Are you looking for a way to explain autism to children? Are you a parent, a teacher, a daycare worker looking for a resource to foster acceptance of the differences in others? You wish the children in your care knew about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and could understand the reasons behind the behaviour of an autistic child. Therefore this wonderful children’s picture book, My Little Brother is a Little Different: An Autism Story by Tammy Parker Cox with illustrations by Denis Proulx should be on your shelves.
Mom-author, Tammy Parker Cox, shares with her young readers her real life story raising two children, the youngest who is autistic. By reading the loving interaction between her children it is an excellent way to teach those under your care about autism.
The eight page book is a true story of a big sister telling readers about her little brother who has autism. The author uses questions directed to the reader to draw them in her story. Her young audience will be made to see that we are all a little bit different from other people just like her son.
The readers learn by the sister’s comments that autism is a disorder making her brother think and act a little different. Her brother likes to flick the light switches on and off. He cannot talk and must communicate using pictures. Readers will learn that individuals who have autism are not being rude when they do not look you in the eye when communicating but it is what they have to do to focus on what you are saying. But big sister sums up her story saying, “My little brother and I may be different in some ways but we are actually quite similar in a lot of ways too. We are similar because we both like to play with toys, play at the park, going to the beach, and watching TV… How are you similar to other people?”
From the above quote, you can see that children in grade two or three should be able to read this book independently. However caregivers should read the book a few times WITH the child/children so they can discuss the message and the questions and then they can read it alone. The eye-catching, colorful, detailed illustrations by Denis Proulx will help with comprehension and enjoyment of the book.
To encourage readers to give answers to the questions in the book, big sister also shares responses to each question. Often she even gives tips to encourage the reader to do things differently to have positive results. Here are some of the thought provoking questions Tammy Parker Cox has sprinkled here and there in her book:
- Do you do some things a little bit different than other people that you know?
- Is there anything that you have trouble understanding?
- Is there anything that you like to do that other people might find annoying?
- Can you think of something awesome that you learned in school?
- How are you similar to other people?
At the end of her story, the big sister points out that as she and her brother are more similar than different, so are we all. These differences are what make each one of us unique. Tammy Parker Cox’s last words is another great piece of advice, “Don’t focus so much on the differences because we are all a little different…Focus on the similarities. You two probably have more in common than you think. It’s just expressed a little differently!”
Tammy Parker Cox is a wife, mom of 2, and an author of books for adults and children. She is also an advocate for the awareness and tolerance of autism. Her passion for this plight came when her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Tammy is also passionate about the education and fulfillment of potential of children as well as adults.
Follow Tammy Parker Cox:
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About the Illustrator
Taken from Denis Proulx‘s web site< “I have been drawing since a very young age and love the creative process. I have taken Graphic Design and Illustration courses at Algonquin college in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In those days, every thing was done by hand and computers where not even part of the art scene. After taken courses at Algonquin College. I continued my education in the arts by working with different Graphics and Illustration companies and by just simply doing it and learning on my own. I have experience in several related industries, such as offset printing, screen printing, graphic design, Illustrations and cartooning. I live in a small town called Low, in the Province of Quebec, Canada.”