Published author visits Horace Mann in response to student letter

  • 02/11/2017
Published author visits Horace Mann in response to student letter
I was at Mahoney State Park, Marcus Sikora said. Its a great place to think about monsters.

Marcus Sikora also draws his inspiration from activities he enjoys, especially theater. He has performed in local plays, and wrote a short one-act play.

What is remarkable about Marcus Sikora is he has done all of this with Down Syndrome, according to Horace Mann student Hadley Cline.

(I like Black Day) because the author of it has Down Syndrome, but still wrote a great book, Cline said. I think people with Down Syndrome shouldnt be judged for what they look like, but what they can do.

Cline is the fifth grader at Horace Mann who wrote the letter to author Beth Vrable about a character with Down Syndrome and how it brought her to find Marcus Sikora.

In her letter, Cline told Vrable how her book inspired her.

Your book got me thinking about how we should not judge people with disabilities by what they look like on the outside because most people who see someone like Marcus Sikora would not think he would be a great author and be doing amazing things, Cline said in her letter.

Her strong words in the letter caught the attention of Marcus Sikoras mother and manager, Mardra Sikora.

So thanks to Google Alerts, we discovered that Hadley... wrote a letter to an author, who she mentions in her letter is only author she knows with Down Syndrome, Mardra Sikora said. So she (Hadley) did a little research and found Marcus and she found his book.

Her (Hadleys) words made me feel good for the future of humanity, Mardra Sikora said. If you give people a chance and believe in them they can do anything. Were very excited to be here and show that to the kids.

Marcus Sikora has already started working on Black Day 2, and is planning to write a total of five books. Marcus Sikora said all the books will have a Halloween theme.

Marcus and Mardra Sikora travel the country visiting schools, but Horace Mann was the first school she was able to bring the books illustrator Noah Wetchell.

Wetchell helped draw pictures for the book, but also helped with the animation.

My inspiration for my drawings? Well mostly through Marcuss drawings, Wetchell said. Thats what we jumped off of. Marcus has a certain style he draws in and I really tried to retain as much of that as possible while still making is feasible to animate.

Marcus Sikora and his parents worked with Wetchell and a few close friends to put together an animated depiction of the book. Marcus Sikora voiced the pumpkin head, and is proud to say he was the singer for the bands song in the animation.

Marcus has been taking voice lessons, Mardra Sikora said. Its always so exciting to see him perform his songs and watch the children start jumping up and down.

The music video, as well as the books animation can be found on Youtube.

Marcus Sikora participates in several Down Syndrome events. Most recently, he and his friends participated in a fashion show for people with Down Syndrome.

On his website, Marcus Sikora stated his thoughts about being an author with Down Syndrome.

My syndrome is fine, Marcus Sikora said. Down syndrome doesnt have anything to do with the book.

I like to do voice lessons, watch theater, especially on broadway and work out, Marcus Sikora said. I also have two jobs, one of them filling vending machines. I like to ride on horse carriages and I work in an office.

Cline said she doesnt like the stereotyping of people with disabilities.

Many people stereotype people with Down syndrome, Cline said in her letter. Usually people do not think of words like wonderful, smart, creative, and author to describe people with Down syndrome. However, Marcus Sikora, the author of Black Day: The Monster Rock Band does have Down Syndrome and his book was very wonderful and creative. The next time I meet someone with a disability I will work to see into the person and not the disability.
  
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