How Katie Got a Voice (and a cool new nickname)
by Patricia L. Mervine
Trafford Publishing

"It seemed like Katie couldn't do anything without Miss Hanscomb, or "Miss Handy" as we called her, because of the help she gave to Katie."

Conjure the moment when a new student steps into the foreign environment of the classroom. Thoughts such as "will anyone be my friend," "is the teacher nice or mean," "will it be different from my old school," race through the student's mind as he walks to the front of the class for introductions. Experienced speech and language pathologist, Patricia Mervine, expertly weaves story and learning concepts to allow readers, especially school-aged students, to enter into Katie's mind and see life from her perspective. In this narrative, not only do students discover Katie's similarities, but they also come to the realization that students with disabilities have special talents.

In reality, Mervine's message is not just for the elementary level; the narrative is an excellent source of information for the entire student body at all levels—K-16 and beyond. Told from a fourth grader's point of view, the author emphasizes the appreciation of one's uniqueness. The narrator, Miguel "the Punster" specializes in providing nicknames to his classmates based on their talents and behaviors. When Katie enters the classroom with Miss Hanscomb, her personal care assistant, she is able to communicate only by blinking and smiling. As a result, the class is unsure of Katie's likes and dislikes, and can't give her a proper nickname. However, when a switch connected to a communication device allows Katie to express herself, Miguel and his classmates become ecstatic and get to work on her nickname.

There are global ramifications to this children's story, which meticulously and seamlessly integrates professional concepts of speech and language pathology into a setting children can comprehend. Mervine's How Katie Got a Voice is, without a doubt, a must read for children, educators, parents, and audiences worldwide.

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