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Krista Weltner: Everyday Adventures With Molly (Dyslexia)







I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was seven, after my second-grade teacher noticed I wasn't making the progress in reading and spelling that I should have been. Despite benefiting from early intervention and support, I struggled to maintain a healthy self-esteem and often felt lost, isolated, and confused by the world around me. I struggled to grasp what came quickly to others and developed clever coping mechanisms to compensate for areas I was lacking in.


Now, as an adult looking back, I desperately want to help young students with learning differences feel seen and understood. 

 

In my series, Everyday Adventures With Molly and Dyslexia, a young girl, Molly, and her personified dyslexia, 'Lexi,' learn to navigate the challenges of dyslexia with creativity and determination, touching on themes of self-advocacy, self-esteem, and personal strengths.  


The idea for my main characters came when a friend challenged me to draw my dyslexia as a character for an illustration contest hosted by the Dallas Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. I drew an image of a girl, squished into a desk, happily working with her dyslexia—a purple cloud of alphabet letters with a face and big glasses.


I began to imagine my dyslexia with a personality and spirit. What would I say to her? And from this, the idea for Molly and Lexi was born. I set out to create a series that allowed children to explore their feelings about their differences.

 

Today, I would tell my dyslexia how much I love and appreciate her. I would thank her for making me strong, creative, and intelligent and for being such a big part of my life. But I didn't always appreciate being dyslexic. Seven-year-old me would have had a much different conversation with her learning difference. I would have told my dyslexia how frustrated she made me. I might have even told her to go away and leave me alone and that I wished she didn't exist.


But dyslexia isn't a temporary condition or something that can be wished away. Dyslexia is a massive part of who I am. I know now how vital dyslexia has been in my success as an author and artist and how much better life is when you love all the parts of yourself. I wish I had felt kinder toward my learning difference as a kid. I hope all readers who come to know Molly and Lexi enjoy learning about them and consider new ways to appreciate all the parts of themselves. 

 


 

 


Krista Weltner is an author, illustrator, filmmaker, and puppet maker. Her debut picture book series, Everyday Adventures with Molly and Dyslexia, was inspired by her experience growing up with dyslexia. The little girl struggling to put together a simple word wouldn't believe that she would call herself a published author.

In addition to her literary pursuits, Krista works in stop-motion animation. Her work can be seen in the Netflix animation, Wendell and Wild, and in Laika Studios' upcoming Wildwood. 


Before her film work, Krista helped bring animatronic and puppet characters to life for the theme park industry. In 2016, she obtained a Master's in Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut, where she presented a master's project and short film, Partially Compensated (also inspired by living with dyslexia). Her short film has been seen in film festivals worldwide, and has afforded her numerous opportunities to engage and advocate with others for a more inclusive world.




 

 

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