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“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”
Summary: Michael tells us the story of his little brother Thomas. He describes what happens when they try to play together, and some of the things Thomas likes to do (like jump on beds and make screaming noises). By watching what happens at the therapist's office, Michael begins to learn the kinds of things Thomas likes. This is the second title in this picture book series helping kids understand autism.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, learning to read, read aloud book, remedial reader, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Reading Level: 3.2
Age of Child: Read by a 10-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter could relate to some of the techniques used in the book. She likes being a taco herself. She said the illustration of the boys - with their missing teeth and big eyes - was "disturbing." She is not comfortable reading Spanish and found the dual text distracting.
Adult Reader Reaction: The author has done a fabulous job helping the reader take the story and apply it to their own world. She offers specific behaviors and frames activities in ways that kids can both understand and participate in. Together with Keisha's Doors, the stories show the different elements of autism. Both children have communication issues, but that is not always the case, and some Autistic children are very verbal. I hope the series develops with other children's stories.
Pros: Simple presentation and positive, specific discussions will engage kids and their families in talking about autism.
Cons: There is great value in using this book together with Keisha's Doors, because the children are different. It would be helpful, though, to have additional information about both Keisha and Thomas. For example, Thomas is a sensory seeker, so the activities are more physical. These would not work with Keisha.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is an excellent book that should be widely shared and will be valuable to all families and teachers, not just those working with an autistic child.
Educational Themes: This is an exceptional book for introducing autism. It ties specific manifestations to activities and behaviors kids can recognize. It also shows that helping a child is an ongoing process that requires everyone's participation.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 3.2 2005 Barbara Jordan Media Award (Individual), Texas Award