We’ve been reading a wonderful Children’s book this week called A Vision of Empathy by Dunkle Deed. A clever and heartwarming book that not only teaches children about autism but also shows them what empathy is and why it is so important.
A Vision of Empathy is about a little boy called Noah who is autistic. Noah has a friend called Sadey who is initially unkind to Noah because she doesn’t understand why he does certain things. After an unusual (!) school trip to the zoo she experiences an insight into how Noah experiences the world. She discovers what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated and why it can be difficult to process lots of information in one go. She then uses this new found understanding, to be a better friend to Noah.
We adored the way this book cleverly helps children understand about autism and I’d go as far as saying I think every primary school should have (at least one) copy of this in their school to help school communities become even more understanding of autistic individuals.
What did we like about it?
- Teaches Children About Autism- Woven into this story are nuggets of information about what it is like to be autistic and what the world might feel like from Noah’s point of view. For example, children can gain a valuable insight into why some autistic children (and adults) find bright lights and loud noises uncomfortable, why autistic individuals may exhibit repetitive behaviours and what it is like to try and process information when there is too much being fired your way.
- Funny Story- What is fantastic about this book is it manages to cram loads of important information about autism in, whilst still being an enjoyable children’s book; which is crucial! As lets face it, if children don’t enjoy a story, it doesn’t matter how much useful information is inside, as if they don’t read it they can’t benefit from it! A Vision of Empathy is funny, heartwarming and pitched at the right level for children’s humour…there’s even a joke about poo thrown in there (quite literally)!
- Fosters Empathy- What struck me the most about this book is it doesn’t just tell children what empathy is and why its important, it makes you live it. Throughout the story it gives children relatable examples of what it might be like to feel overstimulated, why autistic children may sometimes appear not to hear you and what a melt down might actually feel like. Not only does this help children have a better understanding of their autistic peers but it helps make them appreciate that we are all different and we should try to understand someone and not judge them.
- Stunning Illustrations- The illustrations in A Vision of Empathy are absolutely stunning. The children adored how life-like the characters in the book looked (in my eldest words ‘They look like photographs!) and we loved the clever little details throughout, like the name of the school “Seymour Primary School’.
- Relatable Story- Although the school trip is slightly different to most school trips to the zoo (I won’t spoil it, but its fair to say its probably not a regularly school zoo trip) the rest of it is very relatable for children. It isn’t some far fetched story that they can’t relate to, it is probably something they have experienced. This will ultimately help children to put themselves in Noah and Sadey’s shoes and learn from their experience.
Buy it on Amazon here
Visit Dunkle Deed’s Website here