A drawing by Leanne Bowlan in author Marlene Bryenton’s next storybook, Jaya’s Magic Wheelchair. (submitted image)

‘Magic Wheelchair’ book tells story of thrilled author’s B.C. granddaughters

Marlene Bryenton’s storybook explores how kids in wheelchairs can be excluded

Charlottetown-based author Marlene Bryenton said she’s thrilled to write storybooks about her grandkids, who include a pair of young Cloverdale-area girls who are the subject of her latest creation, Jaya’s Magic Wheelchair.

The 24-page book explores how kids in wheelchairs are excluded because they are different, Bryenton says.

“Able-bodied children sometimes take their mobility for granted,” she explained. “I believe children can learn from another child’s life. I am hoping that Jaya’s Magic Wheelchair will create a whole new perspective for children who perhaps do not understand what it means for a child not to be able to walk and participate in all activities.”

Featured in Bryenton’s new book is 11-year-old Jaya Garner, a student at Hazelgrove Elementary, her younger sister Brynn, 3, and a talking wheelchair named Sparkle.

A genetic disorder prevents Jaya from being able to speak, but she can walk with assistance, Bryenton notes.

The author had her own wheelchair experience this summer after a hip replacement.

“I discovered that people looked at me differently,” Bryenton recalled. “Some people would wave hello and smile while others turn away. I do believe that people are uncomfortable with someone in a wheelchair. I know I certainly have more empathy now after my own wheelchair adventure. Life became much more difficult when I had to navigate in my wheelchair, as not everywhere is accessible.”

Jaya Garner (right) and her younger sister, Brynn, in a photo from a couple of years ago. Jaya is now 11 and Brynn is three. (submitted photo)

When released this month, Jaya’s Magic Wheelchair will feature special illustrations of Jaya celebrating her 10th birthday with her two longtime school friends.

“Jaya’s mommy and daddy asked the children to bring a little money instead of a gift for Jaya. The money was donated, so that other little girls and boys could have a wheelchair. This story was published in your newspaper,” Bryenton said.

READ MORE: Surrey Centre for Child Development ‘grad’ gives back

Bryenton said she has visited Jaya and her family many times, but not this year, due to her hip issues and also the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have observed all the fun things Jaya is able to do, in spite of being in a wheelchair,” the author says. “This includes Jaya riding her favourite therapeutic horse, Lady Bug, playing the drum, going to the library, playing baseball and riding through the fountain in her wheelchair getting soaking wet. Jaya loves being outside and she loves water. Leanne (Bowlan, illustrator) brought to life all the things Jaya loves to do in her beautiful bright illustrations. Judy Parsons is our editor and Mark Bowlan is the formatter. The storybook is being printed at KKP in Charlottetown.”

Bryenton aimed to launch Jaya’s Magic Wheelchair on her 70th birthday Monday (Sept. 21), with copies available for sale on her website.

“Jaya doesn’t really understand the whole concept, but what she will understand is when she receives the custom board book,” Bryenton said. “She’ll be able to flip the pages of a board book, made of cardboard. It’s more durable and it will last, one just for her.”

The B.C. Physiotherapy Association is sponsoring 100 copies of Jaya’s Magic Wheelchair to Hazelgrove School, and Bryenton is still looking for a business or charity in the Surrey area to sponsor more storybooks for the school Jaya attends.

“It’s been a thrill of a lifetime to do this, really,” the author added.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Books

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NEWS FILE PHOTO
Voters in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Langley may head back to polls in 2021

Election of local politicians in BC vote would trigger by-elections in several Fraser Valley cities

Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society volunteers clean up Aldergrove streams. (Aldergrove Star files)
Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society looking for new members to help protect Aldergrove waterway

The society hopes to hold stream clean-ups and blackberry bush removal events this fall

Coast Spas in Langley was ordered closed by the Fraser Health Authority after 12 staff came down with COVID-19 (undated Google Street View image)
COVID-19 outbreak closes Langley spa manufacturer

Fraser Health reports 12 employees have tested positive

Ferdinand Bredenholler played the last post at the Fort Langley Remembrance Day service in 2019, when a crowd of 6,500 attended. This year, due to the pandemic, organizers are asking the public to follow the ceremonies online rather than attending. (Langley Advance Times file)
A stay-at-home Remembrance Day planned for Fort Langley

Organizers take the annual ceremony online

Pastor Brad Sumner is inviting Halloween trick-or-treaters to visit the Jericho Ridge Community Church for a COVID-compliant celebration. (Courtesy Jericho Ridge Community Church)
VIDEO: A drive-in Halloween at the Jericho Ridge Community Church

A COVID-compliant event for kids on the Langley-Surrey border

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Most Read