by Lisa Jacovsky
GENRE: picture book
Harper and Emma are two best friends who first met at the pool in the summer. Emma has Autism which affected her speech. Harper became determined to find a way to talk with her new friend and learned about Autism. Neither girl would allow anything stand in their way of becoming best friends.
Now, Harper and Emma are excited to go to the zoo for the first time. This is a new adventure for them which they are going on with their daddies. Once they get there, they are amazed at the different animals they see. Then, while admiring them, a group of children come by and begin to laugh and point at Emma. She had been flapping her hands and making noises in excitement watching these new animals. Harper is confused by this but does not allow the bullying to continue. She educates the bullies about Autism and who Emma is. The bullies eventually walk away however, one little boy stayed behind. He apologized for his actions and wants to be friends. The three new friends finish their day at the zoo exploring and meeting new animals making memories with their daddies.
Book genre: children’s book
Keywords: autism, kidlit, children’s book, autism awareness, zoo, animals, zoo animals
Lisa Jacovsky currently is a Doctoral Level student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is excited for the possibilities having her Doctoral degree will bring her. She has been in the field of ABA since 2014 where she began her career working with adults in residential group homes. She moved onto working with children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2018 and is currently working in Early Intervention. It is her experience with children that inspired her to finally fulfill her dream of writing a book. Lisa began writing short stories when she was seven years old. Writing is a passion for her and one of the many things she enjoys. Lisa lives in New Jersey where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working on the next stories of the Rascal Cat brothers silly shenanigans.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I am from the East Coast, living in New Jersey.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
This is the second book in my Lets Talk! Series. It sees the two main characters going to the zoo for the first time. They encounter amazing animals and at one point a group of children that begin to bully Emma. Have to go and read the book to find out how the girls handle the group of bullies =)
I decided after writing my first book I wanted to make it into a series. The challenge was how do I continue their story? Do they continue in the summer or during the school year? I reflected on my past experience in my career and decided to think of what I always tell my families to find inspiration. That is what helped me decide to have the girls go to a different activity in each book. I wanted to show families of little ones with Autism their child can go there too and have an amazing time. I also wanted to incorporate more than just the girls going to the zoo. That is how I thought of putting in the idea of bullying. Each book will have a social issue little ones with Autism face. This way I can show children how to be strong and tackle that issue, not allowing it to bring them down. It would allow me to continue my message of being strong and determined. The idea of using the dads was a suggestion from a publisher and I loved it. I also wanted to continue to push boundaries by showing different ethnicities which worked out great having a group of children show up at the zoo. Diversity is so under represented in childrens books and I want to continue to show case different kinds of diversity in each of my books.
How do you create your characters?
I wanted to make my characters are relatable as possible and really took from my own experience. For Harper, for example, she has a lot of my personality in her: shes strong, determined and open to anyone no matter their differences. For Emma, she has some qualities of a client I used to work with that really was the start for this series such as being able to read and write. I also put some other qualities in Emma that I have seen in other children that I have worked with over the years such as flapping her hands or smiling all of the time or grunting. I feel like writing what you know is the best thing for me to do. It makes my books relatable but also shows the readers something they may not have seen before like the use of the index cards to communicate.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
Honestly my clients and their parents inspire me. The families I have been working with are so determined to ensure their child meets their potential, it truly is inspiring. I want to showcase that in my books and really show other families how incredible their child with Autism is and can be over time.
I started writing when I was a kid. I used to get pictures in my head and just love to write it down and make a story out of it. I am very creative and I find writing to be an outlet for that. I also love the fact it has given me a platform to do something really good in this world. As long I can make a change with this series, I will continue to write it.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I write either on my couch or at my dining room table. I usually put music on, has to be the Daddy Yankee channel on spotify. For some reason, that is my favorite when I write lol It doesn’t work to put any other channel on lol. I usually block it out though when I write and become so focused. For some reason the music just keeps me focused and allows the write to just flow. I absolutely love that channel and I use it when I do school work too. Music has always been a love for me and has helped a ton over the years with school.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Definitely from work. I like to write what I know and use that as a way to be more relatable to families. For me in my job, there is so much people do not know about Autism, so many positive things. I get the same questions all of the time from my families I work with. Having this book as a resource is so important because it answers many questions families of a little one with Autism have. It really shows the potential of the child. It also shows a different way to communicate that many families may not know exists unless their child has Autism and honestly sometimes then they do not know. The use of the index cards is something that is not shown in children’s books. I think being able to draw on my experience in my career is something so valuable for these books and for families.
What do you like to read?
Its funny I like to write childrens books but I have always loved to read books about the supernatural lol Anne Rice, Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Neil Gaiman are my favorite authors. I recently read the last new books Anne Rice and literally read each one in a week lol. I love to read anything about vampires, werewolves, spooky things, just anything supernatural I am drawn to.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
I would say don’t give up. However long it takes it does and that is ok. It can take years to write a book or for the book to catch on and that is ok. As long as you don’t give up and continue to market and write you are winning. All good things do come in time and if you give you will not ever know. I would also say do your research. There is a ton of information and resources out there on social media. Network too. I have made amazing relationships with other authors and I am so grateful for their support. Lean on them if times get hard but always publish that book.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Stay tuned for book 3 in the Lets Talk! Series called Lets Talk! Learning to bowl will have updates coming in the next few months. It will be out in 2022, keep up to date on my website www.lisajayauthor.com and all of my social media=)
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Lisa Jacovsky will be awarding a signed copy of the book and the first book in the series and a coloring book of the illustrations (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.