|Born||Michelle Meera Katyal|
November 24, 1978
|Died||January 7, 2016 (aged 37)|
Michelle Meera Katyal (November 24, 1978 – January 7, 2016) was a Canadian children's author who wrote under the pen name Jewel Kats. Katyal wrote over ten books and was the inspiration for Dan Parent to create the first Archie Comics character with a disability in 2014.
Early life and education
When Katyal was nine years old, she broke her leg in a car accident and resulted in having to using a wheelchair for transportation. After graduating from Milliken Mills High School, she went to the University of Toronto Mississauga and George Brown College for post-secondary studies.
After publishing her first book titled Reena’s Bollywood Dream: A Story of Sexual Abuse, Katyal began a eight book series named Fairy Ability Tales which reinterpreted fairy tales to include characters with disabilities. In 2016, Katyal's final two books Jenny & Her Dog Both Fight Cancer: A Tale of Chemotherapy and Caring and Prince Preemie were posthumously published by Loving Healing Press.
- Reena's Bollywood Dream: A Story About Sexual Abuse (2010)
- What Do You Use To Help Your Body?: Maggie Explores the World of Disabilities (2011)
- Cinderella's Magical Wheelchair: An Empowering Fairy Tale (2011)
- Word Search Divas (2011)
- Teddy Bear Princess: A Story about Sharing and Caring (2012)
- DitzAbled Princess: A Comical Diary Inspired by Real Life (2013)
- The Princess and the Ruby: An Autism Fairy Tale (2013)
- Snow White's Seven Patches: A Vitiligo Fairy Tale (2013)
- The Princess Panda Tea Party: A Cerebral Palsy Fairy Tale (2014)
- Miss Popular Steals the Show: Girls in Wheelchairs Rule! (2014)
- Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist (2014)
- Jenny & Her Dog Both Fight Cancer: A Tale of Chemotherapy and Caring (2016)
- Prince Preemie: A Tale of a Tiny Puppy who Arrives Early (2016)
Katal died on January 7, 2016 from surgical complications.
Katal was married to her first husband in 1998 and divorced in 2008. She married her second husband in 2013 and remained married until her death.
Awards and honours
After meeting Archie Comics artist Dan Parent, Katyal was the basis for the first Archie character to have a disability in 2014. The following year, Katyal took part in the 2015 Pan American Games opening ceremony.
In 2017, Loving Healing Press created the Jewel Kats Special Needs Award to honor the memory of Jewel Kats. The contest is administered by Reader Views and entrants must submit books that features a story about a child overcoming a mental or physical disability.
- Winsa, Patty (16 January 2016). "Creating heroes with a disability". Toronto Star. p. IN2. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- Tiessen, Jeff (Summer 2013). "Comic Relief". Disability Today Network. pp. 7–8. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- Shephard, Tamara (18 January 2016). "Etobicoke children's author and disability advocate Jewel Kats dies". Etobicoke Guardian. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- Shephard, Tamara (28 April 2016). "Etobicoke's Jewel Kats' latest children's book tells tale of girl and her dog who both fight cancer". Etobicoke Guardian. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- Sathiyanathan, Lakshine (11 January 2016). "Toronto author Jewel Kats, inspiration for Archie Comics character, dies". CBC News. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- Abedi, Maham (10 July 2015). "Pan Am Games 2015 Opening Ceremony Features Dance, Flame And Donovan Bailey". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
- Volkman, Victor. "Jewel Kats Special Needs Award". Jewel Kats.