Looking back at April, one of the best things I did was celebrate National Awareness Month. I had promised myself I would read a book about autism, preferably a non-fiction one, maybe a memoir, and I found just the book in Ron Suskind’s Life Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism.

This 2014 publication by Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is the story of a family, a family turned topsy-turvy by autism. With Owen, Suskind’s son, autism struck at the age of three. Ron and Cornelia, Owen’s parents went from having a typical, “normal” three year old to being the parents of a child who did not speak, often exhibited strange physical acts, and just seemed not to “be there.” Owen’s older brother, Walt, contributed to this book (as did Owen, himself), giving the reader a handle on how autism affects the entire family. Strangely enough, Owen’s parents were able to take his obsession with Disney animated movies, and turn it into a tool used to communicate with their “lost son.” Spoiler Alert: Owen goes on to meet several Disney animators, falls in love, and starts a special Disney Club that acts as a support group for special needs students in college, demonstrating “the true meaning of the words, ‘happily ever after’ .”

Another thing I did was to donate to Autism Speaks after researching the organization that provides research and even assistance to the autism community, something that made me feel good.

At school, I had my classes follow my lesson plan for an “Autism Awareness Day, where my freshmen discussed their original thoughts/opinions/feelings about autism. In the nine o’clock class students discussed in small groups siblings/friends/people they knew who had been diagnosed with autism. In my ten o’clock, we had an autistic young woman, who had shared this diagnosis when she did her Literacy Narrative with the whole class, and her group was blessed with having access to personal experience. All in all it was a good experience for both classes.

I hope to do more next year for Autism Awareness month, but I am warmed with what I learned and shared about autism with others.

Autism awareness card or background. vector illustration.



Continuing 2020 ALPHABET CHALLENGE, Author Edition: Letter “H”

Naoki Higashda, the author I picked for the letter “H” is thirteen years old and autistic. His best-selling memoir, The Reason Why I Jump, is an enlightening, beautifully written and explained peek into the autistic mind. His autism, however, is not what makes this writer special, however; it is his always patient, sometimes poetic style of writing.ALPHABET-SOUP-2020-AUTHOR-EDITION-BE-820

One of my Advanced Writing students chose this book for her Memoir Project Assignment this semester, and she recommended the book so highly, I bought it to read for April, National Autism Awareness Month. I’m so glad I did.

I reviewed this book on “Powerful Women Readers” (Put the title in the search box and it will give you a link to “Literacy and Me,” my “other” blog.) earlier this month. If you are searching for an excellent non-fiction read, I highly recommend this one.

Wednesday’s Words/The 2020 Alphabet Challenge

ALPHABET-SOUP-2020-AUTHOR-EDITION-BE-820Today’s post is a mishmash of many memes.

61lkiZmMBvL-1 I want to tell you first why I ordered a copy of this particular book. First, one of my students read it for her Memoir Assignment, and her review made me want to read it. Second, in April I’m going to start a meme, “All Things Autistic” for the month, participating in National Autism Awareness Month; and third, because the author’s name begins with an “H.”

It is an easy read, done in the form of Questions and Answers, and it is written by a thirteen-year-old, autistic author. So far it is a great read.


What are you reading?   61lkiZmMBvL-1


What did you finish lately?thumbnail_20200308_105121.jpg

What will you read next?


I will finish City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert .


Wednesday Word of the Day


Audacious is my word for 2020, and it means  “bold” / ” courageous” / “outspoken.  This is something I want to learn–to speak up for myself, to speak up when something is not right (I just finished watching the movie, The Hate U Give on Amazon. I highly recommend it.), to try new things: foods, techie skills, teaching on line; maybe you CAN teach an old dog/woman/professor new tricks! LOL

Let me know YOUR word for 2020. Write a comment in the reply box below.

AND…AS ALWAYS…KEEP ON READING. Books are cheap in a time when libraries are forced to close.

THE ROSIE RESULT by Graeme Simsion: A Review

This book is the conclusion to the Don Tillman trilogy, but it also makes a great stand-alone novel. Written in 2019, it’s “twist-ending” is the perfect sign off to the series. I was so pleased with the ending, I gave a “yay” out loud and would have clapped my hands together in delight had I not been reaching for reading log and pen to record a review of this fine piece of writing and entertainment.

Don and Rosie’s ten-year-old son, Hudson, the main character in this one, causes his school teacher and counselor some concern, both thinking he should be evaluated for autism. Ironically enough Don does NOT want his son labeled, and he and Rosie fight the school authorities, as Don continuously looks for the stereotypic characteristics of autistic people. Knowing Don, if you have read any of the other two books, The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, you will not be surprised he keeps a “list” and tries to check off the boxes there.

Described as “charming, eloquent, and insightful…” by Booklist, the novel is also “…a fitting end to this trilogy that doesn’t pull punches”(Kirkus Review) about autism or any other subject it includes.  The secondary characters, many of whom the reader may have seen in previous books (but knowing them before this part of the trilogy is unnecessary), are admirably drawn, and whom we are attached to before we realize we are “hooked.”

So many themes and subplots fill this hilarious, yet profound ending to the series that it would take too long to describe them, but the “life-lessons” about friendship, betrayal, being “different” in any way, and compassion for others (something “experts” often claim auties are incapable of feeling or expressing) undergirds a great plot and a narrative which “explains” the autistic mind to us amateurs.

READ The Rosie Result. You will be glad you invested your invaluable reading time in this novel.


This meme asks that one copy the first line(s) of a current read in an attempt to “hook” others. With that in mind, here is the first line of The Rosie Result, the final book in the Don Tillman Trilogy.

“I was standing on one leg shucking oysters when the problems began.”

Weird? No weirder than the loveable main character of the Rosie series, Don Tillman. I loved the first book, The Rosie Project; enjoyed the second, The Rosie Effect; and am in for a good holiday-weekend read with The Rosie Result. I can hardly wait to begin!