Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say

Silent Days, Silent Dreams

Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say; illustrated by Allen Say. 2017. Burnt match sticks,  sharpened stick dipped in soot mixed with spit, wastepaper, cardboard, cotton wads, rags, Q-tips, big nails, toothpicks, brushes, and fingers. Published by Arthur A. Levine Books.

Brief summary: James Castle was deaf, mute, autistic, and believed to be dyslexic, and although he attended five years at the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, he did not learn to write, read, speak or even use sign language. He created his own calligraphy and made hundreds of books and albums. Living in poverty, he drew on what paper was around and created over 15,000 pieces of artwork often using match sticks and spit. Readers will learn about the harsh life this artist had endured from being different. The bullying. The isolation. The unkindness from his own relatives.

Comments: I suggest reading  the author’s note in the back first. Allen Say’s friend, Cort Conley, asked him to create a portrait of a local Idaho artist. Mr. Say agreed to do a portrait drawing after receiving the artist’s photo and catalog of works.  Allen Say became intrigued by the artist and his unique style of drawings so researched him more. Many publications and relative interviews about Mr. Castle had conflicting stories.  Allen Say wrote this book and created the artwork in the same way James Castle created. The artist’s  portrait is in the back.  The tools Allen Say used are shown as well.  I was impressed that Mr. Say totally submerged himself into understanding Mr. Castle   by experimenting and using the same tools  as the artist.

I think this would be a superb read aloud not only to learn about this  artist but to better understand empathy, perseverance, and uniqueness from another’s life. Can you imagine not being able to hear, speak or communicate with others? What  do you think it was like for Mr. Castle to see his works in a gallery? Did the time period he live in understand him? Did people understand autism more now or then? How did his relatives treat him? How would you feel if your family treated you the same way?

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Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari

Hello Goodbye Dog

Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari; illustrated by Patrice Barton. 2017. Published by Roaring Brook Press.

Brief summary: Zara loves her dog, Moose. Moose misses Zara when she goes to school. The dog wants to be with her owner and escapes from the house to be with Zara in her classroom. The dog loves the hellos of seeing Zara, but not the goodbyes when she must leave her human. It takes Mom, Dad, Zara and Mrs. Perkins to get Moose to leave the classroom. Moose soon returns for a big hello as everyone is reading in the library. The entire day is full of hellos and goodbyes for Moose. Zara comes up with a solution, and she and Moose go to therapy dog school where Moose passes all the tests to becomes Zara’s therapy dog. Now, Moose can attend school with Zara all day.

Comments: This is set up as a cumulative story with more and more people taking Moose out of the school. There is an author’s note in the back about library dogs and therapy dogs.  It was refreshing to read a story about a little girl who went to school and who happened to be in a wheelchair.  The story was not focused on her disability.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).

We Are All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

We're All Wonders

We Are All Wonders by R.J. Palacio; illustrated by R.J. Palacio. 2017. iPencil in Procreate for the iPad with a combination of painting (with the stylus) and Photoshop. Published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Brief summary: Auggie acts and does ordinary things that boys do but does not look like an ordinary boy.  Auggie does get made fun of the way he looks which hurt his feelings. He uses his imagination and goes to pretend places with his dog Daisy. He knows that he cannot change the way he looks but hopes that people will change the way they look at him.

Comments: Based on the main character in the chapter book titled Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  I plan to read this at the beginning of the school year to share how we are all different.

Buy here.

(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).