Mary Jo Talbot

Watching Wilhemina by Mary Jo Talbot

Wilhemina O’Meara lives for science class, rock guitar riffs and spying on the boy that sits across from her in 1st period. But when Wilhemina is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes her overprotective mother insists on homeschooling her. Wilhemina tries convincing her mother to let her go to school while secretly praying for a cure. When neither happens, Wilhemina’s only hope for going to school may be a discipline-challenged dog named Daisy, who has an innate ability to alert when Wilhemina’s blood sugar drops or rises-if her mother agrees. However, Wilhemina isn’t keen on taking Daisy to school, because she wants to keep her diabetes a secret and having a dog at school would be like wearing a flashing sign. But it’s her only hope, until the principal says Daisy must be a trained service dog to be allowed in school. With her family short on funds, Wilhemina takes on training Daisy over the summer with the help of her twin brother, while desperately bargaining with God for another option. Training Daisy proves to be a challenge and with no other alternatives, Wilhemina must decide if attending school is worth exposing her secret.

Watching Wilhemina is a middle grade fiction novel that explores the clash of living with a chronic disease and the desire to live a normal life based on my experiences as a diabetes educator and school nurse. I am the recipient of a McClatchy Newspaper President’s award and a SC Press Association award for science writing.

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