Perfect Picture Book Friday! My Friend Suhana: A Story of Friendship and Cerebral Palsy

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I think that this book conveys the story of a friendship between a young girl and her disabled friend.

9781615992119-Perfect_cvr4.inddMy Friend Suhana: A Story of Friendship and Cerebral Palsy
by Shaila Abdullah and Aanyah Abdullah
30 pages – ages 4+
Published by Loving Healing Press on January 1, 2014

Theme/Topic- art/friendship/cerebral palsy

Genre- Realistic fiction

Opening and Synopsis- 


“My friend Suhana is like no other girl I know.”

An unnamed 7-year-old girl has a special friend she visits. Her friend can’t talk or walk or do any of the things her other friends can do, but they are still friends. The girl learns to use art to communicate with her special friend, her friend with cerebral palsy.

Why I liked this book- The book was co-authored by Shaila Abdullah’s 10 year-old daughter, Aanyah. In the back of the book it says that Aanyah is “drawn to children with physical and mental disabilities.” Aanyah also volunteers at a special needs community center and hopes to open a special needs school some day. – Just plain awesomeness! The illustrations in this book are well done and sweet looking. I love the softness of the story and the genuine good feeling you get by reading it. I like how the girl reaches out to Suhana through art and that  the girl and Suhana are the same age. This book is very well done.

Activities and Resources-
There is a special note from the authors right in the back of the book about cerebral palsy and friendships.  It points out that kids with disabilities make friends just like the rest of us. A great activity is to do what the main character does in the book! Have your kids make/spend time with kids with disabilities. Volunteer at an organization or event.

I found a great blog article on a blog called -“Love That Max: Special Needs Blog” with the tag line “A blog about kids with special needs who kick butt” 🙂 The article lists 50 ways special needs kids are the same as typical kids. Click HERE to read it.

Scholastic has an article for teachers and how to meet the special learning challenges for kids with cerebral palsy. Click HERE to read it.

Cerebral palsy (dot) org has a ton of information and advice for parents, kids and teachers – Click HERE.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Sue Morris of Kid-Lit Reviews, reviewed this book too – Click HERE to read it!

Categories: Age 1-5, Age 6-9

Tags: , ,

34 replies

  1. Thanks for the link. 🙂 Aanyah is an awesome kid,I totally agree. At such an early age knowing what she’d like to do and with such strong convictions. Her mom is raising a marvelous kid. 🙂

  2. Thanks for a fantastic review, Erik. Aanyah and I read it over breakfast this morning and loved it.

    Shaila Abdullah

  3. Looks like a great book. I really like the activities you mention. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. This sounds like a lovely book. Very glad you brought it to my attention!

  5. Thanks for the great recommendation. This looks like a terrific book. I especially liked the link to Love That Max.

  6. I wish this book had been around when I was a kid. One of the families on our street had a child with cerebral palsy and lived a pretty isolated life. We were warned “not to bother” him…. I always wondered how much richer my life would be had I gotten to know him.

  7. I saw this book promoted on another blog and meant to order it. Glad you reviewed it and showed the depth of the story. I really like the Love that Max: Special Needs” blog and bookmarked it. I don’t remember being exposed to children with special needs growing up — perhaps because they went to different schools. Schools weren’t very inclusive — and there was a different mindset. I think we all could have had richer experiences if we had those experiences.

  8. I think I might like the backstory as much as the book itself!

  9. I agree with Julie, I like the back story as much as the book. What a beautiful child, wanting so much to help and be involved with children with needs, Aanyah is. After being made redundant from two other jobs a few years ago, one of my brothers now works for a company chauffeuring special needs children and adults to their everyday pursuits from their homes, such as school, shopping etc… and LOVES it.

  10. This sounds really special, Erik. It is so important to produce stories about differences and special needs. Great review as ever!

  11. I love that there are picture books for every circumstance. Kids really need to see themselves in books, either their physical selfs or their emotions. Great pick, Erik!

  12. I have had this book on my list for a while and this reminded me that I need to look for it soon. It sounds like such a great book and I love the message. I have read a lot of MG books about children with special needs, but I haven’t read many picture books on the same subject. Thanks for sharing.

  13. This book looks wonderful. I didn’t know how to approach someone I knew with cerebral palsy as a child. With I had this book then.

  14. I definitely like the premise of this book, and for sure, the illustrations 🙂

  15. We do need more picture books who would be able to expose children to diverse lifestyles. Thank you for highlighting this title. Will add this to my multicultural text-set, here’s hoping that I find the book here in Singapore.

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