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Arizona journalist explores Down syndrome, love in new book
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Arizona journalist explores Down syndrome, love in new book


When Arizona journalist Amy Silverman was an investigative reporter, she’d often toss stuff into a cardboard box as she did her research: Reports, books, records, notebooks.

After her second child, Sophie, was born with Down syndrome in 2003, she started a new box — and soon had to add more.

Silverman, now the managing editor of the Phoenix New Times, says she was initially just trying to find her way as Sophie’s mom and so she did what she knew. She reported on it.

“She was the first person with Down syndrome I’d ever met,” she said. “It was awkward.”

“My Heart Can’t Even Believe it: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome,” is the title of Silverman’s new book, one that includes not only Silverman’s findings on Down syndrome, but also her personal reflections on slowly getting to know Sophie and, in doing so, falling crazy in love.

Silverman, 49, will discuss her book at 7 p.m. Friday at Antigone Books, 411 N. 4th Ave.

The title is a partial quote of Sophie’s, a proclamation of love she made to her mother a few years back as Silverman was about to board a plane for New York City. In a flurry of selfies and little videos, this hit Silverman hard: “I love you so much my heart can’t even believe it.”

“I had been struggling for a long time to come up with a name for the project I had been working on,” she said.

Silverman hopes the book starts conversations about many things, not just Down syndrome, but also about inclusion, parenting, families and schools.

“I think we don’t know how to talk about people with intellectual disabilities,” she said, “and so we just don’t.”

Contact reporter Patty Machelor at



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