Anything But Typical
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book deals with a child who has autism and how it affects others around him. There are some emotional situations, as well.
What's the story?
Jason is 12 years old and has autism. He doesn't like loud noises, likes order and routine, but more importantly, he loves to write. His stories are a way to express himself to a world that often doesn't understand him. He submits his stories to an online website and finds a friend in another writer, a girl named Rebecca, who goes by the name Phoenix Bird. She likes his stories and accepts him, but when an opportunity comes for them to meet in person at a writing conference, Jason wonders if he'll lose his friend once she learns he has autism.
Is it any good?
Author Nora Baskin tries to bring readers into the world of a child with autism, and it's a heartbreaking, moving, yet loving look as Jason struggles to use "our language" to describe the world around him and how he fits into it. He describes knowing how others feel about him even though they think he doesn't understand -- his mother taking his baby brother with her everywhere because she's afraid he might hurt him, his grandmother speaking slowly and loudly to him as if he can't hear, kids making fun of him, his anxiety about meeting a friend who doesn't know about his condition.
The words can sometimes come in a jumble, but the words are Jason's way of trying to connect his life to the lives of "normal" people. Some of the true gems of this book are Jason's stories that he posts online that parallel his life in ways he may not understand, but the readers will. Both kids and parents will love this wonderful, eye-opening, and sensitive story.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about being different. Are there special needs kids in your school? How do others treat them? How do you treat them?
Can you imagine what it would be like to be them? What are some things about you that are different from most of your friends? Why is different OK?