About the Author
Ron Italiano is a first time author, born and raised in New Jersey. Over twenty years ago, Ron created the Choppy Wow Wow character to entertain his nieces with stories of kindness and positivity. Once he had children of his own, he continued to tell his stories but they took on a different meaning. Ron is the father of two boys with autism. Ron and his wife would read nightly to their children and this is where he introduced his Choppy Wow Wow stories to them. As his boys struggled with communication, Ron turned the tables on his older son and asked him to tell a story. His son started his story with “There once was a little dog named Choppy Wow Wow” and continued to tell him about his day, for the first time ever! His son would continue to develop his story telling skills and communicate through the eyes of Choppy Wow Wow. Ron wrote this book as the first in a series intended to promote inclusion, enjoyment of reading, and celebrating differences. It is his hope that these books will also help special needs parents navigate some of the parenting challenges that we all experience. He hopes you enjoy the book as much as he enjoyed writing it.
About the Illustrator
Jessica Rogers is the niece of Ron Italiano, the author. She was born and raised in New Jersey and is a first-time illustrator. She pursued drawing as a hobby but after hearing the story of Choppy Wow Wow, she jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with her uncle on this book. She was excited about this series because of her close relationship with her two cousins, who are on the autism spectrum. Jessica is an occupational therapy graduate student with hopes to work with children with neurological, social, and behavioral disorders. Through her OT program, she has learned that incorporating different learning tactics, exposing children to various types of media, and finding time to encourage social interaction and mental stimulation can improve the health and wellbeing of these populations. Diverse representation on TV, media, and books also provides a sense of inclusivity among underrepresented or misrepresented populations. With that in mind, Jessica strived to create characters that would represent some members of the special needs community and their families. Jessica believes that simply reading this book for 10 minutes before bed can be the start of a rewarding journey for kids and families of all backgrounds and circumstances. She hopes that these unique characters can resonate with just one unique child.
About the Creative Director
Nicole Mazur is the cousin of Ron Italiano, the author. Born and raised in New Jersey, she is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and has worked in the editorial and beautry industry for over 20 years. When her cousin Ron approached her about the book there was no doubt in her mind to become a part of this journey. Having the experience with her cousins and knowing just how special they are, she was thrilled to create something that would bring awareness to the special needs community, promote inclusion, and celebrate our differences. Nicole was so excited to bring Ron's vision and Jessica's illustrations to life. Nicole truely feels that Choppy Wow Wow is not just a character in the book, he represents a part of us all.