Independence Bank partnered with two local authors to provide their children’s book, Owen the Wonderer and the Great Park Adventure, to 24 local elementary schools. The 345 books were distributed throughout the first week of March in honor of Disability Awareness Month.

Puzzle Pieces Executive Director Amanda Owen and Public Relations Director Ashley Wedding co-authored the book, which is the second in their book series. Owen the Wonderer focuses on a message of inclusion, kindness, and courage when it comes to making friends with someone with a disability.

This is the second year Independence Bank has partnered with Owen and Wedding. In the last year, Independence Bank has placed nearly 700 Owen the Wonderer books in elementary schools in their Daviess County market.

“This was an easy, ‘yes!’” said Independence Bank Community Enrichment Officer Susanne Story. “We are honored to partner with local authors and to promote the message of inclusion, especially during Disability Awareness Month.”

Owen the Wonderer targets young or primary aged elementary students. The story centers around a 3rd-grade boy named Owen who is notoriously curious and full of questions. In the first book Owen meets a new friend at school with Down syndrome, while in the second book he meets a new friend with cerebral palsy at Smothers Park.

“Our goal is to not only educate the next generation on the importance of inclusion, but also to support the mission of Puzzle Pieces,” Wedding said. “A portion of all book sales goes back to support our clients.”

Clients of Puzzle Pieces were the inspiration for the book’s main characters. The authors hope to bring visibility to disabilities and teach kids that asking questions about differences is OK, as long as they ask respectfully.

To purchase a copy of Owen the Wonderer, visit the author’s website.

Originally published in Owensboro Times by Ryan Richardson
March 9, 2023