When I received "Autistic? How Silly is That!" the cover alone was enough to draw me in; the water color painting is so vibrant and whimsical, it delights the eye.
But this is not just a book with fantastic artwork. There's a valuable message lurking in its pages, a lesson that encourages others to see past a person's labels. The book's subtitle: "I don't need any labels at all" sums it up well.
On each page, you see a little boy who asks such questions as, "I have brown hair. I wonder if makes me brown-hair-tistic?" The boy lists the many possible ways he might be classified--as someone who is left-handed, bad at history, but good at math, someone who loves junk food and has big feet. Each time, he wonders if he should be labeled based on those personality characteristics.
The boy then explains that he has autism and how that affects his life, ending with the conclusion that if it's silly to be labeled as "junk-food-tistic" or "big-foot-orthodont-istic," then it's equally unnecessary to be labeled as "autistic."
The pictures in the book are beautiful and fun--full of color and whimsy. And the message is equally uplifting, teaching kids that labels do not define a person. What I found most interesting about the book is that you never see the little boy's face until the end of the book when he proclaims, "Whew! Ridiculous! I don't need any labels at all! I'm just a typical person, with my own likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, who approaches the world a little differently...but many times, better."
I'm sure most kids wouldn't see the symbolism in this, but I liked how it illustrated that labels can take away from a person's identity. It's not until we see past stereotypes and labels and prejudices that we actually really see a person for who he or she is.
This is a great book for kids with autism and their siblings, but I also think it would be a perfect addition to any school library. The valuable lesson in this book is important for all kids to understand. I plan on asking Danny's Sunday School teacher to read it to his class so to give his peers a better understanding of who he is.
This book is available at Future Horizons and if you use the code PH, you can receive free shipping (no matter how much you spend) AND 15% off! This code can be used for anything in the Future Horizons store, including conferences, so check out all the great resources they offer.
I have an extra copy of "Autistic? How Silly is That!" which I would like to give to a reader.
Leave a comment on this post before Friday, June 15th at midnight for your chance to read a copy of the book. Just make sure in your comment that you leave your email address, so I have a way to get a hold of you!