'Wrong' proves right with kids

When Maria Shriver learned of her Image Award nom in the children’s literary work category for penning “What’s Wrong With Timmy,” a book about dealing with disabilities, the author/NBC News correspondent says she was grateful, excited and above all, surprised.

“You would expect a book like that to be honored by an organization that deals with disabilities,” she says.

When Shriver hit the road to market “Timmy,” she promoted it as a book to teach children about when people look and act differently. The child in the book deals with questions about disabilities, a huge issue for both children and adults, according to Shriver.

“It is a book about how we have all felt different,” she says. “I think that is perhaps what the NAACP was responding to.”

Upon the book’s launch, nationwide read-a-thons were conducted, allowing disabled and nondisabled kids to discuss acceptance, inclusion and exclusion, all issues the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People has been fighting for throughout its history, says Shriver. “What’s Wrong With Timmy” can now be found on thousands of school bookshelves across the country.

“Whether it wins or not is not the issue,” says Shriver of her book. “Hopefully it will create more passionate children and more passionate human beings.”

At a glance
Born: Nov. 6, 1955
Birthplace: Chicago
Education: Georgetown U.
Notable: Her previous children’s book, “What’s Heaven?” was a bestseller.
Business career: Shriver has been at NBC since 1986 and in 1998 earned the Peabody Award for a report on Wisconsin’s welfare reform program.

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