Dana Deserves a Playground Too
by Yael Manor
Sometimes you just fall in love with a book, the illustrations, the characters and the story. And that is what has happened here.
Yael Manor has written a story for children that needs telling. Dana is a young girl with a loving family and friends. She goes to the playground where her friends are playing happily. Dana is in a wheelchair and there is nothing there that she can do. Not the swings, not the carousel, not the slide or the climbing equipment.
Yael’s point is that Dana is not alone. Most community or school playgrounds simply do not welcome children who are physically challenged. Children like Dana are excluded from playing with friends. She told me how she was inspired to write this story. “One day, I came across a story on Facebook about a woman who met a father and daughter at the playground. Due to a disability, the girl was confined to a wheelchair and unable to enjoy any of the playground facilities. All she could do was put her doll in the swing and push it, which caused great sorrow for her and her father. This story gave me the inspiration to write this book.”
Other inspiration came from her own children, twins, and grandchildren, also twins, whose raising gave her many ideas for her writing. Her parents moved in with her to help her raise the twins, as Yael was a widow. Living with three generations must have taught her teamwork, which is a key in creating the playground for Dana.
Yael epowers the children in her story to bring about the changes for the playground. She explained that she had done so because “Values of caring, responsibility, and friendship are stronger and more meaningful when they come from children.”
I couldn’t agree more.
In this season of redemption of Passover and Easter, the story of Dana getting a playground that she can play in is a heartwarming story that should inspire all of us to expand our world.Here are ideas for few snacks to take to the playground, use for afterschool treats and of course are perfect for adults to put into their lunchboxes!
Snacks for the Playground
Hurricane Trail Mix
This mix is a great snack that you can make ahead of time or even in bulk. It is perfect on-the-go, such as hurricane evacuation but don’t forget it’s great as an addition to any box lunch. Quick to put together and can be made as creative as you want with your own choices. Put out for company as a little nosh or in a glass jar as a homemade gift. Note variations at end of recipe!
Yield 5 cups
1 cup nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews or pistachios
¼ cup seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin
½ cup dried small fruit, such as raisins or cranberries
1 cup dried fruit such as apricots, figs or dates, pitted and quartered
¼ cup chocolate chips
2 cups of your favorite cereal
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne
Salt, if nuts are unsalted
Mix together and put in container with lid. For on the go, place in container or zip lock bag.
Store in cool place. May be placed in refrigerator or freezer as well.
Raw: Use raw nuts and seeds. Omit chocolate chips. Omit cereal.
Vegan: Use vegan chocolate chips.
Gluten Free: Use gluten free cereal.
Dairy Free: Use non dairy chocolate chips.
Diabetic: Use sugar free chocolate chips.
This mix is a great snack that you can make ahead of time or even in bulk. It is perfect on-the-go, such as a trip to the playground and don’t forget it’s great as an addition to any box lunch. Quick to put together and can be made as creative as you want with your own choices. Put out for company as a little nosh or in a glass jar as a homemade gift. Note variations at end of recipe!
Date Nut Bars
1/2 cup water
2 cups pitted dates
2 c rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Shredded coconut, opt
Chocolate chips, opt
1. Put water into Vitamix or food processor. Add rest of ingredients. Mix well but leave some texture. May have to stop and stir to put ingredients on bottom up to top.
2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Take a 1/4 cup measure, spray with a vegetable spray and pack date-oat mixture into it. Take out and place on baking sheet. Continue with rest of mix.
3. Flatten out a bit with your hand and place the Date Oat Bars in your freezer in a freezer proof container or zip lock bag. May wrap individually in saran wrap for a lunchbox.
Healthy and yummy, the energy bites can be made in advance for snacks on the playground, after school and great in an adult’s lunch box too!
Fruit Kabobs are cute and refreshing. Your kids or guests can help make them. Use red and green grapes, pineapple chunks, strawberries, cantaloupes, kiwis and other fruits that are your favorites.
We need more books like these. A playground that is the exception to the rule is The Playground for All Children in Flushing Meadows Park in Corona, Queens, New York. Here children with disabilities can play on adapted equipment. Thank you for sharing this important book.