Monday Funday – April 10, 2017

its-mondaywhat-are-you-reading

Happy Monday, one and all! Here are a few books I read this week.

johnny.jpg

Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap

Johnny is a little bit strange. He’s never precisely on time, he doesn’t usually say exactly what he means, he doesn’t flap his arms when he’s excited, and he doesn’t like to follow the same routine. Johnny is NT, but that’s OK, he’s still a good friend!

Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap has a really refreshing premise – unlike most books about neuroatypical children, which serve primarily to educate neurotypical children and their caregivers, Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap is presented from the perspective of a child on the spectrum. A little boy describes his friend Johnny, who is NT, or neurotypical. From the narrator’s perspective, Johnny’s behaviours seem very strange. Still, as he repeatedly reaffirms, Johnny is a good friend, despite his oddities.

johnny.jpg

Concepts like “normal” and “odd” are social constructs. The denotation of something as “typical” can be based on a statistical occurrence or probability, but it’s the association of “typical” with “good”, and “atypical” with “weird” or “odd” that can cause such damage, especially to young people. Most books on autism serve to reassure “typical” children that their peers or siblings with differences are “OK” and “normal”. What Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap tries to do is to turn that awareness on its head. From the perspective of a neuroatypical child, the behaviours exhibited by “normal” children might seem strange, odd or hard to understand! While much of the existing literature focuses on reassuring or education typical readers, Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap serves both typical and atypical children. Even books written from the perspective of an neuroatypical child typically strive to explain the “unusual” behaviors of atypical children – the autistic child protagonist explains their behavior to the reader. In this version of the narrative, though, the behavior of the neuroatypical child isn’t justified or rationalised – rather it is the behavior of Johnny, the “normal” child that is depicted as unusual, and in need of explanation. Neuroatypical children are given an opportunity to see themselves portrayed as “normal”, while neurotypical children are reminded that “normal” is in fact all about perspective, and that their behavior can seem odd and out of place to someone else.

The design of Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap isn’t the greatest – the text is small, and the illustrations seem flat, without a lot of animation or expression. As one reviewer noted, though, this might have been an intentional design choice with the needs of neuroatypical readers in mind. It’s not the most visually attractive book, and the text does feel a bit lengthy, but it provides such a refreshing and much-needed perspective on stories featuring neuroatypical children that I do recommend taking a look.   

It’s a Tiger!

tiger.jpg

If you work with preschoolers and haven’t shared It’s a Tiger! with them yet, you are in for a real treat. This zany story is an absolute hoot, and the kids I shared it with this week universally loved it. A child seems to be constantly on the edge of being devoured by a hungry tiger, who keeps reappearing in different and increasingly absurd ways. I find that books like this suit my story time style because I tend to be pretty over-the-top in my readings, and stories like this that hilariously ramp up the tension offer perfect opportunities for me to really ham it up. Lots of fun for preschool story times!

tiger2.jpg

Surviving Logan

logan

On the grown-up reading front, I’ve just started a new book by a local author about his experiences surviving a brutal storm while climbing Canada’s tallest peak, Mount Logan. I’m pretty much the exact opposite of ‘outdoorsy’ – I’m not particularly fit, I don’t enjoy getting muddy, I’m not a big fan of bugs, and I absolutely prefer my washrooms to be of the flushing variety. Perhaps it’s because of this that I have always been drawn to tales of the great outdoors, particular climbing stories. These gripping accounts take me so far out of my norm and my comfort zone, and allow me to experience places I’ll likely never actually visit in my lifetime.  The author of Surviving Logan is a firefighter in a neighboring city, and references many places in the area that I’m familiar with, which makes for a neat reading experience – I often read about far-away places and exotic locales, but rarely do I see places I know intimately appearing in print in front of me. It’s also neat to read about an expedition to a mountain in Canada – I’ve read accounts of climbs in the Himalayas, the Andes or the Alps, but never my own home country, which has some of the most impressive natural scenery in the world.

I’m not that far into the book as of yet, but I’m enjoying it so far. The writing is direct, unadorned and to the point, which is actually quite refreshing, and there’s a good feeling of tension being built as the climbers prepare to tackle the mountain. So far, so good!

Here’s hoping everyone has a great week!

Previous Post Next Post

25 Comments

  • Reply Olivia

    Oh wow, surviving Logan sounds like a book I’d like. I just read about climbing K2 and Everest last year because the movie Everest got me interested! I don’t know why anyone would do this to themselves though… hike and climb up a mountain littered by dead bodies they use as markers. Does Logan also claim lives regularly or was it just the unlucky storm that made this dangerous?

    April 10, 2017 at 9:47 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It seems that Logan is rarely climbed because it’s so remote, but it has claimed lives in the past.
      “Into Thin Air” is one of my favourite nonfiction titles – such a gripping tale, and much better than the film adaptation, I thought!

      April 11, 2017 at 4:44 am
  • Reply Lisa Maucione

    Surviving Logan sounds interesting. It’s always fun to read a book that is set in one’s home. Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap sounds insightful and a good one for helping students understand others.

    April 10, 2017 at 10:15 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Yes, I’m always glad to find books that can help children explore and understand each other, and learn to see the world with more kindness, respect and understanding.

      April 11, 2017 at 4:44 am
  • Reply Majanka

    Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap sounds very interesting! I hope you enjoy your books this week.

    My It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post.

    April 10, 2017 at 11:40 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      April 11, 2017 at 4:45 am
  • Reply Poem Fanatic @ Poems and Poets

    I don’t think I’ve ever read any mountain-related books, except perhaps “Three Cups of Tea” which focuses more on culture than it does on climbing.

    April 10, 2017 at 1:44 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I’ve read a few mountaineering books, they’re often quite fascinating – it’s a certain personality that’s drawn to this kind of extreme hobby, which can make for quite eye-opening stories!

      April 11, 2017 at 4:45 am
  • Reply Linda Baie

    Each one sounds interesting in its own uniqueness, Jane. My son loves those adventure books and I do, too, though I read so many others, there’s rarely time. Surviving Logan is one I’ll put on the list. I enjoyed your review of Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap. It seems like one that many should read for a new POV. Thanks!

    April 10, 2017 at 2:46 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      There’s nothing like taking an adventure in a book, while staying warm and dry and safely cosy at home! 🙂

      April 11, 2017 at 4:46 am
  • Reply Sarah @ PussReboots

    Johnny Doesn’t Flap sounds like a nice twist on that type of book. Good for representation. Pity the text doesn’t come together better with the illustrations. I love It’s a Tiger! It was a huge hit with my daughter when she was younger.

    I’m posting while on my road trip, thanks to my trusty smart phone. It’s Monday! What are your reading?

    April 10, 2017 at 5:39 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I did the same thing when I was on holiday, posting my blog updates on my phone!! I told myself I was going to “unplug”, but that didn’t last very long…! 😉

      April 11, 2017 at 4:49 am
  • Reply Michele

    I’m very interested in seeing a copy of Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap. I like that it’s written from the perspective of the child with the disability. I’ll look for it!

    April 10, 2017 at 7:50 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It’s definitely a refreshing twist, and much needed!

      April 11, 2017 at 4:51 am
  • Reply Cheriee Weichel

    I really appreciate your review of Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap. It sounds like an important book that should be read by all kinds of people, but especially those who work with the Johnny’s of the world.
    While I appreciate reading books that connect to my sense of place in the world, I’m not sure if I want to read Surviving Logan. (I’m a bit of a chicken with these kinds of scary adventure books)

    April 10, 2017 at 7:59 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      We offer a few different programs geared toward children on the Autism spectrum or with other learning or behavioural challenges, so I’ve really been trying to build my knowledge and understanding in this area. Kids who experience the world differently can often feel left out of typical childhood experiences, so it’s so important to find ways to adapt programs in ways that embrace differences.

      April 11, 2017 at 4:53 am
  • Reply Jana Eschner

    Surviving Logan looks like a fascinating read. I love survival stories, even though I’m not an outdoor person, either. Thanks for the suggestion!

    April 10, 2017 at 11:07 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      There’s just something so thrilling about reading these kinds of exciting stories, especially when we’re curled up in bed, safe and toasty warm!

      April 11, 2017 at 4:54 am
  • Reply Greg

    It’s nice that Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap gives the NT child a chance to see things from his/ her “normal” perspective. Love to see that. And Surviving Logan looks fascinating. I’m not into mountain climbing but it’s always amazing how people can push themselves to accomplish a goal like that.

    April 11, 2017 at 12:11 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I’m always fascinated by people who embrace extreme sports and dangerous hobbies – it seems so strange to me to put yourself at such risk just for a hobby, so these kinds of stories are really fascinating!

      April 11, 2017 at 4:55 am
  • Reply Aaron

    I kind of want to have a glance at all three books. It’s a Tiger sounds like it would fit with the story time that my classes appreciate (except for the K class, who get a little too amped up). Thanks for sharing.

    April 11, 2017 at 2:27 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      I read It’s a Tiger with my Pre-Ks, but then I like getting the kids amped up. 😀

      April 11, 2017 at 4:56 am
  • Reply Elisabeth Ellington

    I’m quite intrigued by Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap–that’s a really clever way to write that story. I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before–it feels like such an obvious good idea. It’s a Tiger looks like so much fun. I need to find that one.

    April 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm
  • Reply Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    I don’t think I have ever read a book about neuroatypical children which I would love to add to my blog! Thanks!

    April 11, 2017 at 6:12 pm
  • Reply Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Johnny Doesn’t Flap sounds like such a great book with such a great idea! And haha, that tiger book looks like a lot of fun. Enjoy Surviving Logan!

    April 12, 2017 at 10:58 pm
  • Share Your Thoughts

    You may also like