Young Author with CMT Pens Tale of High-Flying Goose

“Ruthie B. Goose,” the work of a 10-year-old girl with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, explores determination, trust and achieving your dreams

Ruthie Baker and her dad, Jeff
Article Highlights:
  • Ruthie Baker, 10, of Wilmington, Mass., wrote the 160-page children’s book with help from her dad and brother.  All three have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
  • Baker, who received a Barnum Award in recognition of her service to others, is donating book profits to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
by Bill Norman on November 17, 2010 - 4:57pm

Ruthie B. Goose is by no means your average goose.

Ruthie has very high expectations of herself — specifically to fly higher than any other bird has flown before.

Ruthie’s resolution and her efforts to fly to 37,901 feet are the subject of a book written by a 10-year-old girl and her father, both of whom have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT).

Ruthie B. Goose

Ruthie Baker and her dad Jeff, of Wilmington, Mass., spent a year working on Ruthie B. Goose – Birth of the Legend.  Profits from the book, which is geared to readers in the 9-12 age bracket, are being donated to MDA.

How the book came to be

In a television talk show interview on WCTV with Ruthie, her dad and brother Andrew (who also have CMT), the young author described how the book came to be written.

“We were driving, and I looked up and saw a flock of geese. I asked my dad, ‘How high can geese fly?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. Why don’t we look it up on the Internet?’” They did.

That evening at dinner, after discussing the fact that the highest known flight of any bird was 37,900 feet, Ruthie told her family that the subject “would make a really good book.”

Her dad told her, “I don’t have time to write a book; you’re going to have to write it yourself.”

And so she did.

Ruthie’s ‘baby’

The book’s characters and plotline are “Ruthie’s baby,” Jeff says, although he, Andrew and one of Ruthie’s teachers helped out with grammar, punctuation and other input.

Characters include young Ruthie B. Goose, who lives in an old oak tree in New York City’s Central Park with her parents.

Her friends – who aid and encourage Ruthie in her highest-flight quest – include Marty, a learned seagull with an extra-long neck; Backwards Bob, a mallard who talks backwards; and a jaunty crow-like bird named Jake with a permanent sneer that makes him look like a young Elvis Presley.

You gotta have friends

“You have to go through a lot of obstacles in life to reach your goals, and you need friends to help you,” Ruthie Baker explained. “I wanted to write the book to help MDA. Some people with muscular dystrophy don’t get help, and I wanted to help them, too.”

Ruthie is a local MDA Goodwill Ambassador and speaks at local fundraising events about the Association’s efforts to find treatments and cures for diseases like hers.

In October, she was one of three New England children recognized with a Barnum Award, created by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey (of circus fame) to honor children who give back to their communities in creative, innovative ways. Her top-level gold award came with a $1,000 check “to fund future community service endeavors.”

Ruthie B. Goose – Birth of the Legend.  is available through Booklocker.com; Amazon.com; Barnes & Noble; and the Bakers’ website: www.ruthiebgoose.com.

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