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The Little Penguin That Could

OD authors children's story about inclusion and caring for children with Down syndrome

Evie and Dr. Moy have some fun at a bookstore signing with The Polka-Dotted Penguin.

When Down Syndrome Awareness Month rolls around every October, Amy Moy, OD, FAAO, CPCO, Director of Health Center Network and Chief Compliance Officer of New England College of Optometry, likes to find a book on Down syndrome that her daughter, Evie, now 6, can take to school for classroom reading time. But the titles are limited or some of the books weren’t suitable for kids, so Dr. Moy made it her pandemic project to write her own. The result is The Polka-Dotted Penguin.

Dr. Moy adores penguins, so she quickly chose a penguin as the star. Dottie, an adorable penguin, hatches out of a polka dotted egg. Everyone watches her to see if she’s different from the penguins – and, really, she’s just like every other baby penguin. “Everyone needs a helping flipper sometimes,” says Dr. Moy.

Dr. Moy self-published the book and found an illustrator, Rami, in Indonesia who brought Dottie to life. “I learned so much about the publishing world, building a website, writing press releases and more,” she says of her new skills. Self-publishing a book is a costly adventure, but Dr. Moy has recouped her investment just four weeks after the book was released.

It’s been a popular title with young girls and with school and community librarians who are eager to feature books that promote inclusion. But most importantly, it’s been a hit with Evie. “Her favorite part is when the penguin’s friends all cheer for Dottie when she goes down the ice slide: ‘Dot-tie, Dot-tie, Dot-tie!’ Evie’s friends do the same thing–‘E-vie! E-vie,’–so it resonates with her,” says Dr. Moy.

The book can be purchased via Amazon as well as at Target and Barnes & Noble nationally; there’s also a link on Dr. Moy’s book web page that include conversations starters and more information about Down syndrome.

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