KidLitCripCrit – This Beach Is Loud!

Viola (1) and Mainie (5) sit in their swimming costumes with buckets. (Spades are awol.) Mainie is holding This Beach Is Loud. Viola is shouting. Mainie looks… patient.
Text reads: KidLitCripCrit
Disability & kids books @thecatchpoles

This Beach Is Loud! (As is Viola.)

An extremely enthusiastic child wakes their parent up at 4am for a trip to the beach – parents of talkative, energetic children will relate. It’s joyful, very funny & gorgeously illustrated. Only a note at the start and on the back cover makes clear it’s written with autistic children in mind. 

Jenn Starkman of noodlenutskidsbooks steered us towards this series – having one leg and being a wheelchair user doesn’t give either of us a massive insight into autism. So a recommendation by an autistic reviewer is invaluable.  

This Beach Is Loud is ‘own voices’ – meaning the author has the same disability as the character – and it REALLY shows.

A phrase used amongst disabled people is ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ – for very good reasons. We’re constantly being explained by non-disabled people, to other non-disabled people. (At its worst it reminds me of a nature doc: ‘here we see the disabled person in their natural habitat.’)

Some books by non-disabled authors get it right – there are 2 in our list – but they’re not the majority.

Most kids’ books try to explain or validate disability through a non-disabled character. They’re often aimed at siblings of disabled kids rather than a disabled reader – as frequently specified in Amazon listings and blurbs. 

But this book beautifully evokes the feeling of sensory overload from the child’s perspective. It’s extremely effective. (And unhelpful Rainman stereotypes are nowhere to be seen.) 

Both our neurotypical kids sit very quietly when we read this, Mainie’s asked for it again and again. If you write good books with disabled readers in mind, they will work for all readers.

If you’d like to buy This Beach Is Loud, Blackwell’s have international delivery included here (this is an affiliate link). We also have pages at Bookshop UK and Bookshop US – where you can buy most of the books on our KidLitCripCrit list.

Lucy & James Catchpole

This was originally posted on Instagram on the 24th September 2021

[Image descriptions:

  1. Viola (1) and Mainie (5) sit in their swimming costumes with buckets. (Spades are awol.) Mainie is holding This Beach Is Loud. Viola is shouting. Mainie looks… patient.
    Text reads: KidLitCripCrit
    Disability & kids books @thecatchpoles
  2. This and the next images are inside pages from the book. The child is trying to wake their father. The word ‘Dad Dad Dad’ is repeated all over the page. Our text reads: ‘the clock reads 4am here. I empathise.’
  3. The back page of the book.
  4. The first page in the slideshow – the dad tries to put the child’s shoe on. The words read ‘Daddy, I don’t like the beach and I want to go home. The sand is ouchy & sticky & bumpy & scratchy… and sharky feels different…’
  5. Second page in the slideshow – the child sits on the dad’s shoulders surrounded by a bombardment of large multicoloured words, reading eg ‘DING ALING’, ‘PAT PAT’ ‘FLAP’ etc. Dad looks happy, the child does not.
  6. Third in the slideshow – the child covers their ears, while the dad says ‘1-2-3 tap… You did it. You are so brave.’
  7. Fourth in the slideshow – they sit happily on the beach with ice-creams. The word ‘tap’ appears over the sun.
  8. Fifth in the slideshow – they’re in a red car, underneath a lot of words are printed, eg ‘DAD! When can we go back? Can we go back tonight?’
  9. Sixth in the slideshow – a note at the beginning of the book – it’s very wordy & just too long to type out I’m afraid. It’s by a clinical psychologist, recommending this book.
  10. Last in the slideshow – a close up of the book – it’s a picture book with a child with brown skin and black hair on the front – on the beach, holding their ears.]

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