autism, nonfiction corner, social-emotional

Nonfiction Corner – Everybody Feels Fear/How to Build a Hug

Everybody Feels Fear (DK Children)
Written & Illustrated by Ashwin Chacko

For ages: 4-8
For a very long time, parents in America were taught to push their children despite signs that the child might have anxiety. The result was a society full of anxious people who were terrible at communicating their feelings. The solution to handling fear is different for every person. This book does an excellent job of talking to young children about how it is normal to feel fear and provides some strategies on what to do when you feel it. One of my favorite things about this text is that it emphasizes nothing wrong with feeling scared & that bravery has nothing to do with making fear disappear. Courage happens in spite of fear, and it can take time to build up enough of it.

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autism, book list, disability awareness, social-emotional

Book List: Understanding Autism

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures (The Innovation Press)
Written by Julia Finley Mosca
Illustrated by Daniel Rieley

For ages: 4-8
My first encounter with the concept of autism came through Temple Grandin. I was a child when I saw a report about her on ABC’s 20/20, and at the time, I didn’t fully understand what made her different. I know much more now as an adult and someone on the spectrum. This story, told in rhyme, teaches children about Grandin by starting with her childhood. First, she feels frustrated when trying to communicate with other children. Eventually, a high school teacher fosters a love of science in the young woman who invents a special machine that will soothe cattle, keeping them from a panic so they can be more humanely slaughtered. There are lots of extras in the back pages that will extend your student’s learning. This is also one of the few books I could find that talks about autism from the autistic person’s perspective.

A Friend For Henry (Chronicle Books)
Written by Jenn Bailey
Illustrated by Mika Song

For ages: 4-8
Henry is looking for a new friend in his classroom but getting frustrated. The other children don’t make sense sometimes. They scream so loud. They can’t stay in their seats. They like things that Henry does not like. While the text never explicitly states that Henry is autistic, we can infer it through his behavior and traits. The most fun Henry has is when he can sit quietly and watch the class goldfish swimming in her bowl. Eventually, Henry does find Katie, someone who seems to have patience for him and shares the same desire to be still & quiet. Henry can become more flexible when he finds someone that shows him empathy. This is an excellent text to help children understand classmates who may see things differently. 

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