“The Unlikely Friendship: a book About Down Syndrome” illustrated by 15 year old Anaya Jain was released by Tara Sharma Saluja today at Title Waves, Bandra West, Mumbai. Anaya Jain conceptualised and illustrated the book for the purpose of raising awareness about Down Syndrome, while sensitising the future generation about it making sure they would know how to treat people with the same. The book release was well attended by Anupam Mittal, Shailesh Lodha, Aakanksha Kedia from Jai Vakeel Foundation and Anaya’s school principal, friends, family and many book lovers.
The book is published by Partridge India and authored by Smriti Rathi and has a touching story about Aryan, a child with Down syndrome who struggles to fit into his new school. He attempts to make friends and tries out for the football team, but no one accepts him. Little did he know that he would soon form the most unlikely friendship because of his love for football.
Anaya Jain, the conceptualiser and illustrator of The Unlikely Friendship: A book about The Down Syndrome said, “I wanted to use my art to create a children’s book which focused on the genetic condition of Down syndrome as there isn’t much awareness about it. The idea behind the book is to help educate the next generation and not only make children more aware of such disabilities but also be empathetic towards it. The aim is to make children who are differently-abled feel more included in today’s society. An inclusive society is one in which everyone is treated equally and given the tools they need to make decisions and participate in society, regardless of colour, gender, sexuality, age, or disability.
On releasing the book, Tara Sharma Saluja, Actress, Entrepreneur, Creator, Co Producer and Host of The Tara Sharma Show said, “An Unlikely Friendship. A book about Down Syndrome, is a wonderful little book that raises awareness on Down Syndrome, inclusion and the fact that sport is often a huge leveller and tool to enable inclusion. Our kids are passionate about football and I often observe how they make so many friends through playing together. Kids today in many ways are more empathetic and understanding of special needs etc as there is more awareness than before, thanks to books like this. We have done several episodes on The Tara Sharma Show on inclusion and special needs and even one on Down Syndrome with a wonderful family Pooja, Norah and Vivek. Every child is a star. That message comes out beautifully in Anaya’s lovely illustrations and Smriti’s simple and good writing. Wonderful achievement to have conceptualised this at such a young age, a huge congrats and I am honoured to be launching this sweet little book.”
Paridhi and Chetan Jain, parents of Anaya Jain said, “It’s an indeed an overwhelming moment for us. We are so proud of Anaya’s achievements. It’s great to see her hard work being rewarded. She is a very empathetic and a compassionate child, which has all been reflected in her efforts of last one year. It’s so nice to see her work being appreciated and reaching a larger target audience. We hope that this book inspires many and we all have a kinder world to live in.”
Popular entrepreneur and Shark Tank Judge, Anupam Mittal said, “It’s truly impressive that Anaya has conceived & illustrated a book on Down Syndrome, a subject that is often overlooked in our society except for those directly affected. The illustrations & characters are extremely well conceptualised bringing life to the story of Aryan and many other kids like him. Hats off to Anaya & her parents for the sensitivity, empathy & compassion she has shown at this young age and made us think about building a more inclusive & just society. I am thrilled to be part of the launch and hope this encourages many more young people to come forward with more such inspiring initiatives.”
An excerpt from the book reads:
“Now I have a few announcements. As you can see, we have three new students joining us. These students are differently abled and have Down syndrome—a genetic disease that causes them to look a bit different from others. I hope I can trust each and every one of you to help make them comfortable in their new school”
This book has a social message, while having different illustrations which helps the reader picture this occurring as well. The biggest take away from the book for the readers especially young children is to be more mindful about how they treat others. The proceeds from sale of this book will be donated to Jai Vakeel Foundation, one of the oldest and largest not for profit Institutes in the country which empowers the lives of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
“The Unlikely Friendship: A book About Down Syndrome”
Softcover | 8.5 x 8.5in | 32 pages | ISBN 9781543708578
E-Book | 32 pages | ISBN 9781543708547
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble