Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Review: 'Can You See Me?' by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott

A little while ago I asked on Twitter for recommendations for middle-grade fiction or chapter books featuring autistic characters. Over a year on from diagnosis Girl Child is still struggling with being different, so I thought books would help her with that. I will eventually write a post about the books I was recommended but there was one I read which really stood out for me.


'Can You See Me?' is a collaboration between author Rebecca Westcott and autistic eleven year old Libby Scott. It tells the story of Tally, an autistic girl starting secondary school and having to deal with changing friendship dynamics, unsympathetic teachers and bullying. Interspersed between the chapters are journal entries written by Scott, from the perspective of Tally, talking about what it's like to be autistic and giving a really powerful insight into common traits such as sensory issues, demand avoidance and meltdowns.

I found the story of Tally really involving and moving, to the point where I really didn't want to put the book down and was on the verge of tears at some points. The story is told with such empathy and clarity that it really helped me to understand better the viewpoint of an autistic child - I definitely have more empathy for Girl Child since reading it. I think it would be a really good read for anyone with a connection to an autistic child, particularly people working in schools because it deals a lot with how challenging school can be for autistic children, and how easily misunderstandings can occur.

Because there are some quite intense bullying scenes in the book I'm not sure about letting Girl Child read it yet, I think she would find it too upsetting and might make her anxious for the future. But I do think it would be a good book for children aged 9 or above, whether they are autistic or not. There are a lot of important messages in the book about acceptance and emotional well-being that are universal, and any book that encourages children to see the world from another perspective is really important.

My only very slight reservation with the book is that there are some parts of the story that felt unresolved - for instance, there is a suggestion at one point that Tally's older sister Nell is also dealing with bullying, but this is not followed up. I'm taking this as a positive though, hoping it means there will be a sequel!

Linking up with #ReadWithMe hosted by Mama Mummy Mum and Kids Love To Read #KLTR hosted by Laura's Lovely Blog, Acorn Books and BookBairn.

Read With Me

7 comments:

  1. I've heard quite a bit about this book and, despite having no contact with autistic children, it is one I'm interested to read.

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  2. I’m really glad you found something that resonates and could help in the future. I will keep and ear out for any similar titles x

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  3. Can You See Me? is on my wishlist. I read a newspaper article about how the book came to be written and now I'm really interested to read it.

    #ReadWithMe

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  4. Sounds like there is a lot to take on board from this book and actually sounds as though it could be beneficial to adults as well as children! #readwithme

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  5. I don't know have any dealings with anyone with autism, however, I'd still love to read this book.

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  6. Wow! This sounds like a fabulous book and one I'm adding to my library list - thank you! Thanks for linking up with #KLTR

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  7. Oh it's really great to see some books with autistic heroes. I does sound like it's more suitable for older children though but sounds like a great read #KLTR

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