Promoting inclusion and mental well-being | Promouvoir l’inclusion et le mieux-être mental
Inspirations Articles

A mirror reflects both ways: A look at Sonia Rodi’s new book

Mirror, Mirror, What Do You See?,
Sonia Rodi reads with her son Matteo.
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Montrealer Sonia Rodi has always believed that her son Matteo, who has Down syndrome, has a special gift. From a young age, she instilled in him a sense of confidence and a sense of who he is. This belief in himself inspired her to write her debut book, Mirror, Mirror, What Do You See?, which was published by FriesenPress in November 2023. The book’s message is clear: every child deserves to feel worthy, accepted and loved.

Rodi believes that the book is also for adults, as it highlights the influence that parents have on their children’s self-belief. A mirror reflects both ways, and a child mirrors how their parents see themselves. If parents are confident and positive, their children will be too.

As a child behaviour specialist and Down syndrome advocate, Rodi hopes that the book will raise awareness of the stigma surrounding it. When Matteo was first diagnosed, doctors listed his limitations instead of the possibilities. However, Rodi refused to accept these limitations and responded that her son would conquer every challenge and beat the odds.

The book is a way of embracing Matteo’s superpower and challenging negative stigmas. Each page features Matteo in front of the mirror, envisioning a different future for himself; whether that be an astronaut, a singer or a skateboarder - “he can be everything he dreams to be.” Rodi hopes Matteo will pass on these messages to others as he grows up. “He has the light that the world needs; he has that power, and he can carry on spreading this message.”

The book has become even more important recently as Rodi has noticed a surge of people experiencing low self-esteem and self-worth she believes is due to social media. She believes that spending quality time with family, away from devices, can have a positive impact on children’s confidence and well-being. Rodi’s Italian heritage has taught her the importance of family gatherings as it has created an extraordinary outlet for Matteo. “He fuels the family’s energy and thrives in social gatherings. He loves the food, company and playing games.”

The book is accompanied by lighthearted illustrations by Stephanie McCaffery, which reinforce Matteo’s vibrant personality and positive character. Mirror, Mirror, What Do You See? is a book for all ages that encourages us to believe in ourselves, our abilities and our potential.