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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Maria and Me: A Father, a Daughter (and Autism)
by Maria Gallardo and Miguel Gallardo
Age Range: 9-11
Maria, we are told, is ‘unique – just like everyone else’. She is autistic and in this unusual little book, we get to know her through the eyes of her father. Using black and white doodles and captions, he shares an eclectic range of memories of their holiday together in the Canary Islands.
Miguel Gallardo describes some of the common obstacles facing Maria, as well as his own feelings about his daughter. Particularly poignant are some of the attitudes he encounters and his page of people’s expressions on other people’s faces when they see Maria.
br> The simple, informal cartoon-style artwork reflects the value of clear images and pictograms to those on the autistic spectrum and to others with communication difficulties. The quirky graphic book style is also successful in creating the sense of a holiday scrap book. All this is combined with a humorous undertone and comments about the other holiday-makers he encounters, ensuring an effective but light-hearted end result.