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.


At 4:05 PM, Blogger hollywoodjaded said...

A Jesus kind of famous.

Amazing. This thought leaves me speechless; all I can say is something banal like -- I totally get it.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

I'm not religious (or so I think), but your book sounds interesting. I will read it.


At 11:01 PM, Blogger lavender blu said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have often wondered if my four year old son would ever understand and accept Jesus, and now I see via Sara's story, that he can attain this understanding as well. Like a lot of parents, I want my son to be completely recovered, but I must say I am more concerned about the wellfare of his soul than anything else. I can care for my child here, but I can't care for him in eternity. Thank you for giving me the assurance that someday my son will be able to understand and accept Christ as his Lord and Savior.

God bless,
lavender blu

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Lisa Jean Collins said...

Thank you all for your comments. I have been meaning to reply to every single one of you, not just here but after my other posts as well. Things have been crazy, and I think I don't even need to elaborate on that one!!


Every time I tried to respond to your post, my response sounded banal as well even though I was trying to post from my heart. Everything was coming out all wrong, and I kept hitting cancel. What can I say? I'm *glad* you get it. A lot of people might not, which means I might not sell that many books....However, what I wrote and what I drew were things that needed to be written and drawn, even if only one person was touched and changed by it. I can only pray that the word will get out and people will want to read Sara's story.


I glanced at your blog and I was completely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of your writings. I only wish I had the time to read your blog and dozens of other blogs written by giants in the Autism world. A.B.'s blog is the one that I am most kicking myself for not having the time to read, but there are so many writers and thinkers out there writing about things I need to read that it makes me wish there were 68 hours in a day. I'm glad you found my new book interesting, and I'm glad you want to read it. Unfortunately it cannot be found in bookstores. Right now you can only get it from the Xlibris site, but (for a price, of course) I can get it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites also. I'm waiting to see if it will be worth it to pay more at this early stage. Ahhh the joys of self publishing!!!

Lavender blu,

I have two autistic sons out of a total of three sons. My 11 year old, who still aggresses and flashes, prays to God to help him get control over his rages and to teach him self-control and maturity. We talk about Jesus quite a bit, but not as much as I might like to, as it is a struggle just to get to the end of every day. I believe for *sure* that every autistic person, no matter how "severe" can understand and accept Jesus. It may be in ways we can never understand, or it may be in ways that surprise people who didn't think it was possible. I think it is Isaiah 56 that would be great reading right about now! :)) If not, I'll tell you which book I'm thinking about!!

Regarding what you wrote about Sara: Sara is truly and without any hyperbole one of the most authentic Christians I have ever met. She will cut right to the chase about any issue. She will walk up to anyone and witness for Jesus. She will identify injustice and immorality whenever she sees it. She throws people off guard, just like Jesus did.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Kin LIU said...

Dear Lisa,

A friend in the church said that their son is autistic and so set me off to find out more as I knew so little about the condition and the people who have it, let alone empathise with them. thank you for your essays especially the one 'no is not a word'. It keeps me humble and to recognise God is souveriegn. Also, your essays help me to understand a little bit more and all people with autism are persons too, not labels, not medical cases. I also give God thanks for the hope that you hold. keep you in prayer,


At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know summat, it is mea culpa as I have got to get round to making sure my Church has a copy of this book.

Well eventually I am sure I will get round to it :)

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa, thank you so much for writing this book!!! Sara, thank you for letting Lisa use your story to encourage other children who have disabilities that Jesus can use them as much as anyone else to touch people in this world for Him. I am so proud of both of you for writing such an AWESOME and ENCOURAGING book. As a mother with a son with Asperger's Syndrome (or High-Functioning Autism), I am glad to have a book that reinforces what I have been teaching him for many years-that we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb(Jesus) and the word of our testimony. God made each one with their own uniqueness and that God doesn't make mistakes. He has a plan for each person He has made. And we can rise above others imposed judgements of us and show the world that we too are of value to this world. We have a voice, and something of value to say. GREAT JOB!!!! Lisa, you might consider finding a young man to write an encouraging story about as well, maybe my Eric, that could strengthen the boys in their Faith and Perseverance. God Bless you in a

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Lisa Jean Collins said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for posting! Is this your second time posting? There are two anonymous posts in a row, and they both sound like they might be you.

Someone from Saraland received the book on or around June 28, and I thought that was so cool...Sara, Saraland...okay, maybe I'm being silly?! :)

Thanks to everyone else who posted. I wanted to tell you all that I am group owner of a Yahoo group called Autistic Bible Church. This group is for auties who just can't seem to handle either getting to church, being in church, or church life in general for all kinds of obvious and not-so-obvious reasons.

I'm trying to make the emphasis be on Bible study, buy I can't seem to "herd the cats" into anything close to an organized study.

Several times, I've tried to close the group due to periodic mass inertia, but every time I say I want to, someone pops in and begs me not to because the group is meeting a need even when it doesn't feel like it is.

I want to apologize to my readers for my failure to produce an essay in a long time. Things around here have been "interesting," let's just say.

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Lisa Jean Collins said...

Trying to post a new blog entry and cannot even see my blog on the dashboard. This keeps happening and it's driving me nuts.

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Vanessa said...

Anyone know anywhere in the south of Hampshire, UK you can buy Sara the Famous?

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Lisa Jean Collins said...

Overseas customers:

If anyone wants to buy Sara the Famous, this is what it will cost: $22.99 US, plus shipping. Shipping is around $7.00-$9.00 US.

You may email me at to get my address.

I have sent Sara the Famous to the UK and as far as South Korea, and it arrived in great shape.

Just let me know! :))


At 11:05 PM, Blogger Lisa Jean Collins said...


I forgot to mention that I moved my blog to Wordpress because of the problem with this blog.

My new blog address is:

There is one new essay there, and I'm in the middle of a new essay right now. Hope to see you there.

At 8:22 PM, Blogger laurentius rex said...

You have been tagged

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Casdok said...

Sounds interesting!!

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People interested in learning more about autism and Christianity should listen to the Midnight In Chicago podcast entitled "Why is there autism? A Christian Perspective."

It can be found at

At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please see you tube videos "severely autistic boy lost in big government" for videos made by a fellow believer, a mom with a severely autistic son with self injury


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