Autism and Acceptance: The Starabella Book Series
Unique. Engaging. Heart-Warming. Relevant. Needed.
These are just a few words that come to mind when I think about the exceptional book series, Starabella.
In honor of Autism awareness month, I’m thrilled to introduce, the story of Starabella to my readers. The Starabella book series was created by the Fialco family with the hope of spreading empathy, acceptance and kindness for those who may be different. Starabella beautifully personifies autism and allows us to enter the world of a young girl with high functioning autism. It creates a visceral reaction of hope and promise. Stay tuned for a personal interview with author and advocate, Sharon Fialco, Starabella’s mother.
This quick video will give you a glimpse into the Starabella collection:
Who should read Starabella?
Children as young as preschoolers to those in 2nd and 3rd grade would truly enjoy the Starabella series.
The Starabella books are as much for families affected by autism as they are for those who do not have first-hand experience with autism. If you are unfamiliar with autism, the Starabella stories affectionately and openly portray the thoughts and feelings of a family affected by autism. If you are interested in sharing the beliefs of being kind to one another, Starabella naturally provides the perfect platform to teach the concepts of empathy, inclusion and anti-bullying. Younger children, like preschoolers, may not yet understand these concepts however they will appreciate the music, the vibrant illustrations, the accompanying narrations, and learn that it’s good to care for one another.
Why I love Starabella?
I’ve never experienced anything like the Starabella book series.
Experiencing these books appeal to your visual, auditory, and emotional senses.
The Starabella books are unique because you look at the pictures while simultaneously listening to an accompanying cd for each respective book. The story narration is slow, pleasant, upbeat, and very well produced. The music is theatrical and brilliant. Many times, I felt like I was watching a show rather than reading a book. It’s absolutely engaging. Lyrics are included at the end of each book so children can sing along during the story. I can imagine classrooms of children, each with their own copy, reading along and listening to music and being absolutely captivated by the story of Starabella.
What I also love about Starabella is how well it portrays the conflicted feelings parents face when they have a child with special challenges. Told through the eyes of loving and dedicated parents, a strong message of hope is depicted.
Starabella is a collection of three books chronicling the journey of a young girl with high functioning autism from birth to kindergarten. The main heroine, Starabella, affectionately called Starry, is a curious and special girl who turns to music to express her feelings, frustrations, and inner thoughts.
In the first book of the series, Starabella Mystery Girl of Music,
we are introduced to Starry and the Oclaif family. Starry’s parents fall in love with her from the moment she is born. As she gets older, they begin to notice that Starry’s behaviors are a little unusual and some of what she does is a mystery. Fortunately, she is given the gift of a piano from her dear grandparents. This gift was pivotal in Starry’s development. Through music, Starry is given a voice and an outlet.
In the second book, Starabella New Adventures and Mixed Emotions,
Starry enters the community (attends the circus and takes a toddler acrobatic class). With the accompanying story narration, music and colorful pictures, this second book again strikingly enters the mind of young child with learning differences to illustrate why someone like Starabella acts and reacts in certain ways. Luckily, Starry can use her piano to express her mixed emotions. It also captures how parents begin to accept their differences, yet still yearn for others to empathize.
Starabella Welcome to a Bright New World, the final book in the series,
tells us about Starabella’s experience in Kindergarten. Here, Starabella undergoes exclusion and bullying because she is different from her classmates. However, Starabella’s classroom is diverse and contains a variety of students with different needs, challenges, and abilities. With the guidance of her caring teacher, Miss Maradise, who facilitates open communication amongst her classmates, Starabella is comfortable tapping into her musical talent to make friends with the other children. Starry is also free to describe her beautiful dreamland and Bright New World where children are accepted for who they are and there is harmony and peace.
Now, isn’t this a message that all children should hear?
“Remember, all people are special and have something to offer. When you are their friend, you make the world a better place and you’ll love yourself for loving them –and everyone’s eyes will shine like stars.” Starabella Welcome to a Bright New World
The Starabella books are available for purchase through Amazon. They can be purchased as a series or individually.
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