At Blackwell's bookshop on London's Charing Cross Road on a balmy June evening the book was launched to a small, select group of friends, family, press, librarians and illustrators and disability champions all of whom were keen to hear more about how the team worked together to produce this wonderful picture book.
Following on from Tim's introduction to the Blackwell's list Alex took to the microphone and promised us that once she started talking her incomparable excitement at having the book published might mean that she couldn't stop - non-one minded, we all wanted to hear what she had to say!
Alex told us how she saw Max as the 'poster boy' for the Blackwell's list and that his story was lovely, a reflection of society and a celebration of inclusion and equality. Writing a book about disability she explained is a careful balancing act, there are moments of frustration, anger and then action, wanting to be inclusive not correct and include as many different, diverse images as possible.
Alex and Sean first met when they were both working on the NASN book awards, NASN is the uk professional association embracing special and educational needs and disabilities, they found a shared passion and the partnership grew from there.
Ros then explained a little about the way in which she drew on the story to recreate the characters in her drawings and the importance of showing even the smallest of disabilities including - and look out for this detail - a hearing aid.
We then heard from Aminder Virdee who, along with her brother, as a disabled child met with misunderstanding and the wrong type of sympathy and reaction. Both she and her brother have helped the team create Max and his story in a way that presents all children as equal. It is important Aminder noted, that children, able and disabled, recognise that disability is not second class and Max does this brilliantly.
|Alex & Janetta|
Like parents sending their first child on its way Alex, Sean and Ros were happily emotional, thanking their whole team and all of us who went along to support as well as all of you who will become the books' intended audience.