About the Book
Title: My Friend Suhana: A Story of Friendship and Cerebral Palsy
Authors: Shaila Abdullah & Aanyah Abdullah
Publication Date: December 16, 2013
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
Recommended Ages: 3+
A simple tale of love and friendship to warm your heart. Award-winning author and designer Shaila Abdullah teams up with her 10-year-old daughter Aanyah to bring you this heartwarming tale of a little girl who forms a close bond with a child with cerebral palsy.
My Thoughts: My Friend Suhana is based on the true story of 10 year-old Aanyah Abdullah (one of the authors) and her friendship with a young girl who has cerebral palsy, Suhana. Aanyah and her mother Shaila volunteer on a weekly basis at a community center in a special needs class attended by Suhana. It is here where Aanyah and Suhana have forged their special friendship.
The reader is introduced to Suhana through Aanyah’s eyes who describes how Suhana is different from other girls her age in that she cannot stand, walk nor speak, nor does she communicate through language. However, what is so beautiful about this book is that the authors describe what Suhana IS capable of such as waving her arms and legs, rolling around, squealing with delight, clenching her fists in anger, and in a tender moment, Suhana reaching out to touch Aanyah’s hair – a small gesture but one with great significance.
I love this focus on highlighting for children all the ways a child with cerebral palsy has “abilities” rather than focusing on the “disability” and the things that are wrong. The other important consideration is teaching children the ways they can interact with and/or communicate with children who have a disability. My Friend Suhana does this so well. In the book, Aanyah describes how she hugs and tickles Suhana, draws pictures for her, and even is her cheerleader as she learns new skills. There is also an excellent section discussing how Suhana reacts to colors rather than words with certain colors associated with specific emotions (e.g., red for anger, blue for sad, etc.).
I really enjoyed the cheery, bright, and colorful illustrations. I really love the imagery in the text and pictures of the kite surrounded by stars as a metaphor for Suhana (the kite) and the people in her life who care for her (the stars). It was very touching. Finally, at the end of the book, there is a section discussing cerebral palsy and some basic facts about this condition as well as a note encouraging children to reach out to a child with a disability and forge new friendships. It was a great way to end the book!
My Bottom Line: My Friend Suhana: A Story of Friendship and Cerebral Palsy is the heartwarming account of a special friendship forged between the young co-author (10 year-old Aanyah Abdullah) and a little girl, Suhana who has cerebral palsy. The book does a great job of focusing on the “abilities” of Suhana and provides guidance for children with regards to facilitating friendships with children who have a disability. This book would be a great resource in early elementary classrooms or in a school or public library. I highly recommend this book for ages 3+.
* I received a copy of this book free-of-charge from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in our Book Promotion Services.
About the Authors: Shaila Abdullah & Aanyah Abdullah
Shaila Abdullah is an author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of two books: Saffron Dreams and Beyond the Cayenne Wall. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award, Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction, Patras Bukhari Award for English Language, Reader Views Award, Written Art Award, and a grant from Hobson Foundation.
Aanyah Abdullah is a creative and compassionate 10-year-old, who is drawn to children born with physical and mental disabilities. When she was in second grade, Aanyah along with her mother Shaila, started volunteering out at a local community center where they helped assist special needs children. Later Aanyah wrote an essay about her friendship with a girl in the class who had cerebral palsy. That essay is the inspiration behind My Friend Suhana. Aanyah dreams of establishing a special school for children with disabilities one day. She is known to always stand up for what is right and is-–in her parents’ and teachers’ eyes––a perfect role model for her baby sister.
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* $25 Blog Tour Giveaway *
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Contest ends: April 2, 11:59 pm, 2014
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