As a teacher with a physical disability, Dorrett Homer has become accustomed to answering an array of questions from her students. Now, she’s published her first children’s book to help inspire and teach children about living life with a physical disability.
Titled, ‘Hi Ms. Homer’ the children’s book, which was published in May of this year, is based on snippets of Homer’s experiences within the classroom with students.
Homer was born with a congenital birth defect resulting in her left arm being significantly shorter than her right arm, and also only has three fingers.
“Even though my arm is like this, I don’t let it stop me. I live a regular normal life with three children and my husband of 28 years,” said Homer.
‘Hi Ms. Homer’ takes the reader through the various questions students asked her over the years, including why she was born this way, can she write, can she hold a cup, and can she put her arm above her head.
“I just answered those questions for the students to let them know how much someone that is born with a disability still is able to function in society just like anyone else,” said Homer. “I also tried to inspire them to know even if they have a disability that they are more than capable of setting goals and reaching dreams, and not to let it discourage them; having a physical disability doesn’t hamper you from living a life.”
In an effort to bring further representation into children’s literature, Homer published her second book in July titled ‘Compliments to My Mommy’.
Focused on a little girl who wants to give her mom a gift for Mother’s Day, by writing messages on pieces of paper in a jar and having her pull them out, Homer said it has a ‘Caribbean twist’.
“It’s important for children that they are not seeing things from one lens, or fixed one way,” said Homer.
To celebrate to publication of both her books, Homer held a signing event outside of Shelburne’s No Frills on Sunday (Nov. 7).
Nkese Charles attended the signing event, and told the Free Press she was purchasing the books for her daughter Kalea.
“First of all this is someone who is local in town and I though we need to go and support them. Hearing that it had a message about pushing forward, and persevering even if you are differently abled, I thought was a really positive message,” said Charles.
Sabrina Singh, a teaching assistant for the Peel school board working with students in the autism program, said she was purchasing the book for her students.
“They’re curious about disabilities because they themselves have one,” said Singh. “This is a good way to show them, that I live in a town where someone is an author and has a physical disability.”
One of Homer’s own students from Shelburne, Danielle McFarlene, was even in attendance for the book sale and signing.
McFarlene said it was “cool” to see her teacher publish a book.
Seeing the response to her books, Homer said she was thankful for the support from local businesses and community members.
Homer’s books are available on Barnes & Noble, Ingram Spark, and Amazon.
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press