Cammie McGovern is the author of two books for young adults, SAY WHAT YOU WILL and A STEP TOWARD FALLING, and two books for middle-grade readers, JUST MY LUCK and CHESTER AND GUS. All feature young people with a variety of disabilities at the center. She has been widely honored for her work advocating on behalf of people with disabilities and her books have been called “joyful, inspiring and unforgettable,” by Katherine Applegate. She has also written three adult novels and is one of the proud founders of Whole Children/Milestones, a resource center for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. She lives in Amherst, MA with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.
As the parent of a 19-year-old son with autism and one of the founders of Whole Children/Milestones, a center that serves over six hundred children and young adults with disabilities, I have gotten to know a lot of young people with a wide variety of disabilities and have felt a little dismayed at how rarely we see their stories in books, movies, and TV shows. This is the largest minority group in the country and also—seemingly—the least represented in popular culture. My hope in telling a few of their stories is that readers will see how much they have in common with other young adults who might look and act quite differently because of a disability. The cornerstones of our personalities are essentially the same: we all desire friendships, love, family, connection, a feeling of success.
I have also written three novels that are technically for adults but, after hearing from quite a few kids reading EYE CONTACT for school, that maybe those old labels don’t always fit. EYE CONTACT is about a boy with autism who witnesses a murder that takes place during school hours. I’m thrilled that it’s being used by teachers and librarians in discussions about bullying and tolerance of kids with special needs. My other novel that might be of interest to YA fans is THE ART OF SEEING about two sisters and how their relationship grows and changes when the older one becomes a movie actress, based (a tiny bit) on life with my own dear sister, Elizabeth McGovern (from Downton Abbey.) For more info on these books, check out the My Books link. Last but not least, if you would like more information about Whole Children/Milestones, now in its 14th year of serving children and young adults with disabilities, please check out their website: www.wholechildren.org
This place is magical and was one of my primary inspirations for A STEP TOWARD FALLING.