Gerda Weissmann Klein, Author
Peter H. Reynolds, Illustrator
FableVision, Inc., Fiction, 2008
Suitable for: For All Ages
Themes: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Hope, Courage, Friendship
Opening/Synopsis: “Matthew was running. He was running very fast, skipping over the bright green grass, over the yellow dandelions and the smiling daisies, with the wind singing in his hair.” This is a story about a boy who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and his journey to find meaning, acceptance and friendship in a world that is confusing to him. For Matthew, lights are too bright and sounds are too loud. He has trouble communicating his thoughts and feelings until he meets a butterfly named EPOH (Hope spelled backward). EPOH and Matthew communicate through their thoughts. EPOH shares the struggles she’s faced in her life. Matthew finds this uplifting friendship changes the way he views his own difficulties, and finds courage and hope.
Why I like this book: Even though this book is about a boy with autism, it has universal appeal for all children. Every child will at some point feel left out, isolated and struggle to fit in. It is a great book for the classroom to help children deal with differences and inclusion. Children will identify with Matthew. This is an inspiring book written by Gerda Weissmann Klein, a well-known author, lecturer and Holocaust survivor whose story was made into the film, One Survivor Remembers. Peter H. Reynolds’ rich illustrations bring Wings of Epoh to life. Reynolds has also written a book on autism, I’m Here, which I reviewed last fall.
Resources: Gerda and Peter collaborated on the book, and a DVD film of Wings of Epoh. The DVD includes a user guide Tips for Friends, Parents, and Teachers, developed to help teachers and parents provide strategies for social communication to a child or student with ASD or other social differences. The tips are to be used as part of a discussion following the film. There also is an Educator’s Activity Guide. For information and resources contact FableVision Learning.
Gerda is donating a portion of the proceeds of Wings of Epoh to the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), another great resource for parents.
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.