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Penguin Days–autism spectrum disorder

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Penguin Days

by Sara Leach

Illustrated by Rebecca Bender

Penguin DaysLauren’s family makes a difficult two day car trip to North Dakota for Auntie Joss’ wedding because flying has been a disaster before for Lauren who has Autism Spectrum Disorder and is learning how to control her reactions to changes and to certain things that make her uncomfortable. She takes things literally and doesn’t always understand jokes or react instinctively to facial expressions or body language. She is, however, an intelligent child with a passion for reading and insects.

Several problems arise in Penguin Days with the whole wedding scenario. Lauren is under the impression she will be the only flower girl when, in fact, she is one of three. She doesn’t like her dress because it isn’t comfortable and itches. Without meaning to, Lauren ruins the dress. Lauren’s mom has several solutions up her sleeve because she works hard to understand what Lauren is thinking. You’ll enjoy learning how the parents solve these problems and enlist the help of extended family members. Lauren even begins to make friends with her cousins as the story comes to a close.

If you are ever in public and you see a child having a meltdown, don’t judge. Maybe he is a child who needs more discipline and boundaries, but maybe, just maybe, you are witnessing a child on the Autistic Spectrum. If the child is lucky, like Lauren, she is receiving professional help to learn how to control her inner fireworks and to interact with others socially. In the U.S., where for whatever reason autism is on the rise, we are becoming more aware of autism and learning how to manage its effects better. Not everyone, however, has the money or skills to navigate that system. Also, the intervention is most effective when it happens early, and the changes do take hard work, consistency, and time. Meanwhile, Penguin Days is a wonderful, sensitive tool to help the child with autism and the rest of us to understand how autism plays out on the inside and manifests itself on the  outside of the child on the Autistic Spectrum.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Pajama Press (Myrick Marketing) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Children’s Fiction

Notes: 1. Very good illustrations

  2. Sensitive book sharing the perspective of both the autistic child and her family.

Publication:   January 18, 2019—Pajama Press (Myrick Marketing)

Memorable Lines:

“You’re precious.” “Gems are precious,” I said. “I’m not a gem. But I would like to be an amethyst. They are purple.”

Mom and Dad always say my brain works differently than other people’s brains because I have Autism Spectrum Disorder. They say my different brain is one of the things they love about me.

The barn got really noisy. Mary Lou mooed. Kevin yelled. And somebody was screaming. I lay on my back in the prickly hay. Mary Lou stepped toward me. I curled into a ball, covered my head with my arms, and started rocking back and forth.


  1. Wendy says:

    Thanks for reviewing this one. My brother‘s two children are both autistic. My oldest nephew is non-verbal. My sister in law started a Moms support group I’m really proud of her taking a proactive approach to help. I’ve sent her info about this book. She’s always looking for new material to share with her group.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      What a challenge! I hope this book will be a help to your brother’s family or another family through the support group. Kudos to your sister-in-law for taking that step to help herself and others.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A good review 👵

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Definitely going to try and hunt this one down. I have two children on the spectrum and one recently diagnosed with ADHD and I am always eager to read books that help educate others about the challenges faced by those living the autistic life. It can still be a struggle, even with all the knowledge and awareness and resources available today (assuming you can afford them, they are covered by your insurance, or you live in a state with good resources – most don’t). I can’t imagine what it would have been like 20 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      I’m sure you are personally a wealth of information on the subject, and those of us on the outside can always use more help in understanding the autism spectrum. I wish you the best as you work with your children. Parenting is not easy under any circumstances, but I know your family has special challenges. You are right about the changes in the last 20 years.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. carhicks says:

    Wonderful review Linda. I must read this one as my grandson is on the spectrum and I am seeing more issues as time passes. I am interested to see how they handle it and whether or not this is a book i would read with him in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      I am interested in your perspective. I almost wonder if it might be more helpful for those trying to understand children on the spectrum. On the other hand, it might help a child on the spectrum realize they are not alone.


      • carhicks says:

        I agree, when a child is on the higher end of the spectrum, they know they react differently and have different mannerisms, so a book like this would be helpful. I hope to read this one this week.

        Liked by 1 person

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