The author’s daughter wrote to Special Needs Book Review about the just released (Nov. 25th 2013) rhyming picture book starring a girl with disabilities, The WingMaker by Lynette Louise. We thank Tasara Shelton for her wonderful guest post introducing The WingMaker and for a PDF copy of the book.
When I started reading The WingMaker, with the intentions of just skimming it and “winging it” to write an introduction during these busy days at Sentio Life Solutions, I had to read every word, I had to read every one of its 56 pages, and I stopped to admire the amazing collage of pictures and bold captions.
Congratulations to international therapist Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD for this adorable picture book featuring a young girl with Cerebral Palsy. All families with a child with special needs will be inspired by The WingMaker. Heath care professionals and educators who work with children and families facing challenging needs will learn how important a role they play in helping families navigate their difficult journey. Share this poignant, rhyming picture book with a child or classroom of students and open the door to meaningful discussions on families living with disabilities, mental or physical health issues, or dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Thank you, Lynette Louise, for this profoundly moving story.
Guest Post by Tsara Shelton:
The WingMaker by By Lynette Louise
Art and Graphics Design by Lynette Louise and Eliza Engle
Disclaimer: Lynette Louise is not only one of my favorite authors, she is also my mother. I suppose that makes me a little bit biased, but it also makes me a little bit of a harsher critic as well. After all, she’s my mom!!
The moment I first looked at this book, I felt joy. The pictures are a collage of playful moments, spiritual images, and skies filled with possibilities.
The pictures prepare you for the emotional and delightful story that the reader is about to experience in The WingMaker.
Told in rhyme, the tale is of a young girl, Reazon, who is very disabled and finds herself almost drowning in desires and wishes. Watching her siblings play she yearns to join them and be a different kind of part of the family.
“As her fear faded from present to past,
she thought and she thought, she sat and she sat.
She sat and she thought, for that’s all she could do.
“I only wish I could get through.
’Why can’t I move all on my own?
Be part of the family, play in my home?”
Why can’t I say, “Thanks but no,
the floor is scary; I don’t want to go.
Instead, if you don’t mind, just wheel me around.
Pretend I’m a train; make a choo-choo sound.””
Her mom shows love by working tirelessly and without complaint. But alas, also without fun.
“For Mom, Reazon was her reason, the method to say:
I am not a stupid girl like my teachers once claimed.
And I am not the parent who would turn her back;
no matter the challenge, I would never do that.
I have learned so many things about tubes and spine-care.
I must be intelligent; I’ve grown so aware.
I know not to fret, just to love, not behest,
not to whine or bemoan but to always accept.”
Enter the delightfully playful therapist, Happy-ness, whose belief in miracles is strong enough to reveal them! Through pretend play, and a willingness to let go of fear and hold onto hope, skills are gained and life becomes fun!
“Then she played a game of “I think I can” friend
while pushing this chairage drawn by pretend.
Singing, “What gives you purpose? Is it dance, run or read?
“You and your family now laugh right out loud.
Let’s enjoy parting ways and celebrate with your crowd.”
Happy-Ness galloped, raced Reazon down the street.
Reazon giggled in the chairage for it jiggled her feet.
Her siblings competed and skipped to the tune,
that Happy-Ness made up as they ran under the moon.
Reazon squealed a word combo “I love”. She soft smiled,
Grabbed her chairage wheel and circled a while.
She sang a humming song and a glow lit her face,
which quickly transposed it to an enviable place.”
Just as everyone has begun to live and see the power of play, and Happy-Ness pats herself on the back for another job well done, Reazon dies in her sleep. Now it is Happy-Ness who finds herself drowning in wishes and doubt. As she questions and bemoans the point of it all, truths are revealed through the revisiting essence of Reazon. She offers both Happy-Ness—and this reader!—an ultimate answer and true reason for play, kindness, and the belief in possibilities above fear of failure.
“It occurred to Reazon that this was Happy-Ness’ way:
over-doing it to keep going and creating through play.
Most of the lockers had just one set of feathers.
Like Mom’s and her sisters, a nurse, and two others.
Some just sat empty for adornment to wait,
waiting and waiting for wings from THE GATE.
That came when an action of kindness helped all:
The receiver, the giver, the audience involved.
That’s when a pair would magically arrive.”
When we meet the true WingMaker, we feel our own shoulders tingle with the knowledge that they can easily wear wings, if we are willing to do the work and believe.
The WingMaker is a book that I would recommend to any family with a loved one, neighbor, or friend who is disabled or challenged in some way. It is also an excellent and hopeful book for people dealing with grief or loss. When I asked my mom, Lynette Louise, why she wrote the story she explained, “This is based on the true story of a lovely girl and her family that I worked with years ago. After her death I needed to tell the story in order to let go. I needed to share what she’d taught me with others.”
This is a family book, perfect for adults and children alike. It is especially lovely for parents to read with their children. My own teen sons (I have four) have all enjoyed it, and all for their own reasons.
The WingMaker is the kind of book you want in your home. It’s a book that offers hope while encouraging comfortable discussions about acceptance and difference.
The WingMaker by Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad
Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad is an international mental health and parenting therapist, specializing in autism. She is a speaker, author, performer, popular podcast host, neurofeedback & autism expert, and creator/host/therapist for the international reality series FIX IT IN FIVE with LYNETTE LOUISE aka THE BRAIN BROAD, now showing on The Autism Channel. She is also the single mother of eight now grown children; Six were adopted and four were on the autism spectrum. Only one of her sons retains his label and remains dependent.
Find Lynette Louise online!
- Miracles Are Made: A Real Life Guide to Autism by Lynette Louise
- Interview Lynette Louise: Author, Autism Expert, Mom of Eight, 6 Adopted, 5 Disabled, 4 with Autism