Today I’m going to tell you a story about Kim Edwards, author of the phenomenal bestseller Memory Keeper’s Daughter. About a year or so ago, a few of us at the Downsyn.com forum had the idea that it might be fun to discuss books about Down syndrome with people who had firsthand experience with the condition. So with the help of the site’s creator, Tom, we set up a book club.
One of the very first books we read was Memory Keeper’s Daughter. I thought it would be a great treat to have Kim Edwards participate in the discussion; my husband Tom (who has written 2 books) occassionally gets requests for such things, and he always enjoys them, so I knew it was a possibility.
Kim Edwards has a public email address, so I wrote and asked her to be a part of the online forum. She agreed! She read all the questions and comments, and wrote a detailed reply of her own. One of the questions she answered was mine: I asked how she created such a believable character in Phoebe, the child with Down syndrome. I loved Kim’s reply: “I think being a parent myself was what I drew on most.”
As a way of saying thank you, I’d planned to give Kim one of Amy’s beautiful Down Syndrome Awareness bracelets (Amy blogs at The Flege Farm). But Kim said no, nothing was necessary, it had been her pleasure.
A few months later, I got an email from Kim Edwards, saying she’d been in Amy’s home state for a book reading and a discussion, and that after the event, a woman from the audience gave her a gift–a silver bracelet with blue and yellow beads, and a particular symbol at the 21st bead, representing the trisomy of Down syndrome. It was one of Amy’s bracelets!
I don’t know who delivered this gift (neither does Amy), but that’s the sort of thing I’ve come to expect: everyday miracles.
And now, on to the MotherTalk Blog Book Tour! The winner in yesterday’s drawing (me to Tom: “Pick a number between 1 and 33?” Tom: “18!”) is Cate from I don’t know what to say. I know Cate’s a reader and will put the $20 Amazon Gift Certificate to good use! (And if you didn’t win this time, there will be another drawing today! Just leave your name in the comments to be considered.)
Leah from Life As Lou touches upon the idea that too often reactions to parents with children with special needs are extreme–we’re either dismissed with embarrassment, or put upon a pedestal. She realizes that neither reaction is helpful, because it only serves to alienate us from each other. And I love what she says about “the beautiful paradigm shift that allows the reader to see Avery as a wonderful little person filled with his own possibility and promise for the future.” If you can see a future for Avery, you can see a future for all our children.
Actual Unretouched Photo felt that she was drawn into the story of how Avery changed me and changed my family. She writes, “If you are interested in mothering, children who have Down syndrome, love or any combination of the above, you’ll want to check out this book.”