There Are No Words

ABOUT Mary Calhoun Brown

Mary Calhoun Brown
Mary Calhoun Brown has an extensive background in writing, marketing, and public relations. After graduating from Marshall University, she was hired by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce as its youngest-ever public relations officer. After the birth of her three children, Mary worked a More...


This book is a teacher's dream. Not only does it cover content standards and objectives necessary to meet and exceed state requirements, but Author Mary Calhoun Brown has done her homework, to save you time. A free curriculum guide for this work of historical fiction is available by request at

In addition, There Are No Words helps to demystify hidden disabilities, such as Asperger's Syndrome and autism. Readers learn to appreciate the value that friendship with those with developmental disorders can bring.


Jaxon MacKenzie, a mute, yet secretly literate, 12-year-old girl, discovers a faded newspaper article documenting the greatest train wreck in American history—an event that claimed the life of her grandfather’s best friend, Oliver Pack. That night Jaxon is whisked through an old painting in her grandparents’ parlor, back to July 1918 in an attempt to prevent the accident. Miraculously, she finds herself able to speak for the first time.

Jaxon meets three friends: Sara Hale, Dewey MacKenzie, and Oliver. Soon Jaxon realizes her mission in this world of horse-drawn carts and prejudice is to save Oliver from dying aboard one of the ill-fated passenger cars, filled with young black men on their way to Nashville to work making gun powder for the war effort. With the government’s takeover of the railways during World War I, and a calamity of human error, the train cannot be stopped from its fate, and the responsibility of saving Oliver Pack is planted firmly on the shoulders of this remarkable young lady.

My son was diagnosed with autism (Asperger’s Disorder) in the fall of 2000 when he was in the first grade. Generally accepted and if not understood, tolerated, by his classmates, he thrived in elementary school. The day he stepped foot into middle school, he wore a “kick me” sign on his back and received the nickname “Retard.” You should understand that my son is a straight A student, participated in the Talented and Gifted Program, and his IQ measures one point below a genius. This was a troubling development for our family. We encouraged our son to finish his sixth grade year at the school. We simply will not allow our boys to quit something once they start. You might say that he had a full year of character development. That year was tough, and I promised my son that together, we would turn that rotten year into something positive. The last day of school, I gave my son two choices. He could either change schools or be home schooled for the following year. He chose home schooling, and I began researching curricula for middle school. We spent two lovely years together, learning, laughing, traveling and advancing academically. (He wasn’t one of those home schooled kids who finish up at noon.) In addition to his regular curriculum, he took a variety of coursework on the college level, and if he finished before 2:30, I had plenty of extra work he could do. He is self-motivated, and we got along fine. Ninth grade arrived, and my son went back to school. Uneventfully. Happily. He’s second in his class of 440. During my two years at home with my son, I started thinking about students with disabilities. Every kid knows it’s bad form to pick on someone in a wheelchair or another visible disability. Somehow, though, “invisible disabilities” are still fair game. One child in every 144 births has some form of autism. I’m not sure the statistics on other developmental disabilities, but I think I would be safe in saying that there are more students with developmental disabilities than physical disabilities in any school system today. The time to begin educating neurotypical peers is now.

"Mary brings her characters to life with an infinite attention to detail and infuses them with dept, humor and selflessness. There Are No Words propelled me into a time and place in which even children were faced with the realities of racism and war." 

-- Mike Grady, CEO, Autism Services Center

"Mary Calhoun Brown has given us an unusual path in getting to the story of autism. Young teenagers, their teachers and parents will be happy to hae this one in their library."

-- Dr. Ruth C. Sullivan, former President, Autism Society of America