“The book is about a kid who stutters and what he has to go through as a kid who stutters,” explained Wicks in an interview with StutteringIsCool.com. “In the book, you see his challenges and how he overcomes them. When I was on a train going to New York I just randomly thought of it and then we just kind of wrote the base and the general idea of what we wanted to be in the book. I don’t know the full process; I just told my mom what I wanted and a couple of months later the text was done.”
Garvin, a former stutterer, explained that stuttering occurs when a combination of factors comes together and often affects boys more than girls.
“Saddiq has always been this kid who has these really big ideas,” Garvin said. “We were going back and forth to New York for SAY (The Stuttering Association for the Young) and during the train ride, he leaned over and said, ‘I want to write a book.’ I asked why and he said, ‘When I was growing up I didn’t have a book and that would have helped me feel more supported … I literally wrote down his ideas in the notes section of my phone.”
The heartfelt story that Wicks tells has drawn accolades from fellow stutterers, their families and educators, including poet Nikki Giovanni who wrote it’s “a story that needs to be shared.”
The authors of “When Oliver Speaks” will be among the featured participants of the 27th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair held at the Community College of Philadelphia on Feb. 2, 2019. for more information, visit theafricanamericanchildrensbookproject.org.