Talking is Not My Thing!
Publisher: Scallywag Press
It’s evening and it’s a familiar scene. Two siblings come in from the garden to eat, play and get ready for bed. The only difference here is that one of two explains to the reader that she doesn’t speak. However it doesn’t deter the family from doing all the things any family would do – including locating lost toys and playing occasional tricks on each other.
With speech bubbles, bright colours and characters so lively they leap off the page, this is a vibrant and happy book. It’s refreshing to see a picture book recognise non-verbal communication, and this example is particularly rare in the fact that it’s the narrator who is non-verbal. Plus (although not overtly stated in the story) she is on the autistic spectrum. Important points are effectively made (such as the fact that speech is not the only way to communicate) but without overegging the messages. We see the older sister teaching her younger brother a guessing game, and the younger brother reading her a story. And again without comment, no parents feature, but rather a grandparent is shown as lead carer.
This is a celebration of diversity and neurodiversity, but also quite simply a lovely picture book to share with any child.