It is amazing how literature can open doors to places you have never personally explored. I especially love how children’s literature can be a foundation for learning and acceptance.
April is Autism awareness month and through my work I support many families that Autism has touched. This isn’t the case with many people. I don’t ever remember knowing about Autism until I was much older, possibly in college. I don’t want my children to grow up with the same unawareness. I want them know people of all abilities and I want them to have an understanding of the challenges many people work to overcome.
I was so happy to see a shelf dedicated to stories about Autism at one of my local libraries and I wanted to share with you two of my favorite Autism awareness books. First is Lucy’s Amazing Friend. In this story there is a little boy Daniel who isn’t as engaged as the other kids in his class. He has the support of an aide and does some different things in school. He enjoys doing some things that other kids think are strange or weird. There are times when he gets teased for being different.
In this story Lucy, a little girl in Daniel’s class befriends him, not because a teacher asked her to or out of sympathy. She found they had things in common and those outweighed their differences. She not only realizes how great he is but shows their classmates things about him that they weren’t able to see initially.
The second book is called My Brother Charlie.
I LOVED this one and highly recommend checking it out!
This true story is about the journey of a set of twins and how one, Charlie, wasn’t developing the same as his sister. There is an openness in the parents’ and sister’s sadness when he was first diagnosed with Autism. This story is in the voice of the sister (a side we often don’t take the time to look at) and shares how they live their life as a family. There is an emphasis on love and understanding in addition to openness.
My boys go to a school where there isn’t much diversity. I guess that’s what happens in a two room school house in New Hampshire. Through these books we talked about Autism and the strengths and challenges that can occur with the diagnosis. We talked about how everyone is different and brings strengths to this world. We talked about how now matter how different or strange someone can seem that it is important to be open minded and curious and always friendly and kind.
If you’d like more information on Autism and other resources check out the Autism Speaks Website
So no matter if you choose to read books from other countries or about people who experience life differently it is so important to expose our children to diversity.
Much love and happy reading!