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I AM ODD, I AM NEW by Benjamin Giroux Kirkus Star


by Benjamin Giroux ; illustrated by Roz MacLean

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-7643-6241-5
Publisher: Schiffer

An elementary-age kid tries to find a place in a world that makes him feel devastatingly different.

Who belongs where? Who can belong? The narrator compares himself to those around him and feels isolated. Should he even try to fit in? He hears “noises in the air.” No one else seems to—why him? If he shrinks and hides away, will people stop laughing? Why can’t he be like the kids he sees walking past the window? Did he come from outer space? Buffeted by this feeling of oddness, he seems to find no answers until he realizes that he isn’t the only one—everyone is “odd and new,” and that is not such a bad thing. Written when the autistic author was 10, Giroux’s poetic exploration of being/feeling different from the perspective of living on the spectrum brings to light that being neurodivergent is not the same as being broken or “less.” Being different is not an insurmountable obstacle to experiencing life but rather a gift to experience more. In metaphorical scenes that vary from spread to spread as they interpret the lines, MacLean’s soft-hued illustrations show the narrator, depicted as a bespectacled White kid, as apart yet a part of the world around him. The predominance of blues and purples emphasizes the sense of separateness. The foreword by the National Autism Association states: “No one has ever made a difference in the world by being the same.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Giroux expresses core truths through his insightful and heartfelt poem.

(Picture book. 5-10)