Nina Skauge: I am a mother to a young man with Downs Syndrome. He is now 28, but when he was younger I searched for books that he could read. Or, to be honest, books we could read together, since he is not a very skilled reader. Well, such books turned out to be almost non existent in the Norwegian market. Books were either too complicated or too childish. So, since I am also a publisher, a writer and a graphic designer I decided to do the job myself. The result being The Tigers Gang – a series of short (32 pages each) easy-to-read books with lots of colourful illustrations. The past two years I have published twelve books, and five more will be on the market in February/May 2017.
The Tigers Gang
The main characters are six adult friends, five living in separate apartments in the same block of flats and one living on her own in another part of town. I have wanted to make them as normal and “cool” as possible, both in writing and illustrations. But as the stories unfold you will understand that they all need some kind of assistance to manage every day life. They have different personalities and backgrounds, but no specific diagnosis. Their challenges are described as: needing more time to think, not being fond of rapid changes, having trouble understanding difficult things, sometimes feeling different etc. They are also nice, nasty, good, disobedient, brave, petty, grand, sad and happy – just like the rest of us.
Through my son, his friends, my publishing work and as a part time employee in a sheltered home for people with mental disabilities I think I know a thing or two about the challenges and interested of people with Downs Syndrome. The stories are created partly in cooperation with them, through reading groups, interviews and mails. My aim is to create stories that touch them in a way that activates their own thinking rather than telling them what to do or not to do. Even when a topic is rather serious I aim to find a balance between laughter and tears. And some of the stories are just meant to be entertaining. The list below contain some of the topics in the first seventeen book:
- Social relations: roles and cooperation with others.
- Feelings: Understanding your own as well as those of others.
- Friendship: The difference between a best friend, a colleague, a class mate or a neighbour.
- Independence: The conflict between wanting to be independent and needing assistance.
- Disabled: Wanting to be “normal” while knowing you’re different.
- Love: finding a boyfriend/girlfriend, jealousy and managing a relationship.
- Aging and death: Losing a grandparent or a friend.
- Economy: Understanding the value of money, using a bankcard etc.
- Health: Overweight, food and exercise.
- Sexual harassment: What it is, what you’re not allowed to do and when to say NO.
- The digital world: Coping with Facebook, mail and mobiles.
- Society: Understanding scary TV and Internet news about wars, terror and refugees
Would you like The Tigers Gang in your language? Rights for all books, or a selection, can be purchased for publishing rights in European countries. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.