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Thought is Not the Boss of Me! 

Our minds are very powerful things. It allows us to do many things, such as dancing, sports, and learning new skills. They can, even without us knowing, control our entire bodies to stay alive. Our minds can also get lost in thought, and thought can sometimes cause mischief.

In, Thought is Not the Boss of Me! by Sheila Booth-Alberstadt and Sarah Lamb, we are introduced to Lincoln. A young child who tends to get into some trouble without realizing he is being coerced into doing so by none other than ‘Thought.’ ‘Thought’ bosses Lincoln around and makes him do not nice things, and ends up being punished.

This relatable story is beaming with delight, from the vibrantly adorable illustrations by Elizabeth George to the comical and inviting writing. This picture book was such a clever way of showing young kids how thoughts and the mind work and how to overcome the negative thoughts that come along with them. I love how Lincoln is presented as innocent during the entire ordeal but makes a conscious decision to stop listening to ‘Thought.’ Once Lincoln realizes ‘Thought’ only gets him into trouble, he starts thinking as well as acting on his own account. What an extremely difficult thing it is to do, to master one’s thoughts, as a growing child.

Thought is Not the Boss of Me! is an extraordinary children’s book about recognizing and dealing with big emotions. This well-written story helps children realize that big feelings are normal and that they can learn how to manage them. I Would absolutely recommend it to any family or young reader, as the message is valuable to people of all ages. It would make a great addition to a school library or classroom.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09LFLLS9N

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The Surprising Potential Humans Have

Douglas Farrago
Douglas Farrago Author Interview

Noki follows a boxer with Autism, he wants to use his skills to help his father but encounters people that do not have his best interest at heart. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The story of Noki was stuck in my head for over ten years. I couldn’t shake it. I just fell in love with the character and felt I needed to share him with the world. I believe the book does a great job showing the limitations we, as a society, place on people, knowingly or not. Even more importantly, it shows the surprising potential humans have. This is something I saw in my thirty-year experience as a doctor treating autistic patients. People with autism, like Noki, may have some social and communication difficulties, but it doesn’t mean they are without aspirations, goals, love, thoughts, or purpose. I hope this book shows the reader this.

What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

We all need to be aware that when you meet one person with autism you meet one person with autism. Everyone is different. Everyone deserves basic respect and nonjudgment from others, autism or not. That being said, autism is a spectrum and this has to be acknowledged. There is a pivotal point in Noki where there is a hearing to decide whether he understands the consequences and risks of boxing. Understanding the differences between each autistic person provides a learning opportunity for characters in the book and should do the same for those who read it.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I definitely wanted to explore the deep dark secrets of the boxing world. I know it all too well. No one really talks about it and it hasn’t changed much in a century. Putting someone like Noki in that environment was exciting to me. I wanted to also make a social worker a hero (heroine) because normally they are portrayed negatively. Lastly, the surprise ending in Noki is critical in realizing what you may have just read is something you have seen many times before.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am writing another business book now but will probably start on a book about Taddy Roosevelt (yes, that is spelled right).

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

When a highly skilled boxer with autism wants to take part in the corrupt world of professional fighting, whose decision is it to make?

A bankrupt boxing gym, a down-on-his luck drifter, and a desperate father grapple with an opportunity that could solve all their problems, but at a tragic cost. 
 
Noki has grown up in his father’s gym, around the seedy world of boxing his whole life, the fighters there calling him a “man-child.” A young Black man with autism with a penchant for wearing Disney t-shirts, Noki is gifted with incredible boxing skills, considered by his inner circle as unbeatable. But when the unscrupulous boxing bigwigs see dollar signs, his gym family is torn: Are they permitting Noki to pursue his passion or are they taking advantage of someone with a disability. Noki, a new young adult fiction novel by Douglas Farrago, is a masterfully written coming of age story of loyalty, grit, and self-discovery in the most heartbreaking of circumstances.  

Noki

Noki lives an unassuming life with his father, Jip, as they struggle to make ends meet with a failing boxing gym. Noki doesn’t speak much with the other boxers or even with his father, but when Bug shows up one late rainy evening, Noki takes a shine to him and talks more than he ever has before.

At first, they are allowed to build their friendship and trust. However, everything changes for them after the gym’s main fighter and moneymaker leaves unexpectedly, causing Jip to have a stroke. Together, Noki and Bug discover ways of making money with Noki’s boxing talent, but their lies and dealings with the shady business of boxing soon threaten more than their abilities to save Jip and the gym. They must work together with those they trust, or they may lose everything they love and care about.

This exciting book written by Douglas Farrago has some fantastic commentary on the business of boxing. Readers can tell that the author knows what he’s talking about with boxing in how he describes each match, which makes those scenes especially interesting to read. It’s interesting to see a little more about what goes on behind those matches. This is a great way to expose some of the shady things boxers have to deal with and how easy it is for boxers to get sucked into financially abusive situations.

I thought the characters started out a little flat, with the focus on Noki and Bug because they were different, Noki with his autism and Bug with his small stature. For at least the first half of the book, it felt like everyone thought Noki couldn’t really understand things and only knew how to follow instructions. Bug and Jip, especially would make comments to this effect quite often. It wasn’t until Bug started getting threatened for using Noki that changed, and he started treating Noki more like a normal person. Eventually, Noki as a character-filled out as Bug began treating him as an average person.

Noki while being a work of fiction, is a great resource to learn more about the boxing system and how it makes it easy to take advantage of boxers. Young adults and teen readers will find this coming-of-age novel entertaining as it explores the life of an autistic person in the world of sports.

Pages: 172 | ASIN : B08YFDTQB5

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A Sibling’s Guide To Autism

A Sibling’s Guide To Autism is an educational children’s book written in the form of an essay, or journal entry of sorts, where the author is explaining to her younger sibling what it is like to have an older sibling with autism. I don’t live with anyone that has autism so I, like her younger sibling, am learning about these things for the first time through this wonderfully illustrated book. This picture book is informative as well as enlightening and serves as a wonderful educational resource on the subject.

Author Irene Kim shares her experiences living with a sibling with autism. It sounds tough, but she also makes a point to say that it is rewarding in the end. The book uses a beautiful modern expressionist art style throughout the book to support the ideas presented on each page. Each piece of art and page is focused on an idea that takes on a different and more powerful meaning when you are living with someone with autism, like: pace, volume, people, and attachment. The section about ‘Attachment’ was the most impactful to me. I come to realize that living with someone with autism makes you mature and grow in ways that takes other people decades.

A Sibling’s Guide To Autism is a poignant children’s book that illuminates the up and downs that come with raising a child with autism. This is a fantastic picture book for teachers, parents, and children that are about to have someone with autism in their lives. This will be helpful in understanding that, while it will be difficult, it will also be rewarding, and author Irene Kim captures that in a brilliant way.

Pages: 17 | ASIN: B094HB7338

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Let’s Talk! A Story of Autism and Friendship

Let’s Talk! A Story of Autism and Friendship, by Lisa Jacovsky is a fun and educational children’s story about a little girl named Harper. While at the pool one day, she meets a girl named Emma. She tries to talk and play with her, but she notices something’s off. Emma doesn’t speak, and she just stands there, flapping her arms. Harper offers to play in the pool with Emma and once she does, she learns that Emma has autism! Even after knowing why Emma behaved the way she did, she didn’t mind and Emma still became her best friend.

Let’s Talk! A Story of Autism and Friendship is a light-hearted and engaging story that teaches young readers a valuable life lesson. Author Lisa Jacovsky is able to write about a sensitive topic while keeping it easy for kids to understand. The colorful and detailed illustrations allow for the reader to better visualize the story and the characters. I really enjoyed how the story shows what it is like to have a friend with autism, letting the audience know that they may think differently, but they are still fun people to be around!

Let’s Talk! A Story of Autism and Friendship is a touching and easy to read picture book that will make it easy for parents and teachers to begin a discussion about autism with children. It teaches kids about the importance of accepting others and learning how to make them feel more comfortable, and Lisa Jacovsky does it all within an entertaining story.

Pages: 14 | ASIN: B08CBDT71J

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Weirdo 2.0

Reading Christopher Wheat’s Weirdo 2.0 will make you understand how different everyone is. The author uses his condition and real-life stories to tell of his experiences as a teacher and tutor living with Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition that is now shoved under the autism umbrella. The reader gets educated on the condition and autism at large. Reading this book made me aware of how autistic people live. Christopher Wheat writes in a calm and gentle tone. You can read his sensations through the text he pens in the book. I appreciate the author for talking about some encounters that not many people would be comfortable talking about.

Stories from the classroom and in the school were intriguing to read. As a person living with a condition that is related to autism, Christopher Wheat’s experiences were a little different from others. I was not pleased reading about the bullying and mild disrespect shown by some. The author is a strong individual for penning some of his most painful experiences as such things would easily break anyone with a fragile heart. I empathized with him on many occasions but also applauded him for remaining firm and standing up for himself.

Not many people understand the world of people living with autism and related conditions. From the book, I learned that there is no better virtue than kindness. Be kind to everyone, and not just the people you know or interact with. Christopher Wheat is an excellent writer. His style of narration and way of introducing new stories is one of the best things about the author. He takes his time when explaining situations and one can tell that he is happy writing his stories. The memoir is an amazing read for people who want some encouragement and inspiration as they face day to day challenges at work. Christopher Wheat’s story is moving and motivating.

Weirdo 2.0 evokes strong emotions. Reading about the harsh boss almost brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate the author for the lessons in the book. Once you are done with this book you get to realize how ungracious the world we live in can be and why some people choose to quit without saying a word. The author however urges all to speak up no matter the situation they are in. Apart from the touching stories, I enjoyed reading about Christopher Wheat’s happy days. One can draw powerful lessons in both his professional and personal life. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy thoughtful autobiographies and uplifting real-life stories.

Pages: 259 | ASIN: B083G1P5B3

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Very Gifted

Regine Dubono Author Interview

Regine Dubono Author Interview

The Mom and Her Autistic Daughter details the life and hardships you encountered when caring for an autistic adult daughter. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wanted so much to help her because the child I remembered she was was very smart, very gifted in the arts (dance, music, painting), so sensitive to your feelings, so compassionate. The drugs had turned her into a disabled monster.

There is ample discussion given to the drugs that autistic people are often prescribed. What are some common misconceptions people have about this topic?

The drugs only serve to mask symptoms and give the false impression that they are solving the problem.

Do you plan to write more books on this topic?

Yes. I will continue this fight as long as I live. My next book may be titled: “After the Respite”.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Mom and her Autistic Daughter-2 by [dubono, regine]Desiree has been given a status of emergency placement and Terry is her designated ICM. Attempts to place Desiree in a DDD licensed supervised apartment are tedious and difficult for she has e-bursts and night incontinence. Her issues are personal anger, and high anxiety. And perhaps because she was prescribed anti-depressant drugs, she can become violent. Unlike parents of mentally ill young people, Dubono pulled Desiree out of the shelter in an attempt to heal her, while awaiting the DDD placement.

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The Mom and her Autistic Daughter

The Mom and her Autistic Daughter-2 by [dubono, regine]

The Mom and Her Autistic Daughter by Regine Dubono is a fitting title for this book. Dubono explains the life and turmoil of Desiree, an adult with autism, and her mother. Desiree’s medicines’ effects and side effects are explored. The struggle to find Desiree a long term living arrangement becomes a source of contention between Desiree, Desiree’s mother, and her caregivers. Her mother finds it difficult to find balance for herself and her daughter while playing a deck that seems stacked against them.

The author delves into Desiree’s everyday life which feels tumultuous at best. Desiree has parts of her life she enjoys such as shopping and manicures, but everything apart from that feels tense. In working in Special Education I have found in the past that this is pretty typical of autistic children. I assume that would generally carry over into adulthood as it has with Desiree. My students have had areas they excel in and become almost obsessive about their particular interests. Anything else feels boring or daunting. Any deviation from their schedule can also cause a tailspin or meltdown. These are things that readers who have not worked with people with autism may not know and may learn from the book.

I’ve also had a bit of experience in dealing with drugs and their side effects while caring for my father. Dubono explores how drugs may “fix” one issue, but cause many more. One drug may also cause further symptoms that need to be controlled, thus producing the need for more drugs. These are frustrating waters to navigate. Readers may get more of a grasp of how many pharmaceutical companies and drug-pushing doctors work in this aspect. This part of the book is especially pertinent in today’s social climate.

Dubono’s explanation of the struggles in finding Desiree a permanent and sufficient placement especially hit home for me. Many readers who have dealt with this kind of thing will be able to sympathize with the accounts she gives. It is extremely hard to find caregivers for adults. It would be exponentially harder to find care for those who are prone to have outbursts and labelled as “difficult.” Clean and suitable facilities and genuinely caring and qualified caregivers aren’t always readily available. My family knows that from experience. Anyone who has dealt with this will find her accounts relatable.

The structure of the book feels somewhat lacking and feels repetitive at times. One letter in particular that is written by the mother is repeated almost verbatim in another part of the book. I had to flip back to make sure I hadn’t lost my place. There are quite a few grammatical and spelling errors throughout the book. There are also many abbreviations that are left unexplained. There is substance in the experiences and relationship of the mother and daughter, but the book doesn’t flow as well as I would have liked it to. I think the book would benefit greatly from an editor and proofreader.

There are important lessons to be learned here. This is a story that should be told as a cautionary tale and to help parents or guardians not feel alone in this situation. Desiree’s voice should be heard, I just think the book could use some revision and restructuring.

Pages: 123 | ASIN: B07H5RCYB5

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