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Author Abby Brower’s Christian faith influences how she views disability and motivated her to write this sensitive and informative children’s picture book for classroom use. Her goal is to educate students about speech sound disorders and to provide practical communication tools. She writes, “Communication is such a central part in how we love others and experience God’s love through others. In my career as a speech therapist, I aim to redeem the broken aspects of communication many people with disabilities experience. I hope this book increases acceptance of those with speech sound disorders by helping other children learn to be loving toward this population.”

Illustrator Libby Brower’s emotive, cartoon-like pictures, which include children of different ethnicities and cultures, along with Abby Brower’s narrative capture the warm, open atmosphere in a classroom where Stella the Speech Sleuth is actively at work. Stella explains her role to an inquisitive student: “A Speech Sleuth is someone who uses clues, asks questions, and is a little sneaky. We do this to help our friends who have tricky sounds.”

Stella goes on to educate the student about how to be an active listener and to offer encouragement to classmates who are struggling with speech sound disorders.

This excellent resource for children ages 5-10 concludes with discussion questions. Here are some examples: “If you are having a hard time understanding a friend, what should you do?” “How can we be kind and helpful to our friends with tricky sounds?” “If you are not sure what your friend said, what questions can you ask them?”

On a playful note, the book also includes a page that can be photocopied so children can receive a personal Speech Sleuth ID after they learn all that Stella teaches them.

(Independently Published)

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