Thursday, April 15, 2010

A book that makes it clear how awesome our kids are



I'm feeling a little weepy tonight, because I keep going back and reading the comments from the last two days' posts on the guilt we feel about our children's disabilities. Like I said, I don't place a whole lot of blame on myself, but it's clear many of you do, and that is one serious weight to bear. I'll have more to say about that next week.

Today, I have something really cool—and not at all depressing!—to tell you about. Actually, it's downright inspirational. A few weeks ago, I found out that actress Holly Robinson Peete, a mother of four and national autism spokesperson, wrote a book with her daughter Ryan called My Brother Charlie. Ryan's twin brother, RJ, has autism; they're 12. The book mirrors their lives: It's written from the p.o.v. of a girl, Callie, whose twin brother has autism, but it's helpful for any family with a child who has special needs.

I received a review copy in honor of National Autism Awareness Month and read it to Sabrina and Max several times in recent weeks. The first time, I was only a few pages into the story when Sabrina asked, "Does that boy talk?" I answered, "He can, but he doesn't do it all the time." She said, "Like Max?" and I said, "Max can also talk, he just does it in his own way." I loved that this book sparked conversation. Sabrina only occasionally asks stuff about Max or makes comments, and usually they're of the "Ewww, he's drooling" variety, but I know she's processing a lot about him in that head of hers. When I directly ask her questions she doesn't like to talk, so having a book like this is really helpful.

Max kept gesturing at Charlie and saying "MAX!" then he'd touch the girl's picture and say "Sa" ( for Sabrina). He was totally drawn to the illustrations, which are gloriously colorful, big and eye-catching.


Sabrina was mildly obsessed with why the twins in the book were dressed alike. I think she saw kindred spirits because she still only wants to wear Max's clothes.

The book is really sweet and clear; it explains, in a very basic way, that kids with autism are sometimes quiet and want to be alone—but also makes it clear that like other kids, they enjoy having a good time. And that they have their own way of saying "I love you." Which, as we all know, is very true.

I have three of the books to give away, including one copy autographed by Holly Robinson Peete, each worth $17. To enter, leave a comment below. Any kind will do. And if your e-mail is not apparent on your blog, please mention it your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win.

This giveaway is open until Thursday, April 22, 11:59 p.m. EST, and is for U.S. and Canadian residents. I'll pick the winners via randomizer.org, announce the winners the next day, and alert you by e-mail.


Thanks to Holly Robinson Peete and her daughter (above, with RJ) for a great book. They are one beautiful family.

Update: And the winners are Witkowski Family (they get the autographed copy), Pia and remarker/fcffollower. Enjoy the book!

Photo: Chris Voelker, VoelkerStudio

39 comments:

  1. Looks like an awesome book!! I've been trying to get more books to help our 7 year old understand what's going on with her little brother a little better, but even at 7 it's hard to understand cerebral palsy and all it encompasses (heck, it's hard for me at 39 sometimes!!)

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing about your kids' reactions to the book. I've heard a lot about it, but I haven't seen much information about the book. Definitely one I will look for to help my kids too. My 7 yr old will announce that her sister has special needs, but I don't know that she really understands what that means other than she doesn't get as much of my attention as she might like to. (of course, since we don't have a diagnosis, it's hard to know what to tell her anyway).

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  3. While I'd love to win it, I think this is a book that is going to go into our library regardless :)

    chrissiwit@gmail.com

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  4. awsome i want that book pick me me mme

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  5. OOOH! Wonderful giveaway. Sign me up! You're so sweet to do these --

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  6. Oooooo I would love to win a copy! Sounds like a great book. Anything to help kids get a better understanding that being different is more than okay.

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  7. Sound fantastic. My 8 year old asks a lot of questions and like you, I find it is good to have something to focus on to draw him out. He likes to explain autism to people, if they don't understand it!! Jen.

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  8. So coincidental that I was just discussing books like these with another autism mommy friend on Monday! Sign me up please!

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  9. Oh the book sounds wonderful!

    jdoll at mail dot win dot org

    the mother of a 7-year-old w/ autism (completely non-verbal) and bilateral cleft lip and palate AND 11- and 9-year-old NT daughters :-)

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  10. Oooo.... I would LOVE to have this book. It will be great to share with Meghatrons' cousins & maybe read to her class.

    She is getting to the school age where they are starting to notice the differences. To me, explaining her cp is easy, ASD, not so much.

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  11. I saw this family on the Today show last week, Ellen! Stick me in the drawing, k. That is cool that both the kids loved the book and clearly got it!

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  12. I love to have as many stories like this in our personal library...thanks for sharing. Kids do relate to books much better, espeically the younger ones.

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  13. There are so few books for siblings...truly. This is awesome, and I'm so happy that awareness is growing stronger every day!

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  14. How awesome! And further inspires me to finish writing my book...my son Gabe is helping me! Love it!!

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  15. That'd be a great book to explain my son to his sibling now that our family is growing!

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  16. I may need to pick it up. And about your comment back to me yesterday...I'm not pressed at ALL that you mainly address your blog to the women. It's a mostly female audience and mostly it seems to be the females who write the SN blogs. There's only a few guys, so I don't blame you at all for playing to your main reader base. You should.

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  17. I'd love this book - especially because I have twins too. Not typical ones, either.

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  18. This book is going on my Amazon wish list. (unless of course I win :)

    Pia
    http://jonathansvoice.blogspot.com

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  19. My kids could use this book...

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  20. Thanks so much for sharing this book with us. I will DEFINITELY have to add it to our family library.

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  21. sounds like a wonderful book to share with my daughter about her brothers autism. thank you for sharing and spreading the word about this book! :)
    jodiegregg@yahoo.com

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  22. I would love the book too!! My children aren't twins but Ethan and Emma are only 13 months apart and sometimes it feels like they are twins. Now that they are both teenagers and Ethan is taller than me and Emma is almost taller than me they might be a little old for the book. Maybe not, Ethan will enjoy it no matter what.
    I will definitely look for this book no matter what!

    poohfreak73@yahoo.com

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  23. Amazing. It would be so easy to live their lives quietly. I'm grateful the Peete family is willing to share their story with others and help shed some light on Autism.

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  24. Sure wish there were alot more books like that out there.

    Jen

    tesnjen at aol dot com

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  25. I plan on getting this book for my son-he has always {as he says} knows he's "special" (his words) however he's heard the word Autism or autistic used a lot lately and asked what it means and {am I autistic?}so this book would be perfect for him,although I have always explained it to him maybe this will explain in his terms. He's 11 and is a awesome child. I think it great you giving the book away-God bless you!

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  26. I love books like this for my classroom. I think that childrens literature is one of the best ways to encourage children to embrace differences.

    jillianrose87 at gmail dot com

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  27. Looks like an awesome book! My nephew has Autism and I'm sure my sister would love to have this book!
    Kim
    kimberly61@hotmail.com

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  28. I've got this book on hold at the library right now. It really sounds like a good one. ALL books relating Autism and other disabilities with siblings make me cry!

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  29. This book would be great for helping my daughter learn more about her brothers autism
    angelsspot(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  30. Also check out this book! http://www.amazon.com/Paddys-First-Day-Hilltop-School/dp/1608601153 A local teenager with Cerebral Palsy wrote it to help raise money for his twin brother's medical needs, his brother also has cerebral palsy but is home bound and much more severe. Great book written by a very sweet boy!

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  31. I would love to have this book - I also have twins - one "typical" and one with special needs.

    I'll probably buy it anyway if I don't win!

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  32. Sounds like a terrific book—please enter me to win!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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  33. What a fun book! I would love to win a copy. :)

    waffle1313 @ gmail.com

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  34. Wow, that looks great! I'm going to have to see if we can find a copy. Of course, it wouldn't break my heart if you drew my name! :)

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  35. Wow! I had no idea Holly Robinson Peete had a child with autism and was a spokesperson. Thanks for sharing. This book looks like a must have for sure. Thank you for keeping your blog, I always learn something new when I read.

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  36. This would be great for my classroom. I often have to teach acceptance for others.

    mj.coward[at]gmail.com

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  37. A friend just told me her son has been labeled now. This book would probably even be good for her. Thanks for the giveaway and review

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  38. Sounds like a great book. I love that is has sparked some conversations in your house - that is very cool!

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Thanks for sharing!



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