Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Power of 'No' Words

"(The) speech before words is the vernacular of all beings. It is the original mother tongue, the language of paradise ... that few adults care to re-enter," says Horst Kornberger in The Power of Stories: Nurturing Childrens Imagination and Consciousness Shaun Tan's The Arrival- without words - is a captivating picture book about an immigrant who leaves his old familiar home and goes to a new land across the sea where everything's strange, from the food, the language, the writing script, the symbols, the customs ... even the plants and animals are like nothing he's ever seen before. Trains are floating ships and taxis are hot-air balloons. He has to navigate this strange land, and the story is told through the man's facial expressions and body language. The Arrival is a perfect metaphor for Autism. The social world of the autistic is just like a stranger in a new land where he can't understand what's going on. We've been going through the book page by page each night. As there are no words, only pictures, they highlight the emotions and body language of the man as he tries to make sense of his world. We love this book its expressive pictures.

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