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Inclusion take center stage in local author’s new fairy tale

Posted 6:15 PM, May 15, 2019, by Erin Ivory WGN

CHICAGO — Fairy tales are known for igniting a child’s imagination but a local author decided he’d put the kids in the stories and the results are nothing short of pure magic.

Author Larry Broutman had an epiphany about three years ago.
"Somehow a thought entered my mind - wouldn't it be really fantastic to photograph kids of all ages and actually make them fairy tales or nursery rhyme characters?"

A month later, he was snapping shots of kids all over town.  With the help of Chicago illustrator Rich Green, the duo magically morphed the children into fairy tale stars like Little Miss Muffet, the Princess and the Frog, Buzz Lightyear and Jack and Jill.

Many of the children photographed were students at the Chicago Lighthouse School for the Blind. "We're doing something to help shine a light on all these kids of different abilities and ages, races and genders and not treating anyone differently than anyone else,” Green said.  “And that's what this is all about.”

The mother of the little girl playing "Jill" found the whole thing really moving.

"Most 6-year-olds don't get that kind of notoriety,” she said.  “It's just really special.”

It took nearly three years to complete “Chicago Treasure.”

The book launch was a moment these families will never forget.

"I was so surprised when I saw how they made me into Cinderella,” Maritza Cervantes said. "It made me feel special.”

Broutman is donating all the proceeds from the book to both Access Living and The Chicago Lighthouse.

"We're just so excited to be the beneficiary because it supports not only our children's programs but our adult programs as well." Chicago Lighthouse CEO Janet Szlyk said. "It's a storybook ending. Larry is just one of a kind."
The book is not only a hit with those kids but already garnering rave reviews online.

If you would like to buy your own copy of “Chicago Treasure,” on their website.