My Best Friend Will is a terrific picture book describing the friendship between Jamie and Will. Jamie and Will are best friends. The key element to their friendship portrayed in the book is the fact that Will has autism.
The book does a fantastic job of explaining autism in a way that is easily understandable to elementary school age children. It looks at the ways Jamie and Will are alike and some of their differences. The book clarifies that autism is a different way of thinking. Will’s brain works differently than Jamie’s resulting in some behaviors that can be off-putting or confusing for people who are unaware of how Autism affects those who cope with it on a daily basis.
The story is told with photographs of Will and Jamie. The text is simple and clear. It explains that
Sometimes kids with autism hear, see, smell and taste things differently. This isn’t wrong; it is just a different way of learning about the world….Many kids with autism feel touch in different ways. They can either feel too much touch or not enough touch.
The book also addresses the fact that kids with autism have difficulty communicating with others and with understanding emotions.
There are Tips For Teachers at the back of the book regarding ways to use the book in a classroom as well as interactive activities that can be done in the classroom to give students a way to experience their surroundings when requiring their brains to process information in a different way. It also lists other children’s book and web resources.
Having taught many children with Asberger’s and on the Autism spectrum in my theatre classes I found this book to be an excellent resource for explaining behavior which confuses other students and can often result in unkindness.
This was recommended to me by another parent and I am exceedingly grateful. This is a book from which all teachers, parents and children can benefit and I highly recommend it.