Readers of my blog know that I've talked about my godson Gabe who was diagnosed with autism when he was very young. For the past year, I've spent (almost) every Wednesday going to dinner with him, his sister and his mother. Most children with autism need a set schedule where they know exactly what is going to happen. And let's just say we don't veer off of that Wednesday night of eating at Friday's where he can get his chicken fingers, French fries and red velvet cake. So one night at dinner, his sister Natalie (who is growing up so fast as she's a freshman in high school) and I were busy watching him and started thinking of a super hero named chicken boy: and a children's picture book idea was born.
I have noticed that most children's books on this subject are from the perspective of a sibling or a friend and never from the mind of that brilliant child who just happens to be locked inside of their own world. This book (while conceived by myself and Natalie) is told through his voice as a very basic attempt of a child with autism to try and alleviate the concerns of other children around him because of what they perceive as 'strange'. The story shows that children with autism are just like other children, capable of imaginations full of wonderful pretend games.
This morning, I entered “Chicken Boy: The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero with Autism” in a competition to get a children’s book published. We are excited to see what comes of this and all of you will be able to be involved. From November 28-December 18, there is a manuscript voting round where everyone will be able to go and ‘vote’ on the story they like. (And we’re going to need EVERYONE to vote!) The finalist round (which we really hope to make it to that point) will be January 31-February 21, 2012 and a winner will be announced by March 7. Now I know people are thinking I’m completely crazy for getting myself in yet another writing project, but I’m at my most happiest and best when juggling several things. And I think this drives home the point that I never want to be considered a ‘one-genre author’.