When Ayn Cates Sullivan, who has a doctorate in literature, was told that her daughter Katherine couldn’t read, she was astonished. Katherine was already in fifth grade. She was being tormented by her fellow students and was deemed a remedial learner by the school system. How had this gone on for so long?
“I pulled her out of school to try to find out what was going on. It turns out she had college-level I.Q. and college-level vocabulary. She was on the autism spectrum,” said Sullivan.
Inspired by 10 years of studying with a woman who was blind but could sense energy radiating from people’s bodies in the form of colored auras, Sullivan wrote stories that used colors to help her daughter understand herself and the world. In Sparkle and the Gift, a young girl’s mother tells her a fairytale about being one with the beauty of nature and the value of staying true to oneself.
Sparkle and the Light, the newest book in the series, helps children and their parents tackle the issue of bullying. Sparkle’s grandmother tells her a story about a girl who discovers that the person bullying her is simply in pain herself. In psychology, this idea is called projection.
“It’s your right to defend yourself,” Sullivan said. “Use your wisdom and decide how to do that. What is important is for the person to remember who they are and understand their own personal light.”
The importance of that message has gained Sullivan international attention, as society becomes increasingly aware of the harm done by bullying. California even passed a law this year allowing social media companies to delete content posted by minors that could elicit cyberbullying. In the news, we hear of young people committing suicide because they feel misunderstood and abused. Sullivan seeks to reverse this trend by inspiring forgiveness and understanding in young people.
Another theme in Sparkle and the Light is eating healthy, natural foods. Ayn is a breast cancer survivor who healed herself by switching to a special organic vegetarian diet designed to stop tumor growth. Her depiction of Sparkle eating well and loving it is no coincidence.
Sullivan has since also rid her body of asthma. She was very ill and had gone on a healing fast in Arizona. While meditating, she was overcome by a tremendous white light, and her symptoms disappeared permanently. When she told her husband about the experience, he said he met a guru and healer named Howard Wills, and together they had sent her the energy.
Wills had an extreme experience with light healing that he did not talk about for 23 years, but now he and Ayn are working on a book about it called The Practice, due out in early 2014.
Oh, and Sullivan’s daughter? With the help of the Sparkle stories, not only did Katherine learn to read, but she is now finishing her final year of grad school.
“When she left for college, she told me ‘I need to bring my Sparkle stories!’” Sullivan said. “I think more of my readers might be college students needing a positive message than anything else.”