Friday, February 17, 2006

Sara the Famous

At long last, my second book Sara the Famous is finished and ready for purchase here. The publisher, Xlibris, placed this book under the category "Juvenile Nonfiction/general," but this might have been for lack of a clear sense of where to put it. That's good. I intentionally made it so that the genre would be elusive. This book is meant to appeal to a wide readership, regardless of age, religion, or neurology. While the experiences and emotions Sara shares with us are specific to her autism and her Christian faith, the themes of injustice, self-awareness, self-advocacy, and forgiveness are universal. That being said, this book is more about Christianity than about autism; Sara interprets the gospel story through her own experiences as an autistic girl. One could say this book is an autistic retelling of the gospel.

A bit of background:

About a year and a half ago, my friend's autistic daughter Sara asked me if I could write a book about her life. At around the same time, Sara's mother told me that Sara had been repeatedly saying that she wanted to be famous--that she was definitely going to be famous--but nobody was really sure what she meant by that or if she thought of "famous" the way most other people did.

It was around this time that she began discouraging people from buying her birthday and Christmas presents; she spent the days after Halloween giving out all of her own candy to sick children at children's hospitals. I was inspired to write this story after seeing Sara's Christian faith in action, and after listening to Sara's mother tell of Sara's experiences in the mainstream school setting as a Christian autistic girl. These experiences were often filled with loneliness, frustration, rejection and discrimination, but they resonated with her faith and helped to strengthen it so that she could aspire to give to others what she herself so often had not received.

Author Bio:

Lisa Jean Collins received her Bachelor of Arts degree in British and American Literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. During her college years she took elective art classes at various schools in the Philadelphia area, including The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Moore College of Art and Design. After graduating, she worked as a production editor and later worked at home as a freelance editor in order to raise her first child. Drawing from her experience as an English major, her work as an editor, her love and knowledge of the Bible, and her lifelong passion for illustration, she created her first Christian children's book, We Thank You, God, For All These Things, which was published in August 2004. Her second book, Sara the Famous, is based on a true story as told in the voice of her young friend Sara, a Christian autistic girl with a deep faith in Jesus. It chronicles Sara's experience with isolation and discrimination, and it shows the flip side of what such experiences can mean when one's highest aspiration is to be a different kind of famous: A Jesus kind of famous. As a mother of two sons on the autistic spectrum, Lisa Jean Collins has been very outspoken in her online writings about the need for the general population to respect the rights of autistic people. As a Christian, she wants to show that people with disabilities should never be treated as broken or less than human. Every single person is whole and has a purpose on this earth, and every single person was made in the image of God. Lisa Jean Collins lives in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three sons.