Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Prince Who Was Just Himself by Silke Schnee

The royal couple is looking forward to their third child. “He looks a little different,” muses the king at Prince Noah’s arrival. “He is not like the others,” agrees the queen. Soon they notice what a very special person he is, even though he can’t do everything his brothers can.

When the youngest prince disarms the cruel knight Scarface, the nation’s most dreaded enemy, with an act of compassion, everyone finally realizes how good it is that each person is unique.

This delightfully illustrated fairy tale for children three years and older instills appreciation for children with Down syndrome and other developmental challenges, making it a valuable aid for teaching tolerance in the home or classroom.

Kirkus Reviews:
"A gentle fairy tale about a young prince with Down syndrome who saves his kingdom from a menacing knight…. [It] offers a special needs child in a positive, starring role and can be read simply as a satisfying fairy tale…. The author, herself the mother of a child with Down syndrome, and the illustrator ably introduce a difficult subject in a fictional context with a light, sure touch."

My review:
    Down Syndrome can be a tough issue to address, and this book is a great way to address it with kids. Through a kid's story, it shows how children with Down Syndrome look and act different, yet have traits and actions that the rest of us don't have. This is obviously a story way below my reading level, but I found it well-written and well illustrated.

  It isn't a long book, coming in at just 32 pages, but the author and illustrator do an excellent job of explaining Down Syndrome in a way that doesn't demean kids with it, but shows that though they are different, they are just as valuable. The author has a son with Down Syndrome, so this book is written from someone with personal experience.

About the author:

Silke snow is a journalist and works as a TV program maker at a public broadcaster in Cologne . She is married and has three sons . Her youngest son Noah was born in July 2008 with Trisomy 21 ( Down syndrome ) .

"At first, when Noah was born, we were shocked and sad. And it wasn’t easy to see how some people look at children with special needs as strange or different. But the catalyst for this book was witnessing the effect he had on many people, despite being categorized as disabled. In fact, our little prince brings much love, joy, and sunshine not only to us, but to all around him. Children are a wonder, and we must see them with the eyes of our heart: each child just the way he or she is."

About the illustrator:

Heike Sistig studied Special Education and Art and is a trained art therapist. She works full-time as an editor for children's television. Heike Sistig has illustrated several children's books, and gives her collages as a freelance artist in galleries. She lives with her family in Cologne.

Check out her website.

The Prince Who Was Just Himself is available from Plough Publishing House.

Thanks to Handlebar Publishing for the review copy.