Maria and Me
A Father, a Daughter (and Autism)
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
This is essentially a father’s description of life with his autistic daughter. However, its humorous voice and quirky graphic book style make for a highly unusual end result.
The book focuses on a specific holiday in Gran Canaria. Through his assorted recollections of the trip and his accompanying black and white doodles, Gallardo tells us much about the challenges facing Maria, as well as his own feelings about his daughter. Particularly poignant is a page of faces, representing the expressions that Gallardo particularly dislikes seeing other people make when they see Maria.
The comic book style of artwork reflects the value of clear simple images and pictograms to those on the autistic spectrum and others with communication difficulties.
Gallardo’s overriding message? Maria is ‘unique – just like everyone else’.