My Book - Ben Has Autism, Ben Is Awesome

Ben Has Autism. Ben Is Awesome!
By Meredith Zolty
Illustrated by Rebecca Rivard
Jason and Nordic Publishers, Nov. 2011
(c) Rebecca Rivard 2011
Ben is five years old and has autism. He shares some of the things he can do, such as type his name and play tag and hide-and-seek, as well as some of his challenges, such as not liking the feeling of wind on his face or having trouble putting on his pajamas. He also shares with the reader some of the ways he has learned to cope with his difficulties.

What People Are Saying:

A wonderfully enlightening book that does a very very good job of explaining the pros and cons of Autism in a way that anyone, regardless of their age, can relate to.... It’s a great book for the children as it helps them to recognize some of the things they’re feeling and helps them to identify it as a trait of their Autism rather than having them just feel they’re “weird” or “strange”… it is also great for the parents in that it helps to realize that you’re not alone. Other parents wrote this book, other parents relate to this book… other parents think that their children are awesome too. It’s a big plus for understanding Autism, not just for “people” but also for those that most of us have a hard time explaining it to… children. I definitely recommend picking this up and adding it to your child’s library both for your child and yourself.
     - Stuart Duncan, Autism from a Father's Point of View 

I had bought a copy of the book "Ben has Autism, Ben is Awesome" for Aidan's class. (Great book helping to explain Autism to 5 year olds). His teacher (who is awesome herself) sent home a thank you note...and said that the kids loved the book so much that they were inspired to write their own about Aidan...because he is awesome too. So...along with the note was a book called 'Our Friend Aidan.' Each of his classmates drew a picture and wrote why they like Aidan. I am absolutely beside myself with tears of joy.
     - Kara S., NH

I loved the fact that the author embraced the word autism (as opposed to dodging the 'A' bomb). By directly stating that the main character, Ben, has autism, we are free of any cloaks or hidden agendas. Education and understanding begins. The story, written for young children, begins showing Ben enjoying the typical 5 year old kid stuff. These pages merge into his autistic strength of superior memory, tumbling into visible difficulties and challenges of autism, onto life's work of overcoming difficulties. Ben is a growing boy learning strategies to overcome challenges autism manifests, breaking through limits to feel comfort in our world. Simplistic, yet profoundly effective in explaining autism to all children.  All readers, young and old, will feel recognition and resolve.
     - Mary Willett, Academic Play Therapist

It’s wonderful to read a children’s book about a boy making progress! Instead of fantasizing about a cure, the child reading this gem can learn to accept a child with autism for who he is, not for who he can be, but isn’t. The illustrations are lovely, with soft understated colors, adding a nice touch to the story. Yet, the facial expressions come to life and one can feel his sadness, frustration and excitement from the pages. This is an excellent book for Kindergarten and first grade teachers, children’s librarians or parents of newly diagnosed children, who want a more positive view of autism. Instead of gloom and doom, we see Ben just plugging away and enjoying life, no matter what. This book is a joy! I wish more books about autism were like this. The more we learn and understand about the spectrum of autism and its many colors and hues, the less afraid and negative we will be. Now, isn’t that something?? 
     - Autism Society of Michigan

Your book about Ben brought me to tears. I thought it captured so clearly what it must be like for a young child with autism to experience the world. In my role as an educator I often find myself answering many questions about children on the spectrum. I now can hand them a copy of "Ben... is Awesome" and tell them to read it to find out what it is like for a young child to have autism. Your beautiful handling of this often mysterious label and the way Ben's strengths were spelled out allowed the reader to view the many positive aspects to his emerging development. This is exactly what we hope to accomplish - capitalizing on each child's strengths and identifying those areas where through intervention we can help make a difference. 
     - Frances Porcaro, Assistant Executive Director for Educational Services, The Arc of Westchester NY

Loved the book!  It's a mix between a social story and picture book. The text describes how a child with autism is both the same as other young children and different and why.  Positive story for both typical children and children on the spectrum.  
     - Ann-Marie Sabrsula, Developmental Psychology Consultant/ABA Program Supervisor, Children's School for Early Development, Hawthorne NY


  1. Congratulations, Meredith! -Beth W

  2. Congrats. I liked your article in Autism Aspergers digest, I'm also a skater :-)


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