By Sandy Meyer
Riverview resident, Lisa Tomkins, recently published Why Are You Looking At Me? I Just Have Down Syndrome. The book is a very personal pursuit for Tomkins. Her-22-year old daughter, Lynnie, has Down Syndrome and the family has struggled for years with people’s reactions out in public.
“For a while it seemed that Lynnie was not able to comprehend the attitudes of these people and she seemed to be unaffected. But about six years ago, she asked me a question that broke my heart. She said, ‘Mommy, why don’t they like my face?’” Tomkins explains. Thus the seed was planted for the book.
Tomkins, a former licensed therapeutic foster parent, noticed that in all her readings to children over the years, she had never found a book that dealt directly with society’s reaction to people with Down Syndrome. About a year and a half ago, she sat down and decided to write a children’s book dealing with this issue.
Soon after, she found Ryan Eubanks, the son of family friends, and asked him to illustrate the book. Eubanks had recently graduated from UCF with a degree in Digital Communication. Tomkins knew it was destiny. After much research into publishers, she chose Authorhouse, a self-publishing company. The final copy was submitted in January and she was told to expect a 60–90 day wait, but to her amazement she received a printed copy after just three weeks.
Recently Tomkins book was featured on the Facebook page of Nascar driver David Ragan. “I discovered he had an older brother with Down Syndrome, contacted him through his website and was immediately responded to,” Tomkins says. Sunday, March 31 was World Down Syndrome Day and in honor, Ragan raffled two copies of Tomkins book through his Facebook page.
Tomkins says she has been asked to write more books continuing the theme with other disabilities, but for now she is concentrating on promoting her current book. “My daughter and I are available for personal appearances and readings.”
The book is available on Amazon.com, Authorhouse.com, BarnsandNoble.com and BooksaMillion.com and can be purchased as a digital download. Visit www.ijusthavedownsyndrome.com.