July 27, 2015
Lucy’s Amazing Friend
I don’t read a lot of books about autism.
This may shock some of you as I write about autism, and live and breathe it at home. The truth is I did read a lot of books about the subject when Justin was first diagnosed, then gradually turned to the internet for articles. It wasn’t until my second son, Zachary, was diagnosed with high-functioning autism that I started to look for appropriate literature for him that portrayed autism in a positive light. I found a few books (I Am Utterly Unique by Elaine Marie Larson comes to mind.) Yet I am always on the look-out for another piece of writing that celebrates the positive elements of autism, as well as the ways knowing an autistic individual can have a positive effect on a child or adult.
Last week I found just that piece of writing.
Stephanie Workman, the author of Lucy’s Amazing Friend, contacted me about reviewing her work, and after communicating with her via email I admit I was looking forward to a read-through, despite the craziness of summer schedules chez McCafferty.
I am happy to say I was not disappointed.
Lucy’s Amazing Friend is about a young girl who is curious as to why Daniel (an eight-year-old boy in her class) appears not to like her, and seeks out her teacher to find out why. She is told the boy has autism, and with her query as to what exactly constitutes autism, Lucy’s journey to both understanding and embracing the disorder begins.
The story was very realistic to me, and in no way suggests that Daniel is typical of every child with autism. The book presents several scenarios which address the hallmark characteristics of autism in a non-sterotypical way, and progresses through a variety of events where we see both Lucy and Daniel grow as individuals and within their relationship. I came to like both Lucy and Daniel very much by the conclusion, and am confident my own eight-year-old with high-functioning autism will feel the same way.
The beautiful illustrations draw the reader even farther into the story, which I feel could be a perfect introduction to autism whether or not someone is familiar with autism spectrum disorders. I feel my son can learn even more about individuals who dwell on the more severe end of the spectrum through this book, and he lives with his elder brother who has autism also.
I believe this work is a must for all libraries, and schools as well. I’m looking forward to owning my copy and sharing it with Zach.
And I commend Ms. Workman for creating one more tool that helps demystify autism.
Lucy’s Amazing Friend can be found for $10.99 in paperback and for $3.99 in Kindle. Copies can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Piscataqua Press.
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