Love You, Hug You, Read to You Touches the Heart of a Child with Autism

People often ask me what inspires me to continue to write children's books and look for new ways to reach my young audience.

When I learned that some caregivers struggle with knowing how to read to their children I wrote "Love You, Hug You, Read to You!", a simple board book that includes questions caregivers can ask their children, a proven way to help children learn to read faster than if they just sit and listen to the story. I also created a Spanish/English version "Te amo, te abrazo, leo contigo" with the questions in English and Spanish.

I was touched to receive the following message from a grandmother. It truly inspired me to keep writing for children and helping them in any way I can.

Dear Tish Rabe,

I am the grandmother of an 8 year old boy with autism. I found your book Love You, Hug You, Read to You at the library and selected it based on the message, the easy words and the sweet illustrations.

My grandson started reading aloud-ish (he's pretty much non-verbal) about 4 months ago. Now, this child has never liked books - I believe because they are too slow - they can't keep up with electronics. Regardless, each night we would struggle through reading a book and his mind was everywhere but on the story - moving about on the bed, eyes looking everywhere else, etc.

Then we read Love You, and he followed along every page, studying the words and illustrations. After the last page, he signed to me "more." So we read it again. And every night since, that's the book he selects for us to read together. He can even recite "Love you, hug you, read to you" on command.

These little autism children rarely, if ever, show affection to other people, although we grown-ups gifted with caring for them do know they love us. When we read your book, he breaks all the rules. He looks at me and maintains eye contact, and smiles, sometimes even giggles. I KNOW in my heart he is comparing our relationship to those in the book. He's seeing that he has a strong and loving relationship with a Caregiver, as do the little ones in the story. He's realizing he has this in common with other creatures on this planet - something quite opposite from how these kids usually feel.

Your story has indeed touched his heart, made him feel included, helped him realize the special bond between himself and his caregivers. It will be YOUR book that he and I read every night, always.

This is why I do what I do. T.R.

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