My Friend Suhana: By Shaila Abdullah and Aanyah Abdullah
Friendships are formed in many different ways and children often cherish the simplest gesture, movement, smile or hug from someone that cares about them. Not all children can respond with words, movements or can even walk. Many will never play hopscotch, throw a ball or even say hello. Imagine not being able to communicate with words. Children with cerebral palsy, like Suhana, the special 7-year-old child in this book, might never take a first step, say their first words or even do the same things other kids can do. But, they can understand kindness, love and true friendship. This is a story about two young 7-year-old girls whose friendship will span a lifetime and whose love will never die.
One hour each week our young narrator gets to spend some special time hugging and rocking Suhana in her arms letting her know that she is special and loved. The picture of the two girls is priceless and the smiles breathtaking. Suhana and her young friend see each other at the community center where her mom helps out with children with special needs. Cerebral palsy affects many babies and young children every year. You cannot catch it. It is not contagious. This illness affects the brain and causes the person with the illness to have, as the word palsy is defined weaknesses or problems moving his/her body. Children such as Suhana as you get to know her better within the beautifully illustrated pages of this book that tell the story even without the words, have trouble controlling their muscles. This illness affects the brain as Suhana like so many others with CP might not be able to walk, talk, eat or play like other kids.
Suhana goes to school and loves making friends with other children. She enjoys playing, rolling on her back and tummy and often as our young narrator relates to readers screams and squeals which shows she is able to express her emotions even if it is with these types of sounds. Our young narrator with the help of her mom learned to understand when Suhana is happy, sad or angry. When Suhana bumps her head find out when you read the book what happens and what are young narrator learns.
Pictures are special and our narrator loves to draw and paint. Painting a special picture for her friend was her way of trying to cheer her up. Drawing is her way of cheering up her friend and other kids hoping to make them feel happy and take away some of the anger. Just look at the pictures that she draws and the beautiful happy faces that would make anyone smile.
Suhana loves doing many things but the colors of the rainbow hold a special place or meaning for her. The colors are “just like her many moods.” If you want to learn what Red, Blue or any other color means to Suhana you are going to have to read the book and see the faces she makes when seeing each color for yourself. But, something happens that makes our narrator’s heart go all spaghetti inside and you might say give her a warm glow and great feeling. What does Suhana do to let her know that she loves having her around? You won’t believe it until you see it for yourself.
Suhana hopes to be able to stand up and learn to walk. But, she has a long way to go because her legs might not be strong enough. When will that day come? Well only our two creative authors can answer that question if they continue her story and we learn more about Suhana and her special friend.
There are so many themes that are brought to light in this wonderfully illustrated book. Friendship, understanding, love, kindness and trust are just some of the themes brought out in this book. Explaining to young children about CP very important. Understanding why some children cannot move about as they can paramount. Children are special and all kids are really the same. Children with CP might have to overcome greater obstacles in life and face challenges that others might not but with the help of wheelchairs, computers to help them communicate with words they can do the same things that other kids can do but in their own special way. Patience is a true virtue that our young author relates to readers as this mother and daughter have presented well written, special, colorfully illustrated book that is definitely a must read for children in the lower grades, read aloud in every classroom, hospital groups, book store book signings and even at centers with children who have CP who can learn that they can do anything all they need to do is try. Our young narrator relates it perfectly: I hope Suhana knows that I will always be the star dancing around her kite.” If you want to understand the meaning of what she says: Read this outstanding Five Twinkling Golden Kite Star book for yourself.