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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Sometimes the innocence of children is more accepting than that of their peers. When young Harper meets a girl at the pool who’s a little different, she takes it all in her stride. Harper doesn’t understand why Emma doesn’t talk; she doesn’t understand why Emma makes different noises and waves her hands about. The two bond through play and enjoying each other’s company. It’s only later that Harper learns from her mother that Emma has autism. She doesn’t understand what autism is, but she learns what it means in terms of communication. As Harper learns ways to communicate with her new friend, the two girls bond in a lasting friendship that knows no barriers.
Lisa Jacovsky’s picture book story, Let's Talk! A Story of Autism and Friendship, is a compassionate and tender tale about acceptance. The story is told in the first-person narrative from Harper’s point of view. The plot traces their friendship from the first meeting, the recognition of differences, and the immediate acceptance of friendship to the development of a bond that overcomes so many unseen boundaries. As the developing friendship is a learning experience for both girls, their story is a learning experience for young readers. This is a great way to teach readers, young and old, not only about autism but also about different conditions that affect people and perhaps make them seem a little different from the rest of us. It also teaches readers about respect, acceptance and compassion and so much more. A powerful story beautifully told and beautifully illustrated.