I am a fan of words and of people who can put words together in a meaningful or creative way. I love a good song writer, essayist or novelist. I also feel like it’s nice to give compliments when deserved. I’ve been known to yell out my car window at a lady walking down the street to let her know that I like her hair.
Recently, I sent an email to the author of the Bad Kitty books; Nick Breul. I didn’t want anything from him. I just wanted him to know that we are fans of his work. We being, Jay.
A part of my email said:
My 9 year old son Jay is autistic and while he is not on the more severe end of the spectrum, reading has never come easy or been fun for him. A few months ago he was introduced to one of the Bad Kitty books and for some reason I am yet to understand, he fell in love with it. He actually read it – And understood it – And laughed at the appropriate points.
Well, Nick – I feel like I can call him Nick – wrote me back in less than 24 hours and was most gracious in his thanks. Not only did I think it was totally cool of him to reply, he also provided some insight which I found intriguing so I figured I’d share it here. A snipet of his response to me follows:
A few years ago, I started receiving plenty of letters from parents and teachers like you with autistic children. I was receiving so many that I asked them to tell ME why they thought the books were so popular with their kids. Here were the two common factors…
- The kids really responded to Kitty’s facial expressions. Kitty’s expressions are extreme, black and white, and static on the page, the response seems to be hilarious.
2. Kids kept telling their parents that Kitty herself has autism. … This made sense to me. Kitty does not like change. She does not relish the company of other cats or Uncle Murray. But she does manage to reluctantly integrate herself into her environment when necessary
The only thing I have been able to get out of Jay as to why HE loves Bad Kitty so much, is that “she is funny“. I can’t help but think now though – after getting Nicks email – that he finds her funny because he sees himself in her somehow. He can relate to her and her quirks and her feelings. That’s pretty darn awesome. I could write an entire post on how important I think it is that people see themselves represented on TV and in books and in their everyday lives.
I don’t know if you are familiar with Kitty or not, and I am not being paid to say any good things about the books, but if you have a kiddo who is on the spectrum and who may not be a big fan of reading, you should give Bad Kitty a try. She’s even funny to neuro-typical people as our tutor discovered when she spent some time reading with Jay this week.