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Kid Konnection: How to Be Human

August 3, 2013

How to Be Human

Florida Frenz was diagnosed with autism and mental retardation when she was three years old.  She was quickly enrolled in speech therapy, occupational therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and pre-school (with an aide).  Her mother was happy for the therapy but didn’t think there was enough developmental progress so she enlisted therapist Shelah Moss to become part of Florida’s team.  Moss was there specifically to teach Florida how to pretend.

The team was dedicated to helping Florida and Florida was determined to to make some changes.  In her book How to Be Human Florida documents her therapy.  The book includes the 23 steps she took and every page has drawings and/or writing by the author.  It’s a fascinating insight into what it means to be autistic and how hard autistic children must work in order to function in our society.

For the most part, I enjoyed How to Be Human – it’s a book that can be helpful to those with autism as well as to so called “normal” children.  It’s obvious that Florida had a great team who cared for her deeply, but their caring alone couldn’t bring her success.  This young woman worked very hard to get where she is today and I found her hard work and great attitude inspiring.

My only issue with the book are the author’s writing and drawings.  I appreciate that they’re included in the book but I think many of the drawings were reduced in size to fit on the page so the print was tiny, making them difficult to read. Some of them were written years ago and the spelling was creative and it took me a little while to figure out what they were.  That minor quibble didn’t keep me from enjoying the book, though.

How to Be Human is suggested for ages 7 and up.  I do think younger readers will need a little help with it, though.  This book should inspire young readers, with or without autism.  We should all work as hard as Florida.  Check out this interview with the author:


kid konnection new

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Creston Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2013 5:21 am

    This sounds like the kind of book I like to read with my kids, although when I first saw the cover I wasn’t attracted to it.

  2. August 3, 2013 5:57 am

    This sounds like a great book to start a conversation with children about differences. Great review!

  3. August 3, 2013 8:17 am

    I see what you mean about the tiny words. Totally wouldn’t work out with the way my eyes are!

  4. August 3, 2013 10:04 pm

    I have a friend with an autistic 2 year old ~ I think I’ll get this book for them to add to their shelf of resources. Thanks for the review and suggestion!

  5. August 5, 2013 7:24 am

    I’m always interested in learning more about what it means to be autistic. Thanks for sharing this book.

    Here’s my It’s Monday!

  6. Staci@LifeintheThumb permalink
    August 5, 2013 8:14 pm

    Pictures are so important! It’s a shame that they were so small. I think you’re so right in regards to the age and needing help to understand this book!

  7. bookingmama permalink
    August 8, 2013 2:09 pm

    Great point about the illustrations!! I hope this book helps teach some compassion but I do agree that younger kids will need some adult “help” with this book.

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