A New Jersey Bookstore with Heart

Words Bookstore Welcomes Those with Special Needs

Kim and I are fond of pretty much every independent bookstore (unless the people who work there are mean to us, in which case you simply won’t ever see a review on this blog) but every once in a while a bookstore comes along that has a special slant that’s particularly meaningful to one or both of us.   For example, there’s the bookstore that serves wine–talk about being tailormade for Kim . . .  (hee, hee).

And if you wanted a bookstore to mean something special to me, you’d make it geared for families dealing with special needs. You’d ensure that their children always felt welcome there by providing your staff with sensitivity training and that the parents would be able to find both the books they want to read for enjoyment and the ones they need to read for information about their children’s disabilities.  My dream store would also make a point of hiring and training adults with special needs.   It would also be warm, cozy, and inviting.   misc8

It would, in short, be exactly like Words Bookstore in Maplewood, New Jersey.  Except maybe it would be in Southern California so I could actually go and see it with my own eyes.

Oh, well, you can’t have everything, and the very good news is that Words Bookstore is flourishing in Maplewood and that the community there has a resource unlike any other.  Jonah Zimiles, who, with his wife Ellen, owns the store, is pretty new to the bookstore business, having been a lawyer, a business school student, and a stay-at-home dad to his son with autism over the last couple of decades.  But once he and Ellen decided to buy a bookstore, they knew exactly the direction they wanted to take it in.

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Autism Book Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of a brand new copy of GROWING  UP ON THE SPECTRUM is . . .

Kim v.   I’ll contact you directly via email, Kim, to get your snail mail address.  

The winning pick was randomly generated using random.org and anyone who tweeted or mentioned it on facebook got both comments counted.

Many of your comments really touched me.  So many of you wanted to know more about autism because of relatives, friends, students . . .   And of course a lot of you are dealing with it in your own family. 

If there’s any reason you can’t get your hands on a copy of this book–e.g. you’re in a different country, your library doesn’t carry it and you can’t afford it, whatever–please email me directly and let me know.  This is the kind of information I feel everyone who needs it should have access to and I’ll do what I can to make sure that happens.  No child should be missing out on the interventions that can make his life easier or happier.  So please do let me know if you can’t get a copy on your own and I’ll do what I can to help out.

Thanks for your comments and good luck to everyone on your journey.

Oh, and starting Monday, please check out my related blogs on momlogic.com where I’ll be discussing some of the strategies in the book. 


Book Giveaway

Just in time for National Autism Month

One of the great advantages of being a book author is that you have control over your working hours which, for me, means that when my kids are on vacation, I’M on vacation.   I’ll have decades of writing time to myself once the kids are out of the house, but free time with them is limited and I’m not going to miss out on it.  Which is why I haven’t posted anything for over two weeks.   (Fortunately Kim picked up the slack and then some.)  My apologies.  No regrets, though.  It was our best vacation ever.

But now that I’m back home and they’re back in school, it’s time to get serious about work again.  So: hello everybody!

(All together now:

“Hello, Claire!” 


When I left for vacation, it was March, which wasn’t remarkable, but I returned in April which is National Autism Month.  As you all must know by now, when I’m not writing lighthearted women’s fiction, I’m co-authoring books about autism.  The second collaboration between Dr. Lynn Koegel (of the Koegel Autism Center at UCSB) and me came out last month and, in honor of National Autism Month, I’m going to give a copy away. 

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Quick Updates

It’s Grandparents and Special Friends Week at school and Claire and I have family in town, so here’s a quick post with some updates:

I was interviewed about Bookstore People by Eco-Libris, check it out, then equalize your reading!

As discussed in my review of The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins, her fictional portrayal of Edward Curtis caused controversy because she paints Edward Curtis far darker than his fans perceive him.  Santa Monica chose The Shadow Catcher as its Citywide Reads selection this year.  Bruce Kapson, Curtis expert and scholar, will give a historical overview of Edward Curtis this Saturday at 3PM at the Santa Monica Public Library.

Both Claire and I joined twitter.  Follow us!  I’m BookstoreK and Claire is writemenow.

The Tournament of Books is continuing and I’m loving it!  Today City of Refuge knocked out 2666, but  popular vote returned 2666  to the zoombie round.  The review of the match up between 2666 and Steer Toward Rockwas brilliant in its use of an extended March Madness metaphor.  John Hodgman beautifully wrote his judgment of the Mercy v. My Revolutions competition.  The quarter-finals are over and we’re heading into the semi-Growing Up on the Spectrum: A Guide to Life, Love, and Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism and Asperger's Coverfinals. 

And in case you missed it, Claire’s book, Growing Up on the Spectrum: A (actually she co-wrote it) was published last week.  We’ll be having giveaways of the book, National Autism Month, in April.  Stay tuned!

Guide to Life, Love, and Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism and Asperger’s

Growing Up on the Spectrum Is Officially Published

Growing Up on the Spectrum: A Guide to Life, Love, and Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism and Asperger’s is the second book that Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel and I have written together.  Our first was Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life, and we’re incredibly proud of how many people have told us the book has been a source of information and comfort to them.

My oldest son was diagnosed with autism when he was two and a half and at some point along the way, a friend suggested I go see Dr. Koegel who was running a clinic at the University of Santa Barbara with her husband Dr. Robert Koegel.  (That clinic has since been named after them: it’s now the Koegel Autism Center.)  The story of our first meeting is described in Overcoming Autism: basically my husband and I were blown away by Lynn’s personal brilliance and by the effectiveness of their pivotal response teaching behavioral approach. 

Thanks to her guidance (and the hard work of many other wonderful professionals), our son is doing great today.  He’s an amazing kid and a fully mainstreamed high school junior who’s currently trying to figure out which colleges to apply to.

Back when he was still young, Lynn discovered that I was a writer (a rather unfulfilled writer at the time) and asked if I could help them rewrite their clinic brochure.  I did.  A year or so later, she asked me if I’d have any interested in co-authoring an entire book with her.  I did.  Together we wrote Overcoming Autism.  The expertise in the book is all hers, but I was able to add some personal experiences as the mother of a kid on the spectrum and help with the general writing and presentation.  Continue reading