About the Author
Aanyah Abdullah is a creative and compassionate 10-year-old, who is drawn to children born with physical and mental disabilities. She volunteers at a special needs community center on occasion, and she dreams of establishing a special school for children with disabilities one day. Aanyah is known to always stand up for what is right and is--in her parents' and teachers' eyes--a perfect role model for her baby sister.
Read an Excerpt
My friend Suhana is like no other girl I know.
She does not answer when I call her. She does not play tag or hopscotch with me, and she does not ride a bike. We have never had a play date.
But for one hour each week I get a chance to rock her in my arms and imagine that she is my special friend!
Suhana and I see each other at the community center where Mom and I help out at a special needs class. Suhana has cerebral palsy, which makes it tough for her to move and learn like other children.
And although she cannot stand, walk, talk, or play, I love her all the same!
During the class, Suhana rolls on her back and tummy. She clenches her fist when something upsets her, and she waves her legs and arms wildly when she is happy. She likes it when I am about to tickle her and gets super excited when I finally do.
Every now and then she screams or squeals. It does not always mean she is sad.
Her mom is teaching me how to tell which sound means Suhana is happy and which one means she is not. I think I can finally tell the difference between the two.
A little, I guess.
A few weeks ago, Suhana bumped her head against a door. She screamed unhappily throughout the class. When she was tired from crying, she fell asleep.
That day I made her a picture of a kite in the night sky. The kite's red, white, and blue tail flapped merrily in the wind. Around the kite, I drew little tiny stars.
The stars are like all the people around Suhana who love her and help her.
I was a bit disappointed that Suhana did not get to see my painting that day.
"Don't worry," her mom told me. "I will show it to her at home."
I hope Suhana liked the picture. I love to draw and often give my friends my special drawings. My teacher says my art helps others. She says my drawings helped ease the anxiety of another friend in my class. Anxiety is when something or someone makes you nervous.
I like to draw and paint Suhana's favorite things. Her mom says Suhana adores going out and playing with water. She also loves the color pink and flowers of all kinds.
Last week, I made Suhana a picture with many pink flowers. Small, big, and in-between. Around the flowers, I painted a giant rainbow. Suhana enjoyed looking at all the colors of the rainbow.
The colors are just like her many moods.
I imagine that RED is for when Suhana is upset and BLUE is for when she is calm and resting in my arms. Pink is for when she feels she is loved.
Colors are so much easier than words, especially for Suhana.
"Aaaeeeee!" screamed Suhana happily when I showed her the picture. "I am glad you like it," I said.
Excerpted from "My Friend Suhana"
Copyright © 2014 Shaila Abdullah and Aanyah 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.
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Table of Contents
My Friend Suhana
About Cerebral Palsy and Special Relationships
About the Authors