Wednesday 6 March 2024

Square Me, Round World {Book Review}

There's a new book out now and it's called Square Me, Round World. Written by Chelsea Luker, an autistic/ADHDer psychologist and owner of Connect Us Psychology, and illustrated by Eliza Fricker from Missing the Mark, this book aims to share insights and prompt conversation around neurodiversity by sharing stories of 'growing up in a world not built for you'.

blue book cover on grey background. Title text square me round world, stories of growing up in a world not built for you
(*Underlined text and the pictures in this post are affiliate links;
as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but it won't cost you any extra!)

There are seven short stories in the book, followed by a dicusssion guide. The story titles are: Feeling Different, Finding Your Flock, The Mask, Take Me Apart, Put Me Back Together, Burned Out, It's a Loud, Loud World and Hard to Say Goodnight. All are beautifully illustrated by Eliza, whose work many will know from her own best-selling books 'Can't Not Won't', the 'Family Experience of PDA' and 'Thumbsucker'.

Feeling Different tells the tale of a young boy who brings his dinosaur, rather than the 'typical' kind of family animal to a 'bring your pet to school' day. Finding Your Flock is all about an owl who is struggling to make friends - until she finds the right group. The Mask introduces Rosie, who starts to feel exhausted by the weight of her mask at school every day, but who is helped to unmask and recover. The other chapters cover topics such as communication, school, sensory issues and sleep, in a similar easy to read manner.

I found it too hard to pick a favourite story because every single one is positive and neurodiversity-affirming, taking us on a journey of how life might be for neurodivergent individuals whilst also explaining how acceptance, understanding and small changes in how others respond to differences can play a part in making life easier for everyone. Here's a little teaser of the 'Finding Your Flock' chapter:

photo shows a double page spread of book with an illustration of owls on a branch. The text is in a quote below the photo
A lonely owl perched on a branch.

“I wish I had someone to sit with,” sighed Lily.

The problem was, Lily didn’t know how to make a friend.

All the other owls seemed to make friends so easily.

In fact, they didn’t seem to be trying at all.

But no matter how hard she tried, Lily just couldn’t get it right.

Sometimes she spoke too fast.

Sometimes she said too much.

Sometimes she couldn’t find words at all.

Sometimes Lily only wanted to talk about dragons.

Lily could talk about dragons all day. But when she tried, the other owls looked bored. They rolled their eyes. Or worse, they flew away.

This book would be perfect for helping children understand how they might be experiencing life differently to the majority, enabling them to feel seen and to feel positive about their unique 'sparkles'. It would also be great for helping other children, and adults, understand more about those feelings and learn how to adapt to help others.

Chelsea, the author, wanted this book to be a reminder that different isn't less, "it's just different - and that's perfectly okay. In fact, sometimes, it's brilliant." I also especially loved this quote from the back of the book:

"These stories are for the squares, triangles and diamonds of this world. Try to make yourself round and you're just a misshapen circle. Embrace the beauty that is your true self and you will truly shine. A wonderful, must-read book for every child to help understand and embrace their authentic self, no matter what shape they are."
Associate Professor Josephine Barbaro
Child Psychologist and Researcher

This fantastic book is available to order from Amazon now: Square Me, Round World 

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