Elmira College student publishes children’s book focused on kindness

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — Maria Lei Antonio, a 20-year-old student at Elmira College, published her first children’s book “Field Day for Eugene” that focuses on kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

The book is about a young boy who has a physical disability. One of Eugene’s classmates notices that his wheelchair may impact his participation in field day. The class realizes that despite Eugene’s disability, he is capable of achieving amazing things.

Antonio said why she decided to write the book.

“I’m triple majoring in childhood education, special education, and English literature,” said Antonio. “I always thought it’d be cool to say I am an author, so what better time than now.”

Her dream is to be a teacher and write books simultaneously.

“I really want people to understand … just be kind to one another,” said Antonio. “Accept that everybody has differences, whether it’s a disability or just being different than someone.”

It took Antonio about 5 to 6 months from coming up with the idea to having the book in her hands. She had a message to young authors.

“You can do anything that you put your mind to,” said Antonio. “There is never a time where you can’t do anything, so set a goal for yourself and just go after it.”

Antonio will be hosting a book launch event on September 11th at the Mechanics Club in Montour Falls from 2 to 6 p.m.

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