Book review: Jacqueline Williams-Hines’ “The Adventures of Suther Joshua from Planet Yethican”

Lou Stallard reading Suther Joshua from the Planet Yethican to Kidlink preschoolers.I am pleased to welcome Julie Smrha, Marketing Coordinator at Easter Seals Capper Foundation, as a guest blogger today. I have visited the Kidlink program in Topeka myself and know firsthand how delightful those preschool children are!
A story time book review
by Julie Smrha

Children from Kidlink’s Preschool & Childcare program here at Easter Seals Capper Foundation were in for a treat during story time. This week’s theme was nursery rhymes, and sandwiched between the timeless riddle about a ‘good ol’ egg’ (which suffered a disabling injury) named Humpty Dumpty, and a verse about Mabel Murple (who was, of course, fixated on the color purple) our guest reader Lou Stallard shared the story of Joshua.

In Jacqueline Williams-Hines’ book, The Adventures of Suther Joshua from Planet Yethican,
Joshua rides past his friends on a make-believe horse named Delta (in reality his bike). “Fasther Delta!” he shouts, then crashes to the ground. His friends rush to help him, but Joshua is already back up on his bike, proclaiming “I am Suther Joshua from Planet Yethican.” Joshua turns to his mom then, and gives her a thumbs-up.

Joshua’s friends ask his mom why Joshua calls his bike a horse. What was he saying, they wonder. Joshua’s mom quotes Joshua, explaining that he’d said, “My name is Super Joshua from Planet Yes-I-Can.” The planet is a safe, make-believe place that Joshua, who has autism, can go when life gets difficult. This is a life-learning experience for Joshua’s friends — they gain a new perspective and appreciation for Joshua.

Our Kidlink classroom is inclusive, serving children with and without disabilities. This book was a bit too advanced for the younger children (the Kidlink kids range from age two-and-a-half to six), but one of the older preschoolers loved the super-hero illustrations and checked it out of the library the day it was read.

Our Volunteer Director, Jeanette Waters, plans on using this book in her volunteer curriculum now. She thinks it’s a great read for students who volunteer in day camps for children with disabilities, especially children with autism. The book demonstrates that while kids with autism might be perceived differently, we need to do our best to look at life through their eyes.


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