Our community is home to a large number of outstanding authors. To celebrate them, we will offer – every two months – an introduction to a different children's or adult author who resides in one of the four towns in our school district and who has published a new book within the past year. The selection shall be made by a vote of our librarians. Happy reading!
What is your favorite local place to go for inspiration, relaxation, or peace and quiet? Why?
The Jones! Because libraries have always been the most affordable place to go to find both peace and quiet and also feel like my day is full of possibilities.
Do you have a special library memory or story?
Right after my oldest son was diagnosed with autism, I repeatedly visited the “Disabilities” section of the library and read books of the floor of the basement while my son napped in his stroller. Shattered and unable to imagine entering this world, I couldn’t even bring myself to check the books out. I sat there and quietly read my way into some understanding of what this meant and what we were up against.
Why did you write your new book?
When I began writing for children and young adults, I wanted to put characters with disabilities at the center of my stories because I don’t think we see enough of them in books or popular culture (though I do think this has gotten better recently). The more we demystify this experience, I believe, the more successful inclusion education will be. I wrote Chester and Gus from the point of view of a service-dog dropout because I believe dogs have so much to teach us about communicating without words and conveying love in unspoken ways. Though I wasn’t aware of this as I wrote, I think Chester reminds me of myself after my son was diagnosed: powerless, mystified, and completely focused on a child I loved and wanted to help. Chester makes sense of Gus slowly, over time, much the way I did.