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

The road into Crofton will be a lot nicer when the roller coaster bumps are taken out of Crofton Road. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Crofton Road improvements to start taking shape Nov. 2

It’ll be a long haul until next summer to get it done and motorists should expect delays

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor has expressed concerns about the excessive freighters parked in the Salish Sea for quite some time. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

Email letters to editor@wltribune.com.
Letters: Ladysmith’s litter lethargy

LSS student Gar Fisher writes that people need to properly dispose of their cigarette butts

Doug Routley has retained his seat as Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA. (Photo submitted)
Routley retains his post as Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA

NDP stronghold in the riding continues despite a strong challenge from the Greens’ Istace

The temporary public washroom located between 531 & 521 1st Avenue will soon be removed to begin construction on the permanent downtown public washroom facility. (Cole Schisler photo)
Construction on downtown public washroom to begin ‘before Christmas’

Council and staff discussed the possibility of a contest to determine the colour of the washroom

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

Most Read