“I’m Here” by Peter H. Reynolds — Autism Spectrum

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

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

36 thoughts on ““I’m Here” by Peter H. Reynolds — Autism Spectrum

  1. Pat, have sent this post immediately to our librarian as I want this book in our library. Your review is persuasive and I love Reynolds’ approach. I have to say interactive whiteboards are a pretty unchallenged benefit to any classroom, I would agree. Thanks so much for sharing this treasure with us.

    • Joannna, I’m glad you enjoyed the book. A friend, who is a teacher, returned from an educator’s conference in October and told me that I just had to read this book! I wrote the review, but didn’t publish it right away. In reviewng Peter’s website I became even more intrigued with his philosophy and his work. To be honest with you, I didn’t know interactive white boards existed. I thought his teaching moment was so appropriate. This is a very special book. I also realized last week that Emma is interviewing Peter for our Dec. 6 teleseminar on the Children’s Book Hub. Great coincidence.

  2. What a wonderful review. The book sounds lovely. I will have to look for it. You are right – every one of us has had moments of feeling on the outside and wondering how we’ll fit in.

    • Glad you enjoyed the book Susanna. I know I have had my moments of feeling on the outside, even as an adult. I love how Peter has devoted his life work to this theme and is doing something to help kids.

  3. Oh, I *MUST* read this book. I love Peter H. Reynolds’ work, and know I would love (and identify with) this one.

    I can hardly wait for the Expert Interview of Peter on December 6th! I will stock up on Peter Reynolds books while I am out today.

  4. Peter H. Reynolds is a huge fan of kids and teachers. His work is inspired by his childhood and the teachers that had a huge impact on his life. He certainly pays that forward.

    I am a teacher in Iowa and I lead an educator group for Peter’s company FableVision Learning (www.fablevisionlearning.com). I helped start “International Dot Day” which is a celebration of creativity inspired by Peter’s book, “The Dot”. This year, 17,000 students and 1,000 from around the world participated. You can find out more at http://www.fablevisionlearning.com/dotday!

    Thank you for spreading the news about this book! I have personally purchased five copies and given it to people because I think it is so important. I believe the book belongs in every library and every classroom.

    There is a educator’s guide coming from SARRC (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center), follow me on twitter if you want to know when it arrives. @tjshay

    • Thank you Terry for responding to my review. I am so taken by his work. I read about FableVision Learning, and it’s nice to meet someone involved. Will check out the “International Dot Day” as it sounds inspiring. Thanks for the link. Peter is really doing some impressive work with children. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t do twitter, but I will find some way to find out about the educator’s guide. Peter is doing a telesminar with Emma Walton Hamilton, who launched the Children’s Book Hub on Dec. 6. You’ve given me some questions to ask him. Again, thank you for stopping by. – Patricia

  5. Lovely post Pat, He has a natural understanding of kids, not just specific needs children but all children and I am sure I have seen this book, but I will definately look for it in our local library. Love the interactive white board, oh I would love to have fun using that….lol.
    Will be an interesting interview on Dec 6th. Looking forward to it. Thankyou Pat.

    • Glad, you liked the book Diane. It just came out in August, so you may have seen it pass through your office. Yeah — aren’t those interactive white boards cool. What fun! Yes, I look forward to the interview too. – Pat

  6. Just had to pop back to say I bought the book, and a couple of other Peter H. Reynolds books today, and I’ve just “followed” Terry Shay on Twitter, so will let you know when the educators’ resource comes out, Pat.

    • Thanks Beth. I appreciate it. Looked at some of his books at the library, but The Dot and Ish aren’t there. Will have to order the North Star, that intrigued me. I’m really impressed with Reynolds work with kids. — Pat

      • I absolutely LOVE “Ish”. I reviewed it when I was doing reviews of vacations about the arts in July, in the Visual Art post. I identified with it very strongly, as I do with many of his books (I’m writing a post about two I bought today, right this moment!)

      • Beth, I remember now and will have to go back and look at “Ish”. My friend in Michigan wrote me with great excitement about “I am Here.” Between us we will cover a number of his books before the teleseminar. LOL

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    • Terry,
      Laughed when my colleague Beth told me what you said on Twitter! I do have account, just need to find my password. I appreciate the shout out. Thanks for the e-mail because I will be interested in the educational information. My blog is a bit different as it is focused on books that heal children. That’s why I was so excited with his book and his mission. I saw Peter’s Facebook and joined yesterday. Just was shy about mentioning the review I wrote. – Pat

    • Ruth, I am delighted you saw this book. I was one on the outside too, but in a different way. Peter Reynolds is a remarkable author and illustratior with a mission. Hope you check out his website. He has some good things going on.

  8. Many thanks for the kind words about my book – it was a special project for me – I hope this story helps remind all of us to reach out and embrace those around us. My books, The Dot and Ish also are about reaching out to those in need.Thanks again for sharing I’M HERE. Much appreciated! Peter

    • Peter,
      It was my pleasure to review your book. I am impressed with the simplicity of your message and how you convery it in your text and artwork. It was the perfect book for what I like to share on my blog. I have met a number of your staff and look forward to learning more about FableVision Learning and your mission. I plan to read The Dot and Ish. I also look forward to your appearance on Emma Walton Hamilton’s Hub teleseminar Dec. 6.

  9. This is the second time I have seen a blogger recommend this book–I need to check it out! I am a HUGE fan of The Dot and Ish and expect this will be just as fabulous!

  10. I have made certain that “I’m Here” is in our community library as well as the two elementary school libraries! The simple message is so powerful that it resonates with children at those critical moments when they are in a situation with another child who is alone, or different, or special. As the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, I can honestly say that “I’m Here” is one of the most sensitive and useful portrayals that I have read.

    • Cathy, thank you for checking out my blog after Stacy’s post. “I’m Here” is a wonderful book. I have reviewed many books on the autism spectrum this past year — especially last April. I have a “Topics” section in my sidebar that will bring up the reviews. Hope you saw the book Tom Lichtenheld co-authored with a teenager who has become an expert animator — E-mergency. I think the story is one of great hope about the talents of so many children. Thank you again for stopping. – Pat

  11. Thank you – yes I looked at your ‘Topics” reviews and those titles are all wonderful. I own most of them!

    For next April (or sooner – why wait when so many children are being diagnosed with ASD every day?) please consider a review of “Following Ezra” by Tom Fields-Meyer. It is the most uplifting, child-centered story of parenting that I have ever read! In fact, I need to post my own review very soon on for a number of Boston area special needs publications. Here is Tom’s website for more information: http://followingezra.com/

    • Cathy, I’ve been trying to review one or two books a month. That’s why Peter’s book for younger children is so important. There are a lot of books for middle grade and YA. And, I have ordered Tom’s book. — Pat

  12. wow! Pat you have certainly found your niche here, among writers such as Terry and Peter. Peter’s Interview with Emma on the Hub, will be very interesting listening on the 6th December, indeed. Will be interesting learning more about Fablevision

  13. Pingback: Wings of EPOH – Perfect Picture Book « Children's Books Heal

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