In honor of Autism Awareness Day, I’m interviewing Jason Vance, the author of a new book for kids titled “Just Like You.” The story follows Max, a second grader with autism, when his family moves and Max has to change schools.
Jason Vance is a devoted soccer dad who works with autistic kids in the Monrovia Unified School District. You can follow him on Instagram at @justlikeyoubook.
April: What inspired you to write “Just Like You”?
Jason Vance: I was inspired to write this book by a kid I worked with about 10 years ago. He was born at 4 months old, he was autistic, but he was a brilliant kid.
A: What’s your background?
JV: I was born in Gardena, CA, but raised most of my life in Monrovia, CA. My moms side of the family has been there since 1909. Monrovia is home.
A: How did you find your illustrator?
JV: I met my illustrator through a mutual friend. He grew up in Duarte, Monrovia’s neighboring city. We became Instagram friends and that’s how I found out he could draw!
A: What was the process you guys engaged in? Was there a lot of back and forth?
JV: I basically told him what I wanted Max to look like, but other than that I gave him complete artist freedom. He would send me samples for me to yay or nay, but they were mostly yays.
A: What was the biggest challenge in self-publishing this book?
JV: Honestly, just finding a place to print the book was probably the hardest part. Other than that, it hasn’t really been that hard.
A: What do you wish you had known when you started out?
JV: That I should’ve put this book out 7 years ago when I 1st finished it!
A: Will you be doing any readings or public events to promote the book?
JV: I don’t have anything set up yet, but I’m sure I will!
Coffee or tea?
Iced Tea, unsweetened.
Whiskey or vodka?
Hemsworth or Gosling?
“Sneaked” or “snuck”?
Wetsuit or bathrobe?
I’ve never worn either