When Kristy Wright brought home two young girls as foster children, she noticed a difference right away. The 3-year-old almost immediately called her “Mommy,” but her older sister did not. A few weeks later, the 4-year-old confided in Kristy: “Half of me wants to call you Mommy, but the other half doesn’t think it’s right.”
That sparked a conversation about what a parent is, and that in turn inspired Kristy to write a children’s book called “That’s Why We Call Her Mommy.”
“ We talked about how a mommy can be someone other than a birth mother — a foster mom, an adoptive mom, or a stepmother, for example — and that the word means someone who will love you and take care of you,” Kristy said. “And when they do that, they get to be called ‘Mommy.’”
While Kristy wrote the book’s text from the viewpoint of her foster daughters, the illustrations came from a young man with a story of his own to tell. Nick Hueholt lives in Kristy’s town of Berwick, PA, and his parents approached her with a request. “Nick is on the autistic spectrum, and his mom and dad noticed that he has a natural talent for drawing. So they asked me if I would help him learn to use his artistic ability,” she said. Together with her sister (both of whom studied art), they helped Nick continue to develop his talent and pursue different avenues that art can provide. Eventually, they felt they had taught him all they could, and they looked for a project he could do to conclude the lessons.
Enter Kristy’s book idea. “We needed an exercise for Nick, and so I showed him what I wrote and asked him to provide illustrations. He immediately went to work; I showed him some photos that I liked, but the illustrations were mixed between drawings inspired by the photos and ideas he had as he read the text. “
“His illustrations are just so amazing! When I saw them, I just knew I had to publish this book,” Kristy said.
Kristy has since adopted the two girls, and that provided inspiration for another book. “We finalized the adoption over the summer, so when they went back to school in the fall their friends noticed that their names were different. So we’re working on a new book to explain that for friends, called That’s Why We Changed Our Names.”