Despite COVID putting various restrictions and limitations on my Book Launch, I was extremely grateful on Friday, 26 March 2021 to be able to celebrate and unveil Understanding Oscar with 55 guests at Next Door, Cronulla.

Set on the coast of North Cronulla Beach, with amazing views of the coastline, Next Door was the perfect venue to help make this special occasion a memorable one. From the people, to service, to endless grazing table, canapés and cocktails, it was just as I hoped for (and more)!

Kellie Sloane, inspiring children’s health advocate and CEO of Life Education, kindly commenced proceedings. Kellie was first introduced to my book by a mutual friend when it was in draft form and I have so much gratitude for the time, encouragement and support she has provided me along the way.

‘Honestly, I was just blown away. I fell in love with the story, the pictures and really most important of all, the meaning behind this book.’

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would become an author. I thanked Andrej and the team of professionals at Little Steps Publishing for welcoming my ‘timely children’s book idea’, and helping me bring my manuscript to print!

I also expressed my sincere appreciation to Naya Lazareva for her artistic skills and contribution to my book. Her illustrations played a vital part in my storytelling and I feel she nailed my vision of the characters, setting and overall mood exceptionally!

The saying goes it takes a village to help raise a child with special needs and I can honestly and whole heartedly say that each and every person who attended this evening fell within Oscar’s amazing village of people.

From immediate family and friends, to teachers and therapists, some of whom travelled from afar, I chose not to read my book to them. Rather, I selected an important passage to share:

Banjo thought back at the events of the day and imagined what it would have been like to be frustrated and not able to say anything. He had been annoyed at all the things that Oscar was doing, but Banjo had been able to handle it, mostly. If losing a toy or jumping too long on the trampoline was that upsetting to Oscar, Banjo realised that autism must be hard for him.

Hopefully one day Oscar would be able to talk, but for now Banjo had other toys he could play with.

‘Here you go, Oscar.’

All night I was beaming with appreciation for the love and support being felt, and I thank Adam Crews Imagery for capturing these special moments.

There were, however, three very important little people missing – mine and Matt’s absolute pride and joy! As much as we would’ve loved to have Banjo, Oscar and George in attendance we knew one in particular would’ve found this setting quite difficult, along with all the attention he rightfully would’ve received. So, with our boys in mind, we finished off by raising our glasses to them. Our everything!