WMUK (NPR) RADIO INTERVIEW: Between the Lines: Every Least Sparrow with Guest Author Carolyn Walker
By ZINTA AISTARS
When her newborn daughter was placed in her arms, Carolyn Walker sensed right away that something was wrong. But in the next instant Walker found that she had what it took to deal with whatever “it” was. She was in love with little Jennifer. The years ahead would not be easy but they would be worthwhile. Walker is the author of Every Least Sparrow (Garn Press, 2017), a memoir about her daughter, who has Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome.
Listen: Between the Lines with Carolyn Walker
Between the Lines with Carolyn Walker
“When Jennifer was diagnosed, it was a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms,” Walker says. “It’s a conglomeration of facial features: jointless thumbs, various body problems, and knee problems. Some children have heart or spinal problems and varying degrees of mental retardation. Some are profoundly disabled while others are less so. My daughter falls into the middle there.”
Listen: A conversation with Carolyn Walker
A conversation with Carolyn Walker
Walker says she tapped into her Christian faith for the strength to cope with the challenge of her daughter’s disabilities. With a lifetime of dealing with various medical issues, she and her husband took one step at a time, each in their own way.
“I found out only about a year ago, on Facebook, what causes Rubinstein-Taybi,” Walker says. “Apparently, there are two types. It has something to do with a binding protein. But, you know, at this point in my life, it just doesn’t matter to me. Jennifer is such a delightful person. In many ways, she’s sort of an ideal in my mind of how people should be because she doesn’t have any prejudices. She doesn’t care what color you are, what gender you are, how old you are. None of that matters to her.”
Jennifer’s story is not just about medical challenges. It’s also the evolution of a life: her’s and those of the people around her. As she grows up, Jennifer discovers romantic love. She learns how to become independent and hold down a job. And she learns about friendship. Her family, including a brother with Asperger’s, and a sister, learn to let go as Jennifer eventually moves to the group home where she lives today.
Carolyn Walker is a memoirist, essayist, poet, and creative writing instructor. She worked for 25 years as a journalist. Her work has appeared in The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Hunger Mountain, The Writer’s Chronicle, Gravity Pulls You In: Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum, and many other publications.
Walker’s essay about her son, “Christian Becomes a Blur,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and reprinted in the 50th anniversary edition of Crazyhorse. In 2013, she was made a Kresge Fellow in the Literary Arts by the Kresge Foundation.
Listen to WMUK’s Between the Lines every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m.
Every Least Sparrow (ON SALE on Amazon, 20% off, $14.35)
Author: Carolyn Walker
Book: Every Least Sparrow
Garn Press (226 pp.)
$27.95 hardcover, $14.35 paperback, $9.99 e-book. Ebook $2.99 through Kindle Matchbook Program
Buy: Amazon (on sale on Amazon $14.35)| Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Waterstones | Books-A-Million | Indigo Books
Five Star Amazon Book Reviews
“Every Least Sparrow” is one of those rare books that combines honesty, depth, tears and laughter. Carolyn Walker unflinchingly tackles the subject of raising a challenged child. I couldn’t put it down.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“Every Least Sparrow has, among moments of trepidation and sorrow, incredible moments of joy and brilliance. It’s an account of love and amazement.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“A wonderful story that chronicles the joys and sorrows of parenting a disabled child. You realize Jennifer is a child filled with love for others and enjoys life to its fullest. The story will leave you feeling hopeful! I highly recommend it!” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“This is a very touching and heart-felt story that reveals both the anguish and the deep love and joy of caring for a sweet disabled child. It is surprisingly uplifting and is amazingly honest and very readable. I highly recommend this great book.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“This book will be mandatory reading and discussion for resident dentists in my training program, and I will recommend it nationally through our professional groups.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“Great read you will find yourself inspired by Jennifer and her family. This book would make a wonderful addition to any medical or nursing school experience.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“What a wonderful book! I could feel all the ups and downs of raising a child with special needs and my heart just exploded with joy as Jennifer grew-up.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“This is a wonderful and touching book that takes us into the world of disability –a world most of us know little about. Kudos to Carolyn Walker, Jennifer’s mother, for writing a book that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“This is a must read not only for those who live with or work with special people but also those who appreciate a good book!” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“Every Least Sparrow is heartbreaking, funny, and uplifting. Carolyn Walker tells her story with unflinching honesty and a notable absence of self-pity or melodrama. Beautifully written, a compelling read.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“Beautifully written, an ispiring story of a mothers search for answers. Would be a helpful guide for anyone dealing with the unexpected consequences of a disabled child.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“This book is an inspiring read for parents and families with special needs children and, truly, a wonderfully shared journey that will capture and uplift any reader.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON
“Grace, courage and steadfast love is what you’ll find in Carolyn Walker’s new book. This is a beautifully written many-layered book of family survival.” – Amazon Customer, AMAZON