I am a RN and was born with a cleft lip and palate.
I have written four books, Smile with Simon, Simon and the Buddy Branch, Simon and Patty Go To Camp, and Simon and the Bully. These children’s books resonate with young people suffering from similar craniofacial differences.
My first children’s book is titled “Smile with Simon,” about a cardinal named Simon who’s born with a gap in his beak which made it difficult for him to eat, smile and sing. In the story, he meets a young girl named Patty, who relates with Simon because she has a cleft lip. I wrote a second book, “Simon and the Buddy Branch,” which further stresses the importance of kindness, love and acceptance in the lives of children with cleft lips.
My third book, “Simon and Patty Goes To Camp”, is a story that shows children that there are camps out there where you will be accepted for who you are. A safe place where a community surrounds you with love and kindness.
My fourth book, “Simon and the Bully”, teaches children how to respond to bullying. Kindness can lead to acceptance and the beauty found in our differences.
My aim is to help children with a cleft lip and/or palate or any craniofacial difference to understand that it’s okay to be different. I want to remind them that they are beautiful.
I am also a member of American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA), Children’s Craniofacial Association (CCA), Children’s Craniofacial Association Speakers Bureau, Cleft Community Advisory Council (CCAC) for Smile Train, Ambassador for Operation Smile, and former board member of Face the Future Foundation which supports the efforts of University of Illinois Health Craniofacial Center.
I have given a keynote speech for the Inaugural Cleft Lip and Palate Team Day at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York Presbyterian Hospital.
My book, “Smile with Simon” was translated to Tagalog so that it could be used at a Philippine speech camp.
I created a webpage, www.smilewithsimon.org and have created a few videos and songs that continue to reinforce the message that we are all different and to be accepting and kind.
A portion of all book proceeds will go to our support groups.
You can make a difference! Please find a list of Simon’s favorite groups to support on our Resources Page.