I became familiar with these books several months ago when my friend ( and fellow SLP) Kristy reviewed them on her blog Hear My Hands. I was thrilled when the author of these books Don, who goes by Grandpa Don, and I had the chance to talk via Facebook and he offered to let me review the books as well. Full disclosure: I was given a copy of all 6 Fun with Abby & Alyssa Books at no cost to review. All opinions are mine and are not in anyway swayed by receiving the product.
A Series of Books with an Amazing Story
Fun with Abby & Alyssa are a series of 6 interactive books aimed to introduce American Sign Language (ASL) to preschool children and early readers. The books are organized by theme and introduce ASL vocabulary based on the types of real life experiences young children encounter such as going to the zoo, having breakfast, and spending time with family.
Abby and Alyssa, the main characters in this series of books, are actually based on real children. Sisters, they both have significant medical issues that prevent them from being able to use speech as their main form of communication, and therefore they use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. Alyssa is 7 and has global delays and Abby is 3 and has cerebral palsy.
Here is where the story of the books gets personal. Abby and Alyssa’s grandfather, Don (aka Grandpa Don) watched as his granddaughters had difficulty communicating and making friends with other children because of the communication barrier. Even though the girls can hear, the fact that they cannot speak and use ASL to communicate was making it difficult for the girls to really connect with other children.
As a grandfather, Don wanted to help his granddaughters. Much like Rachel from Signing Time, Don wanted more young children to know sign language so that they could communicate with his granddaughters. So he came up with the idea of writing simple, repetitibe and interactive books aimed at preschoolers and early readers.
Fun With Abby & Alyssa: The Books
As I mentioned, the Fun with Abby & Alyssa books are a series of 6 interactive books organized by theme: A Day with Our Family, A Day with Colors, A Day at the Zoo, A Day at School, A Day Starts with Breakfast & A Day Ends with Bedtime. They each also include the alphabet and numbers 1-10 in ASL as well.
Each book introduces the characters and then in a simple and repetitive fashion, introduces several ASL signs that go along the theme of the book. The book shows (with a picture) and explains (in words) how to make each sign and then encourages the reader to practice the sign along with the characters.
What I Love About the Books
I LOVE the simplicity and the receptiveness of these books. They are perfect for young children and for early readers to not only learn signs BUT to even just learn some basic vocabulary. I am thinking about how some children with significant delays may be able to benefit from these books even f they are using oral communication because of the simplicity, repetitiveness, and the visual supports (there are images of all the vocabulary words targeted as well). For example, in the books they ask “What is..” or “What color is..” or “What do we use to…” etc. These are fantastic questions and vocabulary for all young children with language impairments, even of they are not using sign as a primarily form of communication.
I also love that the pages are made out of that shiny material and not regular paper. This material makes them more durable and easier to clean. This is especially important if the books will be used in a classroom or a therapy environment.
Both my 4 year old and my 23 month old enjoyed the books. Although they were created for preschool aged children and older, I was surprised that my son was quite into them. I signed to him a great deal as an infant and toddler and ASL was basically his first language, so he enjoyed both the story lines and the signing.
Here are my children enjoying the books (while sitting inside our storage ottoman…)
What I’d Love to See Next
I’d love to see other products emerge from this series! These 6 books are fantastic, and I would love to see more books that teach verbs, attributes, prepositions, and more!
Would You Like More Information?
Check out the Fun With Abby & Alyssa Website. Some links you may be interested in:
Would YOU Like a Set of These Great Books?
Well if you do you are in LUCK! Grandpa Don will be giving away a full set (all 6) books for one lucky reader! All you have to do is enter on the rafflecopter below! GOOD LUCK!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open until Saturday, December 22nd at 11:59pm Eastern. Winners will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends via email. If a winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway open to residents in the United States and Canada only age 18 and up.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, or the authors, publishers, or companies affiliated with the products being given away or mentioned in this blog post.
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