HW Pick: “Cooper And The Big Apple,” The World Through Autistic Kids

October 22, 2015

5190eXO7GELCurrent statistics show that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making the condition more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric aids combined with a 28% rise from Harlem to Hollis. 

In total, an estimated 1.5 million individuals in the United States are affected by autism. Perhaps most alarming, government statistics suggest that the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually – without a known explanation.

To help change some of the commonly held assumptions and misconceptions of autism, the mother-daughter team of Camille Cohn (author) and Riley Cohn (illustrator) created the forthcoming children’s book, Cooper and the Big Apple. In this stunningly illustrated picture book, the Cohns tell the story of Cooper, a cat who reluctantly embarks on a trip to New York City with his best friend, Jennifer. Throughout his journey, the autistic Cooper is confused by the figures of speech and nicknames used to describe landmarks in the city. Through Cooper’s travels, readers get a rare peak at the world through the eyes of an autistic, literal thinker. Readers then experience the transformation of Cooper’s confusion into amazement when he realizes that experiencing new adventures can be interesting, fun, and educational.

This engaging, heartfelt, and informative book also:

  • Explains to other children the unique interpretation of the world through the eyes of someone with autism
  • Teaches autistic children how to move beyond what is already familiar, and take part in new experiences
  • Helps teach young autistic children to transition away from constant literal thinking, and embrace colloquial speech and common phrases
  • And so much more!

“I wrote Cooper and the Big Apple in hopes that educators could use it in the classroom to teach young children about figures of speech. It could also be used as a tool to teach other children about what it is like to be on the autism spectrum,” says Camille. “But I think the most important thing I want people to know is that people with autism might be different, but they are not less. Most people on the autism spectrum are extremely intelligent; but they are wired differently. They have a hard time expressing themselves. My hope is that as awareness increases, the general public will be able to give autistic people opportunities that celebrate their unique talents.”

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From an article that ran in DNAinfo dated April 2, 2012 titled Autism Rate Rises 28 Percent in NYC, but Getting Help Remains a Struggle the numbers tell the story from Harlem to Hollis:

Between 2009 and 2011, New York City saw a staggering nearly 28 percent increase in the number of autistic students between the ages of 3 and 21, Department of Education figures show. By the end of 2011, about 1 in 110 public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade had been diagnosed with autism, the city found.

The numbers are in line with the much-discussed announcement last week that 1 in 88 children across the United States had been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder by the time they turned 8-years-old — a staggering 78 percent increase compared to six years ago.

Among boys, the incidence of autism is even higher, with 1 in 56 diagnosed by the time they turn 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in the 2008 study, which covered 14 states and was released last week.

Cooper and the Big Apple

Follow Cooper and his adventurous companion Jennifer as they travel from the Texas Hill Country to the Big Apple!

By Camille Cohn

Greenleaf Book Group Press (October 13, 2015). Hard Cover, $12.62

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