Reviews UNDS

Praise for Up, Not Down Syndrome

“Great read! Here is a ten-year walk down the path of a scary Trisomy birth that leads us to the ‘pure, unadulterated joy these chil­dren can bring.’”
— John Wells, Board Member of L’Arche London, Ontario; Husband and Father

“This story turns broken into whole, tragedy into joy, and opti­mism into hope. Nancy is an inspiration for all parents struggling with a child with challenges.”
— Debby Elnatan, Inventor of Upsee, a children’s walking device, and Mom

“Nancy, it’s a wonder when someone does what you do, in Up, Not Down Syndrome—namely, puts a searchlight into the nooks and crannies of one’s own experience to shine the light of day on our shared humanity. And you offer many little ‘epiphanies’ along the way, beginning on the first page of Chapter 1, where you write, ‘But we cannot know life’s later lessons in the moment. We can only be where we are.’ Thank you for this.”
— Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Ph.D., Author, Lecturer, Consultant, Teacher, Performer, and Prof. Emerita, Dance Studies, Temple University

“Nancy’s story shines a powerful light on the murky waters of parenting and family dynamics. A required read for any parent navi­gat­ing the occasionally cloudy and sometimes dark waters of parenthood and family. You will laugh, cry, and love. Enjoy the ride. I’m humbled by this love story.”
— Beth Nordman, Giving Bean Coffee

“Nancy Schwartz’s Up, Not Down Syndrome reverberates with such love and care, not just for her son Alex, but for all the friends, family, medical professionals, educators, support staff, physical thera­pists, and numerous others with whom she has created community. This book shows how a child and a family can impact the world in a powerful, hope-filled way. I felt privileged to read this story.”
— Elizabeth Castiglione, Artist and Mother

“A moving and wise story of how a family navigates through hope, loss, learning, and most of all, love.”
— Rabbi David Wolpe, Author of David: The Divided Heart

“Having a child with Down syndrome has enriched my life in the best possible way by introducing me to an amazing community filled with parents passionate about helping their children grow and learn to the best of their abilities. Through CHOP Buddy Walk, I have come to know Nancy and her son, Alex. Nancy’s resolve to ensure that Alex and his brothers thrive has influenced me to reach further for my own son and his siblings and become a Down syndrome advo­cate. I’m so thankful that Nancy put pen to paper to document her personal experiences in Up, Not Down Syndrome. In this book, Nancy shares personal testimony that can be helpful to a wide range of audiences—from those who can benefit from understanding the wide range of emotions that parents of children with disabilities can face to those who can benefit from the ways Nancy is able to see and develop Alex’s abilities; there are lessons in this book that can help any and every reader. The three components of each chapter, the story­telling, the Lessons Alex Taught Me, and Alex’s unique per­spec­tive combine to help the reader understand that Alex’s life has tremendous value and potential. I will recommend this book to fami­lies who have recently received a medical diagnosis, to extended families within our Down syndrome community, to teachers and support staff and to students. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your story with the world!”
— Danielle Thompson, Mom to Porter, Penny, and Paxton, Wife, and CPA

“The truth and beauty of Nancy Schwartz’s words tell an ongoing story of love, learning, and the power of acceptance. All can learn from this family’s boundless hope and from their source of joy and strength: Alex.”
— April Beard, Music Educator and Cellist

“With indomitable tenderness, Up, Not Down Syndrome reveals the unexpected wonder of raising a son with Down’s syndrome. Get ready for a brilliant love.”
— Deidre Schena, Historian and Mother

“This is a wonderful book to remind you that the joy of love is possible in unexpected places when you open your heart to it.”

Barbara Taylor Bowman, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development

“This book is an inspiration and a challenge, calling each of us to look at the ways in which we need to expand our hearts and minds. Reading about Alex, I felt an inner tug to move beyond my precon­ceived notions and limiting beliefs. This isn’t simply a story about a mother’s love for her son. It’s a call to action. Each and every one of us can expand to greater love if only we look at the upside of the downs in our lives.”
— Daralyse Lyons, Author, Actress, Speaker, Coach, and Yogi

“Once in a great while, there is a book that speaks directly to your heart. It uplifts you and pulls you in with a compelling story and a message that changes how you think. In Up, Not Down Syndrome, Nancy Schwartz shares her real-life story of giving birth to Alex, her son whose challenges and struggles catapulted her and her family into a whole new world and a whole new perspective on life. She shares her inner struggles, the real life drama of what happened, and her family’s breathtaking victories. It’s a story of learning to see the good, of gratitude, and growth. It’s a must-read for people of all ages with its universal message of hope and light and love.”
— Susie Garber, Educator, Mother, Grandmother, Reporter, Speaker, and Author

“This book is a lifeline to families who need support and encour­agement. Nancy’s soul-bearing story is inspirational, informative, and invaluable.”
— Jackie Bratsis, Educator and Mother

“This book is for anyone wanting to know what it’s like to raise a child with Down syndrome. In her memoir, Nancy Schwartz shares the initial fears that ultimately give way to celebrations, and lessons learned from her son, Alex. It is a moving and deeply insightful book that will open one’s eyes to the joys of raising a child with Down syndrome.”
— Jessica Wells, Quality Assurance Engineer and Teacher

Up, Not Down Syndrome is an inspiring read. Nancy Schwartz will take you with her on her journey, touch your heart, and leave you full of more hope, love, and appreciation for life. Read it now!”
— Lisa Kohn, Speaker, Leadership Expert, and Author of the Best-Selling Memoir to the moon and back

Up, Not Down Syndrome will challenge your notion that raising a differently-abled child is any sort of hardship. Instead, it is the great­est blessing bestowed upon us; we are not worthy. This book is a giant fist reaching into your chest, squishing your heart, changing every­thing you believed about parenting someone special. No non­sense storytelling but with Nancy’s beautifully sculpted soul gleaming through each page. Be prepared to meet and fall in love with Alex and his posse, even if you spill tears on each page.”
— Paige Figi, Adventurer, Executive Director of Coalition for Access Now, Mom to Charlotte, Chase, and Maxwell, Charlotte’s Web CBD

“I have been amazed at Nancy’s advocacy for Alex and those like him. Through this book and by example, Nancy and her family are teaching us the gifts of the challenge. ‘People will treat him the way I treat him,’ is the quote I can hear her say over and over. Nancy so honestly shares her fear, shame, and anger that happened soon after Alex was born and how it transformed into acceptance, love, joy, and growth. Up, Not Down Syndrome will serve as a life raft for anyone in a similar situation because it teaches the rest of us about kindness and inclusivity. Beautifully, beautifully written.”
— Jessica Lowenadler Sontag, Kitchen Coach, Wife, and Mom to Jonas, Mia, and Anders

“The story of Alex and his family is an important one to share! Nancy Schwartz is a fierce advocate and mother whose passion and love sound a call for the inclusive society we need.”
— David Bradley, Theater Producer and Director of A Fierce Kind of Love, Produced by Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities

“Raising a child is an act of faith. Raising a child with a disability re­quires a fierce kind of love. Nancy Schwartz invites us to share her unique journey of faith, love, and belonging. Up, Not Down Syndrome is more than the story of a family. It is a reflection on com­munity, deepening our understanding of what it means to be truly human.”
— Lisa Sonneborn, Director, Media Arts & Culture,  Institute on Disabilities, Temple University

“‘How can I love an imperfect child?’ author Nancy Schwartz asks in her compulsively readable and heartwarming new book, Up, Not Down Syndrome: Uplifting Lessons Learned from Raising a Son with Trisomy 21. Through the pages of the book, Nancy learns that her new baby boy, Alex, will teach her how to love him and also how to embrace her new life in many happy and surprising ways. This is the story of one woman and one family embracing the challenges of raising a child with Trisomy 21 and finding that the daily battle of meet­­ing those challenges results in a deepening bond and richer under­­standing of what it means to be human. Schwartz shows through­out the book that she is a learner and she effectively shows readers how committing to learning about her child and from her child made all the difference. Along the way, she learns that Alex is a great teacher, but also a great learner himself. This is a joyful book about one woman’s and one family’s heroic journey and one little boy’s capacity to teach others lessons in life and love.”
— Russ Walsh, Rider University, Author of A Parent’s Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century

 “A beautiful, honest account of not just accepting—but embracing—the unknown. Nancy shows us the blessing of an unexpected gift and the enormity of love.”
— Sara Byala, PhD