I recently received the opportunity to write a review about a new Sensory Star book. I was sent a free paperback copy of “Jesse and the Super Sensorific Seashore” A Day in the Life of a Boy with Autism. The book is written by Martha Bolton and Illustrated by Silke Heyer from Germany who is an adult with autism. She is an amazing artist! Before I get into too much of my book review, I want to give you a little background. Jesse’s mom and dad are Lisa and Leslie Ligon. Jesse also has a sister named Chloe, age 13. Jesse is 6 and was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years and 9 months old. The family was committed to learn about autism to help their son. They started a website business called Sensory Smart LLC in 2010 to help other families with similar circumstances. They have newly come up with a new site, Sensory Star featuring their new book inspired by a photo that was taken of their son at the beach. This story is Jesse’s story of his day at the beach with his family and how they helped him get through the day so he could enjoy the beach.
About the book
First thing I noticed when reading this book was that it doesn’t start out at the beach. Being a mom of a daughter with autism, I absolutely LOVE the beginning of this book. The opening is very important to me as it probably would to other parents with children with autism or any related disability. The first line of the book says it all: “Jesse’s autism is not who he is.” That line says it all to me and it’s something that we teach our daughter who is now 12. Then it goes on to say “He won’t let it stop him because he’s a whiz at counting and details and all kinds of art. He just needs some help being sensory smart!” We have always told our daughter and have always shown her that autism doesn’t define her. She’s who she is, not autism. I love that the book opened up this way.
Then the story goes on about how his mom tells him his senses could be his best friends and that they help him to explore. Before they go to the beach, you see Jesse’s picture schedule that says “A day at the beach”. I really thought that was great too because the story explains a little about senses, Jesse’s sensory problems and that he uses a picture schedule. These things hit home for me because keeping a schedule is often a great thing for kids with autism and a picture schedule works really great. It helps them to understand it easier. We had picture schedules for our daughter when she was younger before she knew how to read. She doesn’t use them as often now as she has gotten older but she still uses them for school. Anyway, back to the book. I love that all these details were in the book before we actually get to the beach because in my opinion, I think it brings more awareness about autism and some things that you could expect with autism.
There are quite a few situations that Jesse ran into that he had some problems with. Like when they got to the beach, he didn’t like the “fishy smell” when he got out of the car. Then we go on to read about how his dad calmed him down with a hug. Then Jesse was enjoying picking up seashells but then when the wet sand went over his toes he didn’t like it and wanted it off. He didn’t know it wouldn’t hurt him. But with the help from his family, he found that it was actually fun because he could build sandcastles with it! His sister, Chloe was pointing out clouds that looked like a pirate ship to him and even though he didn’t see what she did, he went along with her imagination. And so the story goes along with other things that were new to Jesse and how his family helped him through everything so he could enjoy his day at the beach.
So when his mom told him that his picture schedule says it was time to go, he didn’t want to! But as they were leaving his dad told him they would come back since he now knows how much fun the beach is. And that everywhere he goes, he should bring his senses too. And of course the last line of the book “There’s no stopping that kid!”
My thoughts on the story
I thought the story was great. It was really cute, it also rhymes so it makes it easy for kids to follow along and the way it is written, you actually get to know Jesse and get a feeling of what a great and wonderful kid he is. It also gives you a good feeling too because Jesse was able to overcome a lot of things and enjoy himself. All he needed was a little help. I think it sends a great message that it’s okay to need some help and that you can overcome those obstacles in front of you. My daughter was struggling with something she was working on the other day. She was doing a latch hook and she has never done one before. She gets frustrated easily sometimes and she wants to give up but at the same time, it really upsets her to give up because she doesn’t like giving up on things because it isn’t finished. It may not sound like it makes sense but that’s how things are for her. Anyway, after she was able to calm down and I was able to show her again and talk to her about it, she said, “I can do it because Jesse got through it.” At first I wasn’t sure what she was talking about and then it hit me – she was talking about this story! But she did get through it though and finally got the hang of the latch hook!
More than a story
At the end of the book there are a couple extra pages that I think are great for understanding the story. There are questions such as “What is autism?”, “How can I be a friend to a person with autism?”, “What is the picture schedule Jesse used at the beach?”, “What are the little pictures my friend with autism uses?” and “Why would a change in schedule or routine upset my friend with autism?” and there are about 5 more questions. All of them have answers with an explanation. I think this is great for other kids to better understand autism and their friend with autism. Not only is the story a great story for kids with autism, but also great for other kids that have friends or know someone else with autism.
At my daughter’s school, her teachers every year was really good about talking to the rest of her classmates about autism if there happened to be a day she was absent from school and they would read books and things so they had a better understanding as to why change in routine was hard for her, why loud sounds bothered her or why she would rather sit alone instead of being with the whole class when it came to group activities in the classroom. I was really impressed with the way the school handled things because we were always told that all the kids throughout the years were all really good to her and wanted to be her friend. I would recommend this book to anyone including teachers and caregivers. It is such a great book and wonderful story! Great job Jesse for overcoming your obstacles to have a great day at the beach!
One last thing I have to say – The artwork by Silke Heyer is beautiful. My daughter wants to be an artist and art comes naturally to her. The artwork is in inspiration – the whole book is an inspiration!
Buy It: You can now purchase “Jesse and the Super Sensorific Seashore”, A Day in the Life of a Boy with Autism by visiting Sensory Star. Paperback copy is $14.99 and Hardcover copy is $19.99
Win It! Thanks to Sensory Star, they have sent me an extra copy of the book in hardcover format to host a giveaway. One of my lucky DustinNikki Mommy of Three readers will win a hardcover copy of this wonderful book!
For more in depth Giveaway Rules, please see my Giveaway Rules page!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I did receive a free copy of the book from Sensory Star mentioned in this post in exchange my personal honest review. I also received a second copy of the book free to giveaway to one of my readers. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.