Sunday, March 10, 2013

Speedy Shines: A Turtle (and author) With a Big Heart

Robert with Speedy Shines
I first met Gina Restivo during the Robert’s Sister Epilepsy Interview series in November. Gina is a children’s book author, terrific mom and fellow avid coffee drinker who continues to amaze me. She first wrote the children’s book, Fly Danny, Fly and included a dedication page in that book to the Danny Did Foundation which was created after 4-year-old Danny died of SUDEP.  (If you’re a regular reader of this space you know 50,000 people a year die as a result of epilepsy related causes).

I was excited to learn Gina had a new book, Speedy Shines, coming out and anxiously awaited the opportunity to purchase it. Sure, it’s a children’s book but it was about a turtle!  (We have a turtle so I’m partial to turtles). 

Once our copy arrived, I showed it to Robert and told him people who buy the book help two groups who help people with epilepsy. Robert liked that. (The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation and the Danny Did Foundation are two foundations who were created after the founders’ families both lost a child to epilepsy).  

Robert wanted to read the book.  Robert is able to read but it is slooow going.  Reading about a turtle seemed appropriate.
Don't interrupt me - I'm reading

Throughout the afternoon I checked on his progress and noticed he read each and every page thoroughly. Part way through, I asked him how he liked the book so far and he said, “It’s a nice book.”  (Robert is a man of few words.)

I let him get back to reading.

Once he was finished, Robert declared, “I had a fun time reading it.”

It was my turn to read it.  The illustrations by Martin Heraty were colorful and whimsical with delightful details (on one page, Speedy is reading a stack of books, one of which is named “Finding Your Inner Shell”).  Cute!

The story was sweet and heartwarming.  Even though he was surrounded by friends and was making the most of his original home, Speedy felt a tug at his heart and realized he had to muster the courage to find what he was missing. Speedy was searching for where he truly belonged and had to decide if he should follow his heart to find it.

Courageous indeed!

I’m not a professional reviewer but I know enough not to give away the ending so you’ll have to read for yourself whether or not Speedy finds what he was looking for!

Gina Restivo says, “I think that Speedy Shines is a wonderful way to bring epilepsy to the general public with the dedication page to The Danny Did Foundation and The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation at the end of the book. There are a few statistics on that page that will hopefully shine a light on epilepsy while bringing kids a cute story about a turtle who found his shine once he found the right light for him. This book is a way to involve more than the epilepsy community in the fight for a cure. Speedy Shines and is so inspired by those struggling with epilepsy and I feel certain that if the general public is given a window to see what I do, they will be inspired too!”

Gina shines in her work to bring about broader awareness of epilepsy and is due many thanks for her work!  

Once you read the book, let me know in the comment section how much you enjoyed it. 

Shine on, Speedy!

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