A Manual for Marco by Shaila Abdullah, illustrated by Iman Tejpar and Shaila Abdullah

Source: Loving Healing Press
Paperback, 36 pgs
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A Manual For Marco by Shaila Abdullah, illustrated by her and Iman Tejpar, is a frank look at what it is like to be a sibling of a challenged brother.  Eight-year-old Sofia struggles with the love she feels for her brother and how protective she is when it comes to classmates and friends who don’t understand and poke fun, but she also struggles with how Marco’s differences mean that he receives a bit more attention and care than she does.  This is a dilemma that most kids will struggle with if their sibling is disabled.  This story hit home for me and brought back the memories I had as a child dealing with the attention my brother received as a child that I did not.  Abdullah has created a book that could help kids who were like me, confused by the situation at home and yet protective of the brother who was not understood by those outside the family.

Abdullah is doing important work, and her book is mature in its approach to how these kids relate to one another and how they think and feel.  The manual Sofia creates for her brother not only helps her put into perspective how special her brother is, but also how special her relationship with him is to Marco.  The images are bright, and parents reading this to children can use the story as a way to bring up these discussions about being disabled and communication.  Compassion and understanding are important tools that all children should have, but they are difficult to teach with immediacy.

A Manual For Marco by Shaila Abdullah, illustrated by her and Iman Tejpar, is a great book that not only can generate discussion between parents and children, but it also offers a bit about Abdullah’s inspiration for the story and some resources for parents.

Previously reviewed books:

About the Author:

Noted as “Word Artist” by critics, Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of five books: Saffron Dreams, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, My Friend Suhana, Rani in Search of a Rainbow, and A Manual for Marco. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award and Patras Bukhari Award for English Language. Several academic institutions have adopted her books as course study or recommended reading, including the University of California, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University, Boston University, California State University, and George Washington University.

Mailbox Monday #310

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Lucky Alan and Other Stories by Jonathan Lethem from Penguin Random House for review.

Jonathan Lethem stretches new literary muscles in this scintillating new collection of stories. Some of these tales—such as “Pending Vegan,” which wonderfully captures a parental ache and anguish during a family visit to an aquatic theme park—are, in Lethem’s words, “obedient (at least outwardly) to realism.” Others, like “The Dreaming Jaw, The Salivating Ear,”, which deftly and hilariously captures the solipsism of blog culture, feature “the uncanny and surreal elements that still sometimes erupt in my short stories.”

2. A Manual for Marco: Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling by Shaila Abdullah, illustrated by Iman Tejpar for review from Loving Healing Press Inc.

An 8-year old girl decides to make a list of all the things she likes and dislikes about dealing with her autistic brother, and in doing so realizes that she has created A Manual for Marco.

3.  Ella by Mallory Kasdan, illustrated by Marcos Chin from Penguin for review.

This is ELLA. She is six years old. She lives at the Local Hotel. She has a nanny called Manny. He has tattoos for sleeves and he might go in with some guys to buy a grilled cheese truck. Sometimes Ella weaves purses out of Ziploc bags and reclaimed twine. (She is artsy of course.) She has a dog named Stacie and a fish named Rasta and a scooter which is important for getting everywhere she needs to be. Altogether she has been to 62 events including that Hillary Clinton fundraiser. She is NEVER bored. If Ella and Kay Thompson’s Eloise got together for a play date, they would have a very good time indeed.

What did you receive?