Based on their popular book, “Just Give Him The Whale: 20 Ways to Use Fascinations, Areas of Expertise, and Strengths to Support Students with Autism,” Paula Kluth and Patrick Schwarz have created a new picture book for children. In “Pedro’s Whale,” we find the title character sharing his special interest in whales and looking forward to starting Kindergarten. While not specified in the story of the book, we are to assume that Pedro is on the autism spectrum. When he arrives at school, he is told to put away his toy whale, because toys are not allowed in the classroom. However, his teacher soon realizes that incorporating his special interest into classroom activities is the key to successful learning experiences for Pedro.
According to the preface, “Every child has fascinations, areas of expertise, and passions he or she brings to the school. As teachers, our job is to honor them!” I enjoyed the positive focus of the book and the portrait of a successful inclusion experience where the child on the autism spectrum was a valued member of the classroom community.
The book also includes tips and activities for teachers using the book, as well as illustrations by Justin Canha, an artist who has autism. Overall, this book is relevant for teachers in both inclusive and special education classroom settings. My two-and-a-half year old son also enjoyed the story and pictures and frequently requests to read the book!
View the book at Amazon.com: