ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM)- Back in August of 2021, Maria Lei Antonio an Elmira College Student, published a children’s book, “Field Day for Eugene”.

Antonio is a full-time student at Elmira College, triple majoring in childhood education, special education, and English literature. Maria grew up and resides in Beaver Dams, New York. At a very young age, she knew that she would pursue a career in education due to her love for children and determination to make a difference.

“Field Day for Eugene” is a book about a young boy with a physical disability. The book focuses on kindness, acceptance, and inclusion after one of Eugene’s classmates notices his wheelchair might impact his participation in field day, but he is able to achieve great things. In a world with so many differences, we all can decide to be kind, accepting, and inclusive.

Antonio spoke a little bit about her inspiration for the book, “”I wrote ‘Field Fay for Eugene’ to really inspire people to be kind, accepting and inclusive. Everybody is unique in their own way. But we can all choose to be a kind and except that others have differences.”

Since the publication of her book, Antonio has created a program to collaborate with area schools to spread the book’s message.

“I had the opportunity to do a lot of different events and I’m actually working with schools right now to do school programs. I’m in contact with local schools and really getting the message out to children. I built a whole program around the book talking about kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Now children can start to take that step for themselves, “said Antonio.