Jessica Kensky & Patrick Downes
Jessica Kensky was recovering from injuries she suffered during the Boston Marathon bombing when someone brought a picture book about disability to her hospital room. “It had a bear family, and the dad had an amputation,” Kensky recalled. “It was very weird, and the dad was wearing roller skates. I remember thinking, ‘This is so confusing. This is so inaccurate.’ ”
Kensky and her husband Patrick Downes were at the finish line during the bombing on April 13, 2013, and both suffered serious injuries that required years of recovery. Kensky underwent amputations on both of her legs. Downes lost his left leg below the knee. Five years later, they are poised to publish their own illustrated children’s book, Rescue and Jessica (Candlewick, Apr.), and tell a story of disability that reaches a generation of young readers in a new way.