12-year-old pens book to raise autism awareness
Joey Andrade, 12, just finished sixth grade at Robertson Elementary School and already can call himself an author. He’s pleased about his accomplishment and plans to donate a portion of the proceeds he’s earned from sales to autismspeaks.org for autism research, as Andrade is autistic.
Andrade recently held a book-signing event at The Moose Café, an ice cream parlor in Tiverton, where he sold nearly 40 books in four hours and was able to raise $306.
His self-published 30-page picture book, “The 12 Weeks of Summer,” which he co-wrote with his father, Joseph, highlights the pleasures of the season. The book aims to not only entertain young readers, but also help with their reading and counting skills.
With the artwork of professional illustrator Bret M. Herholz of Worcester, they were able to make their dream a reality.
“I liked coming up with the ideas and signing it,” Andrade said. “I’m proud of myself. It makes me feel pretty good.”
Being part of the project also made Herholz feel pretty good. In an email exchange, he said two of his relatives work with autistic children, so it was his pleasure to contribute his drawing skills.
“I was very happy to help out Joseph Andrade and his son in creating the artwork for his book knowing proceeds were going towards autism research,” Herholz said. “That was something that definitely drew me to the project.”
The father and son writing duo got the idea for the book last summer while camping at South Shore Beach in Little Compton. Joseph was in a silly mood and began singing “The 12 Days of Christmas,” simply trying to have some fun in the sun and keep Joey “on his toes,” test his awareness.
While Joey laughed because his dad was singing a Christmas tune in the middle of the summer, it stimulated his creative side big time. They ended up changing the lyrics to accommodate the sunny season, replacing a “partridge in a pear tree” with “a trip down to the big sea,” “two turtle doves” with “two turtle eggs,” and so forth.
“It became an art project for my son,” Joseph said.
According to Joseph, Joey was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4. However, Joey has made great progress through the years and does extremely well in math, his favorite subject. In the fall, he will start seventh grade at Winman Junior High School.
School, said Joseph, is one of the main reasons he decided to publish the book, as he’s setting aside any money they earn for a college fund for Joey.
“My goal is to try to raise money for him for college,” Joseph said. “We just want to get support for the book by selling as many copies as possible.”
Aside from school, Joey enjoys being a member of Boy Scout Troop 7 Buttonwoods, as well as participating in intramural sports.
“I like to play basketball,” he said. “It’s fun shooting hoops.”
Joseph added, “We play one-one-one and he can get by me.”
Additionally, he also spends his free time playing video games, listening to rock bands such as KISS and Bon Jovi, as well as watching movies and reading. He loves the “Diary of A Wimpy Kid” series.
“I really liked the second one,” Joey said.
Speaking of books, Joey and his father are gearing up for another book singing. It will be held Aug. 4 at Partners Village Store & Kitchen, a shop that sells toys, gifts, books and unique trinkets, located at 865 Main Road in Westport, Mass., from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
“The 12 Weeks of Summer” can be purchased through amazon.com, autismspeaks.org and createspace.com/3828061. It can be previewed on Facebook at facebook.com/the12weeksofsummer.