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Local Author Inspires Oswego Students to Slay Their 'Dragons'

Nov 17, 2015 03:28PM ● Published by Shannon Antinori

Author Stacey Glorioso and her "Dragon Crew" will bring a fun-filled motivational pep rally to Grande Park Elementary. (Photo courtesy of Stacey Glorioso)

Become a dragon slayer: That’s the message local author Stacey Glorioso will have for students at Grande Park Elementary School Thursday.

Glorioso, a pediatric occupational therapist, will bring her “Dragon Crew” to a pep rally at the District 308 campus as part of her book tour for “Joshua’s Dragon.”

Published in August, “Joshua’s Dragon” tells the story of Joshua, a boy with autism who is looking forward to his class trip to the zoo. But the trip will require Joshua to confront his biggest fear: loud noises.

“Just because Joshua has autism, we’re not that different from him,” Glorioso said. “We all have issues that we have to overcome."

Glorioso said the book was inspired by her young clients, who are “dragon slayers” conquering their own challenges.

“I basically took all the life lessons from my kids and put them in one book,” Glorioso explained.

The pep rally isn’t about promoting the book, but about inspiring students to overcome their “dragons,” whether they struggle with shyness, an illness, disability or just the fear of not being accepted.

“Everyone has a dragon, and nobody is perfect,” Glorioso said. “It’s about becoming a dragon slayer, just like Joshua, and … accepting everybody for their differences. Everybody has the strength within to conquer their dragon.”

The upbeat Nov. 19 pep rally will feature live music from Frankfort musician Joseph Bauer, two DJs and four “dragon slayers,” including Alyssa Gialamas, who will tell their inspiring tales of overcoming challenges.

Alyssa was born with arthrogryposis, a condition that prevents joints from moving normally and sometimes causes them to become stuck in one position. Despite her challenges, Alyssa is now a Division 1 swimmer at Loyola University Maryland and has broken 15 American records in swimming. She plans to take part in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Glorioso said.

Since late September, Glorioso has brought the motivational tour to more than 10,000 students at schools in Plainfield, Naperville, Aurora and Hinsdale.

More stops on the “Joshua’s Dragon” tour are scheduled throughout the country, Glorioso said.

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