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A 9-year-old non-verbal boy exclaimed 'Wow' at Boston Symphony. Now he’s the star of a kids’ boo

The cover of "The Boy Who Said Wow." (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)
The cover of "The Boy Who Said Wow." (Courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

When 9-year-old Ronan Mattin exclaimed “wow” at a Handel and Haydn Society performance of Mozart’s Funeral Music at Boston’s Symphony Hall in 2019, his grandfather Stephen was initially worried his grandson, who is largely non-verbal and has autism, had disrupted the performance. But the reactions from the audience, the musicians and from the Handel and Haydn president David Snead were nothing but love.

Because the concert was recorded for broadcast on WCRB radio, the ‘wow’ went viral. Poet and author Todd Boss was among those who heard it, and he wrote a children’s book inspired by the event.

Watch on YouTube.

Host Robin Young talks to Ronan’s grandfather Stephen, author Boss and Ronan’s father Al, about the book “The Boy Who Said ‘Wow,'” about what that exclamation meant for them.

Book excerpt: ‘The Boy Who Said ‘Wow”

By Todd Boss, art by Rashin Kheiriyeh

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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