French Fries in the Park.
French Fries in the Park
J M Sheridan, author
Jamie Forgetta, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781546209638 $16.99, PB, 28pp, www.jmsheridan/books
"French Fries in the Park" is a gently color illustrated book for children about autism. It is written simply and allows kids to identify with other children who may appear to be different.
It begins with a sensitive poem titled Be My Friend, by Janey Coyne-Scaturro: "I walk a very different path/ Sometimes it's hard for me to laugh/ I would also like a hug/ But sometimes all I do is shrug/... The world is a puzzle and I don't fit/ i need some space to make sense of it." After other descriptive lines, it ends with: "I like to have fun we are truly the same/ It's just that i have a different brain/ If you make room for me inside of your heart/ With a little patience a friendship can start."
In the story, Brianna is a young girl excited to be going to the park with her dad and favorite stuffed animal friend, Mrs. Moomoo. At the park she meets another boy named Tommy with his dad. Tommy was waving his hands in the air, and Brianna asked his father why he did that. His father answered it was because he had autism, adding "Hand waving is called stimming. It helps him control his emotions inside."
Soon Brianna is ready for a snack with her dad at the picnic table. Tommy and his dad and his dog, Shadow have a snack of french fries too. The children gradually learn to communicate with each other and they share their snack together. Tommy did not look at Brianna with his eyes, but she understood that was because of his autism. They played quietly together in the sandbox and on the wobbly butterflies. Tommy surprised Brianna with a strong squeeze when it was time to say goodbye. Brianna was happy that she made a new friend who liked her, and who liked french fries just like her.
Tenderly told and carefully illuminated, "French Fries in the Park" is a wonderful children's introduction to an acceptance and understanding of children with autism spectrum disorder. A percentage of all sales of "French Fries in the Park" will go to help fund The Autism project, a charity that benefits children with ASD.