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Meet Danielle Wallace of My Big Brother Troy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Wallace.

As a product of Detroit Public Schools and a graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Education, Danielle Wallace is a children’s book author with hopes of giving a voice to underrepresented communities. She is a graduate student studying at Eastern Michigan University, as well as a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Upon completing her undergraduate degree in education and entering the work field, she has worked to design and facilitate youth programs and staff professional development workshops targeted toward enhancing cultural competence/proficiency and aimed at students who may need individualized attention. She has also worked in areas of community and family engagement, bridging communities, families and schools.

Inspired by her nephew, Danielle created this story because she noticed there was something missing in children’s literature. Danielle noticed that there are not a lot of books and stories available for children to learn and talk about students who may deal with a form of special needs or students who may learn in different ways in general. Danielle believes that everyone deserves representation and an opportunity to see themselves reflected in the stories they read, so she created what she could not find.

Has it been a smooth road?
As a self-published author, the journey has not been easy. Danielle had never written and published anything before; furthermore, she had to research and teach herself how to create and produce a final product. She also has been her own marketing and PR agent.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the My Big Brother Troy story. Tell us more about the business.
My Big Brother Troy is the endearing story of an African American family and their journey of navigating through life with a developmentally delayed son. The story is told from the point of view of Sasha, our main character’s younger sister. Troy is developmentally delayed, but that does not interfere with Sasha and her big brother becoming best friends.

Troy’s brain works in a special way that makes it harder for him to control his actions, communicate his words and emotions, and learn in the same manner that his peers learn. Sasha faces the same problem as so many other children–getting other people to understand a member of her family. In bringing us this universal story, she also happens to bring us understanding of something many of us may not encounter in our families but do in our lives.

Sasha explains how she views and interacts with her brother and shows how everybody around them views and interacts with him as well. For all the things that are difficult for Troy, Sasha highlights everything he is good at and all of his efforts to learn in the best way he knows how. The hope is for parents and caretakers to view developmental delays as assets based in the same ways that Sasha does, as opposed to deficit-based.

The main point of this book is to teach acceptance, love, understanding and information regarding children with developmental delays. Perfectly paired with larger-than-life illustrations, this is sure to be a favorite.

Having diverse characters that many children can see themselves reflected in sets this story apart from others. We are most proud of the positive reactions we’ve gotten from families and students who can relate to this content and who are excited about reading this story and others like it.

Along with this story, Danielle is currently working on creating a series of books to continue telling these stories. Danielle also offers readings, signings and book talks for students around the world.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Literature will never go out of style. The way people consume will continue to change, but it will always be important to share the stories of underrepresented voices. This is why my company will continue to create and share in hopes that these books and stories will continue to be a resource to families and classrooms around the world.

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