Hayden The Perfect Hedgehog may just be the perfect book to entertain children while opening their eyes to the world of differences around them. Children will want to read, or be read, this wonderful story of acceptance again and again.
Mountaintop resident Arla Jayne (Tomasko) penned Hayden The Perfect Hedgehog, her first book, which was quite an endeavor after having a corporate background for 30 years that naturally included diversity training. But Arla had been pondering the story she wanted to tell in a children’s book.
“Our thoughts on diversity stem from childhood,” says Arla. “Hayden lived in Tiny Yard with his mother. When he and his mother went on adventure beyond Tiny Yard, Hayden saw things that were very different from the world he knew, beginning with a toad who had a squeaky voice.”
Hayden’s mother took her son beyond their home in Tiny Yard so he could go to school but Hayden’s education really began along the way as he became aware of how different the bigger world is.
Hayden is actually the name of Arla’s 24-year old son who left his “Tiny Yard” for life as a teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. Arla relates that Hayden, her daughters, Tara, 26, and Tricia, 24, helped guide her in writing the story of Hayden The Perfect Hedgehog.
“I grew up locally in Plymouth and, at that time, I did hear racist comments and I vowed I wouldn’t raise my son that way,” relates Arla.
And she didn’t. Arla decided she would send her son Hayden to a daycare center in Wilkes-Barre to take him out of his “tiny yard” where he would indeed meet others different from himself. “Well when he started pointing out people he knew to me using colors I was shocked. But he was identifying them by the color of their shirts, not their skin!”
Arla related that she always wanted to be an author and explained it took her a few months to develop her characters. She noted Hayden The Perfect Hedgehog will be the first in a series with some recurring characters. Arla commented she is thrilled with the success her book is receiving. Hayden The Perfect Hedgehog is available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It will soon be carried in the Wilkes-Barre store. A book signing will be scheduled in the near future. The book is self-published through Christian Faith Publishing.
Arla feels the book has an important message focusing on kindness and acceptance. “Now that parents are less engaged, if the book changes one child, it will be a success,” concludes Arla.
You can enter to win a copy of Hayden The Perfect Hedgehog in this week’s edition! The entry form can be found on page 6 or you can enter online through our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MountaintopEagle.