I walk into a house full of screams. It is not the first time.
Mom is struggling to get my brother Marco out of his favorite red jacket. Together they look like football players on separate teams. He’s not making it easy for her, but Mom is not giving up.
“Hi, Mom,” I say. She grunts in response.
I quietly put my backpack down and walk inside the kitchen to grab an apple.
In a short while, Marco walks away—with his jacket still on. Mom sighs. I hand her the remaining half of my apple and give her a hug.
My mom is no football player. Neither is Marco into sports. He has autism. It is a condition that makes it very hard for him to do things the normal way. He is one of those children who should have come with a manual. You know, those handbooks that tell you how something (or in this case somebody) works.
I didn’t come with a manual either, but Mom says I do things by the book. She says she means it in a good way. She is a doctor so I have to believe her. And although I can swim, dance, and do many special things, Mom insists that Marco is the special one.
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.
“In a story inspired by a real-life family, Abdullah, who tackled cerebral palsy in My Friend Suhana, discusses life with an autistic sibling, as described by a girl named Sofia. Endnotes provide additional tips and information about interacting with those on the autism spectrum.”
“Through her genuine and caring accounts about growing up with an older, autistic brother, this 8-year-old also shows her love for her sibling who is special but sometimes does things that are not-so-special. I highly recommend this book written with sensitivity and beautifully illustrated.”
–Lorna d’Entremont, M.Ed., Special Needs Book Review
Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She has written 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. Learn more about the author at www.ShailaAbdullah.com