Meet the eighth grade author inspiring us all
Having Asperger’s Syndrome often made Armond Isaak feel lonely and isolated, so he teamed up with author and illustrator Nancy Carlson and wrote a book to help other kids with Asperger’s as well as their friends and family members.
Armond was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was in third grade. Asperger’s is a developmental disorder often involving delays in socialization and communications skills.
Heidi Isaak, Armond’s mom and a customer account manager in sales at General Mills, said that when Armond was diagnosed in 2008, their family couldn’t find any books written with kids in mind that he could connect to.
So Heidi asked Armond if he wanted to write a book.
“He immediately said yes because he didn’t want any other kids to feel as lonely as he felt,” Heidi says.
Armond had taken a writing class for kids at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, with instructor Nancy Carlson, a children’s book author and illustrator.
He wondered if she might do the illustrations for his book.
She said yes and the result is “Armond Goes to a Party: A book about Asperger’s and friendship.”
The story follows Armond as he resists going to his friend’s birthday party because parties are disorganized, smelly and he often feels invisible at parties. His mom explains to him the importance of sharing such moments with friends and Armond reluctantly agrees to attend. The party is, of course, disorganized and noisy and stinky, but Armond has a special technique that helps him make it through and celebrate. But you’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out what happens!
“Our hope is that other kids with Asperger’s will connect with Armond’s words and Nancy’s vibrant illustrations and, as a result, not feel so alone,” says Heidi, who has been with General Mills for 21 years.
They also hope the book will help both kids and adults better understand how kids with Asperger’s can feel in social situations to provide guidance and give everyone a better experience.
“My co-workers are the best and have not only been supportive during this exciting time, but have provided needed support throughout the years when times were challenging too,” says Heidi.
In fact, many of her co-workers joined the huge crowd at St. Paul’s Red Balloon Bookshop for the book’s launch party last week. Co-authors Armond and Carlson signed books and posed for pictures with more than 100 attendees.
So what’s next for the young author?
“He says he will take a break for a bit, he’s only an eighth-grader, after all!” Heidi says. “Then possibly produce more books that will help kids with Asperger’s.”
Armond is even giving 10 percent of the book profits to his elementary school to thank them for all their help when he attended.
“The (book launch) event was so special and a true success, in my opinion,” says Heidi. “I’ve already received many comments from adults saying they had no idea that’s how Armond felt and it helped them understand him and Asperger’s better.”
You can find the book in stores, Amazon or at FreeSpirit.com.
Editor’s note: Heidi and Armond also were featured in this video from KARE-TV in Minneapolis: