I taught in K-12 with students on the autism spectrum for 30+ years. In 2003, I received a Self-designed Bush Leadership Fellowship that allowed me to travel and write in my academic area. I am the co-author of The Incredible 5-Point Scale, and the author of When My Worries Get Too Big, A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control and A 5 is Against the Law! (2008 ASA literary award winner). I also co-edited a textbook for educators titled Learners on the Autism Spectrum: Preparing Highly Qualified Educators (2009 ASA literary award winner). More recently I developed and write a social skills magazine designed for students with Asperger Syndrome called The Social Times (2010 Gold Winner, National Patenting Publications Award).
It is my latest project that brings me to SCBWI. I wrote an early chapter book titled Adalyn’s Clare due out in summer 2012. It is my first work in this market. Although When My Worries Get Too Big is a children's book, it was almost exclusively marketed in the special education market. Adalyn's Clare is about a 4th grade girl:
Adalyn is a very smart but lonely 4th grader who loves animals and science. She has not had much luck finding human friends so far, and her best friends are the animals in the science room, which is just about her favorite place in the whole world. Adalyn finds most people very confusing and frustrating, which causes her a great deal of anxiety and sometimes gets her into trouble.
Clare is a therapy puppy who has been assigned to help Adalyn find friends. Although Adalyn and Clare are fast friends, there is more to finding human friends than a 3-month old puppy can image. On her journey to help Adalyn, Clare draws support from memories of her own mother’s wisdom; the actions of some caring teachers; and the life lessons of a friendly ferret, 2 very smart rats, an exotic bird, and a three-legged guinea pig.
I am so very excited to enter this new chapter of my life. I currently have 2 focus groups reading my book, one of 6th graders and one of 3rd graders. I would love to have some other children's book writers read it as well. It is currently pre-edited and is being illustrated by my nephew, Lou Wisniewski. We are due to submit it to our publisher in February and would love any input we can get from now until then!
Member since 2011
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