Made In Chicago: Book ‘There Once Was A Camel’

(CBS) — They’ve been friends for years. Now, two grandmothers from Skokie are partners on a new children’s book, reports WBBM’s Regine Schlesinger.

Michelle Friedman has been totally blind for more than 20 years. After she published her first book, “Close Your Eyes,” she began going into schools and libraries to teach children about disabilities.

“If our kids can learn to be more understanding and tolerant and compassionate and understand differences, rather than be afraid of differences, they can make all the difference in the world,” she said.

Now, Friedman’s out with a second book, “There Once Was a Camel.” It was a collaboration with her longtime friend, Debbi Scher Geller, who did the illustrations. Geller says conjuring up the image of the main character, Millie the camel, was a joint venture.

“Millie has a hat – she has a beautiful purple hat with a feather in it,” Geller said. “And I said to Michelle, ‘I don’t know what to do. How am I supposed to show her in the shower and she’s wearing her hat?’ And she said to me, ‘Well, Debbi, put her hat on the side and have her wear a shower cap.’ I said, ‘Oh my gosh, great idea!’ And so she actually helped me with the illustrations.”

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Friedman says because of her blindness, she can’t see the illustrations that go with her story.

“I’d love to see what the illustrations look like,” she said. “People say they’re great. Debbi described Millie to me so I have a picture in my head which really could be very different than what it actually looks like. It was difficult but, I trust Debbi and I kind of handed over my baby to her.”

Michelle Friedman and Debbi Geller, and their book, “There Once was a Camel,” teaching children that we’re really all the same, despite our differences.

For more information on Michelle Friedman, visit her website at www.michellewrite4kids.com. To buy the book, click here.

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