My Brother is Special: A Cerebral Palsy Story: Written and Illustrated by Murray Stenton
Understanding the differences of others that are disabled are not always easy when they are part of someone you care about the most. Ethan is special and he is ten years old. Ethan is different from you and me as his mother relates. This is a story of tolerance, love, faith and understanding of someone who might not be the same as you, might not understand and learn like you and I. It’s a story about someone whose brain was injured as a young child. It’s about Ethan and his daily challenges with Cerebral Palsy.
This is his brother telling the story and explaining to you the reader, adult, children, teens and young adults why Ethan cannot run, play or jump like you can. He explains that he has trouble learning the letters, numbers and words. Directions are hard for him to learn but that does not mean he cannot do things. Look at the illustrations they are priceless and brings the story to life for non-readers and young children learning to read.
It’s a story of a young brother who often gets frustrated and angry when Ethan acts odd or silly. Ethan loves to drag things like the garbage can all over the place. The narrator can color; draw and even play board games and knows his phone number and people’s names. You can tell that he has compassion for his brother as you seen Ethan in an ambulance when he has a seizure and it scares him, Ethan and his parents too. He can stay over a friend’s house but Ethan has to be watched and cared for at all times. Medicine for our narrator is easy in the form of pills or liquids but for Ethan takes pills every day and as some medications do for others too it makes him tired and hard to remain awake. But, don’t think that Ethan is without skills because he can do something that most wish they could: He is musically inclined and he can listen to any song and in time figure out the beat! How cool is that! Check out Ethan on the drums. What makes our narrator special is that is friends and classmates the ones that like Ethan can’t help but think he is special and wonderful too. The great part is our narrator is messy and the author explains that Ethan is great a making things neat. Check him out with the broom. Ethan is cool and like me he loves his veggies, has a great appetite but our narrator is a picky eater. He needs to learn from Ethan. Like all brothers and sisters arguments come and go and sometimes his mom needs to remind him to have patience because Ethan cannot help what he does. The best part is that our narrator knows that he needs to look out for his brother and protect him by staying close. They might argue, disagree; Ethan might have his difficulties find out what the narrator says at the end about how he feels about Ethan.
A story that is for everyone to read adults, teens, young adults and early readers to understand that not everyone is the same, sometimes we struggle and yet we are all special. This is a story based on the author’s son’s real life experiences making it even more special. The author explains Cerebral Palsy and if you go to www.kidshealth.org you can learn more. This story is great for classroom teachers, discussion groups, health care providers, nurses, guidance counselors and parents to read to children to help them know that although someone is different and might have a disability they can still contribute, learn and be a part of your world. Told by a young narrator making it come to life with the outstanding illustrations this book gets FIVE GOLDEN DRUMSTICKS FOR ETHAN!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/ MJ magazine