This summer, we met “Celeste*” and her mum at a local comic book signing event. This brave eleven-year old girl identified herself as autistic, and professed her love of the Shimmer characters in our books. Her mother shared something amazing with us: Celeste’s support team were happily surprised to see Celeste at work. She has filled countless journals with her own character designs and copies of how she’d draw our characters. Celeste talked at length with us about her ideas. She felt proud that she could correctly identify other character who also show autistic traits. Celetese shared her comic book observations with her support team, who were equally impressed how a normally shy and reserved girl suddenly spoke eloquently about autism.
Celeste used our comics to identify autism in her fictional friends and in herself. Celeste became a SELF-ADVOCATE. This story gets better…
Next, she showed us her artwork. Celeste made a new character, The Hiding Girl, whom we’ve revealed this week. This is not some super-powered champion, although she has some unique abilities. The Hiding Girl battles ANXIETY more than any comic book villain. Celeste wanted to see how a comic book character would manage her anxiety during some very interesting times.
After having lunch with Celeste and her mother, we worked out agreements to use her character. We have creative control over use, but want to respect the ideas by Celeste. The Hiding Girl will be part of an already-planned group of teenage girls with special powers. Together, they offer assistance to The Zephyr and the forces of good against the mad Dr. Moebius!
One of her special abilities is her portable “black hole.” She can pull surprisingly useful things from it in a bind. However, her anxiety over the current situation in our stories swells. Honestly, how would anyone feel about pulling a dinosaur from a cross-dimensional hole-in-the-wall? As The Hiding Girl learns to manage her anxiety, she also gains more control over what she finds in the black hole.
Kids want and need heroes like themselves, and this includes kids with anxiety. We want everyone to feel welcomed when they read our comics. If Celeste used our comic book, on her own and with help from her mother, to correctly understand certain things about autism, can she learn to control her OWN anxiety, too?
In the near future, we will release a special four-page adventure featuring The Hiding Girl. This FREE, full color mini-adventure will be available for digital download. We will use our founder’s certification as a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) therapist to weave correct clinical portrayals of anxiety, like we have done with autism. We will offer suggestions about helpful coping skills in a fun way in this social story.
To this end, we seek qualified professionals willing to share their coping strategies for young persons with anxiety. Please message us directly in this social media for more details.
* Name changed to protect a young person’s privacy. “Celeste” chose her own pen-name! Images approved by Celeste and her mother. Do you see the resemblance between these two brave girls?!