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Not Different At All

January 18, 2017

 

Hi, my name is Jaimie Hope. I became a published author in 2006 and CEO of my own publishing company in 2014. Oh yeah, I was also born with Spina Bifida and am a full-time wheelchair user.
I was born on November 3, 1976. Growing up, my home life was typical. I liked to play and have fun doing the same things my able-bodied sister and cousins did. However, my life at school couldn't have been more different.
Although my parents struggled to keep me mainstreamed while I was in elementary school, they eventually lost the battle as I entered the third grade. I was put in a classroom that covered third through fifth grade, in one classroom. However, I'm getting a little ahead of myself.
Prior to third grade, I was segregated in other ways at school. For example, I wasn't allowed to play on the playground with the other children. I was made to sit on the sidelines of the playground and watch the other kids run around, which as you can imagine, is boring. Eventually, I got wise and brought my own Wiffle ball and bat and did manage to play with a few friends now and then, but mostly it was just watching. But, the news wasn't all bad. I believe this was when the seeds of my future career were sowed. You see, rather than just sit on the sidelines just watching; I created a world in my head that was all inclusive. I didn't know it at the time, but I was setting up the theme of my future children's series, The Adventures of Baby Jaimie.
It wasn't until I was in high school that I decided I wanted to be a writer. Back then, the only thing I knew I wanted to write was my autobiography. Admittedly, I knew nothing of the publishing business back then, but even I knew I couldn't start a successful career with the autobiography of someone nobody has even heard of before, it just wouldn't sell. That's when I began thinking of writing for children, but a first draft was still a decade away. What did I do in the meantime? I lived. I took creative writing courses and joined the newspaper staff in high school, I went to college, moved, volunteered, and tried everything I could.
Once I sat down and began working on the children's book series that bears my name and is semi-autobiographical, I hadn't forgotten about my years of segregation in primary school, but instead chose to focus on the ways in which I was similar to able-bodied children for book one. It was my hope that this would increase my books appeal to all children and it turned out I was right.
Less than two years later, while reading to an elementary class, I was asked if when my second Baby Jaimie book released, I responded by saying one wasn't in the works. Before I left, the kids all voted that I should write a second book and it should be in a school setting. This was the birth of my series, and I haven't stopped since. 

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