As an educator, I’d heard about neurodiversity, but didn’t have a real understanding of it until our grandson was diagnosed as neurodiverse. Not sure about what makes a person neurodiverse? This charming book will help.
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Do You Know Anyone Who is Neurodiverse?
“Someone’s acting like a real drama queen!” one of my students blurted out as he watched another student grudgingly hand his paper in. The blurter meant no harm, and everyone else in class hid their smiles behind their notebooks. In truth, the blurter had put words to my thoughts.
I work at a small private school, and we don’t have special education resources. Because of our small class sizes and individualized instruction in math and reading, even neurodiverse students thrive. Although we’ve come a long way in understanding the different ways our brains process information, many people don’t understand neurodiversity and the richness it can bring to a classroom, a workplace, or the world.
Someone diagnosed as neurodiverse may have one (or many) other labels—autistic, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dyslexia, dysgraphia, or Tourette’s. Or they may have none. You can read more about neurotypical and neurodiverse people here.
The bottom line? We can all benefit from understanding and embracing our differences, as well as the differences we see in others. Whether you’ve never heard of neurodiversity, or know someone who identifies as neurodiverse, Has Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? is a great place to start.
Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?
By Leslie Connor, Katherine Tegen Books, February 2022, 332 pages, six and up.
Eleven-year-old Aurora Petrequin’s best friend doesn’t talk. And that’s fine by her. She makes enough noise for the two of them. Aurora also bounces, blurts, and rushes in where angels fear to tread. But Frenchie doesn’t mind. They’ve known each other since third grade when Frenchie and his mom moved in next door to Aurora and her parents.
Now their moms are best friends, too. Some people mistake Frenchie’s silence for a lack of understanding, but Aurora knows better. Frenchie’s facial expressions, hand flutters, whistles, and stances communicate as loudly as Aurora’s blurts and proclamations.
After three years of having the same teacher as Frenchie, Aurora wonders how they’ll survive in different classrooms for sixth grade. The first few days go well, and for once Aurora has friends who can talk to her.
But everything goes wrong when they don’t ride the bus to school on Friday before Labor Day. Frenchie doesn’t make it to class. His disappearance sets off a community-wide search, bringing together people who don’t normally mingle.
Will they find Frenchie before it’s too late?
What I Loved About This Book
Connor weaves together a beautiful story, mostly narrated by Aurora, about neurodiversity and acceptance. Aurora’s supportive family encourages her to be herself, while still helping her to understand social niceties. Frenchie’s mom accepts him unconditionally, and she value’s Aurora’s friendship with her son.
Frenchie’s disappearance brings unlikely people together as they learn to appreciate each other’s special talents and endearing quirks. Aurora even learns to appreciate her nemesis, the annoying Darleen Dombroski, who everyone thinks should be her BFF.
I’ll be purchasing this one for our school library, along with a few copies for friends and family. As the grandparent of a neurodiverse child, I especially appreciated how the author subtly, yet gently points out we’re all a little quirky. And we can either let our differences draw us apart or let them enrich our lives.
A must-read for elementary and middle school students (and their parents and teachers). Fans of Laura Melchor and Josephine Cameron will love this book.Don't miss this charming MG novel from @LeslieConnor29 (you don't have to be in middle-grade to fall in love with it). #amreading #bookreview #neurodiverse Click To Tweet