The Children’s Book Review | January 25, 2017
“Glasses” is a positive book about babies and toddlers wearing glasses. Read all about it …
Jillian Sciacca: What inspired you to write Glasses?
Ann Gwinn Zawistoski: The book is directly inspired by my oldest daughter who got glasses when she was a year old. This is the book that I wish had existed for her at that age. Being a librarian, I’m a strong believer in the power of books to help people learn new things and process changes. There are a lot of (great) books out there for older kids getting glasses, but they weren’t books that my young toddler would relate to. At that point, she loved looking at picture books of other babies and young kids, and I kept hoping I’d find a book that had even one child her age wearing glasses. Right around that time, I started a website for parents of young kids in glasses (Little Four Eyes). The website has a photo gallery of babies and young kids in glasses to help parents see the range of options available. I started hearing from parents that their children were more willing to wear their glasses after seeing photos of other kids their age in glasses. That pushed me to finally write this book.
Can you describe your book in three words?
Cute, bespectacled children
Along with writing the book Glasses, what else are you doing to ensure children who need glasses, wear them?
I run a website for parents of kids in glasses (or contacts or eye patches). The main goal of that site is to provide parents with support and accurate information about why children with vision problems need early treatment. There’s a pretty high percentage of kids who have vision problems caught early, and are prescribed glasses, but for a whole host of reasons don’t wear their glasses. I know I can’t solve all the problems, but I can help parents learn about why it’s important and provide support for making sure their children get what they need to see better.
I’m also a co-founder and organizer of the Great Glasses Play Day, which is an annual event in May for families with young kids in glasses, contacts and eye patches. It’s a chance to get together and celebrate the advances that help their children see better. We also use the event to raise awareness about the importance of catching and treating vision issues early.
At what age do you recommend that a child should have their vision checked?
The American Optometric Association recommends the first vision exam between 6 and 12 months and then if there are no problems, a second exam at 3 years. The American Pediatrics Association and American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus recommend that children be screened by their pediatrician at well-children visits, with vision exams if there’s a family history or any indication of a problem. I recommend that parents take their child to an eye doctor for a vision exam after the age of 6 months if they have any concerns at all because it can be hard to catch vision problems, even at pediatrician screenings. There’s a great program in the United States called InfantSEE that provides free vision exams for babies age 6 to 12 months. Around 1 in 20 preschoolers should be wearing glasses
Do you have any other books in the works?
I’m working on an e-book for parents of young kids in glasses, I’m planning on just publishing that on my website rather than through a publisher at this point.
Are you an early bird, or a night owl? When do find that it is easiest to write?
I am very much a night owl, but my work and family’s schedules keep me from staying up as late as I’d like. I’m writing this in the morning from the back seat of my vanpool. I take my writing time where I can get it these days.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
My undergraduate degree is in geology. I work as a librarian at a college, and I love my job, but I still have my rock hammer, and there’s nothing better on a beautiful day than going out and hitting rocks with a hammer.
What words of advice can you offer to someone who would like to make a difference in some way?
Think about what you’re good at and what you love doing and find a way to harness that energy and put it to work. I love helping people find support and information, so that’s where I’ve focused my time and energy. And then – and I think this may be the most important part – find other people with the same interests and passions, but different talents. I am so lucky that I found my publisher and co-founder of the Great Glasses Play Day, Kristin Ellsworth, who runs Peeps Eyewear. She is a huge advocate for children’s vision, is connected to the eye care community, and is amazing at logistical support and keeping things organized. The other organizer of the Great Glasses Play Day, Jessica Butler, runs Eye Power Kids Wear, she’s a great artist and is very good with social media and traditional media. The three of us together get so much more done than if we were trying to do things on our own.
What else can we expect from you in the future?
Well, I’m planning on continuing my website and the Great Glasses Play Day. As a librarian, I’m very interested in exploring how people evaluate and use information sources in their everyday lives, and how they talk about those sources on social media.
Written by Ann Gwinn Zawistoski
Publisher’s Synopsis: “Glasses” is a positive book about babies and toddlers wearing glasses. It features vivid photographs of young children playing and having fun, and it has a simple rhyming text that talks about different glasses and how they help you to see. The book is a perfect choice for parents, daycare centers, preschools, children’s library collections and children’s optical professional’s offices.
“If you are a parent who is concerned with your child’s vision and wondering how in the world you will get your child to wear glasses, this book is for you!”—Jillian Sciacca, The Children’s Book Review
Ages 0-4 | Publisher: Peeps Eyewear, LLC | 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0991070114
About The Author
Ann Gwinn Zawistoski is a Reference & Instruction Librarian at Carleton College. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. She is the author of the board book, Glasses, and the creator and author of the website Little Four Eyes (littlefoureyes.com), and the co-founder of the non-profit Great Glasses Play Day (greatglassesplayday.com).
This interview with Ann Gwinn Zawistoski, the author of Glasses, was conducted by Jillian Sciacca. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Ann Gwinn Zawistoski, Books About Wearing Glasses, and Rhyming Text.