Research has shown that building resilience in the face of adversity or challenges helps children and young people develop effective coping strategies and improve long-term outcomes across a spectrum of illnesses. You Are So Much More reminds children who have gone through or are going through an illness or injury that they are indeed so much more. Trauma survivor and medical student Serena Tejpar shares a story of inspiration, reflection, and encouragement that can be read over and over again.
ANOOSHA LALANI is a strong proponent of storytelling as a vehicle for social activism. Her art and stories showcase minorities and cultures not often positively portrayed in the mainstream media. Having lived in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Poland, she has had the wonderful opportunity to be exposed to a vibrant range of cultures, which have often found their way into her stories. You can find her young adult fantasy novel, The Keepers at bookstores near you!
IMAN TEJPAR is currently an undergraduate student at Carleton University studying Architectural Conservation and Sustainability Engineering. Aside from her professional and academic endeavors she has a passion for fine arts and design and has recently been developing her skills in digital art. Her passion for this field also led her to illustrate her first book, A Manual for Marco at the young age of 12.
"You Are So Much More captures the illness experience through the lens of an ill or injured child so well because it is the other's very own lived experience. Serena Tejpar's ability to translate her illness journey so beautifully into this work is a reflection of the unique set of her circumstances - preternaturally bright, still just coming into adulthood, grievously ill yet with a miraculous recovery. She has put, on paper, a story that will hold great meaning to those traveling a sad and similar road. For children fortunate enough never to have been touched by illness or injury, this story provides a wonderful window into that experience and permits readers to better understand friends, classmates, or relatives experiencing the tragedy of childhood illness. As an author, a story teller, and a graduating physician, Serena Tejpar really is so much more."
"Despite our best intentions, healthcare providers often make children feel more like patients than people. Serena Tejpar’s beautifully illustrated You Are So Much More is like a positive mantra; brief recitations that remind young readers living with chronic medical conditions that their illness does not define them. By openly acknowledging the emotional challenges and physical stress that often come with chronic and serious conditions, You Are So Much More will resonate with many pediatric patients -affirming the way they feel when times are tough while helping them appreciate their own inner strength, resilience, and continued growth."
"You Are So Much More is a beautifully written and illustrated first-person account of the importance of validating a child’s feelings and self-worth, and recognizing children are separate from and not defined by the condition that is keeping them in hospital. This book gives permission for kids to normalize their feelings, and serves as an excellent conversation starter and tool for parents and caregivers to engage with their children in these important and necessary discussions."
"This book is an amazing resource for children and families who are struggling with medical trauma. Within the pages, the reader will find healing and hope messages that are truly important when we sometimes forget that sun can follow dark days."
"I am thoroughly impressed with the children's book, "You Are So Much More". It is geared toward children experiencing long term hospital stays and reminds them that their illness or injury does not define them. While many outsiders often try to distract a compromised child with upbeat messages and avoid talking about the elephant in the room, Serena Tejpar acknowledges the child's situation, even all of the bad parts, and then puts into perspective that there is more to the child than their medical condition. She is both realistic and supportive. Tejpar creates a self-dialogue with positive messages the child can use, reminding them of their strength, resilience, and bravery. I am pleased to read a book written by such a medical student. Her empathy will carry her far as she exercises her skills in the life work of healing others."
"As a Play Therapist, I am constantly working with children with chronic issues. I loved how You Are So Much More focuses on the child and not the illness. I found it to be a sweet, encouraging, uplifting, and a compassionate way of encouraging children with chronic illnesses to cherish themselves and cope with their emotions as they heal. At a time where many families are facing illness and hospitalizations it is a timely message that I am excited to share with the families I work with."
"You Are So Much More is a great children's book about resiliency and remaining a kid while navigating life's unexpected challenges. This book will help children see that they are not alone when they fall ill. By including some of the unpleasant parts of being in a hospital, Serena Tejpar has opened the door for children to ask questions and to receive honest answers about their care and journey. The illustrations are a beautiful addition to the story that are inclusive and will enable children of various backgrounds to see themselves within this story. "
"You Are So Much More is a wonderful children's book for young children who are going through challenging situations due to an illness or other health issues. It allows them to name and validate feelings that they may be experiencing while going through a difficult period in their lives. It is a good read for the adults who are caring for them, who may not fully understand the whirlwind of emotions that their child is having. This book allows both the caregivers and the child to start a conversation about the rollercoaster of emotions that they might both be going through but were unable to open up about before. The words in this book are hopeful, motivating and inspiring for any young child having to deal with being in a hospital for prolonged periods of time and for various reasons. The book helps children to understand that they are still a kid and they are allowed to have all those feelings and emotions. At the same time, reminding them that they are wonderful people and not to define themselves by their illness or injury."
"You Are So Much More is one of the best books I've read that helps get kids through the experience of being ill, injured, or having surgery. Beautifully-illustrated and in an age-appropriate way, it captures the interior experience of being unwell or in pain. It's a book that every parent should read to their child who is ill in hospital or recovering at home."
"You Are So Much More enhances perspective-taking skills and empathy; key characteristics during childhood development. This story will take you on a journey of the countless emotions that one may go through while healing."
"This book is ‘so much more’ than a story, it is a message of strength and courage for children experiencing illness and hospitalization, for their parents and caregivers. The author refers to the reader in the first person and the narrative stimulates the internal resources of the child. Under the guidance of a caring adult, the book becomes a useful addition to children’s recovery process."
Serena is based in T’karonto, Ontario, also known as Toronto, which is the traditional lands of the Wendat, the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit.
Visit https://native-land.ca/ to find out the land and territory you are on.
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