Going to an optometrist can be routine for adults, but not so for many children. For them, a visit to an eye doctor can be filled with a lot of unknowns.
Kristin B. Gyimah, J.D., knows this all too well. So as a Wright State University graduate — and as a mother to three children — she addressed that issue through a children’s book she co-authored, “Teddy Gets Glasses.”
Gyimah, who in 2003 earned a bachelor’s degree in English and minors in communication and Spanish from Wright State, said she and a friend each had a child in their life who needed corrective glasses at the time.
“We looked for ways to help encourage them, but we couldn’t find much,” said Gyimah, a consultant who leads a faith-based coaching program. “There was only a small pool of books, and none seemed to do what we hoped they’d do, especially for African American children. It felt like an opportunity for us to fill that gap.”
A book was born.
Gyimah and her former law school classmate and friend, Tanisha Wilburn, collaborated on the writing. They then found an illustrator and connected with a book distribution company that partners with self-publishers to produce the book.
In early December it became available online, including platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, GoodReads and more. They are working to get physical copies of the book available in bookstores soon.
The book’s title sets the story. “It’s about a little boy who was nervous about the process,” Gyimah said. “Teddy sees one of his friends in the doctor’s office and essentially says, ‘Oh, you come here, too.”
She said a child can often think he or she is all alone, but then they see others who face the same situation. That can help remove the concern of whatever they’re about to face or dealing with at the time.
With the help of his parents and the optometrist, getting glasses isn’t so bad after all for Teddy. “The undertone of the storyline is that Teddy’s not doing this alone,” said the Cincinnati native.
“It’s really for kids, but it’s written in a way that parents can enjoy as well,” she said. “It’s a solid read. What makes it even more engaging is the illustration. Honestly, any age can enjoy this book!”
Writing a children’s book was something on Gyimah’s bucket list. “I wanted to do this a long time ago,” she said.
She learned a lot about writing and bringing a book to market, knowledge that she said she’ll put to use with her next books.
“That’s the long-term plan,” she said about whether another book is forthcoming.
In addition to some adult-focused books, she said she has several possible topics along the same lines as “Teddy Gets Glasses” — “things that young children may have to deal with that could try to make them feel insecure, to help navigate those real-life experiences, build confidence and face challenges they may encounter.”
She credits her husband, Kofi Gyimah, a 2004 Wright State graduate who was on the baseball team, with “being our biggest supporter and encourager along the way.” She, too, was a student-athlete, being a four-year player and captain on the women’s soccer team.
Gyimah also credits Wright State. Having the foundation from writing as an English major “set the stage for future writing opportunities. I’ve always enjoyed writing.”
She also put that writing experience to good use while earning a juris doctor degree in 2007 from Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law.
“The knowledge I gained and my experience from pursuing my undergraduate degree at Wright State helped me to do this and hopefully write many other books down the line,” Gyimah said.