Thursday, December 20, 2012
Two Posts ago, I participated in the "Next Big Thing Blog Hop" and answered questions about my book. The Next Big Thing, was big and a lot of people were participating, so I got asked to participate again by a few other people. I said yes to one special author, a 12 year old girl with a book called, Alien Attack. Lily Saki answered questions on her blog at the following link
and you can see more about her at her website
The following is a bit from the website about this young writer
About the Author
Author Lily Saki is twelve years old and lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with her parents and two brothers. She was born in Ghana and immigrated to America when she was five and has loved to write stories since entering kindergarten. She has a huge passion for writing and has continued with it throughout her years. Lily is an Honor Roll student at Pierce School and is well known for being a great writer.
Alien Attack is her first published story, and she is very enthusiastic about it. Lily has drawn a lot of inspiration from her father, who is a physician, and her mother, a graphic designer.
I can not review the book, as I have not yet read it, but I can tell you I know the dedication required to complete and publish a novel, and this young lady has my admiration for her accomplishment.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
I was recently asked to explain a little about what led me to choose to have the main character in my "Duffy Barkley" books be a young boy with Cerebral Palsy. The answer caused some serious looking back over my life and brought me to the following chain of thought.
I was in school in a time before the public mainstreaming law, when kids who were "slow" might be put in the "retard class" sorry, I hate that term but when I was in grade school that is what we all called it. We never even heard another word suggested. These kids were in a separate class and never even came out on the playground for the same recess. By Jr. High it was common to see them being tripped and called names and to see thing like smoke bombs put in their lockers. Kids who had any more severe problems than a learning disability, never showed up at our school at all, they were put "in an institution" in another county, and never mentioned again.
When I was 12, I wanted to be a marine biologist and a writer and study marine mammals and write about them.
Then we were told that my Mom's ulcer had a heartbeat and that a baby would be here in 4 months. Everyone was excited, until he was born with Down's syndrome, and that experience opened my eyes and taught me how to really love, and most of all, made me furious at the way handicapped people were labeled and locked away. I wrote about my brother at http://echo-echosvoice.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-brother-has-downs-syndrome-and-i.html
I was in 9th grade when the mainstreaming law suddenly meant that people with more serious handicapping conditions were allowed in our school and suddenly I found out that one of my best friends had a twin brother who was blind since too much oxygen as a premie, and her twin and several other kids our age were suddenly in school with us. And because her twin walked him with us every day, we became friends too.
|my brother and I|
I found that the kids in my class that I loved the most, were the defiant, determined ones who argued every time they were told "NO." But I found I didn't love them or dislike them because of their handicaps, I loved them or disliked them because of their personalities and their choices, just like normal kids. Because they were just another kind of normal.
Sure, the ones who ignored the word "No" were not easy, but they never gave up, and if they were told they couldn't do something, they just tried harder. In later years, I have found myself a lot less patient with kids who could do anything easily but are too lazy to try.
So I love teaching. I still do, but I also wanted to be a writer. Fortunately I could do both. My first book was Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog
and I wanted to make it a fantasy story to share with my kids, one like Narnia, Oz, Neverland or a Wrinkle in Time, where there was a chance to create another world and use my imagination.
|My Brother and my sons|
and it has given me a lot of chances to talk to students about bullying, and differences, about never giving up, and about loving who you are.