Book published about Biloxi High schooler with Down syndrome inspires others

The book's creators took time to show why the sophomore is loved by many through photos and illustrations.
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 8:34 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Just in time for the holidays, a new children’s book shows readers what it’s like for one popular Biloxi High student, as she achieves big things while having Down syndrome.

A line of teachers formed at Biloxi High’s library, all eager to meet one of the school’s celebrities, Bailee Edwards.

The celebration was for a children’s book inspired by the sophomore’s life.

“The part of the book that I like is where they talk about my family and how I (have) down syndrome,” Edwards said.

The author of the book, Joy Gough, was Bailee’s occupational therapist who wanted to showcase the high schooler’s achievements and fulfill her own dream of writing a book.

“It just came to me, ‘Oh my gosh, Bailee has done all these amazing things. I can write a book about her.’ She can be a great friend, she’s a great athlete, she’s a scholar in the classroom,” Gough said.

The book’s creators took time to show why the sophomore is loved by many through photos and illustrations. They depicted her love of family, her favorite activities and even messages of love and acceptance.

“She is just an inspiration to all of us and she is just an incredible, incredible little girl,” illustrator Emerson Chen said.

And now one of Biloxi High’s more popular students has the spotlight once again.

“It’s really cool. The book rhymes perfectly and I love it,” Edwards said.

While the team of creators wanted Bailee’s story to inspire people, they also wanted the book to serve as better representation for people with special needs.

“Her story deserves to be told,” Chen said.

The hope is that a book staring a teen with Down syndrome will help guide other families in similar situations.

“Inclusion in the special education world is huge,” Gough said. “Our hope was just to appeal to adults, to be an inspiration for parents that have a child with a special need or if they are expecting a child with a special need.”

And for anyone still in need of encouraging words, the high schooler said the world is what you make it.

“I just say not to be nervous. Just do what you want to do. Don’t get nervous,” Edwards said.

Biloxi High has purchased a copy of the book for each school in the district.

For more information about how to purchase the book, visit Spreading Joy Publishing Company’s Facebook page.

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