Martha and Grant Griffin have loved their son’s port-wine stain since his birth, due to its uniqueness. But finding a children’s book to help Barron understand it proved a much harder task. So, the University Park couple decided to write one themselves.
“We always talked about publishing a children’s book,” Grant said. “When our son was born, we had a reason to.”
Sam’s Birthmark chronicles the daily life of a boy with a facial birthmark, just like 3-year-old Barron. When a girl asks him about the mark, Sam’s mom takes the opportunity to show Sam that his birthmark makes him special.
Preston Hollow resident Mary Anne Smiley, an interior designer by trade, provided the illustrations. She first started doing watercolors for Christmas cards, and the passion grew.
Smiley said she was happy to contribute to the book. “I can see how it could impact children across the U.S.,” she said.
Smiley took special care to include elements close to the Griffins, such as Shakespeare, their King Charles spaniel.
The family chose to publish through Kickstarter.com, a “funding platform for creative projects,” in order to reach out to the vascular birthmark community.
“The people who pre-bought are people we don’t know,” Martha said. “It took off from Kickstarter. It never would have gone viral without it.”
The book is finding its way to families around the world who are affected by vascular birthmarks; orders have come in from Australia, Iceland, and the United Arab Emirates.
Seeing photos of children with their copies on Facebook has been a special treat for the Griffins, who hope the book will help children embrace all sorts of differences – not just birthmarks.