A Maryland pre-school teacher, Erika Brannock, is among those that returned to the Boston Marathon today, after being critically injured and losing her leg.
But she did so as an author turning her tragedy into something inspiring, a children’s book that tells the story of pain, healing and acceptance.
“I want them to know there are things that can happen to them. It doesn’t have to define you and it doesn’t have to take over your life, and it can make you better,” said Erika Brannock.
The book is called “The Journey of Nem,” and it tells how everything changed for a dragonfly in an instant when her wing suddenly broke.
“Suddenly, a huge storm came and threw her against the largest tree in town, and nem found herself alone and scared,” Brannock read from her book.
Brannock read her book aloud for the first time Tuesday with 11 news, and it was for her tough to get through it.
In a passage from the book:
“Mom, what if the other dragonflies think i’m weird-looking,” Nem asked.
“You are not weird-looking my sweet girl. You just look a little different,” her mother said.
“My mom was really my rock. She said, ‘you will do amazing things, better than before,'” Brannock said.
For two years, Brannock worked with illustrator and friend John Baker to create a book about accepting when life looks different and people look different too.
“Even kids who haven’t been through what Erika’s been through, every kid feels different. Every kid is worried they don’t fit in. This story says, ‘no matter what you’ve been through, you’re ok,'” Baker said.
While “The Journey of Nem” is a book for children, it is a lesson in love and determination written by a women who, indeed, is flying again.
And “Nem” is an acronym for Nicole, Erika and Michael.
Erika’s sister, Nicole, and Nicole’s husband, Michael, were also injured in the bombings.
Erika plans to do some book signing events while she’s in boston.