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placeholder St. Jarlath preserves a Spanish tradition

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"Ignite" draws enthusiastic crowd

Omaha organist to perform in Cathedral

60th anniversary
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Local filmmaker
pens his first children's book

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Show mom a fun
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placeholder April 30, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Local filmmaker pens his first children's book

Eugene R. Caputi

Eugene R. Caputi and his family attend Queen of All Saints Parish in Concord. Caputi is a Hollywood filmmaker has worked on movies such as "The Zodiac," "The Mistress of Spices," "War of The Worlds" and "The Pursuit of Happyness." He talks to us about his first book, "Tara's Lookout," which teaches children to appreciate and include those who are different. The plot includes a young Indian girl with developmental disabilities who eventually becomes a hero.

What was your motivation for writing this story?

I hope that my sons and other children will learn to avoid having the attitude that I had toward those with disabilities. When I was young, I was often mean-spirited or unfriendly toward people with disabilities or people who didn't fit in. A key motivator was a family friend and fellow parishioner, Howard Beyer, who had cerebral palsy and lived quite a lonely life. He was a big dairy farmer with hands the size of canned hams. Because of the severity of his condition, he walked spastically and had a very pronounced stutter. Unfortunately, when I was a young, I was rather uncharitable in my thoughts and words about his condition. Over time, however, Howard became a role model for me. No matter what life threw at him, and it threw a lot, he toughed it and was always very faithful.

As Christians we should reach out to people who are lonely. Sometimes it's awkward, some times it may backfire, but that beats not trying at all.

For more
"Tara's Lookout," Eugene R. Caputi, 2012, 32 pages, paperback, is available at Amazon.com or www.ginocaputi.com.
 
 
What do you hope children will learn from the book?

I would hope that children and adults alike would understand that all human beings have value and you should never count anyone out.

How have children responded so far?

They like the story and enjoy looking at the illustrations of India. My son often has me read it to him at bedtime, so that could be an indication that it's a good read.

Why are the illustrations so highly detailed?

I work as a filmmaker and have learned that it's easier to tell a story with images rather than words. There were some things about Indian culture that had to be explained, but I wanted the reader to experience them as most people do: by seeing them. It took about six weeks to draw the pictures and coloring them on computer took nine months.

Is there a connection between this book and your wife Nyna's film, "Petals in the Dust: The Endangered Indian Girls"?

We didn't make the decision consciously, but the film and the book share a common theme, that girls born with disabilities in India have a greater chance of being terminated, both before and after birth. My wife and I experienced this when were at an Indian hospital. A newborn girl was abandoned there because her feet were mildly deformed.

Do you have any other connection to Tara?

In India, I encountered a young girl with disabilities who lives near my wife's parents. She, like Howard, would visit and stay until very late. My wife was surprised that I was patient with her and would read to her. I told my wife I was trying to make it up to Howard and I'd like to write a book about him.

Can you share a preview of the next books in your series?

"Tara and the Stray Dogs" and "Tara Spies a Troublemaker" both expand Tara's universe, exposing readers to life as seen through Tara's eyes.

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