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Two Authors Enthuse About Their Common Passions at BookExpo 2017

Two Authors Sign Their Books at BookExpo Enthuse About Their Common Passion: Making the World as Aware of ‘Sensory Issues’ as It Is About Autism

 

Melissa Palmer, author of Baking for Dave, was effusive about her book signing at the largest book show in the U.S. on June 2.  “Book Expo was unbelievable!  Everyone was so interested and amazing.  It was so user-friendly to navigate and meet people — big publishers, small publishers, tons of small presses and big presses–and they all were so open and receptive.  I couldn’t believe it.”

“There were busloads of librarians, and they were so enthusiastic.  We ran out of books to sign, even though I brought extras from home. And, now, they (the librarians and bookstores) want me to come to meet with them in Cape May County and Avalon and in North Jersey.  God bless the summer in New Jersey because they (beach people) read books!”

She said it wasn’t anything like the academic conferences she has attended as an English professor at a junior college in  New Jersey.  “In the academic conferences, you often feel like the kid at the dance no one will talk to–particularly if you teach at a small school, where many academics from larger institutions act like pickles because they don’t think you have something to discuss with them.”

 

 

 

Another Sensory World author, Rachel S. Schneider, signed copies of her first book, Making Sense: A Guide to Sensory Issues.  She said it was “such a special opportunity to both represent and support the Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) community, and an exciting experience as a new author and literary nerd!” Since her own diagnosis in 2010, Rachel has wanted to achieve for the SPD community what Temple Grandin has achieved for the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) community: writing and speaking enough to make SPD as commonly known as ASD is today. She saw her time at BookExpo as yet another great platform to reach anyone impacted by SPD.

And she did.

During Rachel’s book signing and author meet-and-greet, one woman was passing by the booth and stopped short when she saw the enlarged cover of Making Sense next to the table. “She said, ‘sensory! I need to talk to you about my son!’ and told me all about her child, who was being evaluated for what she called ‘something–not Autism or ADHD, but something in between,’” Rachel related.

“Of course, I jumped right in with my usual SPD-advocacy-related questioning: do any senses bother him in particular? Do any senses seem to bring him comfort? Does he seem to have no particular issue connecting socially? Does he seem anxious? And it was clear that her son had SPD. We talked about tools to help him at school and at home, and she asked me to sign her copy of Making Sense to her child, hoping that someday he’ll read it and own his diagnosis much as I have.”

Rachel is thrilled to know at least one person’s day was made and one more sensory child will be understood. Two special needs teachers/librarians also came by to get Rachel’s book signed, saying how excited they were to see a book that could impact their work in the classroom.

Melissa, also, cited her most unusual experience, which was that she was “recognized.”  She was on an escalator going down when she heard a group of people going up, saying to one another, “Isn’t that Melissa Palmer?”  “It is!  I’m sure it IS Melissa Palmer.”  They waved as she was going one way and they another, so she waved back almost timidly.  Later, she classified the experience as “surreal.”

Melissa wondered later if the person might have been a bill collector.

Both authors were surprised by something they didn’t expect at all, which was that they were, well, “authors.” Both also came away with different experiences but a common theme.  “It wasn’t anything I expected it to be,” mused Melissa.  “The one thing I can say is that I made a great friend, and Rachel and I will be doing shows together in the future.”  Rachel agreed. “Meeting Melissa was like connecting with an old friend. We couldn’t find and hug each other quickly enough.”

That’s because they both intimately understand sensory issues and work so that others know the meaning of those two words.

Melissa was part of a full page story on the New York event reported on June 6 in L’idea Magazine, an Italian publication, written by poet/journalist Tiziano Thomas Dossena. He told her he listened to her meetings with all who attended the event because he was in a booth beside her, and that she was the most honest person he’d ever met. She will be speaking at NJBooks on that subject – “honesty in writing books” -- next week to people who hope to write a book.

 

Written by Lyn Dunsavage Young (lyn@fhautism.com)

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