Posted on 13th January, 2023, under Book Reviews
Teaching in the early years is about letting children be curious, explore, ask questions and wonder about everything around them. For example, have you ever asked yourself what way a child who does not communicate verbally might think about the world they are growing up in? While I believe there is a seeker of knowledge and wonder in every child, I also stress it is essential to acknowledge that every child is different, and every child will have their own way of wondering about the world. In ‘Talking is Not My Thing!’ we get an insight into how a sister with autism thinks about her interactions and experiences as she moves through the natural unfolding of her day.
The characters in the book are a brother and a sister, the sister does not verbally communicate. The sisters’ thoughts are visible in text bubbles in this cleverly written book. Her brother communicates verbally, interacting with his sister throughout the pages of the book. The characters in the book are illustrated as animals.
The book is about one sisters experience communicating in a world where most people speak out loud. This story introduces us to the sister, who is non-verbal and the brother who is verbal. The sister observes and reacts based on how she feels about things around her. The brother treats his sister compassionately, showing love, respect and support in his interactions. For me, the heart of ‘Talking is Not My Thing!’, lies in the emotional element, which can be seen in the verbal and non-verbal relationship between the brother and sister.
For parents, the book portrays one child’s thoughts as she goes through her day and how her brother interacts with her. Many parents will have this lived experience, and I feel this book could help show the many ways children can communicate for example by observing what is going on in their environment, listening to sounds and reading body language. It is about being flexible and open to learning new ways of communication. For children, this book presents a child-friendly insight into how some children interact differently. The book portrays difference as something that is not a big deal, and every child, regardless of ability, should be treated with kindness and respect.
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