'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 20 January 2013

Review: Kevin Thinks

Kevin think his mum is ridiculous for saying that he is wasting the sunshine and fresh air by staying inside. As if it would ever run out!

Kevin thinks you should always do up the top button. Why else is it there?

Kevin thinks his computer brain is awesome because he can remember lots and lots of important facts about outer space, computers and football.

Kevin Thinks is the story of a boy with Asperger Syndrome (AS). While Kevin might look at the world a little bit differently to most people, what he thinks make perfect sense to him. The story offers a very simple approach to the at times confronting behaviours and quirks of AS children. The text and illustrations together offer a very insightful picture of life for an Asperger child, trying to reconcile what their own logic tells them with the actions and words of those around them.

The overall message is very positive – Kevin might think a little differently to the average person, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Thinking differently can open up all sorts of amazing possibilities and the story concludes with a reminder that many people who think the way Kevin does have gone on to achieve wonderful things because they look at the world differently.  For those struggling with the challenges of raising or educating an AS child, I love the encouragement offered with this reminder.

With several friends with Asperger children, I know that explaining their child’s behaviour to family and friends can be a very draining exercise. I believe that books like Kevin Thinks are a fantastic way to communicate what can be quite a complicated issue.  Kevin Thinks is ideal to have on hand as a classroom resource in preschool, infants and primary school as well as for families with AS children or anyone with an interest in better understanding the way AS children look at the world around them.

The book concludes with a detailed note from the author Gail Watt, who is an Australian primary school teacher and mother of three, including a son with Asperger Syndrome. Gail’s empathy is apparent throughout the story and, as she mentions in her final words, one of the significant messages she wants to convey with Kevin Thinks is the importance of tolerance and understanding of children who think and behave in a way different to their peers and a reminder to all of us that it is okay to be different.

Kevin Thinks is available from bookshops in Australia and New Zealand or directly from Footprint Books.

Title:  Kevin Thinks: ...about Outer Space, Confusing Expressions and the Perfectly Logical World of Asperger Syndrome
Author/Illustrator: Gail Watts
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date:  April 2012
Format:  Hardcover with dust jacket
ISBN: 9781849052924
For ages:  5+
Type: Picture book