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Real By Carol Cujec and Peyton Goddard: Book Review
Author: Carol Cujec and Peyton Goddard
Publisher : Shadow Mountain (February 2, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 224 pages
ISBN-10 : 162972789X
ISBN-13 : 978-1629727899
Reading age : 8 - 11 years
Grade level : 3 - 6
***I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own***
Watch the YouTube Video to meet the co-authors of REAL
Authors Carol Cujec and Peyton Goddard talk about their book, Real,
about a girl with non-speaking autism who must face the social and
learning challenges of public school. Real is based on the true story of
Peyton Goddard. Peyton wants people to see her arduous struggle to
communicate, something we all take for granted, but she puts exhausting
effort into every interaction because, she says, communication is what
makes us human.
Inspired by a true story, Real speaks to all those who've ever felt they didn't belong and reminds readers that all people are worthy of being included.
My name is Charity. I am thirteen years old. Actually, thirteen years plus eighty-seven days. I love sour gummies and pepperoni pizza. That last part no one knows because I have not spoken a sentence since I was born. Each dawning day, I live in terror of my unpredictable body that no one understands.
Charity may have mad math skills and a near-perfect memory, but with a mouth that can't speak and a body that jumps, rocks, and howls unpredictably, most people incorrectly assume she cannot learn. Charity's brain works differently from most people's because of her autism, but she's still funny, determined, and kind. So why do people treat her like a disease or ignore her like she's invisible?
When Charity's parents enroll her in a public junior high school, she faces her greatest fears. Will kids make fun of her? Will her behavior get her kicked out? Will her million thoughts stay locked in her head forever? With the support of teachers and newfound friends, Charity will have to fight to be treated like a real student.
REAL was such an amazing novel. This book was written for the age group of kids 8-14 but it should be read by adults too. As I did some research, I found that a book was written for adults about Peyton published in 2012 called,
I Am Intelligent: From Heartbreak to Healing--A Mother and Daughter's Journey through Autism.
The novel REALis inspired by Peyton's life but told from the story of the fictional Charity Wood. It is told in the first person from Charity's viewpoint. It is a story of a non-verbal child that is deemed stupid and not very smart because she can't speak. Finally, a device is given to her where she can get her thoughts out from typing on a machine. Slowly her world opens up as she's able to finally express herself. This novel will open any person's eyes to the struggles of any child with autism or any disability. I have a loved one that is autistic but she is verbal. I do know of other friends that have a child that is non-verbal. It's hard to see your child suffer and be bullied by others because of your child's disability. I could totally relate to the feelings of Charity's parents as they desperately try to advocate for their child.
The main message I hope kids get from reading this book is to not judge other kids from the outside. Make sure to get to know all kids, no matter their race, gender, abilities, or disabilities. We as adults need to find ways to help those who are in need of advocates. Things are not what they always seem. We as humans need to dig deeper and look beyond ourselves. I'm hoping that pre-teens and teens read this book to enlighten their minds and reach out to those who are different and find ways to help others. I'm so glad that Peyton has told her story in a book for adults and teens/kids. This book will change the mind and hearts of kids and I hope that educators will use it in their literature classes.
Carol Cujec is an educator and author. Her latest book, written with Peyton Goddard, is a middle-grade novel, called REAL, which invites young readers into the world of a girl with nonspeaking autism. Peyton wants kids to understand autism not as a disability so much as a different way of experiencing the world. Real is a groundbreaking story that celebrates the magic that happens when we value and include all people.
Carol lives with her family in southern California and enjoys yoga, cooking, playing guitar with her daughter and, of course, hiding out with a good book.
Visit Carol's website: http://carolcujec.com Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolacujec Follow her on Twitter: @Ccujec
Peyton Goddard is an advocate for inclusion and has written about and
made many presentations on living with autism. Her message is one of
valuing all people and protecting those most vulnerable from abuse which
she experienced for several decades when she lacked a dependable mode
of communication. Her message centers on “changing this worrisome world”
through compassionate understanding and support for all. Peyton lives
with support in her own apartment, adjacent to her parents’ home in San