“Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope: Handprints, Snowflakes, and Play-dates” is a book regarding autism. It was written by Christine Bronstein, an author and mother of a special-needs child. It was also illustrated by Karen Young, who draws colorful, playful pictures throughout the book. April is Autism Awareness Month and this book comes at a perfect time to help parents, teachers, and others bring awareness and education to others regarding autism.
Autism, today, is much more prevalent than it was when I was a child. In an email I had received regarding this book, the following statistics were provided, “In 2000 the rate of autism was 1 in 150 children. In 2016, the number jumped up to 1 in 68. For boys, some reports find the number is as high as 1 in 28!” To me, that is shocking. It’s also why Autism awareness is that much more important.
Bringing Autism Awareness Through Play-dates
I am an adult and I know about autism and what that means. But, for many children, they don’t really understand what autism is and what it means for a child to be on the spectrum. It’s also difficult for many children to understand what it’s like to be in the shoes of someone with autism. And, this is where “Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope: Handprints, Snowflakes, and Play-dates” can help.
Autism is a disorder that is oftentimes not that obvious and, as a result, people with autism are misjudged and their actions misinterpreted. This book by Ms. Bronstein, helps children learn that everyone is different, just like snowflakes and handprints. Even each play-date is different, too, and that’s okay. In the book, Princess Penelope makes friends with Eric, who has autism. She becomes great friends with him and wants to have him over for a play-date. Before he comes over, Penelope’s mother teaches her and the family about autism and how things may be different when he comes over to their house. For example, the mother teaches the children that they may want to use their “indoor voices” because loud sounds may be difficult for Eric. I won’t tell you the entire story, but I will say that it’s an excellent introduction for children to autism. And, it teaches them how to empathize with children that live with the disorder.
A Book With So Much To Offer
The story has wonderful lessons for kids today. It also has an informative section, “Tips to welcome Special Needs (SN) families for a play-date” and “Tips for Special Needs families.” In the end, there is another special section that encourages children to move beyond their familiar comfort zone. It encourages them to play and eat lunch with kids they don’t usually play with or ask someone new to join a game. There is even a BOOM! Friendship Award page that a child and his or her parent could fill out once he/she has completed the various friendship goals.
This is a wonderful book with so much to offer! It’s great to read during Autism Awareness Month or any time of the year! I highly recommend it, as it will make an excellent addition to any child’s library (and the school’s library, too).