A Review of Different Like Me: My book of autism heroes

By Elaina Daniels

In a world where you are completely different from everyone around you, it can often be hard to find someone outside of your own family to look up to.  The world is filled with images that most people cannot attain, much less a child who has any kind of a struggle with autism.  Jennifer Elder has given the autism community and their loved ones a gift.  The gift is the idea that we can succeed; the idea that there is not only a future out there for our autistic children, but that it’s a bright and successful one at that.

In this book, entitled:  Different Like Me:  My Book of Autism Heroes, Jennifer Elder gives children hope.  Different is designed for kids in the upper elementary to middle school age.  The book starts by introducing us to Quinn.  Quinn is an autistic child who tells us what his life is like, and gives a short description of what autism is and where the diagnosis of it came from.  Quinn gives the book a very personal introduction.  Any child can relate to the feeling of not knowing the “secret of fitting in.”

What I enjoy about this book is the fact that there are some examples that anyone and everyone knows.  The very first example in the book is Albert Einstein.  Now of course, Albert Einstein was never officially diagnosed in his time period as autistic, but the book talks about things like Einstein not speaking until he was three years old.  Other figures in the book include Lewis Carroll, Temple Grandin, Isaac Newton, and Andy Warhol.  Many of these public figures were before the time of official diagnosis of autism, but it is widely accepted that they were living with some form of it.  Different gives true descriptions of everyone in the book, including the things that they were good at, and some of the things they were not so good at.

Some of the people highlighted in the book were unknown to me.  Some of these unfamiliar people included Wassily Kandinsky and Sophie Germain.  Both are very important people, but were not people that I personally had ever heard of.  Of course, to a young child, any of these would be unknown examples, so it presents the opportunity for teachable moments.  As you and your child read the book, you could certainly spend some time at the library finding books about each of these people, or looking them up on the internet.

My advice is to read this book with ALL of your kids.  Every child needs to hear about the possibilities that are out there, no matter their limitations.  Take this book in chunks.  Put in the time to read about a couple of people and then do some more research on them.  Everyone needs to know there is someone out there who is just like them; someone out there who has shared their struggle.  There is hope and every single one of us needs to know that.


For additional books and resources on autism, check out http://store.fhautism.com/ and use the code SUMMIT to receive 15% off your order.


Elaina Daniels is a 13 year educator, who had taught at the elementary/middle school level for all of those years.  She has taught all subjects, but her passion is Reading.  She has two children, aged 9 and 7.  Her oldest son was diagnosed with autism.  Elaina lives on a farm in Southwest Missouri with her husband of 11 years. Together, they raise children, dogs, and cattle.


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Posted in Book Review on November 22nd, 2011 | Permalink | Comments »
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