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Willow's Words cover

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2. Paperback Edition
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  • 40 pages
  • 8.0 x 10.0 inches
3. Hardcover Edition
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  • 40 pages
  • 8.0 x 10.0 inches
Target Audience:
  • Young Children (7-11 yrs old)

Dance, Self-expression, Mutism, Mother-daughter, Fairies, Autism, Outsider

Willow's Words
by Jamie Lago and Terri Bose

Far beneath the stormy mountains, past the creaking bridge in a towering butterfly tree lives a graceful young girl named Willow who doesn’t speak but loves to dance. She dances alone beneath the sugarberry tree at recess. She dances in her very own sunflower garden at home. And she dances with the little baby fairies her mother looks after. Her mother and father, her teachers and classmates, and even all the doctors in the land are puzzled by her silence, but Willow dances on.

One day, when Willow’s mother notices her daughter and the little fairies dancing and laughing together, she realizes that Willow has been communicating all along—through movement. Soon, Willow teaches her mother and father, her friends, and all the townspeople to express themselves through dance, bringing life and color back into their gloomy, storm-devastated town.

Willow’s Words is the story of a girl who found her voice through dance, and how everyone around her learned to listen.

Jamie Lago and Terri Bose photo

As a child, Jamie was overwhelmed by anxiety and unable to speak outside of her home. She began dancing at age seven. Now a dance teacher and an award-winning choreographer, Jamie credits the magic of dance for giving her the confidence to push through her anxiety. Jamie’s co-author, Terri Bose, is her mother. Willow’s Words is their story.

Selective Mutism is a Social Anxiety Disorder usually found in children. It is characterized by an inability to speak in certain situations. Many children with SM only find the school setting to be difficult. Others may be more affected. Jamie rarely spoke to anyone but her mother. Children with SM often say they feel frozen. They have trouble making eye contact and may shut down completely. New research shows that Selective Mutism and other Anxiety Disorders have a strong genetic link. The environment often exasperates the situation and trauma can be a component. It is believed that some children with Selective Mutism are misdiagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and some children with Autism Spectrum Disorder also have Selective Mutism. While there is no cure for Selective Mutism, children usually begin to speak when they are in a supportive, nurturing environment. Involvement in an activity they enjoy can distract a child from their feelings of anxiety and improve their chances of speaking. With treatment, these children can become successful adults but often still have Anxiety Disorders. Jamie is still very socially anxious in certain situations. Those who know her through dance will be surprised to learn this.

More research is needed to help those who suffer from crippling anxiety. A portion of this book’s royalties will be donated to the Selective Mutism Foundation.


Jamie Lago
Terri Bose
Ekaterina Bulankina

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