Denise Zarrella is an Emmy award-winning Reporter and Anchor for the CBS affiliate, WOIO in Cleveland, Ohio. She's spent the last two decades moving from city to city, covering everything from crime to politics to human interest stories. She began her career as a Production Assistant for Fox Television's, "America's Most Wanted." She's had the opportunity to cover Presidents, Rock Stars and All-Star athletes, but the people she loves reporting on the most are those who may feel like they don't have a voice, like victims of crime and those who live in poverty. She also has a special place in her heart for stories that involve people with disabilities. Zarrella lives with her husband, Tony, their children, Anthony and Gianna, and their two crazy dogs, Buddy and Skoobie on Cleveland's West Side.
"Not even the Sky is the Limit"
ISBN: 13: 978-1-61244-199-3
Page Count: 32
Genre: Children's Book
Tell us about your book?
"Not even the Sky is the Limit," is a book that showcases the abilities of children and adults with Down Syndrome. It is meant to show the world that there are no limits for people living with this chromosomal disorder. Life for people with Down Syndrome is just as fulfilling and exciting as it is for someone who does not have this disability.
What inspired you to write the book?
My daughter Gianna is the inspiration for what my husband calls, "my love letter to Gianna." When I found out I would be having a child with Down Syndrome and after she was born, what I connected the most with other parents about was what their child was doing. Did he or she play sports? Did they like going to the movies? Did they have fun together? I just yearned to know that Gianna would have the same opportunities to enjoy her life and grow up having the fun that other kids do. It sounds so basic, but this need was so overwhelming for me when Gianna was having trouble meeting basic milestones. It turns out that children and adults with Down Syndrome lead very normal lives and are often doing more and getting more out of life than people who don't live with disabilities. How many of us can truly live in the moment and appreciate what we have and the people in our lives for who they are? Not many. Most of us just strive for this level of happiness and satisfaction. Anyone I talk to who has a child with Down Syndrome or knows someone with Downs always lights up as they describe that person. As one very wise man behind a deli counter said to me, "People with Down Syndrome are the closest to God that we can get here on earth." Amen to that.
Talk about the writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
As a reporter and anchor, I have written for television for the past two decades. I usually sketch out my story on a piece of notebook paper first, and then I type it on a computer. I can usually hear the story in my head. I write a story the way I would find it most interesting to be told to me. I leave out the boring details and cut to the chase very quickly. I hate it when people are long winded. As someone once said to me, just say it! Stop talking around it. Just get to the point. Say what you want to say.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope they are inspired and enlightened. I am hoping this book, in particular, gets into doctor's offices where women are finding out for the first time that they will give birth to a child with Down Syndrome. Unfortunately, the abortion rate is very high for people who are told they will have a child with Down Syndrome. That is so devastating to me. I think people are guided largely by fear. If my book was in their hands at some point following that diagnosis, I firmly believe they will chose life.
Excerpt from book: This is a toddler book, so the writing is very simple.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Go to Halo Publishing's website: Halopublishing.com
A portion of the proceeds of this book goes to organizations that help people who have Down Syndrome.