Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baby Pie

Baby Pie

My now 12 (!) year old son takes insults literally. 
When someone calls him stupid, 
he usually responds that he is not stupid.
I am very proud of my smart son.
What a great unemotional response.
During a recent long car trip he reacted a little
differently to the charge of being a big baby.
He started quoting Baby Pie.
This picture book with three hungry trolls
must have made quite a big impression on him, 
since I read it with his brother quite some time 
Smoink and his friends are hunting for a baby 
to bake in a pie and they've found the perfect 
one for their dinner. Or have they?
A good picture book for a variety of ages
with a surprising and satisfying ending that
you can discuss and giggle about with
your child.
Dr. Who watching parents out there take note,
Tom MacRae authored some of those scripts
as well.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Young kids love animal noises. 
They like to make them. 
They like to listen to them.
And some kids never seem to grow out of this stage.
My boy certainly has not yet.
Animal noises are straight-forward and easy to understand.
Kids with autism often seem to be getting so much
information that they can't sort out what neurotypicals
think important. But animals making animal noises?
Yes, my son agrees to give that precedence over
the number of pages in the book or how the cover feels.
And with younger kids, this book is a great and funny 
introduction to the game of telephone. 
This seems to me to be a great game for
kids with autism to play with neurotypical peers.
My son has always loved to do goofy things with other
Watch the video to see some of Czekaj's cute story.
Autismreads and I are on vacation for the rest of July. But there are over 200 (!) posts,
so I hope you'll find something helpful to you. See you in August!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rachel Sumner Story Time

I've long wanted to feature Rachel Sumner,
one of my favorite children's entertainers.
My son loves her summer reading concerts 
at the library because we've been listening
to her music and seeing her perform for a
decade, and even though she always has
new material, he knows what to expect and
how to participate. And he does, with a huge
smile on his face. My younger son enjoys
her performances too and went with me to
her Cheekwood Storytime which featured Lois
Ehlert's Waiting for Wings and other Moth/
Butterfly books. Cheekwood Botanical 
Gardens is a lovely place for a story and
Rachel involves the kids with music and
Rachel and the children metamorphosing at Cheekwood.
If you live in/near Nashville, Rachel's next storytime
at Cheekwood is July 28, details below. 
If you don't, you can find out more about Rachel and buy
her cds (several include stories) at her website.

Saturday, July 28th, 2012 11:00 AM
Garden Tales in the Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
1200 Forrest Park Drive
Nashville, TN
(615) 356-8000
Price: $ Members free
Day admission fee for non-members.
Theme this month: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

Using songs, dance, and interactive reading, Rachel will bring your favorite nature-themed books
to life. Weather permitting, Garden Tales takes place outdoors in the
Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden. In case of inclement weather, the program
will be moved into the Learning Center.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to You!

"Today you are you! That is truer than true! 

There is no one alive who is you-er than you!"

Today, a very special book for a very special boy on a very 
special day. 
The birthday bird wakes you, the birthday child, to a day full of 
 extraordinary delights that include an endless string of hot 
dogs and the mustard off bath, and all sorts of marvelous 
Seussian creatures and places.
For any child who loves Seuss and any parent who loves that 
Happy Birthday Beloved Boy!
"Shout loud, 'I am lucky to be what I am!

I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be!

If I say so myself,


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Talent Tuesday - From Heartache to Hope

is a hardback coffee table-style book featuring stunning black-&-white photography 
and the moving stories of 18 families. The featured families range from rural residents 
to urban dwellers who are racially and socio-economically diverse. 
Their stories vary, yet encompass the range of the disorder’s spectrum, conveying the universal autism experience. 
Published in late 2009, the book benefitted The Autism Society of Middle Tennessee
A limited number of copies are available at www.fromheartachetohope.org and at
Parnassus Books in Nashville. The book is authored by Leisa A. Hammett in collaboration 
with Nashville photographer, Rebekah Pope. Leisa blogs at
She is working on her second book, which features essays about raising her daughter with autism, artist Grace Walker Goad, who is 18.  
(Leisa Hammett is a friend and mentor. You can read some of her book reviews on
this site or at the link above. -SM)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bright and Early Books

Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners stand out in
the early reading field because (to quote the blurb)
THE STORY is brief and funny.
THE WORDS are few and easy,
and have a happy, catchy rhythm.
THE PICTURES are clear and
colorful clues to the text.
If you've read other posts by me, those qualities should sound
familiar. They work for a lot of kids with autism. As does rhyme,
which most of these books use.
You may remember these books from your own childhood.
They've stayed in print since then because they work.
My grocery store even sells the board book version
of Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
I own a board book of The Tooth Book,
though this post was inspired when the 
neurotypical, reluctant beginning reader 
happily read The Ear Book and I remembered
the happy (if repetitive) times his brother with
autism and I read The Foot Book.
The Cat in the Hat is the logo for all the books,
which may be enough to get many kids to pick
it up.
Dr. Seuss, animal sounds, body parts, and truly
simple words - what more could you ask for 
in a reader?
Have a happy and independent reading Fourth
of July!
-Spectrum Mom 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Talent Tuesday - Shawn Colton Interview Part 2

Logo by Dave Hanson

Direct from "Stately Boo-Monster Manor" the rest of the Shawn Colton interview:
I think this book will also appeal to people that are just looking for a fun read. “Legends of the Boo-Monster” has a lot of stuff going on it. I think anyone who enjoyed reading things like Harry Potter will enjoy reading this book as well.
Why did you want this story to be a book?

Telling David’s story in this way was inspired by the artwork of Dave Hanson, who painted a family portrait of David, my wife and I as fantasy characters. When I saw the piece a light bulb went off in my head. What if I could tell David’s story in a fantasy setting, featuring both a big adventure and little stories pulled from real life? Having the main character of a fantasy book be a child with autism, and addressing it matter-of-factly, within a fun adventure story, might open the eyes of people that never would have otherwise never considered reading a book about an autistic child.

What are your hopes for the finished book?
Ultimately, I hope the book puts a dent in the misperceptions of autism. My dream is that one day I can take David to the grocery store and a young person will look at David and say “He acts like the Boo-Monster!” instead of thinking that David is weird or scary. We can teach people about anything, but once they can identify with it, even if it’s through a fictional character they like, well then, they’re one step closer to understanding.

Next Talent Tuesday - From Heartache to Hope