With about one percent of the population fitting somewhere on the autistic spectrum, accurate insight into this condition is welcome.
Muggleton, in his debut, is particularly well-suited to comment on Asperger syndrome, since he was diagnosed with it at age 15 and is studying to be a psychologist. In concise, logically arranged chapters, he provides a brief history of autistic spectrum disorders and then offers experience-based insight into a number of aspects of AS, including ritual behaviors, problems making friends and dealing with difficult social situations, increased sensitivity to sensory input, bullying, dealing with changes in normal routine, etc. While many of his comments about schooling are Britain-centric, American audiences will, nonetheless, find this a useful work. The combination of personal experience and helpful, research-based suggestions is especially welcome. Particularly poignant and thought provoking is his description of his grade-school ritual of pacing athletic-field marking lines, with his parka zipped up and hood raised—in all weather—just to find relief from stressful recess problems and bullying, a behavior that made good sense to him given the situation but must have seemed highly dysfunctional to anyone watching.
Although mostly intended for parents, many teens will also find this to be a very enlightening, often optimistic work on a challenging topic.
(foreword by Tony Atwood, not seen)
(Nonfiction. 12 & up)
Pitamic bites off more than she can chew with this instructional art volume, but its core projects will excite in the right context. Twelve pieces of fine art inspire two art projects apiece. Matisse’s The Snail opens the Color section; after history and analysis, there’s one project arranging multicolored tissue-paper squares and one project adding hue to white paint to create stripes of value gradation. These creative endeavors exploring value, shade, texture and various media will exhilarate young artists—but only with at best semi-successful results, as they require an adult dedicated to both advance material procurement and doing the artwork along with the child. Otherwise, complex instructions plus a frequent requirement to draw or trace realistically will cause frustration. Much of the text is above children’s heads, errors of terminology and reproduction detract and the links between the famous pieces and the projects are imprecise. However, an involved adult and an enterprising child aged seven to ten will find many of the projects fabulously challenging and rewarding. Art In Action 2 (ISBN: 978-0-7641-441-7) publishes simultaneously. (artist biographies, glossary, location of originals) (Nonfiction. Adults)
Just add water (and a little paper, some crayons and pencils) for instant and inspiring art projects.
This third art-education book by Prince is a deep well of resources for experienced teachers who want to supplement their existing curriculum or for a caregiver who is in search of a meaningful project to share with a child. Prince touches upon such topics as how to define art, how pervasive visual communication is in our world, and how vital it is that we become “bilingual” in the language of art. She also discusses the benefits of having students keep portfolios and the importance of honest criticism and praise when critiquing children's artwork. Included is a concise and user-friendly overview of various elements and principles of art, such as contrast, texture and composition, as well as a beautifully simple discussion about color, including definitions of hue, value and intensity, and primary, complementary and tertiary colors. There are more than 65 easy-to-follow projects neatly divided into the activities' environments: lessons for an afternoon in the city, the park, at the art museum or at home. The author even includes a referenced cross-index that lists the specific principles and elements taught in each project. Most lessons are, by design, suited for children as well as adults, and the supplies required are generally inexpensive and easily obtainable. Photographs and illustrations of the projects and principles add a visual dimension.
Though not for the rank amateur, a handy resource for artistically minded teens and adults who work with children.
(Nonfiction. 14 & up)