At All Saints Catholic School part of our Honor Code states: “We treat others as called by the Gospel with trust, respect, dignity, and forgiveness. Our integrity guides all our actions.” Mrs. Franco’s books have given our students insight into the world of special needs children.

—Cindi Walther and Sharon Ainsworth, 3rd grade teachers – ASCS – South Campus

Heartwarming Book!

Just_Hold_2Karen Franco publishes a great book titled “Just Hold My Hand” that reflects a loving relationship with someone very special to her. With competition so fierce today, special needs children are sometimes not addressed in a correct manner. Franco, with her knowledge as a feature writer and her solid education in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, shows the proper way do handle special children. These children are so special and understanding what they are going through is key to their success. Jacob, the special needs child in the book, feels like he is in a city while at the fair and the noises and action is somewhat overwhelming for him. Franco creates a character as the mother of this special child and writes “It is okay, just hold my hand.” Jacob feels the love and safety in the palm of his mother’s soft hand and is warmed by her huge heart. The story goes on to describe how children can learn to manage their behavior not only at the fair but in every day life.

Motherhood does not come with a training manual and Franco teaches, in her heartwarming story, how to help not only the special children but the teachers, the mothers, and the rest of the people that impact the child’s world. These children must be taught that they are not alone in this great big world of ours. If each of us can just put out our hand and help them. Perhaps by buying this book for someone will help in a big way. I strongly recommend this book. Go out and get your copy today and reach out a helping hand to a special child!

—By  Dr. Michael Provitera, Amazon review

Thought provoking look into their world…

Just_Hold_2Thought provoking look into their world…good teaching tool.

It’s a simple, thoughtful approach to understanding how the world appears to youngsters dealing with challenges and offers a simple approach to dealing with some of those challenges from their point of view.

—Mrs. Jensen, note received by the author


A job well done…

Just_Hold_2Just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done. I purchased two copies of Just Hold My Hand, one to share with a friend whose 11 year old was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

I was truly moved by Jacob’s story and humbled by your strength and dedication parenting Jacob. He is truly a job and you are an amazing mom.

—Kay, note received by the author


Everyone loved the book and clapped

Just_Hold_2I am so excited to announce that my mom wrote a book about a day at the county fair with me!

My book is titled, “Just Hold My Hand.” It’s a children’s book. My mom wrote the story and a young girl named Gabbie drew the pictures. That means my mom is the author and Gabbie is the illustrator.

Mrs. Gunville read my book to the class. Everyone loved the book and clapped. Mrs. Gunville says we will read it again soon.

In the book my mom tells me when I’m scared, or when I can’t get something I want, or I need to calm down or when something bothers my skin or smells funny, that I can hold her hand. When I hold her hand, I feel better.

—Jacob Hughes, author’s son, published in the Union Grove High School “Bronco Bubble” (the newsletter for the special education classroom)

Will promote awareness and dialogue for parents, caregivers, educators, and children

Just_Hold_2The love of a parent is the most profound human experience, and it speaks to our deepest needs for nurture, safety and acceptance.

“Just Hold My Hand” is an example of the power of the love of a parent who is guiding her special needs son throughout the ebb and flow of his environment.

The cadence of the language is simple and repetitive in her story and provides the opportunity for children to articulate how they feel. But again, there’s that grounding place that is timeless and fundamental:  just hold my hand.

When a child is overstimulated and responding and expressing, they are not doing so with ill intent, but when other people are uncomfortable or intolerant, they can end up projecting emotions onto the child or parent that could make them feel self conscious.

This book offers an example of how to instill a sense of awareness of the child’s own emotional vocabulary in a simple and pointed manner.

At the end of the story, it is clear that the message is that, despite challenges and discomfort, being able to count on the trustworthy and loving hand of a Mom was what brought Jacob to a feeling of being in control of this sensations, his perspective and his enjoyment of the day.

The story’s message is that the ultimate goal is empowering her child to live life to the fullest capacity of joy and it is this message that is the book’s humble and great strength.

I commend Ms. Franco on the simplicity and beauty of this book, married with the clarity of the writing and natural affinity for flow and language.

I have every expectation that “Just Hold My Hand” will promote awareness and dialogue for parents, caregivers, educators and children.

—Excerpts from an editorial review from Friesen Press


Just_Hold_2Last weekend, I finally had some time to myself. I grabbed a box of Kleenex and finally read Just Hold My Hand. I read it three times, and each time it was more wonderful than the previous. Yes, I cried my eyes out, but that’s just me. My family laughs that I cry during a McDonald’s commercial.

Your message in Just Hold My Hand is so simple yet so extremely powerful. We have tried versions of this and nothing really worked too well. After reading your book, we wanted to try again, with the simple suggestion of holding Jacob’s hand. It was amazing…IT WORKED :). Jacob has a huge amount of anxiety around noise, to a point where we can’t go to a place where we anticipate noise, or we had to leave a place because there was too much noise, and not just noise, but even music.

I also found “Meet Jacob,” “Meet the Illustrator,” “Acknowledgements,” and the “Editorial Evaluation” extremely inspiring and I thank you for that. It is obvious that this book is written from the heart. I love it :). You are absolutely right. It is very helpful to know that people are dealing with similar issues and for me, it’s so incredibly amazing and inspirational to see how people like yourself have been able to find time and the energy to share such a powerful message.

It would be wonderful to meet you and Jacob one day. Thank you again for sharing your book.

—A reader’s note to the author

Simple and delightful

Just_Hold_2The book “Just Hold My Hand”, in a simple and delightful language, not only charms me but also speaks a profound truth of the power of love. How blessed to have a hand to hold throughout the journey of life. We, healthy or not so healthy, all need such a hand. Kids like Jacob and Brennan understand love better than many of us.

—Professor Mimi Yang, Carthage College