Just Because by Rebecca Elliott

Just Because

Rebecca Elliott, author and illustrator

Lion UK,  April 2011, Fiction

Suitable for:  Children 3 to 8 years

Theme:  Disability, Acceptance, Sibling Friendship

Synopsis:  “My big sister Clemmie is my best friend.  She can’t walk, talk, move around much, cook macaroni, pilot a plane, juggle or do algebra.  I don’t know why she doesn’t do these things.  Just because.”  Toby’s sister Clemmie is his best friend.  She can’t walk, talk, move around very much or cook macaroni.  Toby recognizes the differences, but doesn’t really understand why.  Just because.   Clemmie makes noises, wears silly hats,  makes funny faces and makes Toby laugh.  Just because.  Clemmie in turn doesn’t mind Toby making loud noises, chasing the cat, or eating crayons.   Just because.  And, when there is a thunderstorm, Toby gets scared but Clemmie keeps him calm.  Just because that’s how things are between them.  There is a lovely simplicity about this story.

Why I like this book:  It is a heartwarming story about the strong bond between siblings.  I find her book refreshing because it doesn’t mention the word disability.  The main theme is about the unconditional love and acceptance of a brother and sister.  Elliott’s illustrations are colorful, bold and magical.   It is a book that families who have a child with a disability will find endearing and helpful.  Use this book to encourage sibling friendship.

Activity:  It’s a tough balancing act for parents who have a child with a special need.  It is important to include the children in joint activities.  But it is important that each child in the family receives special time with the parents.  Acknowledge the feelings of both the child with a special needs and the siblings.  Have the siblings draw pictures about how they feel.  Involve the sibling in the care of a disabled child.   Seek out support groups related to your child’s disability.  For more books with resources please visit Perfect Picture Books.