Nancy Carlson, Author and Illustrator, and her friend Armond Isaak
Free Spirit Publishing, Fiction, Apr. 15, 2014
Suitable for Ages: 5-9
Themes: Asperger’ syndrome, Autism Spectrum, Friendship, Socialization, Coping
Opening: “You can read any time,” his mom said. “But parties make me nervous,” Armond said. “What if balloons pop?” “And parties are disorganized. I don’t like when things are disorganized.”
Synopsis: Armond has been invited to his best friend Felicia’s birthday party. Instead of being excited, Armond is anxious and worried. He recites all the reasons about why he shouldn’t go. The party may be too noisy. He may feel invisible and lonely. And, he always plays basketball every Saturday. Armond’s mother reminds him that Felicia will feel sad if he doesn’t attend. After all, Felicia is his best friend, doesn’t care that he has Asperger’s, and talks all the time about dinosaurs. Armond decides to attend the party. With the support of Felicia and her mother, he is able to make it through the party and have fun.
Why I like this book: This is a realistic and humorous portrayal of what it’s like for a child with Asperger’s to socialize with other children. The story is inspired by Armond Isaak, who participated in Nancy Carlson’s writing classes when he was seven years old. The author was inspired by Armond’s stories about his life with Asperger’s syndrome. When he approached her a few years later to help him turn his stories into a book, she agreed. The book is about learning how to cope in situations where you are uncomfortable, learning to be a better friend and realizing your aren’t alone. Nancy Carlson’s illustrations are vivid, colorful, emotive and include diversity. Armond’s facial expressions are priceless. This is an excellent book that offers helpful coping advice to children on the autism spectrum and for those who care about them. This is an ideal book for classrooms.
Nancy Carlson is an accomplished children’s book author and illustrator who has published 65 children’s books.
Armond Isaak is now 14 years old and in middle school. Besides reading books, he loves Legos, acting, and playing the trumpet. He is also a proud Boy Scout.
Resources: There is a note for parents and teachers at the end of the book with suggestions about helping children make friends, learn social skills, and encourage empathy. Armond shares his thoughts about living with Asperger’s syndrome with the hopes it will help other kids. You may want to visit Nancy Carlson’s website for more information and a video of Nancy and Armond being interviewed on television.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.