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What is the response when a child points out that a disabled child or adult looks 'different'? Shriver tells the story of Kate, who finds that making friends with a mentally retarded boy helps her learn that the two of them have a lot in common.
About the Author
Maria Shriver is one of television's most respected anchorwomen, the recipient of television awards, and the bestselling author of What's Heaven?, What's Wrong with Timmy?, and Ten Things I Wish I Known Before I Went Out Into the Real World. She and her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger have four children.
Sandra Speidel has won awards from the San Francisco and New York Society of Illustators, and most recently, from the Pastel Society of the West Coast. She illustrated What's Heaven?, What's Wrong with Timmy?, and a dozen other children's books.
Read an Excerpt
Once upon a time there was a girl named Kate who was very curious. Curious about everything. Ever since she was little, she'd been asking her mom and dad about everything that interested her- from "How are babies born?" to "What's Heaven?" She wanted the answer to every question, and when she got it, she couldn't wait to share her new knowledge with her friends.
One day Kate and her mom went to the park, where Kate noticed someone she'd never seen before. She couldn't stop staring. She felt funny inside as she looked at a boy standing near her on the playground. He had brown hair like hers, freckles on his nose, and wore a T-shirt and shorts just like her brothers, but he somehow looked different.
His face seemed flatter than other kids', and he wore glasses that sat crookedly on his face. His foot turned inward, and he walked with a slight limp. When he bounced his ball-as he was doing over and over - he just didn't do it as well as the other kids she knew.
A pretty woman sat close by on a park bench and joyfully watched the boy. Kate guessed the lady must be his mom because when the boy finished, she clapped and gave him a big hug. - The boy laughed and said proudly in a loud voice, "I can do it, I can do it, Mom!" Then he went back to bouncing his ball.
The boy's excitement fascinated Kate. She grew even more interested when her mother walked over to talk to the boy and his mom. The two women chatted for what seemed like hours. When her mother returned, Kate's words spilled out in a rush.
"Mom," she asked, "who's that boy?"
"That's my friend Anne Potter and her son, Timmy," replied Kate's mother. "Timmy and you were born one month apart in the same hospital. The Potters moved away after you were born and just moved back last week."
Kate couldn't contain herself "Why does he seem so different? What's wrong with Timmy? Kate's mother realized this was a very important question. So she sat her daughter down on the park bench and spoke to her the way she always did when she had something important to say- slowly, clearly, and calmly. "When Timmy's mom was pregnant, everyone was so excited. But when he was born, there were a lot of tears."
"Why?" asked Kate.
"Because Timmy was born different from you. The doctor told his parents that their little boy was going to have disabilities and that he wouldn't be able to do all the things you and other kids can do. At first, Timmy's mom was so sad and overwhelmed. She felt like the dreams she'd had for her child would never come true. But as soon as she held Timmy in her arms and looked into his eyes, she fell in love with him just the way he was! She knew right then and there that if she loved him, he'd be the most wonderful child in the world, and that if she worked with him, together they'd build new dreams.
Text Copyright (c) by Maria Shriver