Will Mason, a Leadership Society gift officer for the Canisius Fund, released his first children’s book, The Boy with the Rainbow Heart, in late November.  The book is dedicated to Mason’s sister, Jessica, who was bullied in high school as a gay teenager. The book addresses what it means to be LGBTQ.

“My hope is that the book will help children who feel different in some way,” says Mason. “I would like to see schools include more diverse literature in their curriculums. The book’s message is subtle so that elementary school children can learn about acceptance.”

The Boy with the Rainbow Heart tells the story of a happy boy who lives in the “Town of Gray,” where no one understands him and the residents live in fear of those who are different. Eventually the boy’s feelings of joy, love and acceptance become infectious. The town shines under the glow of a rainbow and the residents become happy, too, and no longer fearful. The lesson is to accept all types of people as long as they are kind.

“So many LGBTQ kids don’t feel accepted within their families, homes and communities and that needs to change,” says Jessica Lake Mason, Will’s sister. “I believe that the book will make kids feel like they can see themselves as role models.”

Mason published the book thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. His initial goal was $4,000, but he raised more than $12,000. The idea caught the attention of Ray Ganoe, president and chief executive officer of Evergreen Health and the Evergreen Association, which includes The Pride Center of WNY.  The Pride Center sponsored the book, as well as the book launch party.

“I am eternally grateful for all of Ray’s support,” says Mason. “This book would not have been possible without him.”

To further his goal of increasing the diversity of literature in schools, Mason donated copies of The Boy with the Rainbow Heart to school districts in Cleveland, OH, Syracuse, Rochester, East Aurora and Orchard Park. He has plans to donate to additional local districts in the future.

The Boy with the Rainbow Heart is available at local bookstores including Talking Leaves, Burning Books Buffalo and the Western New York Book Arts Center. It is also available on BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com.

Submitted by: College Communications