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Debbie Zapata

Debbie Zapata grew up in a multi-cultural family in Austin, Texas. As a girl, she loved the places that brought people together—public parks, community rec centers, and the local libraries.


After earning her Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, Debbie worked as an international student immigration advisor. In 2001, she moved to New York City and worked in international human resources. She received her Master in Social Work from New York University and works as a counselor.


Debbie also writes books for children. She was a winner of the Austin SCBWI’s Creator of Diverse Worlds Scholarship in 2018 and 2020. Her debut picture book UP AND ADAM is illustrated by Yong Ling Kang and will be published in Spring 2022 by Kids Can Press. Debbie lives in Austin with her husband and two kids.

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Up and Adam

Kids Can Press, May 3, 2022

ISBN 9781525304415

An uplifting story about Adam, a young boy with Down syndrome who helps his neighbors in the aftermath of a storm in a way only he can. Adam and his dog, Up, do what they can to pitch in with the cleanup. But it turns out, Adam’s most important contribution to his community is one he doesn’t even think about—his smile. Because when anyone sees Adam smile, they smile, too.

Adam’s open-hearted and infectious smile lights the pages as he lifts spirits all over town. The book is full of positive examples of community, contributing and inclusion. The book has an author’s note, which includes information about Down syndrome, and resources.


UP AND ADAM hits the shelves May 3, 2022 and is available for presale now!

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