Autism Awareness Month

April has been designated  World Autism Awareness Month.   On April 1 and 2, landmark buildings like the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Universal Studios, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and many other businesses and universities worldwide were illuminated  in blue to honor this signficant campaign to educate the public.

Many of you may remember actress Holly Robinson Peete on “Celebrity Apprentice,” in 2010, vying to win money for the charity she and her husband Rodney Peete, former NFL quarterback, started — the HollyRod Foundation.  Their eldest son, R.J.,  was diagnosed at age three with autism.   Holly has become a leading voice in America for children with autism.   She’s on the new CBS weekday show “The Talk,” which airs at 2 p.m. EDT.  Every Friday in April, “The Talk”  has devoted a segment to autism awareness.  Today, Apr. 8, there will be a discussion on fathers of children with autism;  Apr. 15, the show will profile inspiring teens with autism; and Apr. 22,  will focus on what happens to autistic children when they grow into adulthood.   Rodney has written a book for father’s called, Not My Boy!

It  is only fitting that I review  My Brother Charlie, written by Holly and her daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete.  This beautiful and heartwarming  story is told  from a siblings viewpoint.  The illustrations, by   Shane W. Evans, are vibrant and engaging.  The book has won the 2011 Image Award for Literature.

” My goal with this book is to let kids and their parents in on a little secret:  Kids with autism are valuable human beings with real feelings, even though they can’t always express them, ” says Ryan Peete.  “I feel it is up to those of us who don’t have autism to change ourselves so that we can better understand people who have it.”   She did that very thing when she was in fourth grade and designed an Autism 101 for her class.

In My Brother Charlie, Callie and Charlie begin their life together as twins in their mother’s tummy.  Throughout their lives they share many of the same things other children do.  But, Callie soon begins to realize simple differences.  Charlie won’t play with her, laugh,  kiss Mommy on the cheek and ruins her playdates.   Callie wishes at times she could “crawl into Charlie’s world to move things around for him.”   She also realizes the things Charlie can do like playing the piano,  running fast and the first time he comforts her when she is hurt and says, “Don’t cry, Callie, I love you.”

This book is authentic and  inspirational.  It will capture your heart.   The authors show how a family pulls together to help bring out the very best in  Charlie and themselves.   As Callie so beautifully says, “Charlie has autism.  But autism doesn’t have Charlie.”  And, “I’m blessed to be Charlie’s sister and to share so much.  I count my ‘Charlie Blessings’ every day.   At the very top of my ‘Charlie Blessings’ list is the love Charlie and I have for each other.”

A percentage of the royalty earnings of My Brother Charlie will go to the HollyRod4Kids Foundation to help children with autism gain access to affordable treatment and therapies.  Inspired by her father and son, the HollyRod Foundation was founded in 1997  and is dedicated to providing compassionate care to those living with Autism and Parkinson’s disease.   The website is:

Other noteworthy websites include: and



About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

10 thoughts on “Autism Awareness Month

  1. Thank you for alerting us to this significant month of awareness, as well as to the HollyRod organization and that excellent-sounding book! I will be telling some friends about this post, as they have interest in autism.


    • Beth,
      Couldn’t believe how quickly you responded to my post last night! I am glad you enjoyed the post and shared it with your friends. Thank you so much for your support! By the way, I received Wil Orchid in the mail today. Looking forward to a good read!


  2. I can see you are going to take me on a great learning curve through your blog, Pat. I was neither aware of autism month, nor the Hollyrod organisation. My Brother Charlie sounds so uplifting. Over the years in schools in which I have taught, there have been one or two students I felt were possibly somewhere on the autistic/aspergers scale, though undiagnosed, of course. I really am keen to increase my understanding.


    • Glad you liked my focus on Worldwide Autism Awareness Month — how could I not respond t it. I know a number of kids with autism, and it amazes me how each situation is so very different. Watched the TV segment on program Holly Robinson Peete did on “The Talk” today with her husband and a group of men who all sate down for the first time to talk about the impact on father’s. I mentioned his book. I may say more. Thank you for suggesting the book. I already have it in hand.


  3. Oh My! Pat this post and what you have told us about Charlie brought a lump in my throat. So moving. We are very aware of Autism month in NZ and as I am a fan of Ellen Degenerus show I also know of Jenny McCathy and her pledge to ensure people are aware of Autism as her young son was diagnosed with it. Pat you might be interested in this website, click on ‘children’s picture books’ and also ‘childrens picture books about disabilities’, you might find it very interesting.
    If you have not already come across it. Loved this post and have now just been reading up on Charlie Peet. Thankyou Pat for sharing.


    • Am happy you enjoyed the post. My Brother Charlie is a well-written book. I bought the book months ago, knowing I would review it. But, most important is Worldwide Autism Awarness Month — so the timing of both my first posts were perfect choices. And, thank you so much for the website — I appreciate all the new information and book suggestions I receive. Thank you!


  4. Pingback: Wild Orchid; Waiting for No One, by Bev Brenna | elizabethannewrites

    • Thank you Beth for tying your post to mine on Autism Awareness Month. I found your post very thought-provoking. Can’t wait to read Wild Orchid! Hope I approved it correctly.


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  6. Pingback: From the Archives — Wild Orchid & Waiting for No One

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