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Finding the "Special" in Special Needs

The title character, SUPER JAKE, is loosely based on my youngest son who had special needs. Jake couldn't walk or talk, but he sure could smile! When you read - or hear - all about Jake and his big brothers, I guarantee you'll be smiling, too! Remember: you can't judge a book or a person by their cover.

Naomi Milliner

45 Minute Program



Quotes from 6th grade students after attending this session (in a classroom):

“Jake’s story effects me because now I know how people with disabilities struggle. I know that I take things for granted and should be more thankful…”

“Listening today taught me that people with disabilities can be the center of the family and can help keep everyone together.”

In 2001, when our youngest son was born, life as we knew it was forever changed. Jake had severe brain damage and his prognosis was bleak. Doctors said he couldn't hear and couldn't see, and that babies like him didn't live past their first birthday.

They were wrong... on all counts. Maybe they hadn't factored in Jake's determination to beat the odds; maybe they hadn't known how much his family would love and care for him. It turned out he could see and hear, and he lived to 28 months.

When Jake died in 2003, I wrote the first draft of Super Jake & the King of Chaos two months later. I wrote it so his big brothers (7 and 11 at the time) would remember what it was like having him in our lives. And I wrote it so other people could get a glimpse of what our life with him was like.

In this Talkabook program we will explore the joys, challenges and day-to-day life of having a child - or sibling - with special needs. We'll talk about Jake's army of therapists and show how they worked with him; discuss judging a book - or person - by their appearance; and explore objects on the book cover and how they relate to both the book and to Jake himself.

I look forward to meeting you... and to you meeting Super Jake!

About the Author

Too short to play basketball and too squeamish to be a surgeon, Naomi Milliner decided instead to pursue the glamorous career of children’s book author. Her debut novel, Super Jake & the King of Chaos, is loosely based on life with her three sons, the youngest of whom had special needs. You can read more about Naomi and her sons here:

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Other Programs from Naomi Milliner

Creating Characters out of Real People, and Creating People with Real Character

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The Write Stuff: Discovering the Hero in SUPER JAKE... and in You

Naomi Milliner

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