Sunday, June 17, 2007

Modern Day Helen Keller Receives Honorable Mention in New York Book Festival Competition

Shirley Cheng, a blind and physically disabled 24-year-old motivational speaker and author, has received Honorable Mention in the Poetry category of the New York Book Festival Competition for her newest release, Waking Spirit: Prose & Poems the Spirit Sings, a heartfelt collection that explores a world of dancing hearts, singing spirits, with infinite love from life.

Cheng will hold a book signing for this book, along with a few of her other books, during the festival on June 23 in Central Park.

"I am absolutely honored and delighted beyond words. Let's just say that I'm floating on cloud 9," says Cheng, who is also known as the modern day Helen Keller. "I've made it one of my life's missions to touch as many people as I possibly can to bring humor, hope, and healing; and receiving Honorable Mention in this contest will definitely help fulfill my goal."

Previously, Waking Spirit was announced as an award-winning finalist in the national Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards.

"Waking Spirit celebrates life while encouraging us all to appreciate what we already have. It's a book of survival, a tome of devotion, a bible of being," wrote New York Times bestselling author, Cynthia Brian, in the foreword. "Serve yourself a big helping of Shirley Cheng's inspiration and you'll be motivated to shoot for the stars."

ISBN: 9780615136806 paperback; 9780615138930 hardback

140 pages

Released in May 2007; available through Ingram, from and, and autographed copies from

"An inspirational miscellany from one of the braver souls on the planet...a menagerie of lyrics, haiku, short personal essays and even briefer aphoristic words to live by---all on the theme of leaping over seemingly insurmountable hurdles…" --Kirkus Discoveries

"This book is an amazing read by an amazing person. Her writing is very accessible and enjoyable as she 'shows without telling,' without arrogance or expression of joy…wonder…passion…teaches simple truths..." --ForeWord CLARION Reviews

"Her wisdom and captivating writing style reveals a rare beauty of the heart. Humorous haiku blends effortlessly with devotional selections as quotes sing a wisdom we want to hear and live." --The Rebecca Review, Top Ten Reviewer

"…a masterpiece… The Positive Thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible. That is what Shirley is all about!" --Ken Bossone, President of World Positive Thinkers Club

"Shirley is an excellent thought-provoking writer…with a charm and intelligence that would make anyone envious. Her inspiration and never ending strive to see all good in life is rare and commendable..." --Dorothy Lafrinere,

Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author, motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet, author of five books (who's working on a sixth title), and contributing author of eight books, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level in all areas and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Cheng lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University.

"Although I'm blind, I can see far and wide; even though I'm disabled, I can climb high mountains," says Cheng. "Let the ropes of hope haul you high!"

Cheng is also the author of Daring Quests of Mystics, a soothing read to relax the mind, body, and spirit (ISBN: 9781411656642); an empowering 700-page autobiography, The Revelation of a Star's Endless Shine: A Young Woman's Autobiography of a 20-Year Tale of Trials and Tribulations (ISBN: 9781411618602); and Dance with Your Heart: Tales and Poems That the Heart Tells, an anthology of inspirational and fantasy short stories (fairy tales, fables, and myths) and poems for the heart from the heart (ISBN: 9781411618589).

With highly acclaimed experts like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy, Cheng co-authored Wake Up...Live the Life You Love: Finding Life's Passion, the latest installment in the bestselling Wake Up...Live the Life You Love series; she is also the co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Volume 2, along with leading experts Jack Canfield, John Gray, Richard Carlson, Alan Cohen, Bob Proctor, et al.

Cheng is also an advocate of parental rights in children's medical care, and aide/caregiver monitoring and screening for students with special needs and disabled people. As a parental rights advocate, she wants to help today's loving parents protect and keep custody of their children. "When doctors ask yes or no, parents should have the right to say no," says Cheng, who is the survivor of the 1990 five-month internationally broadcast news of mother Juliet Cheng's custody battle with a doctor. Juliet was on CBS This Morning with Paula Zahn.

Cheng promotes aide advocacy for the disabled because she was mistreated and abused by one-to-one aides when she attended school. "The trouble with the uncaring aides actually lies with the authorities," she says. "If they listened to my complaints and kept a close watch on the aides, I wouldn't have gone through all the suffering."

She had been published twice before her writing career. One of her short stories, Mary Miller, the Elusive Lady, received Honorable Mention and was published by the Poughkeepsie Journal in 1997, and a poem, The Colors of the Rainbow, earned merit status and was published in Celebrate! New York Young Poets Speak Out in 1999.

In 2006, Cheng tied for 1st place in the national writing contest for Be the Star You Are! founded by New York Times bestselling author, TV/radio personality Cynthia Brian, garnering her a third appearance on Cynthia's live radio show. Cheng's winning entry, titled The Jewel from Heavenly Father, is dedicated to her beloved mother Juliet Cheng. In 2007, Cheng received Honorable Mention in the same contest for her essay, I Hold the Power, her personal story of overcoming blindness at the age of seventeen.

Cheng is available for interviews, speaking engagements, book signings, and inspirational events. She has been on over twenty radio shows, including Be the Star You Are! for three times, The Donna Seebo Show, and Stu Taylor on Business. She was featured in World Journal, the largest Chinese national newspaper in North America, in July of 2004.

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