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Clarksville Native Gary Harmon writes Children’s Book “My Daddy Takes His Legs Off”


Clarksville Book ReviewClarksville, TN – A teacher in the Knox County school system, Gary Harmon is a former student at Montgomery Central High School in Montgomery County. His children’s book, My Daddy Takes His Legs Off, tells the story of a little girl whose father was born with no right hand and only a pinky and a thumb on his left. Because he was born with no feet, he had prostheses from his knees down.

Children have insatiable curiosity and many are afraid of what they do not understand. As anyone with a disability knows, children will stare at a person who is different. Some will want to touch, some will want to run away, some will ask embarrassing questions, and some will cry.

My Daddy Takes His Legs Off by Gary Harmon illustrated by Kathryn Schilling Oakes

My Daddy Takes His Legs Off introduces Katie Beth and her brother, Wesley. Katie Beth is in first grade but joins her brother at nursery school in the afternoons after her school day is over. Their parents alternated days picking the children up.

When their mother came to pick the children up, she sang to them to tell them it was time to go home. The other children loved to hear her sing.

When their father came to pick them up, they soon learned that some of the other children were afraid of him. He was quite tall and he looked different from other people. Some days he wore shorts that the kids could see that his legs looked like machines.

Soon some of the other kids at nursery school began asking Katie Beth not to let her father come because they were afraid of him. When they saw that he didn’t have as many fingers as the kids did, they were afraid it might make their fingers fall off if they were around him. Also those big machines that were his legs might step on them.

Katie Beth talks to the children and explains that her dad is a great person and he plays with her and helps her by answering her questions.

One day Katie Beth has to tell her father that the kids are afraid of him.

One day Katie Beth has to tell her father that the kids are afraid of him. (Kathryn Schilling Oakes)

One day Katie Beth has to tell her father that the kids are afraid of him. (Kathryn Schilling Oakes)

My Daddy Takes His Legs Off is a book that should be read by or read to all small children because it helps them understand that just because people are different, they are not mean or scary. When children understand, they can overcome their fears.

With many veterans returning from war with all types of serious injuries, many of these heroes have children who need to hear the message of My Daddy Takes His Legs Off. Many small children do not know how to verbalize their fears but have an intense desire to understand what is going on.

My Daddy Takes His Legs Off, illustrated by Kathryn Schilling Oakes, is sold in paperback for $12.99 and also as an ebook at  Anyone wishing to place a large order can reach Gary Harmon at or by calling 865.696.5847.

Gary Harmon is the founder and president of Challenge Accepted, a support, education, and advocacy group for people with disabilities. He is available as a public speaker and has received rave reviews from his audiences.

About Sue Freeman Culverhouse

    Sue Freeman Culverhouse

    Author of Tennessee Literary Luminaries: From Cormac McCarthy to Robert Penn Warren (The History Press, 2013) Sue Freeman Culverhouse has been a freelance writer for the past 36 years. Beginning in 1976, she published magazines articles in Americana, Historic Preservation, American Horticulturist, Flower and Garden, The Albemarle Magazine, and many others. Sue is the winner of two Virginia Press Awards in writing.

    She moved to Springfield, Tennessee in 2003 with her sculptor husband, Bill a retired attorney. Sue has one daughter,  Susan Leigh Miller who teaches poetry and creative writing at Rutgers University.

    Sue teaches music and writing at Watauga Elementary School in Ridgetop, Tennessee to approximately 500 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. She also publishes a literary magazine each year; all work in the magazine is written and illustrated by the students.

    Sue writes “Uncommon Sense,” a column in the Robertson County Times, which also appears on Clarksville Online. She is the author of “Seven keys to a sucessful life”, which is  available on and; this is a self-help book for all ages.

    Web Site:


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