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

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)

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

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Stz’uminus artist Luke Marston designs new mask for Canucks goalie

The mask features artwork inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Ladysmith school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Emergency services were on scene at 1st Avenue and Warren Street after a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle. (Submitted photo)
Skateboarder ‘bumped’ by vehicle on 1st Avenue

Emergency services personnel say the skateboarder is uninjured

Parents Robin Ringer and Wyatt Gilmore with the No. 1 baby of 2021 in the Cowichan Valley. They have yet to decide on a name for her. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus couple excited about having the New Year’s baby for the Cowichan Valley

Recent arrivals from Fort Nelson celebrate their girl coming into the world on Jan. 7

Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee is expected to vote on a recommendation that could see busing between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo staff recommending bus route to Cowichan Valley

More than 1,900 survey respondents expressed support for inter-regional transit, notes RDN report

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Suspect causes pain and damage in incident downtown Friday morning

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Most Read