it feels to be placed in this category. The book tells the story of Monty, an accident-prone kitten whose problems are caused by his inability to see clearly. The story exposes children to Monty’s feelings and the reactions of his family to his antics before and after he gets eyeglasses. MONTY THE MENACE won a Gold Mom’s Choice Award for Children’s Books. It includes a series of questions suitable for teachers and parents to help encourage discussion about understanding differences.
PATTI THE PEST continues the exploration of how it feels to be “different” and how to comfortably accept oneself. This book tells the story of Patti, a kitten with a hearing problem, and her unwillingness to wear her hearing aid because of how she thinks it makes her look. Her cousins help her understand how much better it is to wear the hearing aid and to be able to interact with others. It includes a series of questions suitable for teachers and parents to help encourage discussion about understanding differences.
FREDDY’S NO FUN? furthers the exploration of differences and how to foster inclusion. This book tells the story of Freddy, a kitten in a wheelchair, who is thought to be no fun because he cannot participate in standard games. In getting to know him, the other kittens discover that he has hidden talents. It includes a series of questions for teachers and parents to help encourage discussion about understanding differences.
“Understanding that ALL children are different creates respect for and the celebration of diversity. Lonna Baum’s engaging, amusing and profound book draws the reader into her lovable characters and enlightens and instructs parents, teachers and children alike about the critical importance of identifying and working with every child’s unique strengths and challenges.” – Robert J. Broudo, M.Ed. / President and Headmaster, Landmark School
“Hearing impairments profoundly affect a child’s ability to be accepted and included. A sense of isolation and loneliness can significantly impact their lives. Explaining the challenges Patti faces will help a young generation embrace inclusion. Lonna Baum’s delightful book offers a path towards acceptance, understanding, and friendship for our future.” – David M. Stokes, J.D., Professor, Sign Language Studies, Madonna University (ret.)
“Freddy’s No Fun? reminds us of the importance of inclusiveness and friendship. We all have strengths and challenges. Lonna Baum looks beyond Freddy’s disability and demonstrates his abilities and worth as a friend.” – Deborah Sedore, P.T. for 45 years, Lead Physical Therapist (ret.), Walk the Line Recovery Therapy
About the Author and Illustrator
Lonna Baum graduated from Boston University with a degree in physical therapy. After working in the field for many years and volunteering in a disability awareness program for first and second graders, she decided to expand children’s understanding of differences through literature. Monty the Menace, which won a Gold Mom’s Choice Award, was the first in a series of books with this goal in mind. Patti the Pest and Freddy’s No Fun? are the second and third books in the series. Lonna lives in Michigan with her husband and has two children and two granddaughters.
Dave Messing, also a Michigan resident, is a noted advertising designer, illustrator, and teacher with past work featured on television, and billboards, and in print, film, and national magazines. His latest venture is illustrating award winning children’s books. Titles include: Nick the Wise Old Cat by Linda Sicks; Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud; Myrtle the Hurdler and her Pink and Purple, Polka-Dotted Girdle by Marybeth Dillon-Butler; We All Have a Godlight by Christine Banker; Monty the Menace, Patti the Pest, and Freddy’s No Fun? by Lonna Baum. MESSING’S HONORS INCLUDE:
- Monty the Menace (Winner of Gold Mom’s Choice Award for Best Children’s Picture Book)
- Nick the Wise Old Cat (5 Gold Mom’s Choice Awards for Best Children’s Picture Book Series and Parent’s Choice Award)
- Have You Filled A Bucket Today? (Silver/Gold Nautilus Book Awards, DIY International Book Festival, Writer’s Digest, Books and Authors.net, Mom’s Choice Award, Top Ten Children’s Books’ Best You Can Be Award, Honorable Mention London Book Festival)