A boy. A superhero. A brave pirate leads his crew of girls and boys. Until the day Sammy feels different. He gets glasses. His parents, teacher, family are happy for Sammy, because they know life is no longer blurry for him. But Sammy feels differently and doesn't like his new glasses as he thinks people can't see him anymore. But then things change for the better.
Through humour, self-realisation and the indomitable spirit of kids, Sammy wins the challenge of change. The heroic pirate returns.
Susanne Gervay, a specialist in child growth and development, identifies the impact of vision impairment and the need to take the issue into the classroom and home.
As a children’s author, she specialises in story engagement to increase awareness of childhood problems. Her new picture book, The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses brings the issue of vision problems into sharper focus. Susanne has worn glasses since childhood.
"I come from a family of glasses, so it's close and personal," says Susanne. "I remember being upset by wearing them, but I needed to see. Every photo of me as a child, teen and young adult is without glasses. As an adult I wear my glasses with pride, but it took a long time to get there."
National marketing manager for Optometry Australia, Trinity Scarf, applauds the book as it addresses such an important issue in an engaging way for kids.
"One in five children suffers from an undetected vision problem, and the effects can be tremendous as it can impact so many areas of a child's educational and social development," said Trinity.
"It can lead to inaccurate labeling of children as slow learners, lacking in confidence or even as troublemakers, when they actually have an undetected vision condition. There is a boom in shortsightedness, with more children than ever at risk of developing vision problems through a variety of factors including increased screen time and less 'green time'.
"Glasses are an essential part of managing vision issues in children, so that they can learn at school and access the world around them. While addressing this, The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses also touches on the important factors of self-esteem and social inclusion which can often come up for kids," she concluded.
Children need to have a full eye examination before starting school, then throughout primary and secondary school.
The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses is available from www.ekbooks.org and wherever great books are sold. Teacher notes are also available.