Empathy Reads: non-verbal autism, no-money and grief and dying

Talking is Not My Thing! By Rose Robbins

This is the second book by Rose Robbins, published by Scallywag press, about an autistic young girl and her brother.

I love that this book is written from the perspective of a non-verbal autistic child, who explains in thought bubbles how she uses non-verbal communication in her daily life. This includes flash cards and drawing a picture for her brother. The story also shows how her brother has tuned into sister and how he responds to her in a calm and inclusive way. I love how the tables are turned when the young girl describes the draw a picture guessing game, where she is the one teaching her brother how to play it. 

Bold and eye-catching illustrations combine with speech bubbles, and thought bubbles (non-verbal sibling) to give a thoughtful insights into the ways the non-verbal girl is communicating. I think many will find it helpful that one some of the pictures show how too much noise can lead to sensory over load.

 

A great book to support young children who are on the autistic spectrum, and their siblings and carers. There is also so much that is relevant to any child, especially quieter ones who find it harder to be heard. And a reminder to us all just because a child is not saying anything, it doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking and they may have some great ideas to share if you can help them find a way to do so.

 

 

It’s a No Money Day by Kate Milner 

 

This is a story about a girl and her mum, who have very little money. It’s an eye opening insight into what is is like to from one week to the next, not knowing if you will have enough money for bills and to pay the food. And a  timely insight into the importance of food banks. 

 

On a no money day they go to a food bank. I love the page where the lady at the foot bank is welcoming the mum. The emotions are captured so well, from the child that is delighted to be out of the house, to the mum that feels ‘shame’ in having to ask for help, and the acceptance and understanding of the person working at the food bank. 

 

This is a great book, that sadly speaks to some children’s experience, and will help other children and adults to understand their experiences.

 

Tibble and Grandpa by Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egneus

Grandpa is grieving and busying himself in his garden. Tibble doesn’t understand why Grandpa is ignoring him but never stops trying to communicate with him. Mum says just give him time. But Tibble wants to talk to Grandpa now. . . So Tibble tries his favourite game – TOP THREES! And something amazing happens. Grandpa starts talking again.

This gentle story deals with death and and loss honestly. It would make a useful starting point for discussing bereavement with children. It could also open the door to discussions about memory loss and missing someone that is absent (for example that you have not been able to see for a while). The idea of top threes could also be a useful way to open you discussion with children about what they would like to do in the future, when covid-19 restrictions allow us to do more things. 

Daniel Egneus collage like illustrations are delightful and really capture the mood and action in the story.

All the Dear Little Animals, Written by Ulf Nilsson (translated from Swedish into English by Julia Marshall), and illustrated by Eva Erikson

 

This is an absolute gem of a short chapter book with colour illustrations.  Perfect for anyone struggling with a loss of a pet, a loved one, or is scared by the idea that people and things can die. 

 

Two children take it upon themselves to bury all the dead insects and animals they can find. First is the bee, later come the mice killed by grannies trap, a child’s pet, a hedgehog that is run over. They set up a funeral business where they each have a role,  Esther buries the animals, and the boy who is writing the story, writes each of them a poem. Esther’s little brothers job is to cry. They create make boxes to bury the animals in and paint stones to remember the dead animals. 

 

 

The illustrations in warm pastel shades are delightful. This book will help open up stories about dying and how to remember someone that has gone. It also provides openings to discuss less clearly defined loses.

 

 

 

All books are available to buy from me at Readers that Care. 

 

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