A new addition to the bestselling Rainbow Magic children’s book series, Lois The Balloon Fairy features a fairy with vitiligo – and we couldn’t be more excited.
The Rainbow Magic series follows a group of friends who embark on magical adventures with their fairy friends. In Lois The Balloon Fairy, Rachel, Kirsty, Gracie and Khadijah set out to help Lois the Balloon Fairy find her magical balloons so that birthday parties everywhere can be saved. And, as it turns out, Lois the Balloon Fairy has vitiligo.
When Lois is introduced in the book, her character is described as someone with pale patches.
The balloon burst. A shower of glittery confetti sprinkled down on the girls, and a tiny fairy fluttered down among the sparkles. “It’s Lois the Balloon Fairy,” said Kirsty in delight. “Hi Lois.” Lois was wearing denim shorts and patterned purple and yellow top. She had brown skin with pale patches, shiny brown eyes and deep-brown coily hair.
Later in the adventure, Lois mentions that she needs to wear extra sunscreen and long sleeves to protect her pale patches, noting that it’s called vitiligo. “It isn’t sore or contagious… It’s just like having a birthmark. It’s what makes me me,” she says.
Publisher, Hachette Children’s Group, said they wanted to publish a story with a character that had vitiligo because they felt it was important to have their books appeal to children from all backgrounds and that all children can see themselves represented in these stories.
They commented “We decided to approach the depiction of vitiligo in the story with a light touch where the narrative doesn’t centre around her condition and the way she looks because we intended to normalise that representation, and also wanted to centre her as a fully rounded character”.
It’s stories like these that allow children to see themselves represented whilst teaching them about diversity and respecting those who are considered different.
“We hope that children with vitiligo will enjoy seeing someone who looks like them represented in a positive way. We also hope that children who may not have awareness of vitiligo will be educated through the story in a way that is fun and accessible. We are grateful for the support of the Vitiligo Society in the creation of Lois the Balloon Fairy”. Hachette continued.
Since sharing Lois The Balloon Fairy on the Society social media platforms, parents have been keen to buy a copy. Lydia Garner, Mum to 9 year old Savanna says her daughter loved the book!
“I found this story very funny with lots of expressions and emphasis! I like to read the rainbow magic books so I was very happy that my mum found “Lois the balloon fairy” as she has vitiligo like me. Lois also needs to wear sunscreen and protect her skin like me too! Lois has friends who are kind to her, like mine are to me”.
Prior to publishing, Hachette Children’s Group reached out to the Vitiligo Society to collaborate with the organization on a review of the book for accuracy in the depiction of vitiligo. Natalie Ambersley, VitLife and Social Media Editor, was thrilled to have the opportunity to weigh in.
“The absolute joy I felt when this new children’s book from the popular Rainbow Magic children’s series fell through my letterbox a few weeks back,” shared Natalie on her Instagram. “Thank you [Hachette Childrens’ Group] for making this children’s book a reality for so many kids that want to see themselves represented in imaginative stories.”
For Natalie, the opportunity was personal–as she knows what it was like to grow up without this type of representation for vitiligo.
“These are the books I wanted to read as a child,” said Natalie, who got vitiligo as a child. “I wanted to see characters with vitiligo that I automatically connected with and made me feel part of what the everyday girl looked like.”
The Rainbow Magic series is ghostwritten by a number of authors under the collective pseudonym Daisy Meadows and recommended for children ages five and older.
Lois the Balloon Fairy is now available for purchase on Amazon and all major bookstores.
You can keep up to date with the latest in vitiligo and join the online community here: https://www.instagram.com/vitiligosociety/?hl=en