*Disclaimer: I received the book for free in exchange for an honest review.*
“At school, Penelope’s teacher encourages the class to play with someone new at recess so that they can see that minds, like handprints and snowflakes, are one of a kind. Penelope chooses Eric and they have so much fun she invites him over for a play-date. Before he arrives, Penelope’s Mom tells her that Eric’s mind is called “on the spectrum,” and so his unique preferences might be different from the ones she’s used to. To prepare, they practice using quiet voices, listening with their eyes, and being flexible. As their play-date unfolds, Penelope and Eric show readers the many ways that families can embrace neuro-diversity.”
Worth the read?
Any book that can be used as a teaching tool is worth adding to our collection. I read about a survey on autismspeaks.org that said about 1 in every 50 school age children will be diagnosed with autism. This means, chances are high of our children being at school with someone who is on the spectrum or even living with a sibling on the spectrum. This book was able to inform the reader about autism and even show how easily kids can learn interpersonal skills through play. The children in the book were advised to get out of their comfort zones and play with someone they don’t normally play with and treat it as a learning experience. Even an adult reader should be able to appreciate this message. If you or your children aren’t too familiar with autism, this book gave a realistic portrayal of what it might be like to have someone in your life who is on the spectrum.
Feedback from the kids
“Stewie Boom” was just filled with so many lessons and takeaways. I even wrote some down. There is a section of the book that discusses body language. My kids were all in. My 3 year old started making faces and using her eyes to try and show her feelings. We talked about scared faces, surprised faces and angry faces. The end of the book includes tips for families who want to welcome a special needs play date. I never considered having a strategy list for this but after reading this book, I realize how important this list is. I went over the strategies with my kids just in case they welcome a new special needs friend to their school this fall. They will be prepared. Special needs or not, these were all principles that could be applied to any situation in life where we might find ourselves needing to share a space with people who we deem are different. Learning to read body language is a good soft skill for kids to pick up. I would break this book up into lessons. It really was that content rich. It ran a little long for my 3 year old so we cut it down a little bit the first night. But there was so much information for us to cover and discuss so one night wasn’t enough anyway. Pick this book up and show support! It’s not often a child with autism is the main character in a story. This is truly a special book.
Author: Christine Bronstein
Genre: Picture Book
Book type: Fiction
Publisher: Nothing But The Truth