Drawing comic strips and stuttering since he was four years old, Daniele Rossi, is a digital marketer and cartoonist living in Toronto, Canada.
Since it tends to be rare to meet another person who stutters in your geographical area, Daniele faced many social challenges from one speaking situation to another as he grew up into adulthood. Trying hard to pass himself off as fluent, Daniele did all he could to hide the fact that he stuttered (and got funny looks and other forms of negative reactions). But that strategy only made social situations unenjoyable.
Overt stuttering is surprisingly awesome!
Then came along the Internet where Daniele soon began learning about stuttering openly(!) and the benefits of simply informing the people who you’re talking to that you stutter. And most importantly, there’s nothing wrong with stuttering!
Daniele gave overt stuttering a try and immediately began experiencing many positive benefits. He appeared more confident, courageous, and he learned that listeners truly didn’t care about his disfluencies. Speaking and social situations were more enjoyable, Daniele met more people, gave presentations at conferences, and was also interviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press and on national radio and TV.
But most important of all, Daniele was no longer the only person he knew who stuttered. Thanks to the Internet and conferences, he made friends with others who stutter all over the world (and continues to do so). Together they regularly share their experiences and laughs and help new members to the worldwide stuttering community live fulfilling lives in spite of their stuttering. This makes stuttering cool!
The Stuttering is Cool podcast launches
In 2007, Daniele launched the Stuttering is Cool podcast to build a community and spread the word about the benefits of taking steps out of one’s comfort zones and developing a positive outlook towards one’s own stuttering. Another reason for starting the podcast was to encourage listeners to contribute audio for fellow listeners to hear and feel less alone in their stuttering. The Stuttering is Cool podcast has reached listeners in over 50 countries and an average of over 800 monthly subscribers!
Stutter Social launches
In 2011, Daniele was asked to co-found Stutter Social, connecting people who stutter around the world through weekly hosted group video chats. Stutter Social facilitates online support groups to people who stutter who may not have access to support groups in their geographical area.
Many friendships have been made in Stutter Social video chats and in-person meet ups at stuttering conferences! Stutter Social has reached people who stutter in over 50 countries and has earned media attention from Google, Teen Vogue, CBC Radio, KOMU, The Globe and Mail, and the San Jose Mercury News. Stutter Social was also featured on the Google intranet!
The Stuttering is Cool book starring Franky Banky is published
At the end of 2013, Daniele published his book, Stuttering is Cool: A Guide to Stuttering in a Fast-Talking World combining his passions in cartooning and helping others who stutter. As on the podcast, Daniele’s book offers encouragement and tips from his own confident stuttering experiences for readers to apply to their own lives and for managing and creating a positive attitude, and letting their stutter work to their benefit. The book sold 100 copies within the first month of release and sold out at the National Stuttering Association annual conference in 2014. Currently in it’s fourth printing, Stuttering is Cool has been used as a textbook or required reading in nine universities across North America.
The comics in the book (and the rest of this website) star Franky Banky, a cartoon fox who stutters. Daniele adds humour, awareness, and a few life lessons into his comics influenced by his favourite newspaper comic strips growing up – Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Bloom County/Outland. Daniele is also a huge animation fan. Especially anything from the 1940s and Looney Tunes cartoons.
Franky Banky merchandise goes on sale
Readers loved Franky Banky so much that in 2016, Daniele started selling merchandise on the Stuttering is Cool Etsy Shop. You’ll find Franky Banky branded stuttering awareness buttons and posters parodying Marvel/DC superheroes, Star Wars, and Dr. Seuss to spread stuttering awareness with humour. Buy your merchandise today!
In 2014, Daniele was invited to lead a cartooning workshop at the National Stuttering Association annual conference teaching children how to draw comics about stuttering. And he’s been repeating the workshop ever since! Including running a workshop for adults at the Canadian Stuttering Association annual conference in 2018 and the International Stuttering Association World Congress in Iceland in 2019.
The Stuttering is Cool book in French
In 2018, the Association des bègues du Canada gave me the great news that they’d like to work together in the funding of the translation and first printing of my book into French! The publication of the French version is targeted for the Fall of 2019.
Daniele’s adventure continues. Stay tooned!