The reason I wanted E-books and my cousin AJ

July 20th, 2015

After over a year of headaches, frustration and multiple people’s hard work, my books finally became available in e-book format a couple of weeks ago. The whole process was a complete nightmare! I’d like to share with you the reason I pushed through to get them as e-books.

edgar

This cutie, Edgar, communicates nonverbally using an Ipad. He is learning to use his head to select different phrases and options on the iPad. Like many of my fans, Edgar’s hands cannot turn the pages of a paper book. Having Wendy on Wheels on his iPad allows him to read Wendy’s adventures or have them read to him. This brings Wendy’s adventures to a whole group of children who may not have had access to them before.

When I see this picture of Edgar, I am reminded of my cousin, AJ, who passed away about 10 years ago. AJ had a severe form of cerebral palsy. Edgar looks so much like AJ it’s scary.

AJ

My favorite memory of AJ is this one. My dog, Cleo, loved (and still does) to lick people’s faces. She would put her paws up on his wheelchair and lick him all over his face and mouth. AJ would laugh with delight and open his mouth more.

AJ at his prom

AJ at his prom

I will have big news regarding “Wendy on Wheels Moves On” at the end of the week!!!

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!!!!

TASK Camp!!!

July 30th, 2013

Last Wednesday, Mandy and I visited TASK’s Camp.  TASK, which stands for Team Activities for Special Kids is a wonderful organization in St. Louis.  They host many different activities and groups for children with special needs.

Luckily, it wasn’t a hot day.  I think it was in the late 70s or early 80s, which is highly unusual for St. Louis in July.  We read Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day and Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach to six different groups.  The group that was the most excited and appreciative of Wendy was the oldest group.  They were in their late teens and some in their 20s.  They loved when Wendy became the “Wheeled Wonder.”  They giggled and clapped.

It was so sweet that TASK provided us with lunch of pizza and watermelon.  It was nice to have a break and hang out with the TASK volunteers and employees.

My favorite moment was with a group of 8 through 10 year olds.  One little girl walked up and said “Not storytime! That’s for babies!”  When Mandy finished reading Wendy Saves the Day, she said, “That wasn’t bad.”  Then she asked, the frequently asked question of why Wendy uses a wheelchair.  I told her, “I don’t really know.  I’ve never given a reason.”  Before I could elaborate she said, “What do you mean, you don’t know?  Didn’t you write the books?”  I’ve never had a heckler before.  This girl was awesome!!!

I responded with, “The point is, “We accept Wendy as she is.  The reason for her wheels doesn’t matter.”  She seemed okay with that answer.

This was such an amazing day!!  It felt wonderful not only to volunteer my time to read to this wonderful group of kids but to see them hang on every word of a book I created was truly an outstanding experience.  I’m so grateful I had this opportunity.

 

 

 

 

St. Louis Variety’s Adventure Camp

July 3rd, 2013

St. Louis Variety means a lot to my family.  From their website, “Variety The Children’s Charity has been helping children with physical and mental disabilities reach their full potential for 80 years.”  Mandy was their poster child for a couple years when she was little.  I wish I had a picture of that to post.  Over the years, Mandy has gone to camp, been a counselor, volunteered in the office and done a lot for Variety.

Last Wednesday, Mandy and I visited Variety’s Summer Adventure Camp.  We loved it!!!  The kids were so cute.

Copyright Variety St. Louis

Copyright Variety St. Louis

It’s so wonderful what Variety does for these children!  They all seemed to be having so much fun at camp.

Copyright St. Louis Variety

Copyright St. Louis Variety

I’m so glad I get to talk about Wendy on Wheels with my sister, Mandy, the inspiration behind the series.  I have so much fun raising awareness with her!

Copyright St. Louis Variety

Copyright St. Louis Variety

This little guy is adorable!!!  It was an awesome visit!  I think the campers really enjoyed Wendy on Wheels.

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!!

Puerto Rico Trip: George Wally Chavin

May 19th, 2013

A few weeks ago, I went on a short vacation with my family to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s such a beautiful place! When I was in Old San Juan, we saw a little hut with a fountain on the outside dedicated to a woman named George Wally Chavin.

Chavin Memorial in Puerto Rico

Chavin Memorial in Puerto Rico

The words on the plaque tell a sweet story.  The plaque reads, “George Wally Chavin 1910-1966  Almost totally paralyzed, she excelled academically, performed athletically  and in her prime swam 40 pool laps daily.  During W.W.II, she met her love in this hut, then a military canteen.  Serving as a volunteer Red Cross Hostess from her wheelchair.  They were married and he neccessarily became her lifelong lifeguard, protector and lover.  May Chavin’s beauty, intelligence and courage be an inspirational to all.  Donated by Chavin’s Widower”

I love good, romantic stories!!!  It’s especially cool for me to see a memorial set up for a person who used a wheelchair.  So sweet!!!

In other news, I’m getting ready to work on book 5.  My creativity is flowing again!

School Visits and Book Writing

October 3rd, 2012

It’s been 3 months since my last post.  After the Abilities Expos, I took some time off to focus on being a mom.  Now it’s October, National Disabilities Month as well as Spina Bifida Awareness Month.  I’m ready to visit some schools again.  It’s time for me to get back to what I do best, which is teaching children acceptance, ability awareness and to end bullying.

School visits can be set up by emailing me directly at Angela@wendyonwheels.com.

The self-cath book I worked on for 180 Medical’s Kids Club  had a very successful launch at the Spina Bifida Conference in the summer.  Here are a few pictures.  The second picture is my sister, Wendy on Wheels’ inspiration, Amanda with the purple bag.

    

 

There were two versions of the book, “Ethan Can Cath!” for boys.  “Emma Can Cath!” is for girls.  Both books show instructional pages to help little ones learn to catheterize themselves.  From what I heard, Ethan and Emma were a huge hit.  If you have a child with Spina Bifida who needs to learn to self-cath, I recommend contacting 180 Medical and joining their kids club.

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!!!