Sunday, April 30, 2023

Picture Books for Autism Awareness Month

THIS BEACH IS LOUD! by Samantha Cotterill (author and illustrator) is a story about a young boy who doesn’t like loud sounds or different textures, but he is super excited for his beach outing today. He wakes up Dad, makes breakfast, packs for the beach and gets himself dressed.

The beach is busy with lots of people and different sounds. Dad finds a spot that is empty and a little isolated. On the way to this perfect spot, the boy is bothered by the feel of the sand in his boots and bathing suit and the sand is hot! He wants to go home.

Dad teaches him a relaxation technique. The noises increase, but the boy uses this new technique, and they make it to their isolated spot. They enjoy their day playing in the sand and the boy can’t wait to return to the beach.

The illustrations are ink, charcoal and block printed on watercolor paper.

Two of my favorite pages are double spreads. The first one is the use of panels moving left to right. The first panel shows a quiet activity with little noise. As the panels progress, the noises increase as shown by the text getting larger and thicker and the activities around him become chaotic, ending with a plane overhead. The reader sees the anxiety increase on the boy’s face.

The next page is the second double spread. The pages are filled with different noises, bigger and thicker text but with a bulls eyes radiating from the child’s head with the concentric circles growing bigger. The boy is uncomfortable and anxious, with hands to his ears and eyes closed, while Dad is enjoying the noise and activity. Dad encourages him and reminds him of his relaxation technique.

This page illustrates that to many noise is just noise, but to others who don’t like loud noises, it is a different experience entirely and not pleasant.

Publisher is Dial Books For Young Readers, 2019.

I AM UTTERLY UNIQUE Celebrating the Strengths of Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism by Elaine Marie Larson, illustrated by Vivian Strand.

This alphabet book, from A to Z, describes the unique talents and gifts of many children on the autism spectrum in a positive and entertaining way. Some of my favorite lines are: “I have Precise Pronunciation.” “I have an XXL (eXtra, eXtra large) memory.” And “I like unusual words like Yakow, Yapok, Yarak, Yeanling, Yelt and Yellowlegs.”

The illustrations that support the text are colorful, diverse, fun and self-explaining. The picture book is designed in AT Pelican and Avant Garde.

Publisher is Autism Asperger Publishing Company, 2006.

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