HomeSocial Impact HeroesCelebrating Diversity: Author Kale Sudhoff On How To Build Inclusive Communities

Celebrating Diversity: Author Kale Sudhoff On How To Build Inclusive Communities

An Interview With Vanessa Ogle

I would also like to highlight disability awareness, so children know they don’t need to be afraid or treat people with a disability differently than anyone else.

In a world where diversity is often acknowledged but not always celebrated, we are taking a step forward to highlight the importance of inclusivity in building strong, vibrant communities. This series aims to explore the various facets of diversity — be it racial, cultural, gender-based, or within the differently-abled community — and understand how embracing these differences strengthens our social fabric. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Kale Sudhoff.

Kale Sudhoff is currently 19 years old and is busy attending college and working as an Enrichment teacher at a local Preschool. He is a typical teenager hanging out with friends, but in his free time he loves to write and illustrate children’s books. He has written and illustrated three children’s books. In the Fall of 2020, when he was a Sophomore in High School, he released his first book, Danny the Duck Heads South, and in the Spring of 2022, when he was a Junior in High School, he released his second book, Danny and Kevin Conquer Camping. Throughout his school years, he has seen kids being excluded for being different or having a disability, so he wanted Danny and Kevin Conquer Camping to raise awareness for Limb Loss and Limb Difference. Kale’s latest book, Stewart H. Quills and His Explosive Emotions was released in the Fall of 2023. Kale is on a mission to inspire children to thrive, regardless of their challenges.​

​Kale is going to college to become an Elementary Education teacher and also hopes to continue to pursue his passion of writing and illustrating children’s books.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion about celebrating diversity, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Growing up, I had a stutter that was especially evident while I was reading so I was made fun of a lot, and as a result I wanted nothing to do with books. I’ve always loved drawing, it was a great stress reliever, and over time I was able to get pretty good at it. It wasn’t until I had what I believe to be an encounter with God that I was convinced to start writing, and I was astonished at how natural it felt to me. I was able to gain confidence through this and read my books to large crowds. It was actually at my first school visit that I decided I wanted to study to become a teacher along with continuing my author/illustrator career. This never would have come about without Jesus Christ who can take your biggest insecurities and make them your triumphs.

Can you share an interesting or hopeful story where spending time with someone who did not look like you or who was different from you taught you something that has been useful to you?

I remember my first book signing for my second book: “Danny and Kevin Conquer Camping,” the first hour or so wasn’t going as well as I had hoped. A lot of my friends and family came to support me, but what I really wanted to see was how my book would help others and give them hope. A little frustrated, I silently asked God “Why did I write this book if it isn’t going to make a real difference in anyone’s life? Maybe this was a mistake.” About five more minutes passed by and that’s when it happened, the doors opened up and in walked a twelve-year-old girl with special needs accompanied by her dad and younger sister. I don’t know why, but she walked right up to my table and started talking to me as if she already knew me. It was extremely hard to miss the way that her dad treated her compared to her “normal” sister, and he looked at this girl with a face of what I can only describe as disgust. Her dad pulled up a chair to my table and had her sit down and then he and his other daughter walked away. For the next twenty minutes or so, this girl and I talked, and I’ll be honest I said maybe three words the whole time. Sometimes you just need someone to be present and listen to what you have to say. While I listened to her, my heart could have broken in two because she had the most beautiful heart and lived with a family who couldn’t seem to look past her physical appearance. Her dad soon came back and said it was time to go, but before leaving she said something I’ll never forget. “Maybe one day you’ll write a book about me.” I came to the realization that if I hadn’t written this book, I never would have been there at that exact time and place to be there for someone who needed me. After this, a thought dawned on me, I had been looking at my life from the world’s definition of success. Now I can honestly say it doesn’t matter to me how many books I sell or how much money I make, if my books help even just one person to see that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and that they have a place and a purpose in this world, I will have succeeded.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

My three most important character traits that got me where I am today would have to be motivation, getting out of my comfort zone, and faith. The process of writing, illustrating, and publishing a book takes many months or even close to a year, so keeping your motivation is essential if you want to accomplish your end goal. Being an author has pushed me outside of my comfort zone so much in the past couple of years. I grew up being a pretty quiet, soft-spoken kid, but being an author required me not only to read my books to crowds, but also be a speaker at public events. When I was first asked to read my books and give speeches, I was terrified, but as time went on, I grew to love these events. I’ve been to schools where I’ve read to over four hundred students, and speaking as that once quiet kid, that is pretty amazing to me. I think that faith in God has helped me more than anything to achieve success. I received many great gifts from God that I am able to use to inspire others, and I am in awe every day of the level of impact that I have been able to have in this world. It is Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior who deserves all the glory.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Can you share a personal story that highlights the impact of diversity and inclusivity in your life or career?

One thing that I absolutely love is when I receive pictures of kids reading and enjoying my books. What I love even more is when I see children with special needs enjoying my books because they get to see someone like them being represented in a book. Through this they can see that there was someone different like them in the book who didn’t let their limitations define them, and if those in the book can overcome their trials then so can they.

How do you approach and manage the challenges that arise when working towards creating more inclusive communities?

I definitely have been asked some interesting questions over the years about the things I choose to write about. I remember one day while I was still in high school, someone on the track team who’d come across my books asked a question about “Danny and Kevin Conquer Camping” which was to raise awareness for limb loss and limb difference. They asked, “Why did the pig lose his leg in your book, it seems pretty sad for a kid’s book?” To this I simply responded “The world can be pretty sad sometimes, but maybe if kids see someone who’s different in this way in a book they won’t be surprised when they see the same thing in real life. When kids see something or someone different that they haven’t been exposed to they may point, laugh, and bring the wrong kind of attention to these individuals. My goal is for people of all ages to look past the limitations of others and see them for the amazing people that they really are.

What innovative strategies or initiatives have you implemented or observed that effectively promote the importance of diversity and inclusivity?

One way that I try to implement inclusion strategies through my work is to bring attention to certain groups of people who may sometimes be overlooked. My most popular book so far was Danny and Kevin Conquer Camping which brought awareness to limb loss and limb difference. A current work in progress of mine is going to bring awareness to those who are hearing impaired. I’m hoping that through these works, kids who encounter others with special needs will understand that they are people made in the image of God just like them and they don’t need to be treated as less than other people.

In your opinion, what are the key elements that make a community truly inclusive, and how can these be fostered on a larger scale?

Key elements that make a community truly inclusive are kindness, patience, understanding, and faith. In order to change hearts to be truly inclusive, there has to be an understanding that you have no idea what someone goes through in their daily life and a little kindness can change someone’s whole perspective on life. Be patient with others when they make mistakes because we are all imperfect people. Faith is the biggest element of inclusion because when you walk like Jesus, you love your neighbor as yourself. God is love, and with love all things are possible.

Based on your experience and research, can you please share “5 Ways We Can Build Inclusive Communities”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each. As a Children’s Author and future teacher working with children, I feel that these are 5 ways that I can show inclusivity in my books and build an inclusive classroom for my students.

1 . In my books, I would like to highlight characters who may look or act different and show them that they are special just how they are.

2 . I would also like to highlight disability awareness, so children know they don’t need to be afraid or treat people with a disability differently than anyone else.

3 . I want my future classroom to be an inclusive environment for my students celebrating everyone’s unique learning styles and abilities.

4 . I want my students to know that I value their stories and perspectives and that they can trust me as their teacher to always have their best interest at heart.

5 . I also want to incorporate daily activities into my curriculum that will help my students see other students’ perspectives and to instill kindness, patience, and inclusivity that will carry out into real world situations.

How do you measure the impact and success of diversity and inclusion efforts, and what changes have you seen as a result of these initiatives?

Almost every question that I’ve ever been asked by friends or family about my books has been “How many books have you sold?” Or “How much money have you made?” Over time, I have been conditioned to stop looking at success from a worldly perspective and look at how many people my books are helping. If my books help just one person see their value and worth, then my work will have all been worth it. The result of these initiatives in my life has been a greater sense of joy and an excitement to see how much good will transpire from these efforts. I also try to practice having a thankful heart for where I am today, and I will always be in awe that God took a quiet kid from Celina, Ohio and gave him such a span of outreach in the world.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A movement that I would like to bring about in our world is to love others no matter who they are. Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself”, and if you love someone you will want what is best for them. Love looks past someone’s outward appearance, flaws, and insecurities and sees the beautiful person within. People respond to and thrive around love, so if everyone made the decision to love others unconditionally then our world would be a much better and joyful place to be.

How can our readers further follow you online?

You can visit my website at: From there you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success in your great work!

About The Interviewer: Vanessa Ogle is an entrepreneur, inventor, writer, and singer/songwriter. She is best known as the founder of Enseo which she and her team grew into one of the largest out-of-home media and connected networks in the world, serving more than 100,000,000 people annually. Vanessa’s talent in building world-class leadership teams focused on diversity, a culture of service, and innovation through inclusion resulted in amazing partnerships and customer relationships. She collaborated with the world’s leading technology and content companies such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and Dish Networks to bring innovative solutions to the hospitality industry. Enseo has also held an exclusive contract to provide movies to the entire U.S. armed forces for almost 15 years. Vanessa and her team’s relentless innovation resulted in120+ U.S. Patents. Her favorite product is the MadeSafe solution for hotel workers as well as students and children in their K-12 classrooms. Accolades include: #15 on FAST 100, 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned 2018–2020, Entrepreneur 360 Best Companies 2018–2020, not to mention the Inc. 500 and then another six times on the Inc. 5000. Vanessa was personally honored with Inc. 100 Female Founder’s Award, Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and Enterprising Women of the Year. Vanessa now spends her time enjoying her children, sharing stories to inspire and give hope through articles and speaking engagements. entrepreneurs-to-be with her articles including her LinkedIN newsletter Unplugged. In her spare time she writes music with her husband Paul as the band HigherHill, teaches surfing clinics, and trains dogs.

Please connect with Vanessa here on linkedin and subscribe to her newsletter Unplugged as well as follow her on Substack.

Celebrating Diversity: Author Kale Sudhoff On How To Build Inclusive Communities was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.