4.19.2013

PPBF: Leah's Voice


It's been two weeks since my last PPBF and I've been waiting for this book to arrive so I could share it with you while it was still April, Autism Awareness Month. This is without a doubt an important book because of its potential to give children with autism (and their siblings!) a voice. 

Title: Leah's Voice
Author: Lori DeMonia
Illustrator: Monique Turchan
Publisher: Halo Publishing International
Date: October 6, 2012
Suitable for: ages 5 and up
Themes: autism, acceptance, kindness, compassion, art, siblings
Realistic Fiction
Brief Synopsis: When Leah's differences start to get in the way and ruin things for her younger sister Logan at a play date and then at the movies, Mom decides it's time to explain to Logan that her big sister is on the spectrum and has autism.

Opening page: Logan stood at the window waiting with excitement. Her friend Abby was coming over for her very first play date. As soon as a car pulled in the drive, Logan yelled out, "She's here!"
Logan waited with the door open as Abby waved to her mom.
"Hi Logan," Abby said.
"Hi Abby, what should we do first?" Logan asked.
"Let's play a board game."
"Yeah, that's a great idea. I have a new one we can play too." Logan started to set up the board. "Abby, I can't wait for you to meet my older sister Leah."
"Does she want to play with us?" asked Abby.
"I can ask her."

Resources: 
Check out Leah's Art Work at KindTree.org {here}
Check out the activities at the book's website {here}
Read a review from Cozy Little Book Journal Blog {here}
Find a list of other books on autism and links to activities {here}
Read Sean Barron's list of unspoken rules that people with autism might have {here}
Download a Feelings Booklet I created {here}


It's challenging for a student on the spectrum to draw his/her feelings.

Why I like this book:  First of all, I like this book because I blogged earlier this month that I had it on my wish list and the author offered to send me a copy with no strings attached. I thought that that was so nice. But even more delightful is that I was instantly drawn to the playful and brightly-colored illustrations that enhance this simple story of two siblings who are dancing through life and learning the steps it'll take to successfully navigate life on the spectrum. 

The book is so realistic that it took me back to my life as a little girl. When family friends with two girls would come to visit my sister and me, I always wanted to play with the younger one because I didn't connect with the sister who was my age very well. I was a kid, so I'm not entirely sure about this part, but I think that she was challenging in a way that I found difficult to understand. The younger one was so much more like me and I remember feeling so torn and conflicted about wanting to do the right thing and play with the older one, yet longing to spend time with the younger one with whom it was easier to be friends.

Compare and contrast this tale with Anthony Best, a story about a boy on the spectrum from the viewpoint of a friend.

For enrichment and character infusion, use this sibling story as a springboard for accepting - and celebrating! - differences. I just love that Leah found her voice through painting and art, but you don't have to have autism to find your voice. And a voice doesn't have to be words either, does it? Ask your students how and/or where they find their voice. Maybe it's outdoors, exploring or playing, where they find their voice. Maybe it's in a book, connecting with the characters, or maybe it's dancing up on a stage. I know I find my voice when I'm writing or when I'm presenting material that I'm passionate about at a workshop or seminar. Have students illustrate a paper for a bulletin board showing how they make their voice heard, then vote on a title for the visual display: See My Voice or Hear My Voice? Or something else?

Check out Leah's Voice; I think you'll be glad that you have this
 Mom's Choice Award Winner on your shelves.

For more information on autism, 
visit Autism Speaks or Students First Project.

And if you want to link up to Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday today or see what other titles are being recommended, you can do so {here}.


12 comments:

  1. Great review and great extension ideas! I just got this book this week, too...ordered it after joining the Autism Blog Hop! Thanks, Barbara.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I am so eager to read this one to a group of students and try out my ideas!!

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  2. I have been introduced to a ton of books on autism recently! Thanks for sharing another.

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    1. I think it's so important that we understand the spectrum better since the new stat is that autism now affects 1 in 51 children.

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  3. Outstanding post Barbara. I'm so glad you shared this book with us because it addresses so many issues. You did a beautiful job of highlighting aspects of the ASD spectrum. Loved the feelings book where you see how a kid on the spectrum would draw feelings.
    You share such wonderful classroom suggestions.

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    1. Pat, your kind words are overflowing my emotional reserve. WoW - thank you! I have really enjoyed my little group this spring with those boys who exhibit behaviors that might be ASD related but not necessarily diagnosed just yet. I am learning SO much!

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  4. Nice thorough review. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Darshana, and thank you for stopping by the Corner. I'm glad you liked my review!

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  5. Great choice! I'm glad that authors are writing these kinds of books now, because even adults (myself included) sometimes have difficulties understanding people on the spectrum.
    ❀Barbara❀
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

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  6. This looks like a really fine little story. I like your review. It seems that there are way more picture books out there about autism than I knew! Great! Thanks for sharing this one. I'll have to check it out!

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  7. Beautiful review of a very special little book. Barbara, you have certainly captivated us in making us aware of such a book with an important message. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. I'm so glad you reviewed this book, Barbara, and brought it to our attention! I especially love that you shared your own friendship experience. Great resource/activity list as well!

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I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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