The Quiet Princess // children’s book about autistic child

Last year (or was it the year before?), I deleted my NetGalley account. This year, I made a new one, for who I am now, because I’m different from back then. I’m more selective, both in what I read and how I spend my time.

When I saw a children’s book about autism, the description made me hopeful and the reviews wary.

Book review + thoughts

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Quiet PrincessThe Quiet Princess by Natalie Rainbolt
Published by Indigo River Publishing on 5 September, 2017
Genre: Children's books, Fiction, Graphic novels
# pages: 54
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★

The imagination of an autistic child is full of amazing adventures. Follow Gabriella on the first of her journeys. Lilly, the fairy princess asks Gabriella for help to defeat the chocolate eating ogre that is devastating the land. Gabriella must find the courage to confront the ogre and teach him right from wrong.

  • good storyline, though rhyme doesn’t make sense a few times
  • I have issue with “special” re: autistic children. Children grow up being told they’re special, but there is a lot of emphasis on telling autistic children they’re special, to the point that it creates a sort of specialness. Then you grow up to learn you’re not special at all, which creates a struggle you didn’t need in the first place. There is this whole messaging in the autism community (remember: that’s different from the autistic community). This is a whole can of worms, but I feel like calling autistic people “special” is a slippery slope to “special needs”.
  • I was ready to recommend this book to bits until the puzzle piece/key reference. Please STOP insinuating that autistic people are puzzle pieces or that there’s a key only autistic people have! There’s not. We’re not puzzle pieces. Autism is simply a different neurotype.
  • Autistic is not a bad word, and I think that the way to truly spread acceptance more is by using the word more often, in everyday life. This book reads like it was written by a non-autistic person, though some digging led to me finding the author was diagnosed autistic shortly after her son. There is such a thing as internalized ableism, and I have found most reviews of The Quiet Princess are by non-autistic people. I just really feel that the author should connect more with the autistic community instead of trying to please the autism community, unless this was a publisher’s call.
  • In the illustrations, lines from the previous page are visible where there is apparently actual crayon coloring. It gave me the impression that this book was illustrated from the same notebook or stack of paper. Someone else might find that detail unprofessional, but I rather appreciated the small detail. As an autistic child, it always fascinated me that I could color a sheet that had been under some writing or something, and see what had been written. It’s what made me want to be a forensic investigator until I found out I’d have to deal with blood. 😅
  • I rated this 3/5⭐ because the premise is that the child is special because she’s autistic, and I just…I don’t know how to articulate that that messaging rubs me the wrong way. Autism is just a different neurotype, just like ADHD and HD autistic people, etc. Rather than saying that a neurotype makes someone special — when so many of your traits are because of your neurotype — why not stomp that out altogether and say that the things that make you unique are special? Not all of us are savants. It paints autistic children as potentially being heroes when they could instead be wondering about how better those children’s books would be if they were arranged by height. Or why their peers can sit still and listen, instead of needing paper to crinkle. Autistic people are going to spend much of their lives being asked what talents they have, with the expectations by everyone around them that they are amazing like the well-known autistic people admired by allistics.

Love this post?

Support me by subscribing to my blog and/or buying me a cuppa:

Leave a comment