What inspired you to write My Big Brother Bobby?
I wrote My Big Brother Bobby because there was a need for a book solely dedicated to young siblings of children who struggle with their tempers and have strong emotions. My goal is to reach as many children as possible. My hope is for children to relate to the characters, know that they are not alone and there are many resources available to them. I hope this book provides an outlet for conversation and understanding for all parties involved.
Siblings of children who require special care especially those that struggle with anger often times don’t get the help they need until they are older. By then, it is harder to help. This book lets parents teach their children about their family dynamic at an early age in an easy to understand way.
Can you give us an overview of the story?
My Big Brother Bobby is story about a little girl with a big imagination and an even bigger heart. She loves to play with her brother Bobby but sometimes when he gets angry, something larger than life appears. My Big Brother Bobby is a fun, imaginative story that educates children on the importance of understanding and coping with anger in others in a warm and easy to understand way. It isn’t your typical children’s book. It is a communication bridge between parents, social workers, OTs, psychologists and children who are dealing with emotional issues, specifically those living with siblings with angry outbursts
What lessons do readers learn from reading your book?_
That it is okay to be scared and there are easy ways to feel safe in a scary situation. Most kids feel like they are alone and to have a story that depicts what they are going through will help them learn to be more comfortable in their surroundings.
"My Brother Bobby" teaches us that it is okay to be scared and that there are easy ways to feel safe in a scary...Click To Tweet
Who’s your illustrator and why was she perfect for capturing the spirit of your book?
Anne Zimanski is an illustrator living in Michigan. She has a bachelor’s degree in illustration and a background in both graphic design and fine arts.
Who are your ideal readers?
The ideal readers are children ages 5 and up. It is also a great resource for health professionals and educators working with children.
How do you see your book being used?
Ideally, I would like the book to be used for professionals and educators working families with a child who is physically or mentally disabled. This book helps the siblings of those children bring to light their experience and give another perspective on how the other sibling feels.
Can you share one of your favorite moments or comments you received from a reader or a parent?
A few months back, I heard from a Mom where the book has made a lasting impression not only on their kids, but also the parents. A mother wrote in and expressed her gratitude for the book. She explained that her older son had some anger issues and her younger son was bearing a burden because of his outbursts. She went through the book with her younger son and was in tears after hearing him respond to the questions in the back of the book. He explained how hurt and scared he had been by his brother’s outburst. When the other son read it (the one with anger issues) was able to get a better understanding to how his actions affect his loved ones and the ones around him. Since reading the book, they talk more openly about their feelings and take time to do special actives with each child.
Leave us with some final words of inspiration.
"Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves."
Special thanks to Jodi Murphy!
Click here to see the original article: http://geekclubbooks.com/2014/10/my-big-brother-bobby-understanding-anger/
*Editor's note: The following was a conversation I was lucky to be privy to between my two sons, over the course of about twenty minutes. I've omitted several things for privacy, and cleaned up others, while trying to keep the language as close to the original conversation as possible. I received both sons' permissions before publishing this.
"Morgan," Bay asked, "what's it like to be you?"
The question was asked as the boys finished dinner and I sat away from them, reading a book. I marked my place and quietly listened.
"Well," Morgan said, "it's confusing. You know I'm an autism kid. Noises are big. Clothes have to be soft. Smells are hard." He went back to eating, apparently satisfied with his answers.
"But, Morgan, what's it like? Why is it confusing to be you?"
Morgan took a deep breath, pondered this question some, and then said, haltingly, "People think I don't listen, but I do. Teacher always says, 'Pay attention, sweet boy!' but I am paying attention. It's hard. I pay attention to everything, all at the same time. I can't pay attention to just one thing... I can't always use my words."
"There are all of these sounds and thinks (thoughts) and I can't just pick one. Can you?"
I sat, stunned. Morgan's never talked to his father or I like this. He's never really been able or rather, we've never been able, to get him to talk to us like this.
"Morgan," his brother started, "why do you script? Why do you use Thomas so much and love him so much?"
"I just do. The stories are in my head, 'cause I'm a narrator. I love Thomas, he's my friend. He's a very useful, cheeky engine."
"But you know, other kids don't like him as much, right? I mean, aren't you worried about bullies? Why do you talk like that (meaning nasally quality/monotone and scripting)?"
"I don't care if they don't like him, Mama says he's mine to love. Mama and Daddy say bullies just don't get hugged enough. I told you- I talk like this 'cause Jesus made me this way. Now, stop being a bossy boiler or this conversation is over!" (note the script)
Me: "Morgan, is there anything that's really hard for you?"
"Yeah, people when they give me too many directions. That's hard." Having my own struggles with this, I agreed with him. "Going new places used to be bad, but sometimes it's fun now. But not too much. Rounding (numbers). Noise. Making people understand me."
"Haircuts used to be really hard, right?"
"Yep, but they're not so bad now. The hairs still feel like poking on my skin, and I'm scared my ears'll be chopped off." "Mama won't cut your ears off-" "But I feel the scissors coming in! My brain tells me my ears are in danger and I need to yell!"
Me: "What would you make people understand?"
"I need to chuff (when he makes train noises and moves his arms in a circular motion, bent at the elbows). Ya know, trees stim? I'm a good boy and really useful. Don't talk about me in front of me. Kids shouldn't make fun, the grown ups, either. It's mean. People should understand people." I started tearing up.
Bay: "What's easy for you? You're good at lots."
"Making breakfast (he makes English muffins with cream cheese every morning for himself). Thomas stories. Tying my shoes. Making train sets. Snuggling. Smiling. Laughing. Swimming. Remembering the way."
To read the rest of this amazing article click here: http://www.decipher-morgan.com/2014/10/what-its-like.html
Rebecca is an independent publisher working to help siblings of children with emotional challenges.