London, UK – The Girl Who Didn’t Know How To Be – is a soon to be self-published picture book on the topic of autism and neurodiversity. The illustrator and creator behind the project, Milda, is an individual on the autism spectrum, who is an artist, illustrator and photojournalist.
A Kickstarter campaign has been launched in order to fund the production of the book.
The Kickstarter page states:
‘Growing up is hard for everyone. Some individuals communicate with the world in their own way, but the world does not understand them. They find it particularly hard to transition into adulthood.
“The Girl Who Didn’t Know How To Be” is a picture book that tells the story about a girl who tries very hard to fit into society and her peer groups. She struggles to find a place in this world, but finally she rebels and creates her own rules.’
Having read about this innovative book idea, I was extremely interested to learn more about the creator behind it and the impact that they hope the book will have upon the people who read it. I got in touch with Milda and asked some questions.
Our interview can be read below.
Can you tell me a little about growing up with Asperger’s syndrome?
Well, I think growing up is complicated for everyone anyway, so for me there were lots of difficult parts too. Basically I grew up feeling that I do not belong here. Going to school was really hard, not because I didn’t like learning, I actually loved learning – getting new books and information was something I enjoyed enormously, but because of the social structure in which you had to take part, I never completely got to know what exactly you have to say in different situations, as things were changing all the time. I never really got to know what it exactly means to feel a part of something, as even spending time with wonderful people who liked me, I felt like a total stranger to them. I planned all possible conversations in my head upfront to avoid awkwardness, but always had this feeling that something went wrong.
But there were lots of things to enjoy. I have the most wonderful sisters, so as children we would play together creating our own worlds, stories and rules. All our toy animals had names and we made up stories; how every single one of them came to live with us. Another way to escape the reality was living in the world of books. I would read non-stop, one or two books a day, that way book characters became part of my life too. Also I created my own stories, lots of them. As soon as I had learnt how to write, I kept writing stories, made my own books full of illustrations of animals and the most fantastic adventures. Basically I felt the best being at home in my own world; painting, reading and just doing my own stuff. And I loved doing the same things again and again; it gives a huge comfort to me. For example if I
like a film, I would watch it hundreds of times, again and again and every time I would like it a little bit more.
What was your light bulb moment, in which you thought; let’s make a beautiful picture book about it being ok to be a little different?