Wendy’s Updated New Look

July 13th, 2015

I updated Wendy’s new look again. I decided to put her in a more “active” wheelchair. To do this, I lowered the back of Wendy’s chair removed the handles. We also changed the color so that her chair would stand out more on the cover.

Here she is!!!

Here she is!!!

I will have the cover soon. I can’t wait to show you!!!

The trip that inspired Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach

May 31st, 2015

This morning, Facebook sent me a notification saying I had memories. Six years ago today, I was with my family in Clearwater Beach, Florida on the vacation that would later inspire my first book, Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

Mandy used a beach wheelchair to go around Discovery Cove. We went snorkeling, swam with stingrays and dolphins. I loved it!!

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

The beach was walking distance from where we stayed. Here’s a picture of Mandy and my dad at the beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the beach.

The "cartoon" version

The “cartoon” version

This was such a fun trip! I loved spending time with my family. I had no idea at the time that trip inspire a children’s book, which would lead to more books.

In other news, I will have an updated image of Wendy for book #5 in the next couple weeks as well as a cover. I can’t wait to share it with you!!!



Sisters raising awareness continues

October 27th, 2014

The month of October has been busy for Wendy on Wheels!  October 7th, my sister and I visited Kellison Elementary in Fenton, Missouri.  We presented in an all school assembly for their Ability Awareness Day.  What a wonderful group of students! Mandy and I talked about what it was like growing up.  Then, we opened it up to questions and answers.  There were a lot of good questions for Mandy.  They were really imagining Mandy when she was in elementary school.  They asked questions like, “What is your favorite color?” And “What is your biggest struggle in life?”  It was awesome!!!  Now, they can say they’ve met someone who uses a wheelchair.

This morning, we went to the two and three year old room at St. Micheal and St. George School.  We read Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach. Afterwards, each child was allowed to touch Mandy’s wheelchair.  Their teacher, Lisa has been teaching them about differences.  They’ve been learning about difference in skin color and hair color.  Today, the focus was differences in abilities.

st.michael1 st.michael

School visits are my passion!!!!  I love raising awareness especially with my sister!!!!

Our visit to MDA Camp

June 20th, 2013

Today, my sister, Mandy and I took a little road trip to share Wendy on Wheels with children at the MDA Camp in Fredericktown, MO

Mandy reading Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo

Mandy reading Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo

At first, I wasn’t sure how the kids felt about my books because they were absolutely silent the whole time we read.  At the end, they asked a bunch of questions about how and why I wrote the books.  Afterwards, we hung out at a pavilion by the lake.  For the last couple days, the kids worked on building boats out of cardboard, duct tape and plastic wrap.

Here's one boat.

Here’s one boat.

It was time to test the boats on the waters.  The counselors got in the boats and floated around the lake.  It was quite a sight.

My sister and I with Adam and the Mermaid Princess

My sister and I with Adam and the Mermaid Princess

I met a little girl who was a mermaid.  She played tag but she could never be it because she was the mermaid princess.  “Just look at my tail!”  She gestured at her legs.

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to meet such a fun group!!!!  We had a blast!!

Hagedorn Little Village School

May 29th, 2012

While in New York last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Hagedorn Little Village School.  I love Hagedorn Little Village!  I got to meet a huge fan of Wendy on Wheels, Dina.  She was kind of shy, but seemed to enjoy meeting me.  I read to a lot of classes in the 2 hours I was there.

One little girl got to choose the book for her class.  She chose Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo, then signed “please.”  After I finished she signed “more.”  Luckily, we had time to read, Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day.  She signed “more” after that one too.

One little boy clapped very loudly and yelled out, “THAT WAS AWESOME!!  You are the best reader ever!!!”

My favorite schools to visit are special schools.  Children with different abilities are the reason I created Wendy on Wheels in the first place.  Hopefully, I will get some pictures soon to post.

By the way, I will at the Abilities Expo in Chicago at the end of the month.  My workshop is at 3:45 on Saturday.  Come see me!!!



Lunada Bay Elementary and Day 1 of the Abilities Expo LA

March 31st, 2012

Thursday, I had the pleasure of introducing Wendy on Wheels to a kindergarten class at Lunada Bay Elementary School.  It was my first school visit in California.  What a wonderful group of little ones!  I started with Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo.  The group did great with the discussion questions, although they were more interested in having me read more books.  I read two more of my books.  I got a bunch of hugs when it was time for me to go.  How sweet!   I LOVE IT!!!

On my way out, I saw some excellent anti-bully signs the second graders made.

I love this catchphase, “Bullies are a pain in the brain!”

I used to draw hearts on everything when I was a kid.

Yesterday, was the first day of the Abilities Expo in LA.  It was great.  There was very little traffic on the way to downtown LA, so we got our booth set up right on time.   That’s always a good start.  I met a lot of great people.  Here’s a picture of my son and me.

One particular conversation that stands out in my mind was with a gentleman, named Andrew.  He said at the time he started kindergarten around 1977, they had just started mainstreaming children with different abilities.  He was the first ever  child with a wheelchair to attend at the school.  The school was not prepared, mentally or physically.  Not only did he have to go all the way outside to get to other parts of the school but he had 300 kids asking him all sorts of questions.  “What’s wrong with you?” “How do you go to the bathroom?”  “Why are your feet so small?”  I can imagine it made things very difficult.  I hope to change this with Wendy on Wheels.

There are two more days of the Abilities Expo in LA.  I read my newest book, Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand today in my workshop.  I can’t wait!

St. Catherine Laboure’s Ability Awareness Day

March 17th, 2012

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting Wendy on Wheels to the kindergarteners and first graders at St. Catherine Laboure School.

 The first group of kindergarteners had already heard Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo, my favorite book for Ability Awareness Days.  One kid yelled out, “I know what’s going to happen,” before I even started.  During the story, some were saying parts of the story with me.  It was awesome!!

Then I read Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand.  Since it is new, no one had heard it yet.  They loved it!  The students chanted along, “NO BULLY NO!!”  They loved the signs.

Speaking of signs, they had decorated the halls with signs for Abilities Awareness Days.

     A possibilist.  I like that!

This one is my favorite.

 The signs were great!

While I was reading to the second kindergarten group, one little boy said the boy next to him, “We’re not talking about Star Wars!”  That made me laugh.

In one of the first grade groups, I started out talking about my sister and how I was inspired to write Wendy on Wheels.  One boy raised his hand and said, “Are you going to read the books?”  Ha.  I guess he didn’t care what I had to say.  He just wanted to hear Wendy on Wheels.  That’s good.  I prefer it that way.  It was a great day!  What a wonderful group of children!

 I present at the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles in two weeks.  I can’t wait!!

Am I ready to change the world? I think so.

February 17th, 2012

Good morning, Atlanta!  Today is the first day the Abilities Expo.  I’ve been up around 5 thinking of all the things I need to do to get ready for today.  Print out signs, work on a powerpoint for my workshop on Saturday, listen to meditation tracks on my ipod, read a motivational book and the list keeps going.  At 6 am, I went down to the hot tub with my ipod to listen to my meditation stuff.  In the pool area, they were playing some old Frank Sinatra/Dean Martinesque music.  YES!!  It was like they knew I was coming down.  It was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.  YES!!

I felt a rush of excitement go through me.  Then I thought, Am I ready to change the world?  I think so.  “I think so,” really?  Hmmmm…  I’ve been preparing for this for months and that was the response I got.  Oh well.  I was feeling really anxious/nervous yesterday, so I will take it.

I practiced reading Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand to my nephew’s first grade class yesterday in Chattanooga, TN.  I haven’t been to many private schools so the group was a little different than I am used to.  It seemed like they had never seen or even heard of a child who uses a wheelchair before.  There are probably many other classes like this.  I really need to get out there more and visit as many schools as possible.

Someone has to teach the world to accept others regardless of abilities.  Someone needs to show the world that people who use wheelchairs, crutches, hearing aids or any thing of the sort are just like them.  Someone needs motivate children with different abilities to have fun and enjoy life.  That someone is me!  And that someone would also love a cup from Starbucks or Caribou right now.

Ability Awareness

May 23rd, 2011

I haven’t written a blog in a while.  Things have been kind of crazy.  Thursday, Marvin Elementary invited me to read to students as part of their Ability Awareness Day.  It’s always fun to read Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Zoo to children in St. Louis since they recognize the St. Louis Zoo.  It’s such a good book for ability awareness. 

I went with my friend, Tom, from Warwick Photography last week to Tilles Park to take some new photos to put on my website and use for magazines and things.  There were hundreds of little ones running all over the playground with shirts that said KECC (Kirkwood Early Childhood Center.)  I had visited the KECC a couple weeks prior.  Several children ran up to me and said, “You came and read to us.”  I was amazed that four and five year olds remembered me.   

The KECC graciously invited me to read to children as part of their annual “Hopathon.”  Participants in the Hopathon had to hop to raise awareness of Muscular Dystrophy.  One activity had children sit in wheelchairs and figure out how to manuever them.  It was cool to see.   

I was very impressed with Barretts Elementary School’s Ability Awareness Day a couple weeks ago.  They had several different presenters speaking about different abilities.  They even had a session with the school’s occupational therapist, teaching the students about different abilities and ways to be more productive.  The group made a “Fidget tool,” to help them focus during class.  Here’s a picture of the fidget tool. 

Things have definitely changed.  When I was in school, the teacher would take away the object I used to fidget.  Then I couldn’t focus on what the teacher was saying.  Now the schools realize fidgeting helps students pay attention and be more productive.  

They had more stations with activities for the children to get some of their access energy out so they can relax and learn. 

They had another station with M&Ms and large tweezers.  The children picked up the M&Ms with the tweezers to help with their motor skills. 

I LOVE to participate in Ability Awareness Days!!!  We are educating them younger and younger.  It’s outstanding!!!

In New York City a couple weeks ago, I attended a family services workshop in Brooklyn put on by Resources for Children with Special Needs.  Gary Shulman did an outstanding job letting parents know about a wide range of programs out there to help them.  If you are in NYC and need anything at all for your child, contact Resources for Children with Special Needs.  I wish they were nationwide.

In other news, my husband and I are expecting our first child in November.  We are so excited!!!

Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day has officially been launched!!!

April 5th, 2011

Sunday afternoon, I had my launch party for Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day at All Along Press.  It was such a wonderful event.  Thank you to everyone who came.  I appreciate your support and love for Wendy on Wheels.  Excellent food from Cherokee Street Catering.  Everyone loved the barbequed chicken pizza!

    I made a new friend, Josie.  Here’s a picture of Josie, Elizabeth and me.  She loved Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach!  Now she has the whole trilogy.  Josie is so cute and sweet!

The reading went well.  I said thank you to my cousin, Dana for taking Elizabeth and me around Cardinal Glennon to see what the inside of a children’s hospital looks like.  Dana is cartoonized on page 21 of Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day.   

Things have been going well for Wendy on Wheels.  I have some Ability Awareness Days lined up for April at some local schools.  I’m working on setting up some schools visits in Peoria, IL and Chicago the third week in April. 

I’m working on getting t-shirts made.  They might be available to the general public if people are interested.

I was not chosen as a finalist in the Energizer Competition.  I’m still excited I was nominated as a semifinalist.  Thank you to everyone who voted for me!!!

I will have the cover for Wendy on Wheels Takes a Stand in a week or so.  🙂

I saw The Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday.  Marlee did a outstanding job as project manager!  Go Marlee!!  Meat Loaf had a meltdown on Gary Busey.  I couldn’t believe that.  YIKES!!!