I loved my visit to our town library today and was rewarded with a full bookshelf of “NEW!” books. They put a little sticker on them which really gets kids excited too. I grabbed several for my language lesson with a first grader on the autism spectrum and his typical peer friend.

First we read, Red Cat Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond. The front cover art cleverly depicts where this story begins–the two cats are back to back with grumpy looks on their faces. Perfect for the lesson to begin since we are working on answering questions about the text and where we get our clues, from the print or pictures. These two cats live in the same house but hiss, yee-ow and scratch whenever they run into each other.They didn’t realize that each was jealous of the other. Blue Cat wanted to be fast and bouncy like Red Cat and Red Cat admired Blue Cat’s brains and cleverness. After unsuccessful attempts at changing their colors to match their counterpart, both cats worked together to become un-red and un-blue. They worked hard to help the other become like them until they realized they didn’t need to change but like who they were. As my little friend said at the end, “They were different but they were friends!”

Oliver by Brigitta Sif inspired the question, “Where is the author from?” so we read the cover flap to hear about her study of art, design and illustration in the US and England. “Oliver felt a little different,” it says on the first page,  but it didn’t matter because he liked his own little world with his stuffed animals as friends. He visited the desert, fought sharks and jumped over oceans through his house with his buddies. Eventually, a solitary game of tennis lead him to a friend, Olivia, who was a little different too, which was the beginning of a very creative friendship!