Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine is about Caitlyn, a girl who has been identified as having Asperger's Syndrome. Caitlyn's condition seems to be somewhat more severe and closer to moderate autism, however.
Identified as odd by her peers, Caitlyn's problems escalate upon the death of her brother. Caitlyn's brother had been acting as a behavioral aide for her and helped her to analyze different social situations. Social situations that may seem clear-cut to others are a maze for Caitlyn.
Caitlyn is mystified by how she "should be" experiencing the tragedy and by how her father is coping with the death. Meanwhile, the general community is coming to terms with the tragedy in relation to her brother's death. How can everybody find peace? How can Caitlyn find her own peace? Read this National Book Award winner to find out!
National Autism Awareness Month
My Brother Charlie, by Holly Robinson Peete
For all ages, My Brother Charlie is a beautifully written, heart packed, brightly illustrated, clear and simple introduction to autism.
National Autism Awareness Month (A few facts)
San José Public Library Resources on Autism:
Social Workers in the Library
The other day I was at my local library, browsing through the DVDs. I came across one entitled “Temple Grandin”, starring one of my favorite actresses, Claire Danes. I checked it out, took it home, and was introduced to the world of Dr. Temple Grandin, one of the best known people in the world with autism. I marveled at the acting, and at the story. Dr. Grandin’s accomplishments in the field of animal husbandry are astounding. Her accomplishments as a person with autism are awe-inspiring. The portrayal of her life made me want to learn more.
Happily, I was able to go back to my library and check out a book on the shelves, “The Way I See It: a Personal Look at Autism & Asperger’s”, written my Temple Grandin herself. It is one of many books she has authored.
Find out more about Temple Grandin at the San Jose Public Library!
WE NEED LEGOS!!
The Cambrian Branch Library is starting a new Lego Club on Wednesday, August 24, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. This will give children the opportunity to play and create with LOTS of legos, instead with just the limited number that come in most kits. They can either work on their own creations, or build as a team. For those who prefer to work with a plan, we will make sure to have some templates available. But to make the new Lego Club a success, we need to have more legos than we currently have. If you have any to spare, please consider donating them to the Cambrian Library for our new club.
Legos aren’t just fun to play with, but they are also beneficial for encouraging creativity, cooperative play, fine motor skills, developing planning skills, and helping to focus concentration. People have long recognized the benefits of building with blocks, but in recent years, there have been articles on the benefits of lego building for children with autism too.
Check out our books on Legos, too.
It’s 1935 and 12-year-old Moose Flanagan has moved with his family to Alcatraz Island – home to such notorious criminals as Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone. Moose’s father has taken a job on the island as an electrician and prison guard while his mother focuses on getting his sister Natalie, who isn’t like other kids, into a special school in San Francisco. Al Capone Does My Shirts is alternately funny and poignant as Moose tries to fit in at his new school, protect his sister, and stay out of trouble created by the warden’s scheming daughter. Author Gennifer Choldenko researched civilian life on Alcatraz in the 1930s and has produced a believable tale that, besides being a fun read, makes a good choice for a historical fiction assignment for students in grades 5-8. Choldenko also draws upon her own experience as a family member of someone with special needs; children who have a sibling with autism or another developmental disability will especially relate to the story. For more of Moose’s adventures on Alcatraz, check out the sequel, Al Capone Shines My Shoes.
Every branch of the San José Public Library offers a monthly Inclusive Story Time. At the Willow Glen Branch it is held on the second Saturday of each month at 10:30 am, followed by Stay & Play. This is a story time especially designed to provide support for children with special needs and is also suitable for all children to attend. At an inclusive story time you will find the same great stories, songs, rhymes and activities that you love at all our story times. The addition of supports like carpet squares, a story time schedule and big books make the story time more enjoyable for kids with autism and other special needs.
If you are looking for more information on help for kids with special needs, Parents Helping Parents is a San Jose parent-directed resource center for children and adults with special needs. The Inclusion Collaborative, part of the Santa Clara County Office of Education, focuses on the inclusion of children with special needs in child care, preschool and the community. At their website you can learn how to find support and information to include children with disabilities in your program or community.