If you stopped by to read this blog about books then you're probably already aware of some great places to read reviews, share recommendations and catch up the latest literary news. I have a few favourite places of my own and wanted to share some sites and what they can offer to avid readers.
For me, it all started with an obsession for Shelfari. It's a wonderful place to find bookish types and connect with readers who share your taste in books. The visual setup of the site with your collection of books arranged on your virtual shelf is what appeals to me most.
Then there's GoodReads. It seems as if every author and publisher is on there or at least they should be. GoodReads is also a great place to stumble upon some fantastic group discussions. Oh, that reminds me, StumbleUpon is also a great place to share book related finds and other interesting things. Come to think of it, the same could be said for Pinterest but don't get me started on that!
LibraryThing is for the more serious of the book searching, and cataloging book fans. The site boasts that it is the "world's largest book club." I don't know about that, but it is a great place to find the more obscure titles or out of print books.
BookCrossing takes book swapping to a whole different level. It actually allows book lovers to share their books outside of the virtual world. It's a very cool concept where you can send a book to another member, and so on, and so on...all the while tracking where it travels and who enjoys your book!
GetGlue is just plain fun. It's books, movies, tv, and stickers all rolled into one! A Yummy Mummy Book Club member turned me on to this social sharing site a while back. You can rate your books, find out what your friends on Twitter and Facebook are reading, and earn stickers as you go. I have to warn you though, it can become addictive like Pinterest.
Where do you like to share your love for reading? Please share the love in the comments below.
Different Kinds Of Special is a wonderful children's book that celebrates the differences that make us all unique. The delightful story shares a message of inclusion, acceptance, empathy, and friendship across differences. Donna Carol Koffman is a Canadian author and poet. Koffman has a degree in Psychology, she is a certified Life Skills Coach, and a Reiki Therapist in Toronto. Different Kinds Of Special was inspired by Koffman's grandson, Reese, who has autism.
In my quest to promote World Autism Awareness Day for the entire month of April, I'm sharing this book, and a giveaway, with YMC readers. I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna about her book, Different Kinds Of Special—read on to find out the author's insightful answers!
Q & A With Donna Carol Koffman
WLY: I love your story’s message of empathy and inclusion. What age group does this book speak to?
DCK: I originally geared this story to very young children. However, as I have been going to schools to read to children, grade 5s have been included, and really enjoyed the story. So, I guess 4- to 10-year-olds. Although written with small children in mind, I hope my story speaks to all ages, including adults.
The word “special" can have negative connotations if used in the wrong content or tone. I appreciate how you use the word to mean something positive. Do you think children will gravitate toward the idea of being different or standing out from the crowd?
Every child wants to feel important. Children love to answer the questions about what makes them stand out. They come up with some great answers! I recently received a supreme compliment from a hearing impaired child, who after reading the story told his teacher he was proud to be special!
April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.
Yes, just one day devoted to building autism awareness around the world. As the mother to two boys—the oldest being on the spectrum—I consider myself an expert on autism. I'm not an expert on all the studies, treatments or research or the hows and whys of autism but an expert on the real world of autism. I spend a great deal of my time shadowing my adult son. I plan practically all of his daily activities so he can venture out into the community successfully. I'm basically in a constant state of micromanaging when it comes to my son's life. It can be overwhelming at times but I do have a very supportive husband who carries his fair share and we receive respite with our wonderful trio of personal support workers.
When it comes to autism, I fear that I'm less of an activist in the autism community and more of an advocate for my son. When time permits, I try to be involved in the autism community, (I admin the @AutismOntLdn Twitter account and run a Facebook Group Autism Optimism), but a recent US report by the US CDC has ignited the activist in me. In the last decade their research has reported an increase from 1 in 155 to 1 in 88 cases of children diagnosed with autism. In Canada, the results from a McGill study in 2006 reported a similar ratio of 1 in 154 children with an autism spectrum disorder so the same increase can be inferred. With this dramatic increase in autism one would hope that more funding and programs would follow the obvious demand for services. The real truth in Canada is that funding is being cut to services and programs are being slashed left, right and centre. Schools have their hands full and families are missing out on services and this leads to very little hope for the future of individuals with autism. This should be a growing concern for us all and not just families that are dealing with autism.
Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism. Every child with autism should be given the opportunity and resources to develop his or her skills, be intergrated into society and live an independent life if it's possible to do so. If we keep cutting programs and funding what will the future be for individuals on the spectrum? Just a little something for us all to ponder as the cuts go deeper while the number of cases increase.
Since I run a blog about books, I can't resist the awesome opportunity to highlight a few books on the topic of autism. I hope that these books can be part of building autism awareness in the population in general and help family members, caregivers, and friends of people with autism.
Be Different by John Elder Robison
John Elder Robinson was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 40. He managed his difficult childhood at a time when the word autism didn't even exist. He learned to cope with his challenges and developed skills to function "normally" to lead a successful life. His book cover states, My Adventures with Asperger's and My Advice for Fellow Aspergerians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers. He shares tips on how to deal with bullies, and why social skills like manners matter. Robison is the author of the bestselling memoir "Look Me In The Eye" and the older brother (and frequent subject) of the bestselling Running With Sissors author, Augusten Burroughs. You can read my earlier blog post Vive La Difference written for Be Different's hardcover release and read an excerpt from Be Different.