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Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite
Eli’s Story: What Makes Me, ME! by Tracey Lear is based on a poem written by the author for her son. The story takes shape as a boy, Eli, decides to present his feelings about his autism to his classmates. At the beginning of the book, there is a place for children to claim ownership with their names and a picture of themselves. Next, Eli explains his feelings and tries to help the other children understand why it may take him longer to respond to them or why certain sounds upset him. Finally, at the tale's end, he encourages readers to discover and embrace their uniqueness.
Tracey Lear has written a lovely story in rhyme, and illustrator Matea Anic has created vibrant pictures that accompany the text wonderfully. Eli is a real person; his interests are included after the story, and it will help children relate to his feelings and struggles. The story moves along quickly, but the rhyming words and eye-catching pictures will capture a child’s attention. It would be a good conversation starter for caregivers and educators to help children understand autism. In addition, Eli’s Story: What Makes Me, ME! could comfort children with autism as it may help validate some of their feelings. I read it to my children, who range in age from two to nine. Each child processed the book differently, but they all enjoyed it and asked questions about the content.