Monday, March 24, 2008

Book Review: Knowing Joseph, by Judith Mammay

Knowing Joseph is an engrossing, touching book about a young boy trying to deal with his 6-year old autistic brother.

For 10-year old Brian, living with his brother Joseph isn't easy. Joseph doesn't play with other children, screams when something bothers him, and constantly needs special attention. To make matters worse, Mom and Dad are so preoccupied with Joseph's ups and downs that they hardly have the time to pay attention to Brian, which isn't fair.

Yet Brian tries to do what's best and always tries to make Joseph comfortable and to protect him from the school bullies. But does he really know Joseph?
Then one day at the beach, during a family camping trip, Brian meets an older boy who enlightens him about autism. He not only opens a whole new window of knowledge for Brian, but for other children as well. As a result, Brian and Joseph become closer than ever.

Later, back at school, the children are given an assignment. They must work in groups and make a presentation on their chosen subject: children with disabilities. To Brian's chagrin, the teacher announces that the class' bully must be part of their group. As the children make their presentations, it becomes obvious that the class bully has some special needs as well, not unlike those of Joseph, the boy he had been bullying all along.

Knowing Joseph is a must read for children ages 7 and up. In an engaging style, Mammay teaches the reader what autism is all about, especially how to treat children who have this disability. She does this by presenting the characters and the story, not by preaching, which is why this novel will be enjoyed by middle readers. The plot is interesting and compelling. The dialogue, characters and plot will appeal to young readers. Ultimately, it is a book that not only informs, but one that teaches the true meaning of kindness and compassion.

For more information about the author and the book, visit Judith Mammay's website


Bill Kirk said...

Nicely done review, Mayra. And a tip of the writer's hat to Judy for an excellent story. As you suggest in your interview, although the basic story is about autism, it goes beyond that to give readers of all ages a view of kindness and compassion in action.

Bill Kirk
A Member of the Guardian Angel Family

Mayra Calvani said...

Glad you enjoyed the review, Bill. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Judy said...

Thanks to you both for the review and the comments. I appreciate them.