Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: The Prince Who Was Just Himself

Fist bumps. High fives. Handshakes.

Doors held open for me.

Comments on what I’m wearing.

Talk about the weather.

Uncontrollable giggles.

Undeterred focus on a task.

Impromptu concerts with guitar and keyboard.

Costumes worn every day throughout the month of October.

Showing off Special Olympics medals.

I work with people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. It has got to be one of the most inspiring, friendliest fields of work available. I seem to have a smile on my face a lot – when I’m not holed up in my office tracking pennies…

So along comes Miss Esmé. “What’s wrong with these people?” she asks, not as quietly as I’d  wish. “Why are they so different?” 

I tell her how one lady brought her some favorite stuffed animals shortly after she was born, and every time I see her, she asks, “How’s Es-a-mé? She’s growing up, huh?”

I give Esmé the Wikipedia version of what I/DD is, what Down syndrome is. But it doesn’t paint the full picture, in her mind, of why I’m inspired every day at work.

So along comes this sweet book – perfect for all royalty-loving kids – that explains not only what is different, but what is right.


Synopsis of Book

Cover thumbnail of the book, The Prince Who Was Just Himself.The royal couple is looking forward to their third child. “He looks a little different,” muses the king at Prince Noah’s arrival. “He is not like the others,” agrees the queen. Soon they notice what a very special person he is, even though he can’t do everything his brothers can.

When the youngest prince disarms the cruel knight Scarface, the nation’s most dreaded enemy, with an act of compassion, everyone finally realizes how good it is that each person is unique.

This delightfully illustrated fairy tale for children three years and older instills appreciation for children with Down syndrome and other developmental challenges, making it a valuable aid for teaching tolerance in the home or classroom.

About the Author

Silke Schnee is a journalist and works as a television producer for a public broadcaster in Cologne, Germany. She is married and has three sons. Her youngest son Noah was born in July 2008 with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). She writes: “At first when Noah was born, we were shocked and sad. The catalyst for this book was witnessing the effect he had on many people, despite being categorized as disabled. In fact, our little prince brings much love, joy, and sunshine not only to us, but to all around him. Children are a wonder, and we must see them with the eyes of our heart: each child just the way he or she is.”

Age Recommendation: 3-9yo
Genre:  Children’s book 
Physical Description:  Hardcover, 32 pages, 8.5”x11” 
List Price:  $16.00 (currently $14.25 on Amazon)
To Buy:
For More Information:

Mom’s Review:

  • The Topic. With 1 in 691 babies in the US being born with Down syndrome, chances are pretty good that your child will know someone who has it. This book is the perfect launching spot for a discussion on what it is, how we are more alike than different, and how we can appreciate the differences.
  • The Storyline. This fairytale storyline is perfect for grabbing kids’ attention! It’s got the royalty appeal for kids like Esmé. It’s got the adventure appeal with an impending battle. It brings up the differences in a way kids can relate to – after all, it’s important for all of us to be ourselves, and we are all unique. And the boy with Down syndrome becomes the hero because of, not in spite of, his differences.
  • The Illustrations. Sweet, whimsical, gender-neutral illustrations add to the appeal of the book.
  • The Personal Story. The author was inspired by her own family in writing this story. She has a son named Noah with Down syndrome, and it was observing his impact on others that led to this book. Her familiarity and appreciation of her son is evident in this book.
  • The Details at the End of the Book. For the kid who wants to know more specifics, there is a “What is Down syndrome” section at the back of the book.

I highly recommend this book! For parents, libraries, doctors’ offices, schools – this story is the perfect segue into acknowledging, understanding, and appreciating each others’ differences.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Handlebar Central for coordinating this book for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.