Current statistics show that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making the condition more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes,ids combined. In total, an estimated 1.5 million individuals in the United States are affected by autism. Perhaps most alarming, government statistics suggest that the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually – without a known explanation.
It can be hard for kids to relate to their peers with autism, and this is a problem that may only grow as it becomes more common. I had a chance to review the book Cooper and the Big Apple. Cooper, an autistic cat, goes to NYC with his best friend Jennifer, and is confused by figures of speech and nicknames. It's a great way for kids to see how literally people with autism see the world, and how confused they can be by allusions that seem obvious from others. It also helps children with autism to visually see how words and phrases can have multiple meanings.
“I wrote Cooper and the Big Apple in hopes that educators could use it in the classroom to teach young children about figures of speech. It could also be used as a tool to teach other children about what it is like to be on the autism spectrum,” says Camille. “But I think the most important thing I want people to know is that people with autism might be different, but they are not less. Most people on the autism spectrum are extremely intelligent; but they are wired differently. They have a hard time expressing themselves. My hope is that as awareness increases, the general public will be able to give autistic people opportunities that celebrate their unique talents.”
About the Author:
Camille Cohn currently lives in the Texas Hill Country with her two teenage daughters, Riley and Sydney and their seven dogs. She currently works at the Fredericksburg Elementary School as an art teacher.
Prior to becoming an elementary school teacher, Camille worked as a freelance graphic designer as well as an art director at advertising agencies in Dallas and Houston and enjoyed a successful career, working in print and television. Throughout her career, she had won several different awards. She also holds a degree in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin. Cooper and the Big Apple is her first book.
About the Illustrator:
Riley Cohn is a junior at Fredericksburg High School in Texas. She lives with her mother Camille, and sister Ss drawing, painting, water Zumba, and swimming. Her gift of autism gives her a unique perspective and special ability to capture a character’s true essence in her artwork.
Cooper and the Big Apple is Riley’s second book. Her first book, Martin in the Narthex, received a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award.
Cooper and the Big Apple is now available in hard cover ($15.95) on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and in other bookstores.