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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

New Book Promotes Inclusion of Those with Disabilities

Penelope Editions, a Penny Candy Books imprint, released The Year of the Buttered Cat in April, a mostly true, middle-grade and up memoir by Charlotte-based co-authors Susan and Lexi Haas. The book, that has already nearly sold out of its first printing and is available on, and at most other online booksellers, has been named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and Booklist gave it a starred review, calling it “moving, inspiring and laugh-out-loud funny.”

 Lexi, the daughter of local holistic practitioner Dr. Kenneth Haas of Haas Wellness Center, is one of the most well-known people in the U.S. with kernicterus, a rare form of brain damage caused by untreated newborn jaundice. She can’t talk or use her hands but is brilliant. She began spelling and reading at just 10 months old.

Susan and Lexi worked together for five years to complete the book, which documents both heartbreaking and hilarious moments of Lexi’s life. It was born out of Lexi’s desire to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities and Susan’s drive to help the public understand the potentially devastating consequences of newborn jaundice.

The dual timeline story follows 13-year-old Lexi as she counts down the hours to her second brain surgery and 5-year-old Lexi in the titular year when she discovered what happened to leave her with an uncontrollable body.

For more information, visit the book trailer:

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