About the Book
Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book is told through the eyes of Michael Jacques, a compassionate and determined young adult with autism and an intellectual disability. His book—which is written by using an iPad’s speech-to-text function—is a down-to-earth collection of compelling life stories and discoveries that teach us how to embrace and celebrate our differences. Michael, who never surrenders to the idea of “can’t,” speaks about topics such as learning, inclusion, advocating, independence, and the power of perseverance.
His insights and views on the world are equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring. Through his witty and positive voice, Michael offers a glimpse on what it’s like to be him.
Partial proceeds are donated to Special Olympics and Community Living.
& Creative Team
Let me start from the beginning. I began writing this book when I was twenty-one and I’m now finished at twenty-six. I used my iPad’s speech-to-text function. Many authors have their own ways of writing. For me, I like walking and pacing around while speaking to Siri. Sometimes Siri doesn’t always understand what I’m saying, but that’s why I got help from a friend. Her name is Meghan and she is the editor of my book.
My sister Kaila and her husband Chris worked on the design of the book. We wanted it to be visual to help me remember the stories I talk about. We asked our friends to illustrate pages for the chapters. I have learned a lot throughout this process. I learned that not only is it okay to ask for help, but you can achieve much more than you'd imagine when you work together. I have lots of people to thanks for this book but I’m also proud of myself for believing I can make a book.
Edited by Meghan Greeley
Book design by Kaila Jacques & Chris Lynn
Illustrations in order of appearance in the book by: Kaila Jacques, Flavia López, Raylene Knutson, Mariana Nemer, Katherine Ross, Ben Lory, Adrian Forrow, Tristan Marantos, Odran McAtamney, and Chris Lynn
"I hope you don’t just see me as a person with a disability; I hope you see me as someone deserving of the same opportunities in life as anyone else. My book is meant to inspire anybody who has been told they can’t do something."
— Michael Jacques
I believe this book can inspire many people and it talks about important issues in our world. By purchasing a book your are supporting this project. I would like to raise enough money to cover the cost of production, then I would love to give a part of the proceeds to support organizations and communities that are helping individuals like myself.
Your support is appreciated in 3 different ways:
1. Buying a copy of the book
2. Telling someone about the book
3. Letting me know about speaking opportunities
Book Launch – Sunday June 10
I had an amazing book launch in Toronto at the Centre for Social Innovation Building. It was a great turn out and I was overwhelmed by all the positive feedback. A big thank you to the photographer Harry Choi.
‘Here’s My Book’ contains the delightful, inspirational and moving reflections of a young man who overcame obstacles and achieved his goals. I had the privilege of serving as Michael’s elementary school principal in the primary grades. He was a delightful child with a positive outlook and good sense of humour. In my former role as Superintendent of Special Education, I recognize the importance of inclusion for all children and adults alike. It is about focusing on abilities and meeting needs. As a parent of twin daughters with a disability, my wife Darlene and I were very moved by Michael’s story. Everything that Michael touched on felt so relatable. His positive spirit and determination will help increase awareness and carry him far.
– Terry Grand
Retired Superintendent of Special Education, London District Catholic School Board
Michael Jacques’ book, Can’t Read, Can’t Write, Here’s My Book, is a testimony to the power of possibility. Not just for people with disabilities, but for anyone struggling to find their way. He gives practical advice on being your best self and finding places of belonging through school, meaningful work and friendships. Isn’t that what we all want in life?
– Chris Beesley
Chief Executive Officer, Community Living Ontario
I really love this book. It is such a great depiction of Michael's story that is easily relatable for anyone. I especially like how he identifies the things in his school that he felt were unfair like his basketball team not being part of the pep rally or no one with a disability on student council and how he explains that he just went to his principal and said 'this isn't fair' and then things changed. It's a stunning example of the unconscious bias that exists on a regular basis still in many schools that claim to be inclusive. And, all too often go unchanged because our students with disabilities have not been provided with opportunities for social capital and so the generational cycle persists. Michael's empowerment and truth throughout make his message relevant for everyone: students, teachers, community members, human beings.
– Dr. Monique Somma
Assistant Professor in Teacher Education, Brock University
A number of years ago, while in my role as principal at St. Alexander Catholic School in Fonthill, ON, I had, what I still consider as one of the best learning experiences an educator could experience or ask for. I met a young boy named Michael Jacques. His innate and gifted ability to sincerely engage with others, demonstrate respect, care and concern for others, and be a genuinely good person, captured both my interest and admiration. While his learning style, abilities and challenges often stymied us, his never ending quest to be seen as a strong, capable and valued member of the school community helped define my definition of educator for all. His story, “Can’t Read Can’t Write- Here’s My Book,” is truly a remarkable autobiographical piece, that when it sets in, helps us better understand the terms inclusion and diversity from an authentic lens. Well done Michael!
– Dean Stunt, Retired Principal, Niagara Catholic District School Board.
Loved reading Michaels story! This book should be in all learning centres and schools dealing with Autistic Children and Adolescents This amazing young man is an inspiration to all struggling to fit into what everyone deems to be a normal life. For parents, Michaels story takes them into the school system through the eyes of someone who actually faced the challenges presented and talks about how to overcome the hardships of just trying to fit in.
– Deborah Mailhot, Sobeys Employee
Self-absorption is, perhaps, the most widespread affliction of our modern age; Here’s My Book shook me from this very state. Michael’s story allowed me to open myself, to stop and consider how my actions — considered, or more often, not — affect others. To describe this book as inspiring only scratches its surface. In no way self-pitying, his story of achievement, through persistence and sheer force of will, has motivated me to help others break barriers and achieve their goals (and perhaps revisit a few of my own that I let slide!) Required reading; as many stars as are available, plus one!