HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: And You Can Love Me: A Story for Everyone Who Loves Someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Author: Sherry Quan Lee
Illustrator: Teagan “Trif” Merrifield with lettering by Kyra Gaylor
Publisher: Loving Healing Press, 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1615994250 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1615994254 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1615994243 Paperback
ISBN-10: 1615994246 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 5 – 8
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Lee, Sherry Quan. And You Can Love Me: A Story for Everyone Who Loves Someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Published in 2019 by Loving Healing Press, 5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105). Ethan is a young boy who is having a birthday. He is pictured as telling the reader, “The me that I am is silent. You can see in my eyes and know in your heart that I’m in the world of Ethan.” His enjoyment comes from clapping his hands, bouncing all kinds of balls, jumping on a trampoline, swinging on a swing, petting a horse, playing in the pool, and being held by his mother, father, and grandmother. Why is Ethan silent and seems to be in a world of his own?
Ethan has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The fictional story of Ethan, a nonverbal autistic child, is based on author Sherry Quan Lee’s observations and experiences with her own grandson. This condition is a complex developmental disorder characterized by a broad range of challenges with social interaction, repetitive or restrictive behaviors, motor skills, speech issues, and nonverbal communication. The effects and severity of symptoms vary from person to person. When I was speaker coordinator with the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo (2006-2010), we always made sure that we had several speakers in our special needs track with expertise in ASD to give information, advice, and encouragement for parents who were homeschooling autistic children.
Kyra Gaylor’s lettering is reminiscent of a child’s writing, and Teagen “Trif” Merrifield’s illustrations perfectly match up with the text. The book is an excellent resource for adults who have a child or grandchild with autism. There is no subliminal ideology about ASD, nor any attempt to try to define, shame, or guilt. The story simply speaks about the power of unconditional love needed in any situation. It is also a picture book that a child with ASD may, in some way, recognize within himself or herself. Again, And You Can Love Me doesn’t try to explain, define, or even educate. It is merely the story of one particular nonverbal autistic child, which acknowledges the different ways a loved one with autism may communicate and reminds us that the lesson to be learned here is that love and patience are what every child needs.