Mike & Pam Mirabella Blog

Join Us to Celebrate Launch of ‘I Used to Be Shy’ June 25 & July 16

We are delighted to introduce you to I Used To Be Shy, an illustrated story with songs about inclusion, belonging, and compassion.It’s Book Two in The Carla Stories. Book One is Sister Butterfly and Book Three, coming in 2023, is Special People. (See more about I Used To Be Shy below.)

Saturday, June 25 @ noon 
Multicultural Bookstore and Gifts
260 Broadway
(across from the Richmond Civic Center)
Note: This event will be outdoors.

Saturday, July 16 @ 1 pm
Barnes & Noble
6050 El Cerrito Plaza

We welcome you and your friends to two book launch parties with refreshments and entertainment. Mike will be playing guitar and singing songs, including two from the book.

If you know you’re coming to the Richmond event, RSVP so we can plan for refreshments and chairs. But you can also just show up at the last minute.

I Used to Be Shy

Does your child or grandchild ever sit by themselves — alone and seemingly friendless?

Meet Carla, our self-appointed social committee of one, who makes everyone at summer camp feel welcome. Carla spots a shy new boy who hides from others in his cabin, closing his curtain. Carla follows her heart and gathers a small group of fellow campers to coax him out to play games.

With Carla’s encouragement, our new camper builds up his self-confidence, loses his fear, and learns to enjoy his new friends.

The book includes the lyrics and music notations for “I Used to Be Shy” and “Little Brown Pony.”

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Mike Mirabella, a well-loved musician and award-winning author of children’s books, and Lenny Lipton, writer of the folk song “Puff the Magic Dragon,” sat in their living rooms on rainy days and wrote songs while their young disabled daughters played. 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Amy O’Hanlon is an artist in a family of musicians who illustrates children’s books as well does stage projection design for Bay Area musicals.

Here’s where you can buy the book: books2read.com/used-to-be-shy

We hope to see you at one of our events. If you can’t make it, visit us at mirabellabookswithsongs.com. Best regards,
Mike and Pam Mirabella

 P.S. We’d love it if you shared these event with friends, family members and grandparents who might be interested. 

Best Buddies

Best Buddies

The song I Am So Like You is dedicated to our daughters, Carla Mirabella and Chloe Lipton.

Song: I Am So Like You  ©1977, Lenny Lipton & Mike Mirabella

Watch for the upcoming book I Am So Like You, from Mirabella Books and Songs


Carla and Chloe met in special education pre-school classes and remained the “best of buddies” all through their school years, including high school. Their unique friendship blossomed, although both girls were disabled and struggled with speech impediments. Carla, born with Down syndrome and Chloe, with cerebral palsy, both found happiness in each other’s company. They would act silly and make each other giggle for hours on end.

We believed that perhaps one reason for Carla’s and Chloe’s unique friendship was that their physical contact didn’t just begin and end during the school hours, as with most children. Lenny and Mike (their dads) knew that close friendships are difficult to maintain among special needs children and must be encouraged and nurtured. So, both dads went out of their ways to find time so that the girls could interact together outside as well as inside of school.

Weekend Fun

Saturdays and Sundays were special times for the girls, regardless of weather conditions. Lenny and Mike would take the girls to the mall on inclement days, or let them play on their front room rugs. On dry days, they would go to Tilden Park in Berkeley to a ride on the carousel or to the Oakland Zoo for the steam train. What fun we all had together.

Eventually, family dynamics changed and the Liptons and the Mirabellas grew apart. But both girls remained the best of friends until Carla’s untimely death in 2008.

Do you have any stories to share about friendships among special needs children? If so, comment here, we’d love to hear about them.

Celebrate Lovers’ Day

Celebrate Lovers’ Day


A Valentine Prayer ❤

When we awake this ‘Lovers Day,’

We’ll speak, ‘Our God’ and offer praise;

We’ll pause to ask for special grace,

When we awake this ‘Lovers Day,’

When we arise this ‘Lovers Day,’

We’ll thank our partner face to face,

Recall some kindness each has made:

A show of trust, an act of faith,

A gentle touch, a warm embrace.

If there is cause at all today

To wipe a tear or lay blame,

We’ll both agree to offer grace;

Spare each other from the shame,

Forgive the debt we can’t repay.

Let’s then, begin to celebrate

Our holy bond, this special day;

We’ll both rejoice as we proclaim:

Let every day be ‘Lover’s Day’!

-Mike & Pam Mirabella❤

© 2020, Mike Mirabella

That’s OK

Listen to the song
Moses at a job interview

That’s OK

© 1997-2019 Mike Mirabella


That’s OK, that’s OK,
Place your faith in the mighty God
And you never be afraid;
Place your faith in the mighty God
And you never be afraid

  1. Bible stories say be confident and wait,
    Trust the Hand who has got a plan
    And don’t get in the way!
  2. David take the stone, be standing all alone,
    Toss the ball, big giant fall,
    Young David sing this song.
  3. Moses going home, take forty years or so,
    Wonder why Moses take his time,
    All the children want to know.
  4. Joshua blow the horn, he call upon the Lord;
    The people shout, the place fall down,
    Then he evens up the score!

That’s OK, that’s OK,
Place your faith in the mighty God
And you never be afraid;
Enough to know Father in control,
Make the worries go away.

Do you have a poem to share?

We want to hear from you. If you have a poem to share, send it to
mike (at) mirabellabookswithsongs.com
We may publish it here.

Ode: Christmas in the Shadows of the Overpass

Ode: Christmas in the Shadows of the Overpass

Huddled up in lowly shelters, fending off our deep despair,

Bundled in what rags we’ve gathered, holding fast to constant prayer.

Passersby with words of pity toss us coins with smiles and stares,

Yet, our begging bowls go wanting, once again we’ve no’ to spare.

Still, we find the Season holy, keeping faith against our fear,

God’s promise of a new beginning, words of hope we long to hear.

When winter’s sting is passed from memory we’ll still recall, with grateful souls,

These trying times we’ve spent in bondage and the Christmas child who brings us hope.

Mike & Pam Mirabella, ©2018

Painting: Refugees La Sagrada Familia by Kelly Latimore

Happy Easter

Pam and I hope you are enjoying the springtime. We want to share a song I wrote in 1979.

You can see the updated lyrics developed with Nedi Rivera in 2019 below. If you enjoy this song, you can find more music on

Our Jesus Rose on Easter Morning

Mike Mirabella ©1979, 2019

*Additional verse: Nedi Rivera


Our Jesus rose on Easter Morning,

He came to sing a love song,

He came to be our friend.

When he returns in all his glory,

He’s going to find us singing

And his song will never end.

Jesus found us crying and dried our bitter tears,

Held us in his loving arms and told us not to fear;

Jesus died and set us free, then, rose again yes, we believe

He’s standing right beside us, sure as we are standing here.


Our Jesus rose on Easter Morning,

He came to sing a love song,

He came to be our friend.

When he returns in all his glory,

He’s going to find us singing

And his song will never end.

Before our Jesus found us, we were sinful and profane,

Pride was our affliction, ‘Lonesome’ was our name.

Then, somewhere in our misery, he shined his light that we might see,

We are worth redeeming; he loves us just the same.


Our Jesus rose on Easter Morning,

He came to sing a love song,

He came to be our friend.

When he returns in all his glory,

He’s going to find us singing

And his song will never end.

* Jesus rose so we could live our lives abundantly,

To sing a song of blessing and to dance eternally;

Jesus rose to show us love, and send the Spirit like a dove,

Who brings us all together in hope-filled ministry.


Our Jesus rose on Easter Morning,

He came to sing a love song,

He came to be our friend.

When he returns in all his glory,

He’s going to find us singing

And his song will never end.

St. Patrick’s Day 2019 – Ode to Shay Black

St. Patrick’s Day 2019 – Ode to Shay Black


Ode to Shay Black

On the Luck of an Irish Sailor

Here’s a seaman’s tale and I swear it’s true,

‘Bout Sailor Shay on the ocean blue;

Of his Irish Luck and how it came to be,

That he married the daughter of a mermaid queen!


Lie dee doo, lie dee dee,

Oh, for a life on the open sea;

Where clouds fly by and the wind blows free,

‘On The Luck Of An Irish Sailor.’


One strange day, quite unforeseen,

A storm sprang up with a mighty scream;

The masthead snapped and the rail broke free,

Shay was cast in an angry sea.


All seemed lost, but his luck prevailed,

When Shay caught sight of a mermaid’s tail;

Her hair faired blue, her eyes shone green,

A lovelier fish, Shay’d never seen.


They swam, what seemed for hours on hours,

‘Till they came to a bed of seaweed flowers;

There, she rolled him in her arms;

Shay’s heart was lost to her mermaid charms.


Lie dee dee, lie dee doo,

Oh, for life on the ocean blue;

I believe in a wish come true,

‘On The Luck Of An Irish Sailor.’


There’s more of the yarn you’ll want to read,

‘Bout Sailor Shay on the ocean sea;

Like the time he dined at a royal feast

And sang his songs for the mermaid queen.


Lie dee doo, lie dee dum

Oh, for a rhyming tale that’s fun;

Find us here on Amazon,

Or check out at MirabellaBooksWithSongs.com


Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Pam and Mike Mirabella

Illustration: Amy O’Hanlon

Poem: Mike Mirabella

Prodigal in F

Prodigal in F

Luke 15:13

Original authorship is in dispute. This version by Mike Mirabella, 2010


Feeling footloose and frisky, a foolish featherbrain fellow

Finagled his faithful father into forking over his fragment of the family’s farthings.


He flew far to foreign fields and frittered away his father’s fortune,

Frivolously flinging and feasting with faithless friends.


Finally, fragile, facing famine and fleeced by his fellows in folly,

He found himself a feed-flinger in a filthy farmyard!


Flushed and fairly famished, he would have fittingly filled his frame

With the food forage from his father’s fodder fragments.


“Phooey,” said the fainting feckless fellow, fetching fervently,

“Even my father’s faithful flunkies fare far fairer.”


Frazzled, frustrated, filled with foreboding and finally facing facts,

He fled forthwith to his forlorn family.


Falling at his father’s feet, he fretfully floundered confessing, “Father, I have flunked

And have foolishly forfeited family favor.”


Unforeseen, but forbearingly, the faithful father, forestalling any further flinching,

Frantically flagged down his faithful functionaries to fetch forth frills and fancy frippery

and to fix a fabulous feast featuring the finest fatling in the flock.

Prodigal in F

However, the father’s faultfinding first-born frowned on his father’s fickle forgiveness

and flashed his fury at the fledgling’s frothy folderol.


But alas, the firstling’s futile fussing fell fixed and forgotten,

For the farsighted father figured such filial fidelity as befitting and fine.


“Now, what forbids fervent festivity, for our faraway fugitive is found.

Unfurl the flags with fanfares flaring! Let fun and frolic freely flow,

For former failures are forgiven!”


When folly is forsaken, forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude and fortune.

From Pam and Mike Mirabella


© 2019 Mike Mirabella

Come to the Banquet


Mike Mirabella © 1985, 2019

Listen to “Come to the Banquet”

Come to the banquet, come sit by his side,

His table is waiting, and friends have arrived.

You have been chosen the most honored guest

Of our Master and Savior Lord Jesus.


He’s calling to you, yes, you at the door,

Come in from the cold, come make yourself warm;

The food is abundant, and all has been blessed

By our Master and Savior Lord Jesus.

Verse 1Group Response
Look all around you,So many strangers here,
What do you see?Who could they be?
Why, beggars and blind men,Rascals and scoundrels,
Cripples and thieves,Perhaps we should leave!
Where are your neighbors,All having coffee,
Your affluent friends?Flaunting and counting,
Had other commitments,Just couldn’t be here,
They send their regrets.We’ll ask ‘um again!

They shall go hungry and long to be fed
By our Master and Savior Lord Jesus.

Come to the banquet, come sit by his side,
His table is waiting and friends have arrived.
You have been chosen the most honored guest
Of our Master and Savior, Lord Jesus.


Those who are first shall make way for the least,

The mighty shall hunger, the hungry shall eat;

All who are humble shall share in the feast

With our Master and Savior Lord Jesus.

Verse 2Group Response
Who wears the apron?Rubbing and scrubbing
Who opens the door?Who sweeps the floor?
Who sets a table?Crystal and sparkle
Then welcomes the poor?So, that’s whom it’s for!
No earthly treasureNo ‘mount of money,
Could pay back in kind.Accounts have been settled;
Promise of Heaven,Nothing so precious as
Life for all time;Praise him forever!

Sets the example that we do the same,
Our Master and Savior, Lord Jesus.

Come to the banquet, come sit by his side,
His table is waiting, and friends have arrived.
His table is waiting, and friends have arrived.
His table is waiting, and friends have arrived.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

We are almost at the end of Disability Awareness Month (October). So, we would like to talk about a key legal right of special needs children in school, the Individual Education Plan, or IEP.

Does your special needs student (birth to 22 years old) have an IEP?

What is an IEP?

Here is an article that gives an overview of what an IEP involves. It also explains how to obtain an IEP from a school district.


In the 1980’s, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) lawyers assisted us in supporting our Carla’s IEPs. This meant Carla could mainstream into a traditional Kindergarten. Fortunately, both the teachers and administrators were helpful and encouraging.

As Carla progressed through her schooling, it was clear that her learning disabilities were being addressed. We could see she was learning to read and write. She also had access to speech therapy for which the Oakland Children’s Hospital was a resource to help guide the teaching staff. Then, during junior high school and high school, Carla focused on life skills. When she graduated from high school in 1993, Carla was selected to represent her special needs schoolmates as one of the speakers at her graduation. Next she continued on to Contra Costa Community College where she focused on the culinary arts.

Carla’s IEP fostered inclusion and life skills to prepare her to live independently in Napa for 14 years. And so, she paid her $400 a month rent and went to work every day. Both the Napa Regional Center and Community Connections Supported Living Services supported her Individual Service Plan, a program similar to an IEP.

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

How Audiobooks Support IEPs & Personalized Learning

“Audiobooks are for everyone. But for students with mental, physical, behavioral and emotional disabilities, audiobooks engage them in new and essential ways.”

For more detail, read the case study done by Rakuten Over Drive Education.


Let us know if this information was helpful, or if you have any comments or questions. In the future, we will bring you other tips and information to increase Awareness, Advocacy, and Action for special needs children.