Using a ladybug as the stand-in for any person, Seaford resident Tania Scaduto wrote a self-published book “The Ladybug Without Spots” that aims to explain the differences people might have in a way that children will understand.
Scaduto’s daughter, Dakota, 1, was born with infantile hemangioma that causes strawberry-colored spots to appear on the body.
The hemangiomas – the spots – are made up of blood vessels that form improperly and multiple across the body more than usual. The blood vessels receive signals to grow fast early in the baby’s life. It typically appears at birth or within the first few week after birth.
“With so much information out there for parents, I noticed there was really nothing for children, so I wrote and published a children’s book geared toward children with hemangioma,” Scaduto said.
She describes the story as a “sweet” one “that celebrates the light within each of us.” The ladybug without spots questions why she was born looking different from the ladybugs with spots. Scaduto noted that her parents tell her it is the difference that makes her special.
The ladybug than seeks out what Scaduto called “the most children in the world,” landing on them and leaving her mark to symbolize a hemangioma.
“The goal is to instill confidence [in children] regardless of perceived differences,” Scaduto said. “The more secure we feel about our own vulnerabilities we can replace judgment with curiosity.”
Published in December, the book evolved from a short poem to a full-fledged 6’’ x 6” board book for young children, Scaduto said, who is promoting it in advance of Vascular Birthmark Awareness Day on May 15.
“The response from parents and children has been overwhelmingly positive, so I thought why not help boost awareness by having our local newspaper shed light on the topic,” she wrote in her introductory email to the Herald.
Though the book was published without a publishing house, Scaduto did receive help in producing the book from Get Your Book Illustrations, an online company that assists an author in putting their book together.
“Our process is to discuss the project and find out what the author needs and what their goals are,” company founder and owner Karen Ferreira wrote in an email.
Ferreira outlined her company’s four-step process: Character design, where the company sketch and color the books main characters.
Through storyboarding, rough thumbnail sketches of each scene are drawn to help the way the illustrations flow and help ensure they tell the story. Then there are detailed sketches called line art, where final, detailed drawing of the illustrations are done. The last step is adding the color.
“On each step the author gets to give feedback and we revise as need so that they are happy with the work,” Ferreira stated. “With Tania it was a collaborative proves between her and the illustrator (Natalya), to capture her vision and the feeling and the message she wanted the book to convey.”
Calling the idea behind the book “wonderful” Ferreira said that the book “takes something that may make a child shy about themselves and makes it fun and endearing.” “There can never too many books that help kids understand and celebrate our differences,” she said.
Scaduto said that any person who buys “The Ladybug Without Spots” on May 15, they will receive a complimentary Ladybug Without Spots sticker. Go to theladybugwithoutspots.com.