Tag Archives | book

Novel about autistic boy who loves birds aims to advocate, too

Tell me a story.

Mike Wallace, the legendary 60 Minutes journalist, said that’s a universal human desire. Kids may be the ones who ask, but everyone loves to hear a story. On Stuart’s and other parenting blogs, we love to nod our heads as we recognize our own kids in his words.

Sparrow Migrations (middle shelves) in good company -  John Elder Robison and Temple Grandin

Sparrow Migrations (middle shelves) in good company – John Elder Robison and Temple Grandin

What if you could enjoy a story, and support autism advocacy? Today and tomorrow, you can.  The book is called Sparrow Migrations, and it’s my first novel, published just this month to coincide with Autism Awareness Month.

Sparrow Migrations is the story of Robby Palmer, a 12-year-old autistic boy, who witnesses the Miracle on the Hudson plane crash in New York City. He becomes obsessed with birds after he learns they caused the crash. Robby also finds his life intersecting with other crash witnesses and survivors, as all are transformed by the extraordinary event—and by each other. The novel was a semifinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest in 2011 (top 1 percent.)

In April, I’m donating $1.88 per book sold (in a nod to last year’s prevalence numbers) to autism advocacy organizations. In my hometown I chose the local parent support group and a program to get iPads to public school students on the autism spectrum.  As the first stop on my book blog tour, Stuart gets to pick the organization: Autism Society of America Today and tomorrow, I’ll donate $1.88 per paperback sold ($14.95 on Amazon) to http://www.autism-society.org

In this way I’m hoping to spread the word about the novel, and also generate some funds for smaller, local autism advocates that don’t have the reach of the big, blue guys.

One more thing: The striking cover was designed by a graphic artist who is autistic. Anie Knipping is the author of Eccentricity, a memoir of her life lived on the spectrum. We connected through one of those fluke friend-of-a-friend situations, and I’m very proud to show her talent on my cover.

Hope you’re up for a good story.

Buy Sparrow Migrations on Amazon >>



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Different Kinds of Special [Review]

I received the book “Different Kinds of Special” this week, written by author and poet Donna Carol Koffman. She is the grandmother of a little boy named Reese that has autism and it is for him that she writes this… or at least, he was the inspiration.

As the description says: “In this book, Donna gives Reese a voice to teach young children empathic understanding, acceptance and inclusion.

Also, an interesting bit of trivia for those of you that have or get this book… the illustrations are done by Breanne Biggar but, one page, where the children are drawing on a sidewalk, you will see the wonderful art work of a young man named Devin, who has Aspergers. He was 6 when he made those drawings and you can read a bit about him at the back of the book.

different kinds of specialThe Book

The book is about a bunch of children all going to the park to play… but none of the children are the same as each other. This book explains very simply yet very clearly just how different each person can be from each other. Starting with the obvious, such as hair colour, height, weight and so forth, the book eventually gets into more distinct differences such as how some people are unable to walk (wheelchair) or communicate (talk)

The Story

While there really isn’t much of a story, it does take you along on a bit of a journey through the park. It’s kind of like people watching, but for children. As you go through it, you really feel like a child standing there while your mom or dad talks to you about what you see. And that’s how I felt, and I’m a dad. To invoke that kind of feeling in a reader means that the message is being delivered very well.

My Review

I read the book by myself while my wife read the book with my son Cameron. So I’ll give you an idea of what we both think.

For me, I found it quite intriguing that autism is never actually mentioned. It’s also quite brilliant, in that it’s just another one way that everyone is different. So rather than single out any specific disorder or ailment, you’re left to fill in the blanks as you read about those that can not speak, see, hear, walk and so on. These children on the pages all have different strengths, weakness, colours, sizes…  and they all have smiles.

I can picture my son in those illustrations just as I can picture other children that I’ve met through my life or that I know right now. They can all fit into these pages.

More so than that, I can see myself in many of the pages. As you read about how some children are shy, some aren’t, some don’t like to do some things, other do…  and some children cry because of how hard it is to make other people understand them… you get it. Both as having memories of that but also in understanding where her grandson as well as our own children are coming from.

My wife said:

The book gave a good sense of accepting those who have differences and allowed Cameron the opportunity to look passed himself and see others and accept and want to help them. We were able to talk about the book and explore ways to make people in our lives feel more welcome and loved even though they have differences. 

Together, we both felt the only criticism we could make is that it’s a bit of a dry read, in that there is no story and comparing differences makes for a bit of repetition. Our four year old lost interest half way through. Cameron, however, did not.

But it was never meant to be a story and no one will ever fault a four year old for not grasping the differences of all people. So while it may not make the best bedtime book ever, it does make for a wonderful story time book that really helps to reinforce acceptance within us all.

If more people read this book to their children, there would be far less bullying in the world.

You can buy Different Kinds of Special from Amazon.com for just $19.95 in paperback and read more about the book at http://lostforwordspress.com/

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Children’s book: Ben Has Autism. Ben Is Awesome! [Review]

Books in general that discuss Autism can be tricky since Autism can vary so very widely from person to person. Being the huge spectrum that it is, it’s effects can be completely different from one person to the next.

So writing a book, aimed at children, that attempts to explain some of what Autism is, can either be wonderfully enlightening or it can be a colossal fail.

In the case of “Ben Has Autism. Ben is Awesome!”, we have a wonderfully enlightening book that does a very very good job of explaining the pros and cons of Autism in a way that anyone, regardless of their age, can relate to.

benautismThe Book

Ben is a 5 year old that has Autism and as such, has his difficulties but also has some strengths in some areas. This book explores them all in a way that literally anyone can understand and in many cases, even relate too.

The Story

While not really a story, this book does have a logical progression as the reader explores the weaknesses and the strengths of Ben due to having Autism.

My Review

This book is really great in that it covers enough autistic traits that you really get the feeling that the author could have written about your own child.

I sat down on the couch with Cameron (6 and has Autism) and his little brother Tyler (3 and does not have Autism) and as I read, we would stop and say “who does that?” or “who feels like that sometimes?”

It turned into a bit of a game as the boys would try to figure out which one of them did or felt the way Ben did in the book. Most of the time it was Cameron, since he also has Autism but sometimes it was Tyler… and others it was both of them.

Every page of this book has big, colourful illustrations that are very imaginative and illustrate the words perfectly. The words are big, bold and even though few, are perfectly descriptive.

It’s a great book for the children as it helps them to recognize some of the things they’re feeling and helps them to identify it as a trait of their Autism rather than having them just feel they’re “weird” or “strange”… it is also great for the parents in that it helps to realize that you’re not alone. Other parents wrote this book, other parents relate to this book… other parents think that their children are awesome too.

It’s a big plus for understanding Autism, not just for “people” but also for those that most of us have a hard time explaining it to… children.

Ben Has Autism. Ben Is Awesome! is available in paperback and hard cover. I definitely recommend picking this up and adding it to your child’s library both for your child and yourself.

Order Ben Has Autism. Ben Is Awesome! here.

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My child’s future with Autism, my goals

I can’t set goals for my son, I can only set goals for myself in hopes of making his future a little better. People say the best way to achieve your goals is to write them down. It makes you accountable for them and reminds you of them later.

Anyway, I’ve been blogging for a little while and even had the opportunity to work with a few charities/groups on some things… so it got me to thinking about what I am going to do.

I don’t mean in the vague… “promise to always be there for him” sort of way but in the “what specifically can I do to improve his life by doing things within/for the Autism community” kind of way.

goalsSo here are my personal goals for the future, as they pertain to the world of Autism.

  1. Develop a web/mobile app that will change the Autism Community
    This is something I’ve already envisioned and outlined. I do not have the resources but do have the plan. This, if/when completed, has the potential to benefit each community as well as the global community in incredible ways.
  2. Write a book
    I have begun work on writing an Autism book, one that takes a very different approach from most other books. It’s something I’m very passionate about in that, completing it, may help to raise people’s understanding, not just awareness. This will help in my son’s future in that, the more people that understand between now and then, the better.
  3. Ensure my son is not ignored
    Now, I don’t know how exactly this is to be accomplished… through many smaller goals, I suspect… but should my son desire to speak up about Autism later in his life, in any way he should choose to do so… it is my mission now to make sure that he is not ignored when he does.
  4. Make this my source of income
    This one may sound a bit selfish, but it’s not. I don’t necessarily wish to make money from helping people or “doing good”, however, having to maintain a day job in order to have an income greatly limits my time, resources and ability to achieve all of the things that I would like to achieve. If it was my source of income, I could devote all of my time to doing it. So no, I don’t wish to become rich by any means.. in fact, I could make the same as I am making now, I don’t care. I just need to find a way to work harder, read more, write more, be more involved and the only way I can do that is if doing it replaced my day job.

It’s not a very big list, my skills and resources… as well as my ideas are limited. Having a family of 4 and a day job will do that. None-the-less, the few goals that I do have there are rather hefty.

And now that I’ve shared them with you… I have to do them!

So I will.

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The Adventures of One Sock [Review]

When I get books in the mail relating to Autism, they’re usually for me. However, this one wasn’t… it is for my boys.

one sockThe book

The Adventures of One Sock is a fun tale about a child with Autism that gets spooked when he spots, what he thinks is, a lion in a neighbor’s yard while on his walk to school with his dad.

With the help of his family, he’s able to cope and even over come this fear and makes a new friend in the process.

The Story

The story, along with some very cute and fun art work really were easy to relate to for my children because they remember the stroller days, they have an imagination that could conjure up a lion as well and they really like the… well, I don’t want to spoil the ending for you.

I do have to be honest in saying that it’s a little obvious that this is the first children’s book for this author, in that I found myself replacing a few words as I read, since they didn’t feel all that natural to say to a child… but even with those few exceptions, it’s still a wonderful story and very engaging for my boys.


One of the things that they really got right with this book (which most people don’t think about) is the aesthetics. It’s a nice big book with paper covers. It’s not a lot of pages but those pages are quite big, making the art work really stand out and the words are very clear in big letters.

This really lets little hands hold it, explore and even bend it all they want without having to worry about it. Also, as my older boy is just learning to read, I can more easily point to words or even letters since they’re in a nice big type face.


This is a great little book to pick up for your little ones… I’m sure they’ll be able to relate to a lot of parts in it even though, at 24 pages, it’s not a long story. Yes, it is a story about a boy with Autism but that is never really an issue. Whether your children have Autism or not, they’ll relate to this story.

The Adventures of One Sock is now one of the bed time stories that my boys hear before bed… I’m sure one day, when they’re able, they’ll love sitting down to read it themselves.

You can pick up The Adventures of One Sock at ClearSpace for $10.92.

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