Autism Awareness Month: The Boy With A Golden Heart | Visit Mesa

Posted By Nancy Nemitz
April 21, 2021

Autism Awareness Month: The Boy With A Golden Heart

For Autism Awareness month, we wanted to share this touching story from Nancy Nemitz on what inspired her to write her children's book, The Boy With The Golden Heart. This story is about A young boy overcoming bullying and social challenges to realize his dreams while remembering a golden heart and being a good man is what’s most important.

What can we say to a child who is crying because his favorite lunchbox was kicked across the floor and told he was stupid? Two years ago my daughter called from Ohio, and asked me to speak to my eight-year-old grandson who had been bullied in school. I prayed for inspiration. I’ve raised four children and this task never gets easier. I told my grandson Matteo, who is on the autism spectrum, to think of himself as a knight with a golden heart and that his shield would protect him from unkind words. Matteo thought for a minute then said, “I like that.” It’s this conversation that inspired my first children’s book, The Boy With A Golden Heart .

There were times I wondered if all the drafts, the business of publishing and marketing, was worth it. Then my daughter would remind me, “You are doing this all for one little boy.” After almost two years, I sent Matteo the published book. When he opened the package, he immediately flipped through to see the illustrations and then began to read. He got emotional in one spot and paused to collect himself. It was then I realized the impact of the written word. I worried maybe it was too much for him to relive the situation, but my daughter said the next day he came bounding down the stairs and started dancing saying, “I’m so happy. I now have something in my life to look forward to.” The book did its job. He was no longer the child who is bullied but the hero.

The illustrations by illustrator Devon Cleland are vivid and full of detail so the child finds something new with each reading.

My hope is parents, teachers, and counselors will read the book with children of all ages whether a victim of bullying or not, and be reminded that children grow up and can achieve their dreams all the while keeping their goodness.