The First Day Speech by Isabelle Hadala

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Isabelle Hadala
Wild Onion Press
Date of release

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Nathan is excited about finally being old enough to go to school, but what will the first day be like? Who will be his friend? He also has a special worry: will the other kids make fun of him? When he practices wearing first-day outfits-- going as a pirate, an astronaut, a bank robber-- his older brother assures him, "Those won't do. You have to go as yourself." Finally, Nathan bravely faces his worries and asks his mother to arrange with his new teacher to allow him to give a speech on the first day of school. Nathan is a fictional character based on the real-life experience of Isabelle Hadala, who prior to her first day of kindergarten arranged with her teacher to give a speech to explain that she was born with Ectodermal Dysplasia, a condition that halted the development of most of her fingers, teeth and toes. Each year, "Izzy" has continued to give her first-day speech, addressing her classmates' curiosity, assuring them that she is not contagious, that she will not fall and break, that she was " born this way and, it is not catching," and that "inside," she is just like they are. Now Izzy's story is becoming this charming picture book featuring Nathan, a fictional character with a craniofacial difference, to represent the universal desire of every child to be accepted for just who they are. With the wisdom of a teacher and the humor of classmates, who are eager to display the ways in which they are each different, the fictional character Nathan realizes that his classmates see him in a way even better than he hoped. They see him as a new friend. Illustrator: Jose Pardo graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from New Jersey City University. For seven years, he worked at Disney designing and illustrating art for merchandise for the theme parks, worldwide- including the grand opening artwork for Hong Kong Disneyland. Currently, he is a graphic artist in the merchandising department of Universal Studios Florida.


The First Day Speech

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