Arkey (6) is in a wheelchair and lights up in a game book

Arkey (6) is in a wheelchair and lights up in a game book

“Arkey, Arkey!” The young model was clearly happy when he saw himself in the game book. On the first page of the Instruments and Electronics chapter, he can be seen swinging between music boxes.

Lillian says it suits him perfectly. “He loves music. This makes him happy. During the filming, he was well taken into account. His favorite music was laid out.” While Archie was moving around in his wheelchair for the song Gangnam Style, he was photographed.

This happy kid has had difficult years, and he still faces every day what happened to him in 2018. Archie played in the yard of a house in Curaçao where he stayed with his family. A motorist took him back up, did not see the boy, and overtook him.

“The car hit his head,” Lillian says. “He’s been left paralyzed on one side, and he has all kinds of problems from the brain damage he’s suffered. He can’t function in any way like a 6-year-old boy. Speaking is difficult too.”

“more and more natural”

“I walk down the street with Arkey every day. Lots of people look at him, and lots of kids too.” That’s exactly why Lillian thinks it’s a good and so important thing to have her son in the playbook. “The more people see this, the more normal it becomes.”

on the cover

Jedediah Arthur (10) and Romy Heere (11) earned a spot on the game book cover. Jeddia suffers from the skin disease Vitiligo, which causes white patches to appear on his arm. Romy has Down Syndrome. Both have done modeling work before.

“This is the most beautiful book in the world,” says Joyce, Romy’s mother. “Every picture shows Romy with a big smile. We are so happy that the positive images of children with disabilities are being taken care of. They are also a part of it.”

That was exactly what they had in mind at the web store when they made The Great Toy Book, says Laurent Lubbers. He is the Director of Design and Creative and together with his team prepared the catalog. The entire book is authored by itself, including the pictures of the children. It takes an entire year to prepare a special year-end guide.

“We want to do a little better every time, and this year we’ve taken a step forward,” Lubbers says. “Every child is special and every child has a story. We want all children to match what they see in the book.”

In the book there are pictures of children of different origins and children with disabilities. And the games that are being advertised also contain variety. “There are Barbies with a prosthetic leg or in a wheelchair, and there are Playmobil dolls in different skin colors. Manufacturers are also paying more and more attention to diversity.”

“Super,” says Arki’s mother. “To tackle racism and discrimination, you have to start with children. They need to be taught from an early age that it doesn’t matter what you look like. This representation in games or, for example, in movies is very good.”

Lillian has already received a lot of cute reactions to her son’s modeling work. This was also taken care of at school, master Arkey put the picture from the game book on the abuser in class.

And yes, Lillian understands that. Arkey may be in a wheelchair, “but he’s also really handsome.”

Prejudice begins at an early age

Research shows that children develop preconceived notions and stereotypes at a very young age. “So you’re really talking about young children,” explains Hanneke Felten, Movisie’s senior anti-discrimination researcher.

“They prefer to play with children who are similar to themselves. They receive prejudices and stereotypes from their environment consciously and unconsciously.”

According to Felten, you can “definitely” reduce this by, for example, showing diversity in a positive way. Or play with kids who are not like you.

“So what you see in books and movies or games you play with is also important. Because children tend to imitate what they see, so biases come up and that’s how you get rid of them.”

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