Books by Charles A. Amenta III

Released: March 1, 2011

Likable young Russell puts a face on autism. Amenta's experience with his own son (now grown) shapes this heartfelt approach. This child craves routine and rituals and struggles to relate to his younger brothers. Similarities between Russell and his siblings reveal emotional depth, though, occasionally, earnest simplifications lead to vague statements. ("Not all kids with autism have a hard time learning. Some are really smart and a few are even extraordinary!") Focusing on Russell's experiences, the book avoids sweeping generalizations while fairly outlining the condition's complexities. The objective tone describes oddities in behavior through nonjudgmental language. Notably, the book eschews discussion of the controversy surrounding the diagnosis. A lengthy author's note encourages families to seek professional support, but it does not include a list of recommended, current resources. Vivid mixed-media spreads include black-and-white childhood photos and display a hodgepodge of household objects and crayon scribbles; each element vies for control of the cluttered mind. Though Russell remains nonverbal, his expressive eyes depict each intense reaction. Busy spreads reveal his isolation and frustration as he fights for control. Supportive without sugarcoating, this realistic account of a disorder that affects so many contains at its core a raw emotional heart. (Nonfiction. 6-9)Read full book review >