All My Stripes: A Story for Children With Autism by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
Illustrations by Jennifer Zivoin
Publisher: Magination Press
Release Date: March 9, 2015
Zane is a zebra, but isn't like the other zebras because he has an autism stripe, one that makes him stand out from the other zebras. With care and love, his mother points out all the other stripes that make Zane special and how his autism stripe is just as much a part of him as those others.
The story itself is simple yet effective for calming the worries of the higher-functioning autistic children/zebras. What I am confused about though is the intended audience. Although it is not uncommon to have a page or two of informational text in the backmatter concerning the material covered in the story, it is uncommon to have a couple of pages dedicated to this. By extension, this meant that the picture book portion is considerably shorter than the average picture book in order to insert information like, What is autism? This is where my confusion lies. If the book is for autistic children then needing information like what is autism seems rather redundant. If the story is supposed to be for non-disabled children to understand autism, this makes no sense either since the story is definitely geared towards a child who is having trouble coping with their disability. Greater yet, if the story is for non-disabled children, then why is all the backmatter clearly for adults? Perhaps the book is for adults then, teachers or librarians who need all that background information about how to handle, diagnose, and relate to an autism diagnosis. But if that were the case then why is it a picture book as well? Why not create a non-fiction book for adults? This book is clearly having a bit of an identity crisis and although I do think the story works for autistic children, it doesn't seem to be clear about who its audience actually is.