Thursday, May 14, 2009

Außergewöhnlich: Väterglück

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Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Nein?

Me neither, but don’t let that put you off begging, borrowing, stealing or better still, buying, a copy of Conny Wenk’s book, Außergewöhnlich: Väterglück.



The book is packed full of the most beautiful photographs of fathers having fun with their children. The expressions, laughter and playfulness will have you grinning from ear to ear. You cannot help but smile broadly at the love and fun that leaps from image after image, page after page.



It’s the kind of book that makes you feel proud to be a father, and the kind of book you want to send to every father-to-be who is worrying what it will be like to become a parent.

But what makes Außergewöhnlich: Väterglück even more special is every child in it has Down’s Syndrome.

Which in terms of DS advocacy, makes it incredibly powerful.



For people not in the know, the inexperienced and the unfamiliar, if you mention Down’s Syndrome, the likelihood is an image of an institutionalised, vacant staring person with a pudding-bowl haircut, will leap to mind.

And it is images like that, which put the fear of [insert deity of choice] into people faced with the idea of having a child of their own with Down’s Syndrome.

The same image creates debates about whether babies with Down’s Syndrome ought to be aborted before birth.

And why parents who decide to keep and raise a child with Down’s Syndrome are seen either as demons, for allowing perceived genetically abnormal people to survive, or as saints doing charitable work.

But stick any person in an institution from birth, and give them a pudding bowl haircut and you’ll end up with a similar image, DS or no DS.

So what makes Conny’s book so powerful, is it updates the idea of what having a child with Down’s Syndrome is like.

First and foremost, it’s like having a child. Any child.

Children with DS, like all others, laugh, cry, throw tantrums, fling their arms around you and tell you they love you, feel fear, frustration, happiness and refuse to go to bed on time.

I urge you to beg, borrow, steal or better still, buy, a copy of Conny Wenk’s book, Außergewöhnlich: Väterglück, and thrust it under the nose of anyone with preconceived ideas about what Down’s Syndrome is.



And it makes no difference if you can speak German or not.

UPDATE:
It appears the best place to buy the book is from amazon.de


All images are copyright of Conny Wenk
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27 comments:

mapstew said...

Wonderful. The pics you show are magic. Kids are kids are kids.

Carole said...

Perfect for a Father's Day gift. Plus so very cool.

Ria said...

Looks like a great book. Thanks for sharing. I looked it up on amazon.com and I couldn't believe that there is someone in CA selling it for twice what it costs to get a copy in the UK.

hope said...

One of the most heartfelt hugs I ever received came from a kid on the beach once. He was a total stranger, about 7 years old and had Downs Syndrome. He had hugged his Mom, then wanted to hug everyone in reach walking down the beach.

He almost broke my ribs with his enthusiasm but I can still see that beautiful, smiling face filled with pure joy. Looks like this book mirrors that. Nice!

savannah said...

thank you for posting this, sugar! as map said kids are kids are kids. xoxo

Ria said...

By the way, thanks for adding my blog to your blogroll. I've added yours to mine too, listed in the 9-12 age group. Is that correct?
Have a great day!

Charlie said...

I have never had the father/child experience but I can still enjoy the photos, like the one of the tyke in the purple dress.

And I will always remember the joy of my DS sister-in-law, who passed when she was 57.

Thank you for the post, Kim.

Sarah said...

equally as important as a good mother. a good father.

beautiful pictures.

starrlife said...

I just LOVE Conny Wenk! Her blog is full of so much beauty and inspiration altho I can't read most of the comments!:) Of course I love your pics too.

Christina said...

I am a bit biased, having my men on the cover and in the book, but it is truly an amazing book, even if you do not understand the words written.

Have a great day!

debra said...

These photos are glorious! Having 2 daughters, I see the special relationships that they have with their dad. These photographs show the beauty of father love.

Eryl Shields said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, thanks.

nursemyra said...

lovely images

Kanani said...

Gorgeous book, Kim.
Just looking at the photos here brightened up my day!

Jeff said...

Awesome post Kim, I will go order the book now.....

Peace Brother.

PS... I will shoot you an email this week about an idea I have...

PI said...

That is certainly a book I would like to have. Thanks for the heads up.

Kim Ayres said...

It is definitely a book worth having, or a book worth passing on.

And if you ever feel the need to put a smile on your face, just visit Conny's site, which is full of smiles and laughter :)

Jen said...

Conny is awesome; and I need to get her book.

I was hoping for a photo of you with Meg at the end of this post...hint, hint.

Kim Ayres said...

Jen - you're linked with me on Facebook - there are a couple in my photo albums there :)

Mary Witzl said...

Those are beautiful pictures -- the expressions on the children's and fathers' faces are lovely.

(Why is it that whenever I log onto your blog using the university computer, it disconnects me? It's only your blog this happens on, and it's happened about ten times so far! What have the Turks got against Kim Ayres?)

Kim Ayres said...

clearly my good looks and blinding wit are considered a dangerous influence on young turks...

LegalMist said...

Awesome. Love the photos you posted. I'll look for the book. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Well worth it :)

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I'll get Bert to pick up a copy next time he is in the Fatherland. Lovely pictures!

Sami said...

I have the joy of being able to understand the text, so thanks for the tip. I think I will just have to invest in this little treasure.

GAMZu said...

Sometimes I feel jealous of parents with kids with DS. My daughter had some sort of genetic disorder, which we are hoping to discover soon. Right now, the security of knowing what you are facing sounds like a dream to me.

Your daughter is gorgeous. And I love the photo of the kitchen exhibition!

Kim Ayres said...

GAMZu - I've heard it said many times that very often not knowing, is worse than knowing the worst. And I think it's true. I hope your daughter's condition is understood soon