Me and my girl and boy, raising awareness and acceptance of autism

Archive for the ‘Bookworm Wednesday’ Category

We love “Tiny Twisted Tales” from Calvin Innes


We like books a lot in the Bluecrisps household, to pick up a book and from the first few lines to be transported away to a world in the author’s imagination is wonderful.

Books can relax you, excite you, make you laugh or cry or wonder at the imagery presented.

What we all enjoy are humorous little stories, T and D have their favourites and with the age they are now, the more “burps” and mild “toilet humour” mentioned the better. T will collapse in a fit of giggles if he sees certainly funny little words when he’s reading, it’s great to see.

We were really pleased to be sent three titles in The Tiny Twisted Tales range to have a read through and we throughly enjoyed them!


Here’s some information on the books and their author/illustrator Calvin Innes (from the website):

The Tiny Twisted Tales are a collection of short stories and poems from the rather strange mind of Calvin Innes.. Each Tiny Twisted Tale is about another weird, scary, wonderfully gruesome character, from people who eat bugs, to tiny toga-wearing goblins. Each book is packed with dozens of Calvin’s quirky illustrations.

Tiny Twisted Tales books are available from most major bookstores (including Waterstones) as well as on-line bookstores like Amazon (Kindle Version also Available) and as well as the My Little Big Town store.

RRP £4.99 per title.

What did we think of the books?

As a mum, I found the books very appealing. The books are described as “spooky, scary, strange, disgustingly wonderful and wonderfully macabre” on the back cover and they are certainly that!

The books each contain one story, in rhymes with wonderfully detailed illustrations. There is some quite cartoony gruesome imagery but it’s appropriate to the story and it didn’t manifest in any terrors. Each story has a nice morale and conclusion to it too.

The books we were sent told of a man who ate bugs, a werewolf-hunting little girl and a boy who didn’t like to go out.

I enjoy writing a piece of poetry every week for a linky so I was interested in how the author could make whole series from rhymes.

And T thought they were cool and made him laugh too! Great praise from a 10 year old who likes to read and read!


Thank you, My Little Big Town for introducing us to a new author.

Disclaimer: we were sent three books, RRP £4.99 each for the purpose of this review. Our words and views were our own.

Back to “our” normal and @Aspiewriter book review Weds 15th May 2013

Sometimes I describe living with autism as being “unpredictably predictable” and it certainly is!

After yesterday’s out-of-routine noisy, busy evening, I wasn’t sure how or even whether D would sleep, but she did sleep, far better than the previous four nights.

After I mentioned the lack of sleep in last night’s blog, a couple of very helpful comments helped me to realise that D’s unsettledness was (probably) due to the changes in the classroom and not related to anything she may have inadvertently viewed, which was a relief.

It seemed to back this theory up as she was back in class yesterday, back into routine and she could see that the class carried on without the child that had left last week. The environment remained positive and it was all ok.

It’s reinforced further to me how much she relies on routine – T is the same – and it’s definitely made me more aware for the future.

And we seem to have our happy D back. The school run this morning was accompanied with Joseph songs and she positively bounced into class.

All fine at pick-up too, she hasn’t chatted that much about her day, apart from to say she’s tired. Settled happily tonight after a bit of arguing with T, they are too alike at times!

T’s had a good day too, he’s still very chuffed about his trophy and slept with it on his pillow last night, it’s remained close by when he’s been sitting down relaxing as well.


I’m including a Bookworm Wednesday recommendation in tonight’s post, a book I’ve enjoyed reading over the last few weeks.

The author is Jeannie Davide-Rivera, who may be familiar on Twitter as @AspieWriter.

I’ve always found Jeannie’s blog posts very insightful and the book was no exception.

Here’s the Amazon link and some information about the book (from Amazon):

Jeannie grew up with autism, but no one around here knew it. Twirling Naked in the Streets will take you on a journey into the mind of a child on the autism spectrum; a child who grows into an adolescent, an adult, and becomes a wife, mother, student, and writer with autism.

This is a gripping memoir of a quirky, weird, but gifted child who grows up never quite finding her niche only to discover at the age of 38 that all the issues, problems, and weirdness she experienced were because she had Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), a form of high-functioning autism.

The tale begins at age three and takes us all the way through her diagnosis. Along the way she explains autism in a way that will have fellow “Aspies” crying tears of joy at being understood, and “neuro-typical” people really starting to grasp the challenges that autistic people face every moment of every day.

I took a few weeks to read the book as I wanted to digest the information and I found it very enlightening. I have always preferred reading real-life experiences rather than a standard text book about the autistic spectrum far more helpful and the fact I already knew of Jeannie made it all the more interesting.

A recommendation from me and a lot of admiration for the woman, wife and mother she is now, her journey has not been easy at times.

This book will appeal to anyone wanting to know more about the autistic spectrum as well as Jeannie’s experiences of growing up without a diagnosis.

So, that’s us, comments/RTs/shares as ever welcomed, thanks for reading Jx 😘


Bookworm Wednesday – “Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins” by Grace Maxell


Today’s “Bookworm Wednesday” is one I first read a few years ago, when my mum had a stroke. I saw the book in HMV and it instantly made me want to buy it and read it. I read it very quickly almost overnight, needing to know that the family would get through their experience.

Although the recovery journeys were different, Edwyn suffered brain haemorrhages and subsequently contracted MRSA, I found an empathy with the fears and worries I was feeling at the time.

The book is written by Edwyn’s wife and manager, Grace Maxwell, and is a very open, honest account of how their lives were turned upside down, the frustrations encountered but the hope that always stayed with them.

I was reminded of this book when Karen (@ManicMippisMum) mentioned he was going to see Edwyn in concert recently and it’s one I’ve recommended Hubbie to read as his mother had a severe stroke recently.

It’s inspiring, very well written and well worth a read. Here’s the Amazon link.


Bookworm Wednesday – “Big Nate: The Boy with the Biggest Head in the World”


T has written this week’s Bookworm Wednesday again, I hope he never ever tires of reading, I read a report recently which said that some teenagers are embarrassed to be seen reading, which is such a shame. They’re missing out on so much!

Big Nate: The boy with the biggest head in the world by Lincoln Peirce.

“Big- head Nate Wright truly believes he’s destined for greatness.

When he thinks he has a brutal Social Studies test, Nate tries to find a way out of it. He comes up with several ideas but each one has a down side. And then he comes with an idea to get out of the test, write a fake letter or excuse to get out of the test.

He later realises thanks to his friend, Francis, that he doesn’t have a test.

Later when he comes into school, he finds out that he left his lunch at home. But Teddy chucks him a fortune cookie. Nate opens up the cookie to find an awesome fortune: “Today you will surpass all others”.

Nate comes up with several ways he could surpass all others but none of them work. Suddenly, he starts getting detention from every teacher.

Will Nate’s fortune come true? Or will Nate not get lucky?”

(T’s words with minor cosmetic adjustments)

Thanks for reading, for more information on the Big Nate books and Lincoln Peirce, please click here.


Bookworm Wednesday – “Let’s Find Mimi” books by Katherine Lodge


Today’s Bookworm Wednesday books are by Katherine Lodge and are very much along the lines of “Where’s Wally” but for girls. We stumbled across these by accident and they have proved themselves to be very useful in terms of prompting conversation about Mimi and her situations and the many little mice around her.


Here’s what Amazon says about Mimi and the author:

In this exciting “find the mouse in the house book”, follow Mimi from morning to night as she munches her breakfast, gets dressed in her favourite outfit, bakes a cake, enjoys a lunchtime snack, splashes in the bath and, after a fun-filled day, falls fast asleep!

The challenge is on to find Mimi and her family who are hidden in every scene! Can you spot her?

About the Author
Katherine Lodge is the illustrator of several picture books and she recently created the Sasha and Olly series for Simon and Schuster and the Seriously Cute brand for Bloomsbury. Since becoming the mother of two children herself, Katherine has gained a new insight into the preschooler’s world.

The Let’s Find Mimi books are available from Amazon – click on the link for details.

D and I have really enjoyed looking through the pages, sometimes we’ve found Mimi straight away, other times it’s taken longer, much has depended on how much D has been willing to interact. The quest to find Mimi is made easier by the fact she has a red bow and butterfly wings on, all the other mice are bow-less/wing-less.


The books also have a game included too, snakes and ladders in one and a shopping game in the other. We haven’t tried these yet – sometimes D will turn-take, it depends on how her day is going – but we will.

A definite thumbs-up from us for the interaction possibilities and conversation tools.

Thanks for reading Jx 😘


Bookworm Wednesday – No-Bot, the robot with no bottom by Sue Hendra


Today’s BookWorm Wednesday has been chosen by D. I feel very fortunate that my children enjoy books so much, their idea (I think) of a perfect trip to town is – obviously, not many people around – a few chips in Burger King and a trip to the bookshop to choose some books.

The last time we were in Waterstones, D chose this book. It’s by Sue Hendra – click the link to read more about the author – and it’s very funny and appealing to children of all ages, certainly those who find the word “bottom” funny..and who doesn’t?!

Here’s a summary of the book (from Amazon):
“Bernard the Robot loses his bottom on the park swing, and sets off to find it. Every time he gets close, it disappears again! Bird was using it as a nest, but it was too heavy; Bear used it in his drum kit, but it was too tinny; the Squirrels built sandcastles with it…and now it looks as if they’re sailing away in it. Will Bernard EVER get his bottom back?”

This book had us all giggling away and the illustrations are full of detail too, plenty of opportunity to chat about the contents.

Does Bernard get his bottom back? That would be telling..

Sue Hendra has written some other great children’s books, we have these at home, all recommended.




BookWorm Wednesday – “Big Nate on a roll” by Lincoln Peirce

T has been very eager to write a Bookworm Wednesday post as he’s discovered a series of books written by Lincoln Peirce and, being the very avid reader that he is, he’s really enjoying them.


The book is available here from Amazon and I’ve seen the books in Waterstones too. As before, these are T’s views and words, I’ve made cosmetic adjustments only.

“When the announcement in Nate’s scout troop says they are raising money for a camping trip and whoever bags the most cash wins a cool customised skateboard, Nate leaps into action.

Nate’s keen to find out who the newest member of the scout troop is, but when he finds out who it is, he isn’t happy. It’s Artur, aka: Mr Lucky. Artur is a gentle exchange student who’s popular with ALMOST everyone. So now Nate thinks he can’t win the skateboard because Artur is Mr. Lucky.

With Nate struggling to find the most cash, he comes up with an ingenious plan: selling his very own comics. He calls the comics “Nate’s comix crack up”. He tries to find a place to sell and make money.

With Artur already have collected £424, will Nate get the most money to beat Mr Lucky and earn the grand prize? Or will Artur win, AGAIN?!”

I really enjoy sharing T’s reviews, he writes a very good summary and leaves me wanting to read the book.

This is what Amazon says about the book:

“Big Nate is back, starring in the third instalment of his own super-funny series. Big Nate is created by Lincoln Peirce, who inspired Jeff Kinney, author of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’.

Big Nate’s scout troop is fundraising and while door-to-door selling isn’t really Nate’s thing, there’s nothing like a Grand Prize to get him motivated. Especially when the prize is an awesomely cool customised skateboard (and following an incident with a poodle and a bridge Nate is in need of a new set of wheels). Nate HAS to win the prize but to do that he must out-sell Artur – the luckiest boy at school.

Will Nate beat Artur to the prize (and possibly win over Jenny)?

Or will he just end up in detention?”

For more information on the Big Nate books and Lincoln Peirce, please click here to go to the official website.

Thanks for reading Jx 😘

#tescomumoftheyear Anna Kennedy and an #autism book giveaway – NOW CLOSED

Thanks to everyone who entered the book draw. Winners of books to be announced Mon 11 March

(Image courtesy of Tesco magazine)

Parenting special needs children is challenging and, at times, exhausting. Finding an appropriate educational setting for them is also a must, somewhere you can feel confident that they will be given the chance to flourish, somewhere where you feel that they will be given a chance.

Sometimes there just isn’t anywhere, sometimes there are no viable options. Anna Kennedy, the Tesco Achieving Mum of the Year found herself in this very situation, having been turned away by 26 special needs schools. Instead of sinking into a pit of despair and pity, Anna turned the situation into an immense victory by establishing a school and in time, a further school, a college and a respite home for the care and support of those affected by autism and their families.

Anna is an inspiration, having read her book (see giveaway below) I can only admire her commitment and determination to get the best possible education for her sons and the community. Her book Not Stupid is written in a open, honest and humorous way, detailing their journey from frustration to joy, a true rollercoaster journey. A must read for anyone either living with/caring for someone with autism or those who want an insight into life with someone on the autistic spectrum.

Here’s what Tesco Magazine said about a well-deserved winner: “Meet the mum who set up a school for autistic children after her own sons were turned away from mainstream education

Anna, 52, from Uxbridge, remortgaged her own house so she could set up a school for autistic children after her two autistic sons were turned away from mainstream education. She has now expanded support for those with autism to include two schools, a college, a respite home and a website with over 50,000 international followers.

Caring for two autistic sons is a huge task, yet Anna does this and more every day. ‘When I was told by the authorities that Patrick (now 23) and Angelo (now 19) were the only children in our area with autism, I felt completely isolated and alone. It was only when I bumped into another parent one day and recognised the symptoms in her child, that I realised I wasn’t alone. Together, we started a support group in my home.’

The group grew rapidly and was soon attended by 275 families. When Angelo and Patrick were later turned away by 25 mainstream schools, Anna resorted to converting her garage into a classroom. However, the local authority granted her sons only five hours of home tuition a week. Angelo’s tutor was completely unable to cope with a severely autistic child and on her third day collapsed in tears.

Anna was a dance teacher and had no experience of running a business but decided to set up a school for her sons and other autistic children. ‘I knew there were other heartbroken parents like me, feeling desperate after being rejected by school after school,’ she says. ‘That’s when I realised I could create somewhere for those children.’

After hearing about a local school that was scheduled to be demolished, Anna and her husband Sean put together a feasibility study to show how it could be converted into a school for autistic children – since there was such a need in the area. She lobbied banks and remortgaged their home to raise the £627,000 worth of refurbishment costs that were needed to secure a lease on the property for 30 years. ‘At the time my husband and I had just £3,000 in the bank,’ she says. ‘It was definitely a challenge but I looked at my sons and thought, “We can do this.”’

Anna turned to her local community for help and her determination paid off. ‘We applied for loans, fundraised and did everything we could to get the money. I did sponsored keep-fits and others did cycle rides. Volunteers started coming out of the woodwork to help us including carpenters, painters, and electricians. British Airways put in a kitchen as a team building exercise. A fabulous gentleman gave us furniture and carpet tiles – we picked them up from Basingstoke over six journeys in a borrowed battered old van and carpeted the hall, classrooms and corridors for free. I even approached the Probation Service and organised for offenders to come and volunteer – and after their community service time was up many kept coming back to help out. It was incredible.

Setting up the school was a steep and total learning curve as Anna had to find out how to do everything from writing an advertisement for a specialist headteacher to dealing with Ofsted, Health and Safety, and CRB checks. ‘The hardest thing was tiredness because Angelo only sleeps three hours a night and I was looking after both boys at home full time,’ she says. ‘We had no money and lived off 9p tins of beans, but we just had to make it work.’

The Hillingdon Manor School opened in 1999 with 19 pupils. ‘When Ofsted came to inspect the school in its first month, I was so nervous I was sick,’ laughs Anna. ‘They had the power to shut the school meaning we’d lose everything, including our house. The inspector said if he had a child with autism he’d have no hesitation in sending them to us and after he left I was running up and down the corridor filled with joy!’ The school is now the largest of its kind in Europe, offering 150 autistic children a safe, structured education and a brighter future.

Not stopping there, Anna went on to set up a community college in 2001, a respite home for adults in 2004, a second specialist school in Kent in 2011, and now has an international following of 50,000 parents of autistic children through her website, Anna Kennedy Online. In addition, she provides training for the NSPCC and Childline on the issue of disability bullying and speaks about autism all over the UK.

In 2009, Anna wrote the book Not Stupid about the struggle to set up The Hillingdon School and their patron Esther Rantzen wrote the foreword. In April 2012, she released a fitness DVD, Step In The Right Direction, and its success led to national Dance Day, which fundraises for autism charities.

On 12 May 2012, Anna organised the first talent show of its kind called Autism’s Got Talent, which saw children and adults with autism perform on stage to a packed audience at London’s Mermaid Theatre. The show included a performance from autistic dancer James Hobley, who had appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.

Anna was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2012 for her services to special needs education and autism.

Anna says, ‘People with autism shouldn’t be hidden. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I want all children, including my own boys, to have the chance to make a mark on the world just like everybody else.’

Our judges said: ‘Anna’s singlehanded determination to help families living with autism, while also being a full-time carer to her two sons, is truly inspirational.”

The Tesco Mum of the Year awards ceremony will be taking place at The Savoy on March 3rd, hosted by Fiona Phillips, with appearances from special guest stars of screen, stage and sport. You can follow the twitter feed on the night via the hashtag #tescomumoftheyear. Th event is also being televised to be shown on Channel 5 on March 10th, very appropriately Mothers Day.

Now for the book giveaway:
I am delighted to be able to offer a giveaway of 20 copies of Anna’s book via this blog.


Not Stupid as described above, is a must-read and you will want to laugh and cry at the incredible journey that Anna has taken to secure autism care and support for her local community. I finished reading it and half-wished we lived nearer.

To be in with a chance of receiving a copy of Anna’s book, please:

1. Retweet/share this post to Facebook and let me know (@AutismMumma) you have done so,
2. Either leave a comment below or tweet “I’d like to win a copy of #tescomumoftheyear Anna Kennedy’s book with @AutismMumma”

(Entries are restricted to UK-only and closing on 10th March at 10pm but the book is available on Amazon as both a paperback and Kindle version)

It would be fantastic if as many people as possible could follow the twitter feed on 3rd March and watch the Channel 5 transmission on March 10th, there are some amazing mums being honoured, please click here for a behind-the-scenes photoshoot.

Thanks very much for reading and for Tesco Magazine for giving me the opportunity to write this blog and host a book giveaway. It goes without saying that RTs and comments (the more. The merrier) would be welcomed! Jx 😘

Book Worm Wednesday – Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dog Days

Today’s “Book Worm Wednesday” is written once again by 10year old T, he absolutely loves reading, something I’m really pleased about.

A report in September 2012 indicated that “children and teenagers were embarrassed to read” – read the report here – so I hope it’s something that he doesn’t grow out of/feel pressurised to.


T’s review today is “Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dog Days” by Jeff Kinney, as before these are his words and I’ve made minor cosmetic adjustments.


When Greg and Rowley put money he has to pay on Rowley’s dad’s country club membership card, Greg and Rowley owe him a total of £63. Greg and Rowley start brainstorming ideas for ways to earn money.

They eventually come up with a company called the V.I.P lawn service. So they make flyers and let people in the neighbourhood know about it. Greg figured they could start things up again in the winter. But Rowley got fired on the spot. Greg called the winter company the VIP snow removal.

Greg had earned a few pounds since Rowley had left. But will Greg earn enough money in time or will he suffer a severe punishment from his parents?


Thanks for reading, this was postponed from last Wednesday Jx 😘

Book Worm Wednesday – Captain Underpants

As you will have probably gathered from the title, T has again written this week’s Book Worm Wednesday. So, Tra-la-la! It’s “Captain Underpants and The Revolting Revenge of The Radioactive Robo-Boxers” (the titles are enough to make you giggle!)


Over to T, apart from minor cosmetic adjustments, these are his words:

“Book 10: In our last adventure, Tippy Tinkletrousers and his time-travelling high-jinks changed the course of human history for ever, resulting in the destruction of Captain Underpants.

Following this, George and Harold, (and their two pets) Crackers and Sulu will have to figure a way to change it back.

George and Harold realised Crackers and Sulu were suffering so they decided to take Crackers back to the Mesozoic era, (because he was a pterodactyl). But Mr Krupp – the school principal – chased after the four friends as they locked the door so he couldn’t get in. George and Harold found the time machine and set it to 65 million years ago and pulled the chain. But Mr Krupp had got in and when the time machine took off so he went as well…

Tippy had found out where they were going and used his time machine to chase after them. When they reached their destination, Tippy had arrived first.

The time machine had landed on a massive tree and Tippy started kicking the tree with his massive leg. The time machine fell and broke. The chase was on. Tippy started chasing our heroes. Mr Krupp was there too and when George snapped his fingers, Mr Krupp suddenly turned into the superhero named Captain Underpants. He was back!

With our heroes in the Mesozoic era, will our heroes get out before Tippy strikes revenge…”

I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s got me interested in finding out more, well done T!



For more information on the author, Dav Pilkey, you can check out his website here..

Thanks for reading Jx 😘 comments/RTs/shares welcomed.