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You Can Call Me Willy

School Library Journal
"Verniero's touching story is a fine introduction to understanding AIDS and coping with discrimination. Like most third graders, Wilhelmina Jones loves school, her Grandma, and baseball. But having AIDS means she also has struggles that most children don't. Sometimes adults try to exclude her from places or activities because they fear her disease. Willy wants to play in the Little League and, despite voices trying to keep her out, her best friend and the coach make sure she is on the team. The simple text, focusing on the ordinary events in a little girl's life, will invite compassion. There is no substantive explanation of the disease, other than to emphasize that modes of transmission exclude casual contact. The watercolor illustrations pleasantly expand the text. Willy is African American and others in the story represent a multicultural blend. Though the underlying truth of her disease is tragic, the story focuses on her strength and hope."

United Methodist Women
"This engaging story of Willy, an eight-year-old girl living with AIDS, encourages compassion and understanding toward those with the illness. An excellent resource for parents to help children understand AIDS. For children ages 4 to 8."

National Network for Child Care
"Joan Verniero has written an excellent children's book about an eight-year-old living with AIDS. You Can Call Me Willy: A Story for Children about AIDS encourages compassion and understanding for children with AIDS. It shows children who are HIV-positive how they might deal with difficult situations."

Bank Street College of Education Sal Vascellaro, Graduate Faculty
"Unlike preachy and heavy-handed 'message' books for children, Willy's story follows a child's thought process and experience as she engages the world as an eight year old. Like all children, Willy builds a sense of self through her friendships. It is a child's tenacity and the steady and caring adults in her life that enable Willy to cope with the HIV virus. Joan Verniero has created a moving and unsentimental story that informs both children and adults in gentle ways and models the meaning of caring."

Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Greater Danbury
"I found Ms. Verniero's book You Can Call Me Willy: A Story for Children about AIDS to be the first children's book on this subject that is honest, humane and full of hope. I have searched long and hard for children's books that will help me with the children living with AIDS in my area. All the books I have found deal with dying. This is the first that deals with living. It is a positive story that demystifies this disease for children and parents. You Can Call Me Willy is also a powerful story of friendship and of children supporting children living with AIDS. Ms. Verniero's book fills an important gap in children's books on AIDS. I predict You Can Call Me Willy will become an essential book in AIDS education and AIDS counseling with children."

AIDS Resource Foundation for Children
"You Can Call Me Willy is a timely and well illustrated book that presents a difficult subject in a sensitive and caring way. I highly recommend it to all. The message of this story is not just for the child but also for the adult. My thanks to Joan Verniero for this wonderful book."