Representation of diversity has the power to illuminate cultures and ways of life that were earlier considered unfamiliar. After all, it is essential that the voices of all backgrounds and ethnicities are heard and represented across all art forms. One of the most powerful forms of representation comes in the form of books. However, the representation of vitiligo, especially in children’s books, has been missing for far too long. Thankfully, people like Theresa Garee are making sure that it doesn’t happen anymore.
Theresa’s daughter, Nakota, is now eight years old. In the winter of her first-grade year, Theresa started to notice whiter areas around her eyes, on her shoulders and around her moles. “When we took her to a dermatologist, he confirmed she had vitiligo. He tried to calm the blow by showing us that he had the condition, albeit to a lesser degree and that it was nothing to be scared of,” Theresa recalls Nakota’s early vitiligo days.
One day Theresa joined Nakota at her school for her lunch. One of her favorite friends sat with them. Theresa tells us more about the incidence. “I noted how dark, smooth and beautiful his skin was. Then he surprised me when he asked why Nakota got all those spots, This was when it hit me. Nakota was alone every day having to face peers with the same questions.”
This is what prompted Theresa to ask herself how these questions make her daughter feel. Those answers combined with her need as a mother to show Nakota how very special she is, motivated her to put together a book – “My Spots”.
What is “My Spots” all about?
A vitiligo awareness book for young readers, My Spots is inspired by the first-hand experience of Nakota Garee. Nakota imagines herself as beautiful animals of the world that are known for their spots. Vitiligo affects one percent of the entire world’s population. It can often leave people feeling isolated when others stare or ask the same questions. You too can help your child understand the skin disorder with this fun as well as an inspirational perspective on vitiligo. “My Spots” is available for purchase on Amazon.
We hope that every educator will place this book in their library to help others understand the skin condition. Spreading knowledge is the best way to calm fears about the unknown in vitiligo.