For two years I secretly watched my mom and my sister meet with a group of other kids and their moms. I really wanted to do what they were doing.
Finally, last year I was able to. I am a part of a mother-daughter book club, and it is so much fun. There are five girls and their moms. We meet once a month at someone's house and talk about a book that we have all read. Whoever hosts the club for that night comes up with a dinner idea from the book. After dinner and dessert, we finish talking about the book.
Then we find the next book. We stay a little later to hang out.
The most challenging part of this book club is trying to come up with the next book. We don't all agree or like the same genres, but we try to compromise. Some love fantasy, others like realistic fiction. I like books about different kinds of people and their challenges. Some books we have read and discussed so far are "Savvy" by Ingrid Law, "Out of My Mind" by Sharon Draper and "Every Soul a Star" by Wendy Mass.
Although we are all friends, we don't all go to the same school or spend all of our time together. What we do have in common is that we like to read and we love to talk, and so do our moms.
Helping autistic children
My family friend Tyler is 11 years old and has autism. I have done a lot of volunteering to raise money for kids who have autism. One of the things I have done to support kids with autism is volunteer at the Nassau County Museum of Art. This museum has a class that teaches art to kids with autism. Volunteers work with the children. We have done art projects, teaching painting skills and drawing skills.
One time I also went to Tyler's school. It is run by the NSSA (Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism). It was a regular day for the students. There were six kids and four volunteers. We did sand art. We helped the students understand more about the different colors. The kids were also learning how to follow directions. We also went on the playground. Even though these children have autism, when we were playing together, we were all the same. They laughed and had fun just like any other kid.
These experiences for me have been very moving. It teaches me to be thankful and not to judge a book by its cover. Just because someone is autistic, doesn't mean they can't communicate and feel. I love working with these kids and I will continue to do so for a long time.
--Kidsday Reporter Anabelle Landau
CLASS OF THE WEEK: Liz LeSueur's fifth-grade class, JOHN J. DALY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, Port Washington