When this lovely book arrived on my desk I realized it was a perfect complement to Anna Nike Leskowsky’s article “Working with Autistic Children in a Regular Classroom” on page 12 in this issue. It’s Me, Henry, written by Stéphanie Deslauriers and illustrated by Genevieve Després (Orca Book Publishers, 2022), is a first-person narrative by Henry, who is a little different from the rest of his family and his classmates. As he explains what happens on a typical day in his life, you can appreciate how his behaviour might be trying for the people around him but also perfectly natural for a child who is only being himself.
Henry often demonstrates his passion for, and considerable knowledge of, the botanical world—sometimes to his peers’ annoyance—and shines when his class goes on a year-end field trip to the Botanical Garden. There he gains the respect and admiration of his teacher and classmates and is delighted when Daisy asks to be his partner—not a common experience for Henry!
The wonderful illustrations in It’s Me, Henry offer opportunities for interpretation and discussion in a read-aloud setting. Young listeners can be encouraged to compare and contrast their life experiences with Henry’s, and teachers can use his story to promote empathy and understanding of personal differences. There is also potential to tie this book into the science and art curricula by asking your students to illustrate their favourite plants or plants in the schoolyard and label their illustrations with the plants’ scientific names.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Diana is the Editor at Canadian Teacher Magazine.
This article is featured in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Fall 2022 issue.