I’m Here, is a picture book written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, award-winning creator of The North Star, The Dot, and Ish. Although written for children 4-8 years of age, it is also a book adults will enjoy. A friend recently attended an educator’s conference and sent me a note “to read this book! “ Reynolds book is very simply written and illustrated, but is packed with a very powerful message. Reynolds urges us to reach out, embrace, and appreciate children in the autism spectrum, as well as anyone who may be different Not once does Reynolds label the boy as autistic in the story — he could be any sensitive or shy child. The book is beautifully illustrated in soft pastels.
Written in first person, a boy shares his experience of the world around him as he stands on the outside looking in. The story shows a group of children laughing and having fun interacting on the school playground. A distance from the children, a boy is sitting on the ground with his hands over his ears. He comments that the sound of their laughter is like one big noise. “A big drum. Boom. Boom.” He is content to be in his own space unnoticed, while the other kids play together. This captivating book is about how a child recognizes his differences and wonders how he fits into the world around him. There are some lovely surprises for the reader.
I like this book because every child at some point feels left out, alone and struggles with fitting in — a universal theme of childhood. I’m Here is an excellent book for parents, teachers and counselors to read and discuss with children. It’s an opportunity for children to share their own experiences, as well as learn about differences, empathy and inclusion.
Peter Reynolds first realized his talent when he was in 7th grade and a teacher took him aside for drawing in class. She encouraged him and he produced his first animated film that year. He says his “journey has been dedicated to helping kids, especially the “off the path kids because I was one of them myself.” Check out Peter’s very interesting website. He also has founded the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Leaning and Creativity, which is devoted to finding creative ways to motivate children who may drop out of school. Through his educational media company, FableVision, he has developed tips booklet, an educator activity guide and a bonus DVD of I’m Here. Click on FableVision Learning.
Copyright (c) 2011, Patricia Howe Tilton, All Rights Reserved