Artie Knapp, Author
Barbara L. Gibson, Illustrator
Mighty Book Inc., 2010, Fiction
Suitable for: Ages 4 and up
Themes: Stuttering, Bullying, Friendship, Courage
Opening: “Remember, the early bird gets the worm, Stanley. Bu…Bu…But, I am a squirrel, Mom. Why should I care about what birds do? This will be your first winter on your own, so you need a head start to store as many nuts as you can.” This is a book about a squirrel who stutters and how he is treated by his woodland friends who either tease and bully him, or support him. Stanley is hurt and ambivalent. Stanley half-heartedly goes about searching for nuts, because he’s already hidden a stash of chocolate bars that a truck dumped. Raker, a raccoon, steals a few bars of candy. Stanley hides the rest of the candy where no one can find it, and runs away from home. He meets a cute girl squirrel, who doesn’t mind his stuttering. Through her encouragement and friendship, Stanley returns home to face the bullies with a rather surprising result.
Why I like this book: Artie Knapp has written an enchanting and funny story about self-respect, friendship, courage and forgiveness. His story will help kids who stutter see themselves in Stan and learn some coping skills. The book will also help kids who don’t stutter have a better understanding about stuttering. Barbara Gibson’s illustrations are colorful and engaging. This a good book to use with a child who stutters, as well as a great book to used int the classroom.
Resources: May 12-18 is National Stuttering Awareness Week. It is chaired by actor Nicholas Brendon, who played “Xander” in the TV series Buffy and the Vampire Slayer. Acting helped him overcome his stuttering. For resources, check out the Stuttering Foundation of America. The foundation also provides a wealth of educational information on stuttering, referrals to therapists nationwide, myths about stuttering, a page where kids and teens can share their stories and a book, Trouble at Recess, that can be downloaded to your computer. There are plenty of ideas on this website that parents and teachers can use at home and at school.
Interesting facts from the Stuttering Foundation: More than 68 million people worldwide stutter; 3 million Americans stutter. Stuttering affects four times as many males as females. Approximately 5 percent of all children go through a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more. That is why early intervention is so important. Three-quarters of those will recover by late childhood, leaving one percent with long-term problems. Famous people who stuttered include King George VI, Winston Churchill, Nicole Kidman, James Earl Jones, Marilyn Monroe, Tiger Woods, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Carly Simon, Jane Seymour and many more.
Book Giveaway: I have an extra copy of Stuttering Stan. If you have a child, grandchild or know of a child with a stuttering problem, who would enjoy this book, let me know in your comment.
To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.