A Big Kid’s Guide to Parenting, Personal Growth and Play

Take a glimpse into author and journalist Jim Schneider’s life at the beginning of 2020 as his family’s daily routine turned upside down through the new reality of lockdowns, shutdowns, and closures. Fencebat: A Big Kid’s Guide to Parenting, Personal Growth, and Play reveals one family’s reality during a time of massive change and how Jim grappled with everything by blogging and chronicling his life. Every day. For 450 days.

Jim didn’t hold back. He wrote about the trials and tribulations of making unholy choices between safety and sanity, grocery hoarding, and managing the balance of being a parent and a professional at the same time in the same confined space. Jim also shares his family’s journey following his son being identified as autistic, learning what that meant and seeking support for him at a time when everything was on hold and closed down. This book captures life during a time when people sequestered themselves to avoid infection and examines how it affected all of us—regardless of age.

Jim’s humor, thoughtful perspective, and heartfelt stories open the door for reflection and gratitude in the world of parenting and personal growth. If there’s one thing that Jim shares with the world, it’s that time is precious when it comes to parenting and there is nothing more important than being present in the moment. As you build those special memories with your children, Jim’s recollection is a time capsule of discovery, development, and never forgetting the importance of play.

Fencebat: A Big Kid’s Guide to Parenting, Personal Growth and Play By Jim Schneider
Jim Schneider

“Individuals and families everywhere experienced times of unprecedented challenge, stress, and trauma when the COVID pandemic arrived on the scene. Fencebat is a look back on our family’s journey during those strange days, recalling the sorrows, the joys, and what I learned as a parent and a person along the way.”

Advance Praise for Fencebat

“So many families will recognize themselves on these pages, as Jim narrates the big and small moments—some sorrowful, some surprisingly sweet—that punctuated pandemic life with young kids. A timely and universal read.”

Heidi Stevens, Journalist and Nationally Syndicated Parenting Columnist

“Jim Schneider writes in a voice that is so friendly and charming, you can’t help but grab his hand and let him lead you back through the worst of times: 2020-2021. On the outside, the world is on fire: COVID, George Floyd, viscous political division. On the inside, the Schneiders fight fires of their own: remote learning, stir-crazy kids, their son’s autism diagnosis. Fencebat: A Big Kid’s Guide to Parenting, Personal Growth and Play offers an earnest yet jovial male perspective on the insurmountable challenges of raising a family in a world wrought with strife.”

— Heather Sabel Preston, Author, Memoirs of a Hag

“Jim captures the joy and chaos of parenting through the in and outs of daily family life, as well as through one of the hardest times in history. Nestled inside the pandemic story is a personal one as Jim processes new knowledge about his son, Henry. Henry is autistic and like all parents receiving this news, Jim has questions. His ultimate answers are about hope and wonder and the remarkable person Henry is, ASD included. We appreciate Jim’s honesty as he describes the ways his family embraces possibility and recommend it to anyone anywhere in the process of loving a child, without or without a disability, wholeheartedly.”

Teena M. Greene and Hettie Hueber, M.Ed, Educational Advocates, Moms and Founders of Inclusion Dynamics Educational Advocacy (IDEA).

“Reading this book feels like talking to a friend. Jim Schneider imparts nuggets of wisdom while regaling us with stories about his family of four as they navigated the COVID-19 lockdown and slowly re-entered the world. Anyone, whether you’re a parent or not, can identify with his stories, which Schneider was brilliant to record (with his wonderful sense of humor!) and consider during a time most of us would like to forget. He not only uncovers life’s lessons in the mundane and even the traumatic, but Schneider also underscores joy is found in the little things that tend to go unnoticed each day. As we all dive into our new normal, Schneider’s book will remind you to slow down, take a breath and enjoy all the fine details that make a life truly joyful.”

Christina Koch, Mom and Editorial Director of Retrofit Magazine

Fencebat offers an amusing reminder for all parents that sometimes you just need to allow yourself a little grace.  While the stories within Fencebat are set during the pandemic, the life-lessons shared for parents are timeless.  Jim’s humorous and thoughtful look back at his family’s journey through a Covid-infected world highlights the value in rediscovering the kid at heart that lives within us all.  As Jim states so eloquently, “…no matter how dark our surroundings might be, it’s in our power to create moments of laughter and joy.”  Fencebat has plenty of both.”

Tom Rosenthal, Dad and Assistant Director Philanthropy Programs at Northwestern Mutual


“Jim’s vivid and wry book invites us to relive his parenting discoveries, successes, and shortcomings without sugarcoating reality. It also stirs in us a yearning to recall our own endless hours of caregiving during and beyond the pandemic. As Jim details his family’s jokes, bursts of sadness and joy, and moments that can’t be made up—all of which typically disappear into the haze of life—you become inspired to crack open that dusty journal on your shelf.”

Wanda Lau, Mom and Editorial Director, Endeavor Business Media


7430 Press