April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. I used to work as a personal care assistant for young adults with autism, and that impacted my creation of Clover, the main character in Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten. She shares some characteristics with some kids on the spectrum—most notably her sensitivity to sensory input. (I share some of her sensitivity, too.) If Clover were a human child, she would likely be diagnosed as on the spectrum. But I hope all readers can relate to her. We all have our own traits and anxieties that make certain situations hard to deal with, and having friends usually makes any situation easier to handle.
Although the word “autism” is never mentioned in the text, classrooms and storytimes could definitely use Clover Kitty to talk about acceptance of the differences between kids. Reading it aloud would also provide a positive model of problem-solving and friendship-making for kids.
You can find a readaloud of Clover Kitty (scroll down to Readings by Other Folks), and here’s a downloadable activity sheet for you.
Also, I have a favor to ask. If you’ve read or listened to Clover Kitty and enjoyed it, would you go to Amazon and upvote one of the positive reviews? Although the rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars, there’s a very negative review at the very top, and 11 people have marked it Helpful. :>( Right after that is a very positive review that (as I write this) 16 people have marked Helpful. IF you agree with the positive review, would you mark it Helpful? It kind of hurts to see that negative review up on top all the time. Thank you!
[My Classroom Connections posts share a way to connect one of my books or poems to a classroom topic–often something timely that you might be covering in the next month or so. Please share this post if you have educator friends who might be interested–thanks!]