Why Would a Surgeon Write a Children’s Book?

I have been asked many times why in the world I decided to write a children’s book. Don’t surgeons have other things they should be doing?

I got the idea for Maria’s Marvelous Bones nearly ten years ago when I was an orthopaedic resident. Since that time I have seen thousands of kids. Many of them have been anxious coming to the hospital as it is an unfamiliar environment. The place smells different and there are so many different people with various roles in the healthcare team. It can be hard for little brains (and big brains 😉) to keep everyone straight. Thousands of kids get fractures every year and I thought knowing what happens next would comfort them. As I now have my own kids, I also wanted to write a book that explained the science behind bone healing. Most children’s books about the body are quite dry and uninteresting to young readers, but my aim was write a book that draws kids in through a narrative and educates them with accurate and age-appropriate information.

Gender and ethnic diversity within the healthcare professions is also a passion of mine. Orthopaedic surgery is the least diverse of all medical specialties. In the USA, only 6.1% of orthopaedic surgeons are women, and even less are visible minorities. Times are changing though! At the recent annual meeting of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, 27 percent of attendees were female. We have more work to do internationally. In Maria’s Marvelous Bones, the triage nurse is male and the orthopaedic surgeon is a visible minority female. I hope that kids from all cultural and social demographics will read this book and set their sights on whatever career they wish. Maybe I will even get to work with one of them someday as a future orthopaedic surgery colleague! #ilookLikeaSurgeon

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