A Manual for Marco: Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling

A Manual for Marco: Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling


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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.

"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 proves to be a great ambassador for autism, using explanations and warm, welcoming illustrations in A Manual for Marco that give a complex condition a simpler explanation."

--C. Hope Clark, Author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries

"A Manual for Marco is a welcome addition to children's literature that will help in introducing the condition of autism to young people and providing information that will enable them to understand a little more about it so that it will not seem so scary."

--Wayne Walker, Home School Book Reviews

For more information, please visit www.ShailaAbdullah.com

SHAILA ABDULLAH is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She has written four other books: Saffron Dreams, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, My Friend Suhana, and Rani in Search of a Rainbow. Along with illustrations by the author, A Manual for Marco also includes artwork by IMAN TEJPAR, a 12-year-old artist from Canada.

From the Growing With Love Series

Loving Healing Press

Juvenile Fiction: Social Issues - Special Needs

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781615992485
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
Publication date: 01/01/2015
Pages: 36
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range: 4 - 7 Years

About the Author

Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She has written four books: Saffron Dreams, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, My Friend Suhana, and Rani in Search of a Rainbow. 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.

Iman Tejpar is the 12-year-old artist behind the sketches of A Manual for Marco. She is the youngest of three siblings, born and raised in Calgary, Canada. From an early age, Iman loved to dabble with art and would sit for hours with her sketch pad and colors. Over the years, art became a passion, and Iman continues to draw, paint, and color every chance she gets. She has a keen sense of balance of colors and elements. In addition to being a budding artist, she is an avid crafter, creating masterpieces with ordinary items like duct tape.

Read an Excerpt


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.

For a long time, I didn't understand why.

So I decided to make a list of all the things that make Marco special and not-so-special in my purple diary, the one that I keep under lock and key. (You'll soon know why.)

Special: He is a math genius

Marco can add, count, and subtract faster and higher than anyone I know. Once we had to climb a long flight of steps to reach a hill, and when we reached the top, Marco happily announced, "42!"

It amazed me that while we were huffing and puffing all the way up, Marco was counting each step.

Mom says Marco likes predictability. That means he likes things to happen in a certain way or at a certain time. Counting calms him down. Steps make sense to him since they don't change like people and weather do.

So does this mean I am special too? I don't like my steps doing anything crazy either!

Not-so-special: He hides things

Marco mostly likes to play by himself. But every once in a while, he picks up something that belongs to me and hides it for no reason. It is very annoying.

Hiding objects that are special to others or throwing them into the toilet are two of Marco's favorite hobbies. I don't know how that can be counted as special.

So far I have lost 17 hair clips, 2 toothbrushes, 13 blocks, 44 beads, a very dear stuffed monkey, and countless markers. Recently, the doctors found a bead in Marco's nose. Oh, and four months ago, they found a cut up dollar bill in his ear.

The toilet might have many problems of its own. I am pretty sure Marco stuffed a pillow down there at some point.

You also can't leave any crayons lying around. If you do, there's a good chance that you'll find all sorts of gibberish on walls. That's pretty odd because Marco taught himself how to read at the age of three.

Marco also enjoys locking bathroom doors. All of them! Mom and I walk around with little keys to open them. I keep mine wrapped in my hair band for easy reach.

There's no use being mad at Marco. Each morning, he wakes up a blank book.

I am afraid of losing any more stuff and I think Mom finally realized that. For my birthday, she gave me a glittering purple and yellow treasure box with lock and key to store my special things.

Although, I worry where the box will end up one of these days.


Excerpted from "A Manual for Marco"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Shaila Abdullah.
Excerpted by permission of Loving Healing Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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