We have recently been lucky enough to have a review copy of Marla Roth-Fisch’s Sensitive Sam in our household in order to review it for an upcoming giveaway at Sensational Homeschooling, where I am a volunteer editor and contributor. Not only did I enjoy reading and re-reading it myself to write the official review and book study ideas that you will find at Sensational Homeschooling tomorrow, but the kids also became engaged in the story. (Indeed, it was all I could do to hide the book from them daily in order to keep it in its like-new condition for the giveaway.)
Truly, none of us tired of Sensitive Sam’s rhythmic and expressive text, which used real language (including glossary terms such as “occupational therapy” and “sensory diet”) in rhyming couplets that kids can understand. Nor did we get bored with its bright and plentiful illustrations, which offer concrete images to match almost every idea expressed in the book. In fact, over several readings, the kids seemed to come to know and understand Sam and his life more and more while continuing to point out how they are similar to and different from him. Love empathy (and sympathy)-inducing picture books!
What were some of their comments?
Nina said she really liked the dog pictured in the book. She also said, just like Sam, she doesn’t like the big sound of a flushing toilet much, likes to play with glue and playdough (like Sam uses at OT) and loves splashing in puddles (like Sam does at the end of the book.)
Luke said, just like Sam, he doesn’t like scratchy tags, but, unlike him, he likes eggs. He also commented that Sam looks like him (and with that curly mop, he does!) And, he recounted which of the parts of Sam's OT experience were and are like his.
Both kids related to Sam and came away from readings with smiles, often asking to do one of the activities mentioned or pictured as part of Sam's sensory diet.
And me? And how do I feel about the book? Well, I love that the book carries readers from Sam’s very bad days with the sun too bright, his jeans too tight and so much just not feeling right, through folks realizing Sam isn’t just simply behaving badly, but has SPD, to a hopeful ending with OT making Sam realize that:
“Treating sensory challenges
Takes some patience, and love, too.
And now I LIKE doing lots of things
I used to hate to do!”
Truly, we echo the first two lines daily here at Jammies School and Luke is living testimony to the last two. Such authentic expression in the book makes it one I can highly recommend!
In fact, I only have two cautions about the book:
- If you are a homeschooler, you should be aware that Sam goes to traditional school and it is his teacher that makes the SPD connection. Oh, for all teachers to be so alert! Also, yay for parents who recognize SPD earlier than Sam’s folks did.
- Sam seems to be challenged by almost every sensitivity there is, so kids with fewer sensitivities might not identify with him right away and kids with no connection to SPD at all might need at least two read-throughs to truly begin to understand the book’s message. That being said, as long as you are willing to read the book together with such children more than once – and I cannot see why anyone would not be, since it is so delightfully written – there should be no problem at all!
Truly, Sensitive Sam is a book I would love to have in our personal library, not only so we could put all the great ideas I have for it as a book study into play, but also so I could lend it to friends, family and professionals to help them better understand SPD.
Yes, I am reluctant to pass the review copy we have enjoyed along to the upcoming giveaway winner at Sensational Homeschooling. But, that’s what I agreed to do, so I will. (Lucky winner!) Be sure to keep an eye out at Sensational Homeschooling this week for your chance to win it, and if you aren’t the lucky one, consider getting a hold of a copy another way. It is a keeper!
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