Benjamin J. Denen © 2013
Pendleton, IN 46064 317-572-8313 email@example.com
of childhood. Set in the 1980s, he and his friends embark on a Christmas break adventure that could be described as a sort of blending of The Christmas Story, a Hallmark movie, and a Hardy Boys novel. Behind the fun the adventure provides, there is a family struggling deeply with the possibility of losing one of their own. They need a Christmas miracle, and together they learn that this can come in the strangest and most unexpected forms.
As it often does, art imitated life as I wrote this book. The character B.Jack was modeled after my own big brother, Josh. Though he did not battle the same type of medical issues that B.Jack did, he has grown up in a world where many people have often been tempted to limit their expectation and understanding of him by simply looking at the fact that he has Downs. Like B.Jack, he is so much more than that. Josh is different from most people simply because his worldview is the kind that if it could catch on, it would change the world. Josh, simply put, loves in the most selfless way possible. To my sister and me, he is the best brother in the world. To my parents he is the ideal son. To my own child, he is the world’s greatest uncle, and he doesn’t even need the mug to prove it! To everyone else he is a cousin, nephew, and friend. He is a special and wonderful creation of God that has more character qualities that I endeavor to emulate than anyone I have ever met.
As I was reading through the book for what felt like the thousandth time while working on the edits, a thought hit me hard. How can I write this story if I will not let it change me as I hope and pray it will my readers? In that moment, I made a decision with my wife that this story was never actually for us. It is for the countless numbers of special people just like B.Jack, like my brother. Together, my wife and I decided that all proceeds resulting from the sales of this book will go to a very special organization called Gigi’s Playhouse. The following is an excerpt I took from the about page on their website: "GiGi’s Playhouse is a one-of-a-kind achievement center for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. GiGi’s Playhouse offers more than 25 therapeutic and educational programs that advance literacy, math skills, motor skills and more; all of which are free of charge." Though this is a very well written description, I don’t feel that it comes close to explaining the impact that this organization has had on my family. My parents and brother have been involved with Gigi’s Playhouse for the last two-and-half years. I don’t have the space in this book to even begin describing how much it has meant to my family. Suffice it to say, the Denens are a huge fan of Gigi’s Playhouse! When my wife and I came to the decision that we needed to give all proceeds from this book away, Gigi’s instantly came to mind. Every time I talk to my brother on FaceTime or on the phone he is always telling me about a program or event that he has just attended at Gigi’s Playhouse. It is one of the highlights of his month. I could think of no better way to live out the message of my novella than by partnering with them. We have chosen to sell this book in it various formats for as little as possible in the hope that readers will choose to donate directly to Gigi's Playhouse in place of a normal retail fee. I can’t encourage you enough to donate. If you are already giving charitably toward another organization then, by all means, continue to do so. The spirit of this book is one that is bigger than a single organization or cause. We can truly change the world if we adopt the same selflessness that my brother lives 24/7.
My life is made infinitely better by the presence of my brother. My hope and prayer is that everyone is granted a similar blessing. If my novella plays even a small role in that, I will consider it a resounding success.