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CHILDREN'S BOOK: The Boy Who Said Wow


A nonverbal autistic ten-year-old boy named Ronan made music history in 2019 when his spontaneous, exclamatory "Wow" after a Boston Handel & Haydn Society concert was caught on a radio recording that went viral. Stories on CBS, NPR, and dozens of outlets reached more than 70 million listeners.


Todd has crafted it into a children's picture book, The Boy Who Said Wow, releasing April 2, 2024, from Simon & Schuster's Beach Lane imprint, beautifully illustrated in pen-and-ink watercolors by Rashin Kheiriyeh.


An alternately loud and quiet portrait exploring the power of music to reach the private mind, Todd's tale of The Boy Who Said Wow was first adapted to video for Classical Kids Storytime by Minnesota Public Radio in 2020, with illustrations by Nancy Carlson. It quickly became the most popular CKS video ever, with 100,000 views in its first week alone.


To write this story of music and autism authentically and compassionately, Todd interviewed Ronan's family extensively about their surprising concert experience before retelling it from Ronan's perspective. Todd's Emmy-winning work as a choral librettist makes him the perfect storyteller for this subtly moving vignette about music's inexplicable magic.



Beautifully told, with just enough well-chosen words.

An unusual picture book that tells a memorable story.

— starred Booklist review


This is absolutely, utterly incredible. I'm blown away by hearing this

beautiful portrayal of our boy brought to life in sound and illustration.

Truly such an AMAZING gift!

— Rachel, Ronan's mother



Ronan's "Wow" has already been heard by millions of adults around the world. I want kids to hear it too. I loved the process of interviewing Ronan's family and members of the orchestra to develop this project, and I'm grateful to them for sharing the story with me. And the nonverbal little boy in me is forever grateful to Ronan, too, for expressing the inexpressible.

Todd's signature.

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