Author Spotlight: Natasha Carlow
Natasha Carlow is the author of the award-winning Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies and the upcoming children’s book ‘Mike Nero and the Superhero School.’ She is married to her best friend and the mother of two rainbow babies. Natasha resides in the beautiful twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago where she works as an Itinerant Counselor. Although typically quite introverted, she is passionate about writing and raising a new generation of super readers.
“The hardest thing was wondering if I was the right person to tell this story. My son has an invisible disability. One that is judged for being ‘not severe’ enough or ‘not a real disorder’ by many in my culture and other cultures.”
Honesty and transparency are hard to come by in this social media world where we can present the life we want people to see.
However, Natasha Carlow writes honestly and openly about issues that matter to her.
Let’s get right to it.
I began writing early in my youth and have used writing to deal with some of the biggest moments of my life. As a contributing writer for a number of publications, I try to honestly and openly speak about things that matter to me the most. Writing children’s books, however, was a childhood dream of mine. I was an avid reader and decided early that I wanted to write books for kids, too. That dream was put on hold while I pursued education and built a career but being able to realize a childhood dream has been the greatest blessing. Coming from the Caribbean, even with its rich culture of story-telling, there was a belief that stories like mine would never be told. That only certain kinds of stories matter, but in 2019, I was able to publish my first book, which was a deeply personal story I am extremely proud of.
My upcoming book, Mike Nero and the Superhero School, tells the story of a group of kids, who happen to have special needs. Yet, in spite of their perceived difference, they all have special powers, which they use to learn and work together to make their school a better place.
My son was diagnosed with ADHD at 4 years old and my biggest fear became what kind of school life would he have. Will he meet teachers who made him feel inadequate? Will he make friends who love and respect him? That led me to write about a school where all kids can learn together, where the things that others may see as a disability, is the very thing that makes them all superheroes. I wanted to remove the limitations on my son and all kids that say only able-bodied or neurotypical children can be the heroes of the story. Each child featured is different but they share one common trait. Kindness.
The hardest thing was wondering if I was the right person to tell this story. My son has an invisible disability. One that is judged for being ‘not severe’ enough or ‘not a real disorder’ by many in my culture and other cultures. I didn’t know if special needs parents would accept me as the storyteller. Fortunately, the response has been so positive. I set out to honor each of my characters. To tell their story through their strengths, not their perceived weaknesses.
I learned that it takes incredible courage to parent a child with special or additional needs. But it is nothing compared to the strength and courage of our children. They will be judged for who they are and even who they aren’t by people in this world but they are beautifully and unapologetically themselves. I am glad that I get to witness that and as a parent, I have to honor my son but being courageous as well.
A book about kindness and inclusion.
8.) Tell us about some of the other books you’ve written.
Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies is a book I wrote for my children. It is an imaginative retelling of our real-life story. In the book, a mother and father take their two young children on a walk. While out, they see a rainbow and this gives the parents the opportunity to tell their living children or ‘rainbow babies’ (children born after the loss of a child to miscarriage) all about their siblings who came before them. They discuss the symbol of the rainbow and share about God’s love for their family and their gratitude and love for their children. It was also the first book written for kids, that featured a black family and discussed miscarriage and child loss. Knowing the statistics of miscarriage among women of color, that amazed me but I was happy that my book told a story that was needed and that I have been able to start a conversation.
9.) Why did you choose to self-publish your novel?
I worked with a publisher that I had met in the loss community. She had written about child loss as well and I was drawn to her fearlessness and honesty. So I did not fully self-publish either of my books.
10.) Where can readers buy your books?
Happy Tears and Rainbow Babies is currently available on Amazon, blackbabybooks.com, and Barnes and Noble. Mike Nero and the Superhero School will be available in early 2022.
11.) Where can our readers find you on social media?
12.) Do you have a website?
Audra Russell is a blogger, freelance writer, and published author. She holds two undergraduate degrees in journalism as well as a Master of Science degree in Education. She also completed the Wesleyan University online Creative Writing Specialization course series.
She is an avid reader and writer’s advocate. Her passion for promoting the works of up-and-coming authors inspired her to create her podcast, Between the Reads, as well as her website, Read It Black to Me. Her debut novel, BLOOD LAND, was published on August 29, 2020, as her fiftieth birthday gift to herself. She lives in Maryland with her husband of more than 20 years, her 3 amazing children, a 12-year-old perpetual puppy, two dueling cats, and her lone surviving chicken of 8 years who she affectionately renamed Gloria (she will survive!)