By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Hudson – Jake Marrazzo, 17, is a typical high school senior, currently dealing with the challenges of a hybrid school schedule where some days he is in class at Hudson High School and some days he is learning remotely. Unlike his peers, however, Jake has authored and published his first children’s book.
“I had the idea when I was 4, and my Dad wrote it all down…, but we didn’t know where to go from there,” he explained.
His father, John Marrazzo, shared that at an incredibly young age, Jake would often tell his parents that he had an idea for a book or a movie, but it was usually an extension of something he had just seen or heard.
“This one was completely different,” John said. “It was a story about how being unique is not only OK, it’s a good thing. It was about how the number one wanted to be a letter, so I typed it up and kept it.”
The book, “One Wanted to Be a Letter” will be available this month.
“Watching films and television shows that had inanimate objects come to life, like in ‘Toy Story,’ always interested me. It was like a separate civilization, and it expanded the boundaries,” Jake said. “This book teaches kids to respect others when they are unique or different, and to respect themselves, too. You are allowed to be you.”
At the age of 8, Jake was diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, a hereditary disease that causes progressive weakness of the muscles. It is most common in males, although the females are usually the carriers. Through the Duchenne’s community, the Marrazzo family found an artist, Gregor Bernard, who worked with Jake’s idea for a logo for a charitable foundation that would help families living with the same diagnosis to make their homes handicapped accessible. The foundation, 4 Jake’s Sake, was named a 501 (c) (3) charitable foundation in 2016.
It was also through the Duchenne’s connections that the Marrazzos met Todd Civin who had collaborated with Boston’s heroic father-son assisted running team, Dick and Rick Hoyt, to publish Rick’s biography. Civin formed Civin Media Relations to help would-be writers who are sharing the amazing stories of individuals with disabilities.
Civin reached out to Jake to publish the book with Bernard doing the illustrations.
“I knew One had to be yellow. I’m not sure why, but that’s what I pictured,” laughed Jake.
Sheryl Marrazzo, Jake’s mother, talked about the book’s theme.
“One is a number whose friends are all letters and he felt different and wanted to be just like his friends. What kid or young adult hasn’t felt like this at some point in their lives?” she noted, adding that Jake already has ideas for a sequel.
In the meantime, Jake will be launching his book at a socially distanced book signing Sunday, Oct. 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Kith and Kin restaurant, 38-40 Washington St., in Hudson. If the weather cooperates, the event will be held outside.
Books will be available to purchase; due to health restrictions, books brought from home will not be able to be signed. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the 4 Jake’s Sake Charitable Foundation.