Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Brother Charlie Book Review AND Giveaway!

****Congratulations to the winners, Kerry, Nicole, and Elana!  I sent you 3 an email.  Thank you to everyone who entered, I wish I could send a copy to all of you!****
 *** Update! Nicole at Help Mama Remote, who was a winner, said she had just planned on commenting not really entering and wants the book to go to someone who could really use it, i.e. an Autism family.  So thank you Nicole, you are too sweet!  So congrats Janine, you are a winner now!***

Happy Autism Awareness Month!!!

I was given a copy of My Brother Charlie by Holly Robsinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete to review.  I am also very excited to announce that 1 of my readers will win an autographed copy of the book and 2 other readers will win a copy of the book!  3 winners, how exciting!


Holly Robinson Peete (you know her from the TV show Hangin with Mr. Cooper) has used her celebrity status to promote Autism awareness and advocate on behalf of families affected with the spectrum disorder.

She and her 12 year old daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, wrote My Brother Charlie based on their experiences with Ryan's twin brother, RJ.  Their story is intended to "help share awareness about Autism with other children who have been touched by it in some way." 
As a parent of one child on the spectrum and one Neuro-Typical child, this book was incredibly meaningful.  My husband and I consider how we will explain to the boys what Jaylen having Autism and Xavier not having Autism really means, and how it will affect each of them.

The first thing I noticed were the illustrations.  Shane W. Evans created vibrant pictures with few distractions.  Simple picture like paintings make it easy for kids on the spectrum to focus.

Holly and Ryan have a great way of describing how kids on the spectrum are different.  The details are spot on and are exactly what I see in my children.  I love how they explain the family always knew something was different about Charlie, as most Autie parents and siblings do.

There is no sugar coating in this book.  The family is noticeably concerned as you can see in their sad and angry faces, and from the words they use.  But there are cheerful descriptions of the good times surrounded by Autism.  The siblings have fun together and love each other in their own way.  In fact, you get the feeling that Autism has made their relationship more meaningful.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when they describe Charlie's attributes.  He has some special skills and obsessions, as most kids on the spectrum do.  Once again, this part was significant to me and will mean so much to my boys when they are older.  Jaylen has some amazing talents and skills in certain areas, and has many obsessions and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tendencies.  They also send the message that being non-verbal is OK.  That is so important for kids with Autism and for kids who know others who are non-verbal.

It was very obvious to me My Brother Charlie was written by people who have had first hand experience with Autism.  Even the last illustration of the twin siblings doing a puzzle speaks to anyone aware of the nationally linked Autism symbol.  The disorder truly is a complex puzzle.

The bottom line is that Autism makes the siblings different.  Not worse or better in any way, just different.  And their relationship is strongly built through and around the disorder.  I would recommend this book to children ages 5 and up.  The subject matter is a little too sophisticated for children under 5, especially those with special needs.  But this will be a must read in my house in about a year.  It is one of the best children's book dealing with Autism I have seen.

1 winner will receive an autographed copy of the book and 2 readers will win a hardcover copy of the book.  You can also purchase the hardcover book here for $16.99

Mandatory Entry:

***Become a Google Follower of my blog and leave me a comment saying you did with a quick note on why you'd like this book. (mostly because I am nosy and want to know!)***

Extra Entries: I am going to keep this short and easy for those of you who are not professional giveaway entrants!  These giveaways can get very confusing (at least for me they do).  Just do one or all of these and leave a SEPARATE comment for each one you do!

*Become a Facebook fan of Mommy To Two Boys here (1 entry)

*Become a Facebook fan of my Home Business here (1 entry)

*Subscribe to my blog by email - right over there on the right sidebar (worth 2 entries so leave 2 separate comments!)

*Add my button with my two perfectly adorable guys to your blog (2 entries, don't forget - 2 comments!)

Giveaway Rules:
This giveaway is open to anyone in the US and Canada.  It begins on April 22, 2010 and will end on May 2, 2010 at 9 pm. Three winners with valid entries will be selected at random using The winners will be announced and each must respond with a current email address within 48 hours to claim.  Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen. Good Luck!!!

 I was not compensated for this review. These are my own honest opinions about the book. Family Photo Courtesy of Chris Voelker,