An Interview with R.S. Hibbard, Author of "Just Jen: Living With Invisible Differences"
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“I want a kindness revolution!” This was the emotional response Just Jen author Rachel Hibbard gave me when I asked her what she wanted her readers to take away from her new book. Hibbard, a wife and mother of three children, was inspired to write this book after having her daughter, Genevieve. Genevieve was born with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and like so many children and adults around us, she has some invisible differences. “I kept looking for a book with a character that had 22q, different skinned toned characters that all got along, that wasn’t just about autism, or just about hearing loss. A lot of books I found pigeon-holed a specific disability, but not one book I found discussed various disabilities and invisible differences while still being classroom appropriate. I couldn’t find it. I kept asking myself why am I waiting to find this book?” So she sat down one evening, and within a few hours, had written the first draft of this book.
Rachel is thrilled to be able to share a book with a main character with 22q to our community and the world. This book is not just about invisible differences or spreading awareness for 22q, but a bigger message. Promoting diversity and kindness is deeply embedded in its message. You’ll see characters with food allergies, hearing loss, autism, and many other invisible differences. Rachel is all too familiar with the invisible differences her daughter struggles with having 22q. “For me, beyond juggling her medical needs and our whole family’s needs, the biggest challenge I have faced with Genevieve, specific to having invisible differences, is having to walk the tightrope of not wanting to be seen as a helicopter parent and trying to educate people that I’m not overreacting. She has all of these things going inside her.”
Just Jen is the perfect book for the 22q community, classrooms, doctor’s offices, and for anyone that struggles with an invisible difference. You can find Rachel’s book currently on her websites: www.22qbook.com and www.rshibbard.com. Soon it will be available on Amazon.com for purchase. And for 22q families attending the Nationwide Children’s Hospital: A Healthy You and 22q conference event on September 23, you’ll be able to save on shipping and pick up your copy there!
Meet the Hibbards! Greg, Rachel, and their girls: Isabelle (15) the illustrator, Elise (12) the cover colorist, and Genevieve (9) the 22qt muse and comic creator.