Can I Sit with You?

Personal Letter Promoting Can I Sit With You?
November 29, 2007, 7:36 am
Filed under: "Can I Sit With You", special education PTA, special needs kids

If you’d like to tell your friends and family to BUY BUY BUY about Can I Sit With You?, feel free to use the following letter:

Hi Folks,

Looking for that perfect holiday gift, the one that will both please its recipient and make its giver feel good?

Can I Sit With You? is a book co-edited by special needs parents Shannon Des Roches Rosa and Jennifer Byde Myers. It is a collection of stories about schoolyard social experiences, both good and bad. All proceeds from the sale of Can I Sit With You? go directly to SEPTAR, the fledgling Special Education PTA of Redwood City (

These beautifully written, heartfelt tales should speak to anyone who has ever struggled to fit in with the other kids at school, wondered about feeling different, or felt like no one could possibly understand what they’re going through. We hope they will inspire elementary and middle school students, or at the very least temper their bewilderment as they grapple with issues such as popularity, making friends, puberty, sexual orientation, religion, race, special needs siblings, and bullying.

The stories are told from the point of view of the former students, in their own words. We did not censor the profanities a former eight-year-old screamed at the boys who beat up her special needs brother. There is no preaching or patronizing. As one reviewer wrote, “Perhaps the most important lesson in all of [the stories] is that the writers all survived and grew up to have something to say, and a place to say it.”

We think Can I Sit With You? is a wonderful book. And we would be so grateful for your support. You can purchase the book and have it shipped to you or your friends directly at:

Happy Holidays,

Shannon and Jennifer

P.S. Can I Sit With You? is also an ongoing blog project. You can discuss any of the stories in the book, read new stories, and submit your own stories at /


The Can I Sit With You? Book Is Here!
November 28, 2007, 7:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

We can hardly believe it ourselves, but Can I Sit With You? is a real live book! We would be grateful if you could order (and tell your friends to order) copies for everyone on your holiday shopping list. The direct URL for purchase is:

Our experience has been that prints and ships fairly quickly. Here is their information on holiday ordering deadlines:

We will start doing official promoting (press releases, website relaunch) on Thursday 11/29. We are also starting to plan Bay Area book readings and book release parties, so keep watching this space for more information (and for more stories).

Thanks once again to everyone who donated their time and talent to this project. All hail the Power of the Internet!

Review Copies Arrived Today!
November 27, 2007, 1:21 am
Filed under: "Can I Sit With You"

The good mailman delivered the first hard copies of the Can I Sit With You? book to Jen’s house while we were sitting at her table, having a strategy meeting while wondering if our kids were emitting more snot than SJ.

Wowsers. The book is for real, and is so beautiful.

And there are a few tiny small typos. Other than that, it is good. So you should hear the trumpets from this tower and then start experiencing inexplicable urges to buy buy buy your own copy in the next day or two.

Thank you to everyone who bought a review copy on faith!

Go Ahead, Jump!
November 25, 2007, 9:06 pm
Filed under: eighties music, fitting in, music, popular crowd, popularity, school bus, Van Halen

by Seymour Rosenberg
Age twelve at the time

In 1983, California’s largest almond growers’ concern sent me and the rest of my Catholic School’s eighth grade class on a field trip to Sacramento. Woo-hoo!

As you know, you are the music you listen to, even in eighth grade. I liked Gary Numan, Pat Benatar, and the Talking Heads, but none of my classmates did. Even so, I wanted the cool kids to think I was one of them and come hang out with me. I’d seen them scribbling “Van Halen” all over their Pee-Chee folders and notebooks, so I bought a Van Halen painter’s hat and wore it on the bus. And it actually worked! Several people came and sat with me, saying, “I didn’t know you liked Van Halen!”

So began many fruitless years of trying to achieve coolness points through musical means.

(At least the hat matched my blue and red corduroy OP shorts.)

We iz working on our website, OK?
November 24, 2007, 8:32 pm
Filed under: NaBloPoMo

A wonderful volunteer did most of the work, and then we went to sleep and forgots to do the rest. This is how we now feel:

Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures

Immigrant Kids

by Wynn Putnam
Age seven at the time

When I was almost eight years old, my family emigrated from Holland to Ontario, Canada. We spoke only Dutch, so when we went to school in Ontario, the teacher put my twin sister, me, and my two older sisters all in grade one. Once we learned how to speak English they would reevaluate us to see if my twin and I should really be in Grade three, and my older sisters in Grades four and six.

This was a one-room school house so we felt awkward and big sitting in the grade one row while kids our own size sat on the other side of the room and at the back. When the older, bigger kids would point and snicker at us we did not know what they were saying so we smiled at them. We wanted to learn to speak English, and be able to join in with their fun and sit with them.

This was a country schoolhouse, so everyone brought their lunch. At noon we followed the other Grade Ones, got our lunch bags from the hall, and started to eat. But one day when we went to get our lunch bags, a couple of the bigger kids went in front of us and grabbed them. They looked in our bags, ate what they liked, then tossed the bags into the garbage.

My sister and I went back to the classroom and tried to communicate to the teacher that these kids had taken our lunch. We could not say what had happened, and she thought that we did not have a lunch that day. Apparently a kid at the back said that we had already eaten our lunch and some other kids laughed. We started to point at the kids who had taken our lunch and made gestures with our hands, when the teacher took an apple out of her own bag and started to cut it in half. We shook our heads and started to cry. All of a sudden a few of the younger children came over to our desk and gave us some of their lunch, a cookie, an orange — I can’t remember exactly, but they wanted to share. We stopped crying, smiled, and told each other in Dutch that the foods we were now being given were delicious, even better than what had been in our lunch bag. We communicated our thanks to these kids by smiling and making gestures of what we were trying to say.

For the next while we put our lunch bags in our desks, because it took quite a bit more time before we could speak English well enough to tattle on the few kids who tormented us because we spoke a different language. Most kids in the class tried to help us belong, even when they could see how big we looked in the grade one row, and that we talked in a strange language.

Smiling faces are the same in every language, and it’s easy to communicate with other kids that way and join in their fun. Kids like to sit with you when your face shows a friendly smile — even if you cannot speak their language, they understand.

Thankful: Wonderful CISWY Book Review
November 22, 2007, 4:29 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We solemnly swear that the first, thoughtfully positive and rather persuasive review of Can I Sit With You? on was totally unsolicited. We honestly have no idea who wrote it, but we loooooves them very much.

…For any adult who wants to be allied with a child (and even normal kids get the blues), this kind of book may be just the thing to open up discussion of what’s happening to that child. It may comfort just because of its honesty and its assurance that other children have felt and survived these things, or it could be used to foster problem-solving to help a child cope with the pitfalls and hazards of even the most normal school experience. It could also help kids who don’t have problems (or who are the problems) to see the situation from the point of view of those who are struggling, and open up the way for conversations about compassion and the different experiences of other people.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.