Galia is a young girl from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who likes to ride her bike, dance, and spend time with her father, Gérald, who has muscular dystrophy and has been in a wheelchair since he was a young boy. Despite his disability, Gérald received a master’s degree from Harvard University, served as President Michel Martelly’s Secretary of State with the disability portfolio, and enjoys many of the same activities with his daughter as other dads.
During his five years in public office, Secretary Gérald Oriol Jr. recognized his country’s critical shortage of children’s literature, particularly related to disability, and encouraged his friend and adviser James English to create a children’s book for Haiti, which has an estimated one million persons with disabilities, a number that increased significantly following the 2010 earthquake.
Galia’s Dad Is in a Wheelchair aims to counter negative stereotypes and stigmas surrounding disability and is believed to be the only children’s book on the subject in Haiti available in Creole, French, and English. The book’s positive messages, which promote disability awareness and close parent-child relations, are universal and extend to general readers beyond the small Caribbean island nation.
Teddy Keser Mombrun, a political cartoonist for Haiti’s largest newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, used Haiti’s unique color palette and landscapes to create illustrations for the book.
About the Author
JAMES EDWARD ENGLISH works at Texas Christian University (TCU) where he cochairs the Global Innovators Initiative. From 2011 to 2016, English served as an adviser to Gérald Oriol Jr., Haiti’s Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities. He has published articles on Haiti in Ability Magazine, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel and the Caribbean Journal.