ATLANTA — We all know the famous superheroes: Captain America, Iron man, Wonder Woman, and the list goes on.
But Atlanta author Deonte' Bolden is introducing a new type of hero in a book that hits close to home. Bolden recently published Differently Abled, a children's book about a group of friends who each have special needs. It's about learning to accept and embrace what makes them different.
One of the characters, King, has muscular dystrophy. Bolden based the character on his real-life brother Jaquan, who passed from the genetic condition in 2006.
"Growing up, I really was surprised at how children didn't know how to interact with him," Bolden said. "They would treat him as if he had this contagious disease."
He said that's one of the reasons he felt compelled to write Differently Abled.
"My brothers spirit was living through me while I was writing this book," he said. "A lot of the conversations that I put in this book are conversations that we had. 'If I could just walk, if I could just play basketball, if I could just get out of this wheelchair, if only I wasn’t sick.'”
Bolden was 17 when Jaquan passed.
"I felt like I lost my best friend," he said. "My brother and I were really close."
But Bolden channeled that grief, and the good memories, into writing the Differently Abled.
In the book, a group of middle school friends who each have special needs go on a Christmas journey, and find that what sets them apart is in fact their superpower.
“The message itself is self-empowerment and learn how to embrace what it means to be different," Bolden said. “My brother, he was definitely a superhero. That's why I have so much connection with this book, because of him. I know he’s smiling down.”
His mom, Yvette Bolden, was the first to read it.
"When he first gave me the copy of the book, and just looking at the front cover when I saw Jaquan on it, oh my goodness," she said. "All I could do was cry and smile.”
The book, just released this month, has already reached thousands of readers across the globe.
“I'm just amazed at the impact that this book is making in Atlanta and all over," Bolden said. "It resonates with a lot of people.”