While Mommy Was Fast Asleep

While Mommy Was Fast Asleep


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One crisp winter night, beneath a full moon, whispers of sisters drift up from their room...

About the Book

Worldwide, an estimated 1.3 billion people live with vision loss. Roughly 36 million of those are blind. Little sister is one. Tonight, she doesn’t feel well so her big sister steps up to care for her all night while they believe mom is sleeping.

For Librarians and Teachers

While Mommy Was Fast Asleep is a beautifully illustrated children’s picture book about strong family bonds and a message that visionless doesn't mean hopeless.

  • Illustrations, not text, reveal little sister is blind.
  • Themed emphasis on sound and touch.
  • Lilting rhyme and soothing meter.
  • Available in hardback, paperback, and ebook editions.

Author's Note

In our research on books that feature characters with vision loss, we discovered that it was typical for the blindness to be central to the plot. Ms. Eaton (illustrator) and I (Lisa Cole, Author) longed to create an inclusive story where the character was loved simply for who they were rather than singled out for any specific difference. Unless it is pointed out, younger children experiencing this story for the first time may not even realize little sister is blind.

Supplemental Materials

While Mommy Was Fast Asleep includes thought-provoking homework questions at the back of the book. The teacher’s guide, created by a professional educator, is also available for free by download (Jan 2020) and for a nominal print price. A website devoted to the book provides links and resources to help families find nonprofits devoted to vision loss.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781950574018
Publisher: Vestra Lingua
Publication date: 12/01/2019
Pages: 34
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.09(d)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

In Autumn of 1988, Jack and Priscilla Buckelew took their 5-year-old daughter Lisa to the optometrist after a failed vision screening at school caused alarm. For the next 16 years, severe nearsightedness, astigmatism and thick glasses were Lisa's companions until LASIK surgery on both eyes at age 22 allowed her finally see the big clock on the wall across the room without help.
Around the same time, Jack was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare genetic disorder that destroys cells in the retina-the light sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. As the years passed, he lost the ability to drive at night, see in low light conditions, or use his peripheral vision. Later, Priscilla was diagnosed with macular degeneration, which is when the central portion of the retina (the macula) deteriorates. This is the leading cause of vision loss, and is incurable. Lisa's oldest son, also named Jack, experienced sudden vision deterioration at age 10, leading to full-time glasses.
Today, Lisa Cole is a skilled writer and independent publisher who has dedicated her life to children, education and the nonprofit world. She lives in Cayce, South Carolina, with her husband, four children, brindle pitt and beagle named Betty White.

Each morning, artist Joy Eaton wakes up and immediately dons her glasses. She keeps them on all day and they help her see the world, paint beautiful pictures, and homeschool her daughters. Her glasses are also the last thing she takes off at night before going to sleep. She has worn corrective lenses full time since 2nd grade, and does not remember life without them. Like her author cousin Lisa, she too has astigmatism and nearsightedness. It is so severe, however, that she is not a candidate for LASIK eye surgery. Her daughter Charlotte also uses glasses to help her better navigate the world around her.
Olin Branham, Joy's late father, also developed vision challenges later in life. He was diagnosed with not only diabetic retinopathy, but macular degeneration as well. Joy's late mother Leola, younger sister to Lisa's mama, adapted to dim lighting which allowed her husband Olin to function well in the safety of their home. Despite life's ups and downs, Olin and Leola built a loving home for their four children during their 45-year marriage before passing away within a few years of each other.
Today, Joy creates art and life in the thriving creative community of eastern Oklahoma where she grew up. She credits her husband Randy and daughters for her daily inspiration.

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