Slug Days Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

SlugDays_Website“Lauren’s narrative voice is honest, poignant, and spot-on in describing her often baffled perceptions as she tries but frequently fails to navigate a confusing world….Bender’s pencil-and-digital illustrations appear on nearly every generously leaded spread. Her tender, winsome depictions of Lauren, sometimes endearingly engaged but other times steamy with anger, broaden the tale and make it accessible to even children transitioning to chapter books. This nondidactic effort is a fine, affecting addition to the literature for kids on the spectrum and for those who know those kids—in short, for just about everyone.”

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Publishers Weekly

“Lauren, a girl on the autism spectrum, takes readers through a week full of ups and downs in this sensitively told story….Bender’s pencil drawings readily reflect characters’ frustrations and other emotions—feelings that Lauren acknowledges she has trouble recognizing. Leach’s empathetic novel should both open eyes and encourage greater patience and understanding.”

Read the full review on page 106 of the September 25, 2017 issue of Publishers Weekly.

School Library Journal

“There is humor peppered throughout the story as Lauren learns to deal with her slobbery baby sister and tries not to ‘flip her lid.’ There is conflict, as her teacher and classmates learn to accept Lauren’s differences. The frequent illustrations will assist readers in understanding Lauren’s feelings. VERDICT A necessary addition to elementary school libraries and a potential spark for a discussion about autism, Asperger’s, or simply embracing differences.”
—Morgan O’Reilly, Riverdale Country School, NY

Read the full review in the September 2017 issue of School Library Journal

The Horn Book Magazine

“The first-person narration makes Lauren’s logic clear…Frequent clear pencil and digital illustrations break up the sometimes-long paragraphs and should help young readers understand Lauren’s emotions and others’ reactions.”
—Shoshana Flax

Read the full review in the March/April 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

Quill & Quire

“The middle-grade novel follows the ups and downs of Lauren – a young girl around seven or eight, who has autism spectrum disorder….In creating a nuanced, formidable character, Leach tackles a challenging topic with skill and even some lightness.”
—Helen Kubiw

Read the full review on page 26 in the September 2017 issue of Quill & Quire

CM Magazine

“Sara Leach’s writing is dependable in its craftsmanship, including appropriate word choice for this age group, and Lauren’s first-person voice is clear and direct. In addition, Rebecca Bender’s engaging black-and-white illustrations offer consistent support for reading comprehension….Because this author has taken such care with Lauren’s characterization, however, the book will find an audience in readers who wish to learn about diversity from a trustworthy source.
Bev Brenna

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Resource Links

“Rating: E…Slug Days is a sensitive, playful, lovingly told chapter book about school, friends, and days both good and bad, drawn from author Sara Leach’s real-life experiences in classrooms. Lauren is charming and frustrating; many readers will recognize her pattern of taking two steps forward and – sometimes – two steps back. Dan, Lauren’s persistent frenemy, is equally recognizable, and the big and small moments of Dan and Lauren’s dynamic are insightfully captured in both prose and illustration.

Although it’s written for readers making the transition to independent reading, Slug Days would make an outstanding read-aloud book for early elementary classrooms, particularly in schools where anti-bullying policies and programs aimed at fostering empathy and respect for others are priorities. This sweet, gentle book is rich with Aha! moments for everyone – including teachers….

Whether she’s making homes for insects, visiting her favourite tree, or playing with her baby sister, Lauren is a lovable character at the centre of a relevant story. I hope Slug Days reaches a wide audience of parents, teachers, librarians, and kids: it’s a winner!”
—Leslie Vermeer

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Foreword Reviews

“Without delving into fine detail, the book portrays enough aspects of living with ASD to be familiar to those on the spectrum and those who care for them. From agendas (the Canadian version of IEPs) to a teacher’s lesson on making friends to a father staving off a tantrum during a project by using clever redirection, Slug Days weaves in challenges with ease.

Slug Days wisely presents autism as neither disability nor exceptionalism. It’s a fact that Lauren lives with; it shapes her encounters without necessarily limiting them. At the book’s core lies a wish that anyone can identify with: the need for a friend. This winsome, gentle introduction to differences will be a positive addition to school and home libraries.”
—Karen Rigby

A Mighty Girl, “A Different Way of Thinking: 20 Books About Autistic Mighty Girls”

“Author Sara Leach’s experience teaching kids with ASD allows her to create a realistic portrayal of life through their eyes. This empathetic chapter book, filled with black and white illustrations on nearly every page, is perfect for sparking conversation with elementary school children about understanding and embracing differences.”

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Youth Services Book Review

“Lauren is an endearing narrator, and readers should find it easy to identify with her….This book would be a wonderful discussion starter, and would be helpful both for children who are on the autism spectrum as well as for their classmates and friends. The winsome illustrations on nearly every page should further endear Lauren to readers, and also encourage early chapter book readers.”
—Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

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Midwest Book Review

“A thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ story that is as entertaining as it is informative, Slug Days is unreservedly recommended as an important and highly valued addition to preschool, elementary school and community library collections for children ages 4 to 8. It should be noted that Slug Days is also available in a paperback edition.”

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Blazer Tales

“5 out of 5 stars!!!…Sara Leach does a fantastic job of letting us into the mind of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is a must read for anyone that works in a school system. This book should teach us patience and understanding. The illustrations are incredible also. They really depict the emotions that Lauren go through throughout her day.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

Slug Days is told in the first-person narrative of a young girl on the Autism Spectrum Disorder….

Sara Leach makes Lauren’s voice young and blatant, focusing on what is important to the child and often ignoring what others deem priorities. Who the girl is, is undisguised. She needs her routines and obsesses about things that others might ignore….

The voice is the most compelling element of Sara Leach’s Slug Days, as it should be. Here is Lauren’s story, up close and personal. Whether readers can empathize is not on Sara Leach but on the readers themselves because the author makes it clear and it is an arresting text spoken true by a child on the spectrum. Regardless, it’s evident that Lauren’s life is full and complex and often wholly unpredictable. But, with an arsenal of strategies, she will hopeful have fewer slug days and expand her days, as well as those around her, to those of butterflies.”

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Red Canoe Reader

“We all need to feel that we’re not alone; that there are others in the world who feel the same way and experience life as we do. This amazing book offers just that mirror to kids with ASD. It offers the comforting truth that other kids with ASD have slug days when nothing goes the way it should, as well as butterfly days when everything is in its place, nothing’s changed and you feel safe and secure….Slug Days is an easy to read story for children in late first, early second and older. The charming illustrations add so much to the story and will keep even a reluctant reader reading. This book is one that needs to be in every public and elementary collection and is a book that not only children need to read, but also every parent and teacher.”

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Carla Johnson-Hicks, Goodreads

“This is a story that can be read by anyone of any age….The illustrations are well done and clearly show the emotions of all the characters in the story. This book should be read to students so they can understand that everyone is different, some people have difficulties and what is fair for one is not necessarily fair for all….You may not know anyone with [Autism Spectrum Disorder] yet, but someday you probably will and if you have read this book, it will help you to understand and accept. A must for every school and professional library. Every teacher needs to read this as well. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via netgalley.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This chapter book features Lauren. Lauren has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and she has several tools at her disposal both at home and at school to help her when she begins to feel frustrated or panicky….The illustrations are charming simple black and white drawing, but give a sense of the situations Lauren finds herself in. A great choice.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Using Lauren’s voice to tell her story gives it an immediacy and honesty that make it easier for readers to feel the frustrations she sees in her world. Those slug days are hampered by outbursts, confusion, and a lack of patience all around. Lauren also experiences butterfly days when many things go right – her teachers, the kids at school, and her family enjoy her humor, her growing ability to communicate and find joy in some activities….This perceptive and sensitive tale chronicles a week in the life of a young, determined girl who thinks differently than many others. She is learning and we are learning with her.”

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Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews

“Those of us who don’t have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or who don’t know anyone who does have it, cannot begin to imagine how complicated life can be for sufferers of this disease. Through the story in this book the author helps us to see how even the simplest things can become monumental problems for someone with ASD. Readers will come to appreciate how hard Lauren tries, and they will be happy for her when she succeeds, and when she figures out how to help someone else who is having a hard time.”
—Marya Jansen-Gruber

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