Amy McCoy is an autism parent, children’s author and disability educator. Her debut children’s novel, Little Big Sister, shares the sibling perspective of growing up with a brother who has autism. Amy combines her expertise as a former elementary school teacher with her experience of parenting a child with autism as she visits elementary schools, libraries, bookstores, and parenting groups offering interactive presentations highlighting disability awareness. Amy lives in New York with her husband, Greg, and their children, Matthew and Kathryn, who are the inspiration for her books and her work.
Q & A with
WHERE DO YOU GET IDEAS FOR YOUR BOOKS?
Since my books are realistic fiction, I get my ideas from the world around me. Most of my ideas come from observing my own children’s lives and from remembering moments from when I was a teacher.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THE LITTLE BIG SISTER BOOK SERIES?
When my daughter was in second grade, I realized it was becoming difficult for her to feel comfortable inviting new friends over for playdates because her older brother with autism didn’t act like a big brother. He made unexpected noises, needed extra attention, and didn’t behave like most big brothers. I decided to write a book so her friends could read it and understand what life is like for a sibling who has a brother or sister with autism.
WHERE DO YOU WRITE YOUR BOOKS?
I write anywhere it’s quiet. I’ve written at the library, my dining room table, and sometimes on airplanes!
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A CHILDREN’S AUTHOR?
I enjoy being creative and making ideas come to life in books. I also enjoy going to elementary schools as a visiting author and spending time with students who like learning about the writing process.
WHY DO YOU INCLUDE KATIE’S LISTS AT THE END OF EACH CHAPTER?
I am a list person myself. I’ve been making lists every day since I was a kid. I wanted to show Katie’s lists at the end of each chapter to help readers get to know her inner thoughts.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN AN AUTHOR, OR HAVE YOU HAD ANY OTHER JOBS?
After I graduated from college, I was a teacher for many years. I taught almost all of the elementary grades. While I was teaching, I went to graduate school to became a reading teacher. I wanted to help kids who had trouble learning to read. I still keep in touch with some of my former students!