Children with autism and other processing and learning issues often do things that in other children would be considered a behaviour problem. For these kids though, there is so much more going on. That fact is front and center in Book 2 of the Starabella series: "Starabella - New Adventures and Mixed Emotions."
Like this first book in this series, this hard cover book is beautifully bound and illustrated, and includes a high quality CD that not only tells the story in words, but adds several songs as well. My kids love sitting looking at the pictures, or listening to the story being read to them on the CD, or having us read it and talk about it together. They can be kept busy and engaged for quite a long time together when they are looking at these books either with or without me.
Beyond encouraging understanding and care for others, this book also is all about imagination, self-expression, and dreaming - a little bit like what childhood itself should be.
Book for Children Ages: 4 years old to 7 years old
Family Reading Time: If someone in your family or close to your family is autistic, this can be a wonderful tool even for older children to help talk to them about what autism means and how it can affect how a person sees the world.
- Just as with Book 1, this book can be enjoyed on many different levels. Read it as it is written, or listen to it with the CD. Take the time to talk about the pictures and what you see.
Related Discussion Questions:
- Do you think Starry was being a "bad girl" when she was out at the circus, running around the house, or climbing the ladder? Why does she have trouble listening or understanding what to do sometimes?
- How should we treat people who are different from us? What are some ways that we can help if we see someone else struggling with something?
- It can be hard to be patient with people. How can we work on being more patient with everyone?
- What are some things you like to imagine? What were some things that Starabella imagined in the book?
Activities for Kids:
- Have your own circus at home. Dress up in colorful costumes, have one person be the announcer, and see how many different "circus acts" you can come up with together.
- Tumbling and gymnastics are wonderful gross motor development activities for young children. The good news is that you don't have to have a membership to a special gym or class to have fun with this together. Take all the cushions off the couch and lay them end to end. For children 2 and under, just walking across this squishy surface will be a fun challenge. For older children you can use this safe space to help them do sumersaults. You can also lay down ribbon on the floor and have them walk on it to work on balance.
- Make an "I am special" poster for each member of the family. Glue a picture of the person in the center of a piece of paper. Around the outside, have everyone else write (or tell you so you can write) things that are special and wonderful about that person. At the end you will have a treasure to help each person remember how much they are loved.
Cultural Diversity: This book does a wonderful job of having illustrations full of inclusion and diversity.
Children's Book Review Rating: 5 Stars - Beautiful Book