Wednesday, September 29, 2010

His meta, my meta, the more meta the bettah

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

This must be one of the strangest
kids books ever and what may be
strangest of all, my son really 
likes it. Confusing type sizes and all.
Perhaps Stinky meets the nonsense
standard, and he thinks no one will
ever question him about the content. 
Perhaps he enjoys the familiarity,
since he read it in school and
has a copy at home. Perhaps
the high meta factor with
characters commenting on the
story and the creation of the book
explain its appeal. Maybe he just
likes the (to me) bizarre pictures.
In any case he often chooses to read
it in preference to newer, "better,
more useful, more appealing" 
(only in my opinion obviously) 

The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics

Such as Toon Books' collection
of kids comics. See elsewhere in
the blog for why I and my son like
the titles in the Toon series. 
This massive tome collects 20th
century gems from the familiar
(Dennis the Menace, Little Archie,
Scrooge McDuck) to the almost unknown 
but utterly charming (Sugar and Spike,
the Three Mouseketeers) to the weird.
(curious? check out the book).
Strong picture support, nonsense, meta
references, there's something here for
every child-or so I thought. My four 
year old loved reading this with me. 
My child with autism-not so much. 
Which is why libraries are so great .  .  .
He really liked the originals in this 
series though -
Benny And Penny in The Big No-No (Toon Books)Luke On The Loose (Toon Books)Benny And Penny in Just Pretend
Keep on guessing!
-Spectrum Mom

Monday, September 27, 2010

A kid is a kid is a kid is a kid

The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain Book 1)

Long before I started blogging I was 
a freelance (or perhaps guerilla) book
advisor for kids. You know, the crazy 
lady who pops out of the book stacks 
and insists your child must read The 
Book of Three?
My favorite advisee is a friend's daughter, 
age 10, the same age as my boy with autism. 
She's my favorite because she devours 
fantasy books just as I do. But when my 
friend told me she had read all my picks and 
was ready for more, I started thinking about
how the books we read shape us.
The New Way Things Work
When I started blogging I realized that one
of the reasons I hadn't found many book 
lists for kids with autism is because autism 
is only one factor among many to consider 
when choosing books for a child, like age, 
grade level, ability, interests, etcetera. 
But there are book lists based on each of 
those factors. So if I have to have a hundred 
subcategories to make this blog useful, I will.
Today's post is specifically for the 
3rd - 5th grade reader who reads 
independently but has narrow interests
perhaps a child with Asperger's.
The New Way Things Work is a great 
book for those with an interest in 
machines and those you want to interest 
in machines. The mammoth illustrations
may be enough to hook those kids with
 interest in animals (strong for many kids).
Beezus and RamonaNext, a few titles aimed 
at that same group 
but especially useful for 
girls with social skills 
Cleary writes clearly
about what being a kid 
with a sibling is like, what you should 
and should not do when you're upset 
and other relevant topics.
A special chance for one of your
favorites to become one of your
In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen: Ready-for-Chapters (Cobble Street Cousins)
The Cobble Street Cousins by
the wonderful Cynthia Rylant
(Lighthouse Family, Henry and
Mudge, Poppleton) is another
series that gives some of the basics 
on the give and take of being a 
friend and being in a family.

What book choices seem unique
to your kid? What book choices
remind you a kid is a kid?
Comment or e-me @

-Spectrum Mom

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have you read this?


When I started this blog I expected a lot of comments
with great ideas. So far the comments are few,
but precious. Here's one from Boo's mom on
my last post:

I haven't read any of these yet, but the list will come in handy in future, 
I'm sure. Thanks. As for music, we have My Turn, Your Turn: Songs for 
Building Social Skills by Cathy Bollinger. The tunes are catchy 
(i.e. not overly painful for adults) and the subject matter is basic 
social necessities like saying thank you, holding your temper, 
not monologuing too much on favourite subjects, etc. 
Boo isn't really old enough yet, but I think it'll be useful once he is.

On the flimsy excuse that my son reads CD cases, I'll continue
the theme of useful music for a moment. My son liked and 
listened to a lot of Tahra Time, but songs like MMMM Manners 
seemed to have little effect on him. The older he became,
the less he wanted to listen to any recorded music.His music 
therapist sent home several tapes with music geared to help him
with social, hygiene and other issues. He wouldn't
even listen to the songs at home.

In general, books work better for my child.
What about yours?

-Spectrum Mom

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kids Reading Autism

Acoustic For Autism

Rock Around
Today's post again takes advantage of the blog title's double meaning.
These books try to explain autism to children and may be useful
to give to peers or even to your child with autism. The first
three titles come courtesy of Dr. Brigham at the Vanderbilt
Kennedy center from their resource list.

The other stuff? Amazon.  The images at top are what
you get if you type in "Autism Rocks" but you can 
click on them if you want to buy the album or the
rock around (which looks like a lot of fun)
Full disclosure: if you do click on them and
buy them and if I ever get my account set up,
they might give me 25 cents or so if I buy something
at Amazon. Actually if you already have either of
these, or get them, email me what you think and
I'll post your review.

I know, neither of them are books. But hey, it's
my blog. And I want to know if kids like that 
rock around and what that album sounds like
and my son's too old for the one, and I'm 
far too cheap and lazy and cautious to get
the other.

Wow. My longest digression yet.

Shall we return to the books? We shall.

I know none of these, but if they're
good enough for Vanderbilt .  .  .

Russell Is Extra Special: A Book About Autism for Children

Amenta III, C. A. (1992). Russell is extra special. New York: Magination Press.
My Friend with Autism: A Coloring Book for Peers and Siblings
Bishop, B. (2003). My friend with autism. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc., Inc.   

Katz, I., & Ritvo, E. (1993). Joey and Sam. Los Angeles, CA: Real Life Storybooks. 
(no picture available for Joey and Sam)

Amazon offers these other options too.
My Friend Has Autism (Friends With Disabilities)
The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone With Autism
Since We're Friends: An Autism Picture Book
Everybody Is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters With Autism

I love the "Being a Friend to Someone with Autism"
Has someone written "Being Someone with Autism
and a friend"?  Shout out to all you writers with
autism - which is not me, though I remain your
friend and
Spectrum Mom  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Elementary, my dear-Ask a Librarian

Mercy Watson to the Rescue

School librarians are wonderful.
But most are not reading experts
(I am still looking for reading
experts who work mostly with
kids with autism, write in! but
I digress)
and are often reluctant to make
book recommendations for my
boy with autism.
So instead, I ask for specific
types of books,
like books with picture support.
Here's a book list from a
wonderful Elementary School
librarian of books with strong
picture support:
The Little League Team from the Black Lagoon (Black Lagoon Adventures, No. 10)Black Lagoon Adventures
a school based series
SWAT Secret World Adventure Team
Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker (Book #2)
Stink series/McDonald
Moby Stink (Adventures of Uncle Stinky)
The Adventures of Uncle Stinky/Rumble
My boy enjoyed the Mercy Watson series,
very easy, heavily illustrated books
with lots of funny stuff and very short
chapters. That pig loves her toast.
He tolerated the Stink books in 2nd
and 3rd grade.
I've thumbed through SWAT
and found the concept too confusing 
and saw nothing that would grab his 
attention in the Black Lagoon
Uncle Stinky is unknown to me.
But any of these may be just
right for your kid, if you're
looking for more books with
picture support.
Caveat: always check out the
book to make sure the 
illustrations match the text.
Pictures that don't match
distract instead of support.

Enjoy your toast,
-Spectrum Mom

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kid's Choice

Jubal's Wish

The other night my exhausted, over-worked
husband told my son they would skip the
nightly reading of Frindle.  Instead, my
boy could read whatever he wanted by
He chose Jubal's Wish, a picture book
long since moved to his little brother's
room read it that night and has referred 
back to it for several days now in his
preferred reading posture-on floor with
feet rhythmically kicking and often lifting
and let fall some large object or small
piece of furniture.
What appeals to him about this book and
how can I find others he would gladly
choose to read? I talked to him about
this and still don't know.
Me: Why do you like Jubal's Wish?

Him: I love the music that might go with it.

Me: What's the music that might go with it?

Him: (hums new tune for a minute) That's
the music.
I often wonder about my boy
and synesthesia. What senses
do books engage for him?
Too many perhaps? Or is
there a way to make extra
perceptions work with 
As usual, I have more
questions than answers
and welcome your experiences.
Did I do well in dreaming
up this blog?
-Spectrum Mom
"Dreams and wishes,
wishes and dreams, 
you never know how
they'll turn out"
-Audrey Wood

posts alerted me that this
week is Book Blogger
Appreciation Week
Fellow book bloggers,
I appreciate you.