Author shares message through Zippy the zebra

5:36 PM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
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An East Tennessee author travels to schools reading her books with a message.

Zippy is the star of a series of books by Candida Sullivan.

Zippy is a zebra born without stripes.

She recently read one of her stories to students at Midway Elementary School in New Tazewell. It is one of 40 schools she's visited with her message of acceptance and faith.

"Will God hear our prayers? Zippy asked with new excitement," she read from her book.

Candida Sullivan told the class she knows what it's like to be different.

"I have Ambiotic Band Syndrome which effects my hands, my arm, and my foot. So I knew what it was like to be different," she explained.

She doesn't let her condition limit her.

She says when she was a child her mother never let her use her physical disability as an excuse. But it was still tough being a kid who was different.

"Sometimes it was just the staring. Everyone would stare at me regardless of what I was doing of where I was at. I always just wanted to be normal. I wanted to be that normal person," she said.

Just like Zippy the zebra she went through a period of questioning God and just like Zippy she found answers.

"I would think why would God do this to me? Why do I have to live my life like this? And then one day I just realized I survived and it changed everything about me," she said.

She read from her book, "I'm purple. Have you ever seen a purple hyena before? Don't forget about me another hyena explained. I'm pink and I'm a boy."

That's her son Jordon's favorite line.

"I think it's hilarious when he says I'm pink and I'm a boy," he said.

Her son Cayden puts it in perspective.

"I grew up with Zippy. I saw it all happen," he said.

The Zippy books have helped her own children better understand their mom and others dealing with a disability.

"I felt a bit more compassionate about it. I feel like it was a bigger deal than what I thought it was," Cayden said.

Zippy the zebra finds the positive parts of being born without stripes.

"Writing it I never know how it's going to end. And then we get to the end and I learn something and Zippy learns something and it's just great," Candida explained.

Candida Sullivan doesn't know where life will take her but she hopes to write more books to spread a message about accepting differences.

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